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Letter From: Dan , Darryl , Kjell

 No wind and Sharkfishing.

Cartagena May 2005. 

From Aruba,

With the female part of our crew heading back to Bonaire, it was time to get ready for our 4-5 day sail to Cartegena, Colombia.  Since we are getting close to the hurricane season we checked the weather forecast for this leg of the trip,...'No wind'.   And sure enough, 5 miles out of Aruba, 'Vienta Nada'.  Ok, we fire up the barbie, throw on some burgers and Kjell's cinema was open.  With no wind, the ship sat very quiet for 'Man on Fire'  A movie that takes place in Mexico City which, has a similar style as Colombia and helps to set the spirit of the trip .  It was actually neat to see fancy restaurant in the movie where I had lunch one day a few months ago, Sanbornes. 

The next day came burps of wind but, nothing too significant to make any ground, we needed a huge belch. to make it to Colombia in 5 days.  So, we got the barbie ready again and threw in the fishing line.  As soon as the potatoes were done we got a hit on the line, and it's a big one,'s always a big one when you don't see it at first.  After 30 minutes of fighting, Kjell finally gets the fish close enough to the boat to see that we caught a 5 foot shark!!  What the what are we going to do with a 5 foot shark on the boat.  With our luck it would find it's way into the cabin and then what?  We have to let it go, which is a puzzle on its own.  We try to steer it over to the side of the boat where we can somehow grab the hook from its mouth (with a hooked-stick of course) but, he dosen't want to get near the boat.  Everytime he gets close, a slap with his tail and, whrrrrrrrrrr!  He's gone.  And then, of course, another element comes into play as we notice a fairly big tanker heading to cross our path in front.  We hope that he sees us but we try on the VHF to make contact.  They never answer.  As the tanker gets closer we see that there is no danger so we concentrate on problem 1, the shark.  We finally manage to get the 'hook-stick' under our lure and with one more big slap on the boat with his tail and he is gone.  Great Fun!

The next few days followed the forescast to a 'T' with no wind and sometimes we ended up flowing backwards with nothing we can do about it (see GPS pic).  Unless, we want to use our fuel but, we need that for driving into Cartegena which historically has the biggest waves in the Caribbean due to the structure of the ocean floor.  With the waters around us still and the weather hot, we decide to jump in for a snorkel.  What a neat experience to jump in 2000 meter waters and swim away from the boat, especially knowing the type of fish that are around.  The still weather gave us some very relaxing times and we spent most of out time just trying to stay cool and wait patiently for the wind,...Booze Cruise III. 

One day we were relaxing when Kjell noticed a school of 15 trigger fish(2-3 kg) swimming up to the boat in the glass-like waters.  As we looked closer we also noticed a beautiful 30 kg Dorado (mahi mahi) swimming with them.  The Darado is one of the best looking and tasting fish in the sea.  We quickly reel in our fishing line closer to the boat hoping to attract his attention.  He makes a move for our 'squid' lure but then quickly spits out the lure as I tried to set the hook.  We end up playing with him (or him with us) for about 30 minutes  until Kjell gets fed up and he and I jump in the water with our snorkels and a Hawian Sling.  As the Dorado came to check out who just jumped in the water Kjell releases the Sling.  It scrapes his side and the Dorado takes off.  I later asked Kjell what he would have done if the spear would have pierced the Dorado and it took off with the strap around his wrist,...????hmmmmmm.   That night we were Doradoless but got to witness a beautiful sight of Whales jumping in the Sunset!!

The wind started to pick up after the fifth day enough for us to try out the Spinnaker for the first time.  It's the traditionally big colorful sail at the front of the boat which works like a parachute.  And with Dan having spinnaker experience it was no problem, and soon we were sailing at 4 knots.  This speed was great since I banged my knee a few times on the same spot (not on purpose) and noticed an infection starting to occur in the bruize, we had to get to Cartegena.  The boat is very well stocked with medical supplies from the past owners and Dentist Dan prescribed me some antibiotics to help.

Our last two days into Cartegena were the best sailing conditions that we have experienced so far.  Calm waters, nice wind from the back, and the spinnaker pulling us at an average of 5-6 knots all the way into Cartegena.  Cartegena is a beautiful city which used to be the main port where the Spanish would load up their riches from South America on route to Spain.  The city has been fortified since the 18 century, as well as the entrance into the harbour where the marina where we are staying is located, Club Del Pesca.   We are spending most of our downtime in old Cartegena inside the wall.  It is very beuatiful and the buildings have been totally refurbished.  It is a definite hotspot for tourists and the peddlars.

The whole trip took us 9 days instead of 5, and the nights were filled with flashing skies from all of the storms in the area around us.  I can't believe that we never ran into one.  It would have been good to hit one sinced it would have provided us with better wind.


biena vista

what a trip!  It started in Aruba. we wanted to go out sailing but first, have our papers.  The immigration was very busy with a cruiseship just arrived.  1000 people! at immigration.   After we get every paper after 2 hours  we left with the  real  booze cruise.  There where  2 catamerans  to take people  for a booze cruise from the cruiseship.  They knew the path to get out  aruba (we didnt)  so we could follow them they said.  Perfect we where going and have our own boozecruise.    After 3 hours , no wind, lets go BBQ!  and look at kjells own  laptop cinema.  coool! just in the film I heard splashing and noise in the wather.  What the hek.  It was dolfines.  I  want to see them and interupated the movie.  kjell and daryll were irriitaded    they wanted to see the movie and dolfines happens  3 times a day!  And it was true, every day you see the dolfines! There  was not much wind  and that was a new experiens for us all.  Beautifull the big sea  as a mirror.  The water was so clear, when you go swimming  and throw some coins  in the water  you still see them falling in the water after 2 minute with the snorkel on.  Every day, very tasty food of daryl.  I made one time in the whole trip food: raviolla and spagetti meatbals in pot. ha ha  Kjell maked the other day,  spagetty in Pot.  The rest we get from the cook:  BBQ, poffed patato with cream, hamburger with everithing ceddar cheeze,  panecakes, eggs, beans with chilli  etc.   And kjell did  the navigation with our three  to check position. In the day chilling with 30 degree and wind  and the  nice beer,  the first 3 days they were cold before the ice melted.  Now in colombia!  In the city where colombus arived. what a beatiful city, cartagena with  only buildings from 1600 century and  canons and walls  and the jungle  parots everywhere, now it looks still like that days.  We lie in the middle in the most luxery habour ,  guards with shot guns at the gate!. tomorow to san Blas  and Panama.  San blas island with the Kuna indians.  We have to check in with the chief  ha ha.  these islands seems to be the beautifull on earth.  the survivor is filmed  there.  Tomorow  big sailing day.    see you soon.  i got still  2 weaks before the work begins again!           Daan


Under is a little somthing kjell wrote at sea..

A beer bottle is silently flowing with the current, sometimes going one knot and somtimes not going at all. Normally here 60 miles off the coast of Columbia the bottle would have been filled with water and slowly drifted into the dark of the 1000 meter deep waters. It could have been a fine house to small fishes or maybe a squid but not today, today the wind was just like yesterday and the day before, no wind at all. The beer bottle stayes afloat and so does the two other ones floting nearby. The guys that threw them overboard after chugging the half warm beer inside looks relaxed and are reading. They are on day five now and are only half way. The whole trip should have taken them four days but after the wind left and they burned 3/4 of theier fuel they have been drifting. Occationally a breeze comes along and gives them a short moment of relief from the burning hot sun but it never lasts. At night they stay awake so they can steer the boat when the nightly rain bringes along a two hour gust of wind. These two hours can sometimes take them just as long as they have sailed all day.   How can they stand it?, how can they just sit there and pretend like nothing has happend when they are four days late?. It could be the weak buzz from the beer chey just had followed by two glasses of pinapple punch or it could be the fact that they simply does not have enything more important to do. Little happends out here. Two days ago was a big day, the sound from the tackle wheel letting out line was clear as thunder would have been in a library. Darryl shoutes somthing and kjell jumpes to the rod and soon the game is on. Dan has been downstairs to get camera and video equippment and darryl is now getting ready to help hoist the fish on board. After 15 minutes of struggle and a lot of guessing what kind of beast it could be the Shark finally showed its fin. It was a small one of about 1,5 meters but still a shark. They discussed it for a while and finally decided to let it go, what would they do with a shark this big, sure they had the BBQ going already waiting for the potatoes and hamburgers to cook but it was way to big to eat and how would they get him into the boat?. The following day  the columbian navy pulled up real close only to turn around and go back where thay came from. Tooday's event was trying to catch a durado who teased them by swimming around the boat for half an hour, it even tasted the hook and got scratched by the hawaiian sling before it left. Three more empty beers hit the water... 

Day 7... Should i be happy because we have wind, mad because it comes from the wrong direction or should i just be happy to be here at all?. questions like this pop up from time to time while you wait for the wind to come, the wind to change direction or waiting for the wind to blow you to youer destination. This trip should have taken about 4 days but we are on day 7 now and i think it will be two more before we dock. So what do we do?, well we read a lot, talk a lot, swim a lot, fish a lot and nap a lot. Some times we listen to music and some times not. Yesterday was a good day, nothing really happend but we got some wind and it was almost in a good direction, the day before that was a bit boring, too much sun and too litle wind, we decided to have a party and drank the day away.  After 9 days we finally arrived..



Ps, all the travel letters is made by BOTH kjell and darryl, we stand for everything that we write...



Darryl & Kjell


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