Thursday, November 23, 2017

Santa Marta Bogota, Columbia plus a trip home to say farewell

November 23 - December 29, 2017

We arrived in to Santa Marta, Columbia our third continent, South America. Our friends on Sugar Shack welcomed us with a local beer.

our first Columbian beers c/o Sugar Shack 
There was a lot of garbage and debris in the water on the sail down (every 5 seconds a floating plastic bottle). We arrived into the marina after a two day, two night sail (our first longer passage with our new crew). The marina was clean (the water was horrific), the beaches were littered with garbage yet the locals were swimming. Upon checking in with the reception desk we were all finger printed to allow access to certain pontoons, captains lounge and bathroom/showers. We loved the vibe of Santa Marta, it was nice to be in Colombia to experience the culture (we missed that from the Med.)
We walked around Santa Marta and found the Cathedral, a square where many break dancers practice and then a street (Carerah 3) that has tons of restaurants from burger to bistro. It is very reasonable to eat out as $1.00 CAD = 2600 pesos. When we arrived it was the end of a common wealth games for South America. We happened to be near the Colombia house.

Sadly, I was not able to experience as much of Santa Marta as I would have liked. On November 26 I received a call from my Mom about my Dad being in the hospital and wanting to die with dignity after his 6 year battle with colon cancer. Over the course of the next days Shaun found flights for me to fly home to say my farewell to my Dad. I flew out on November 30th (luckily Nadja and Manuel were flying to Bogota and I was able to join them on the first leg). It took me 18 hours and three flights to get to Vancouver. My good friend was there to pick me up and deliver me to the hospice where my Dad was located. This was hard trip to make. It was difficult to see my Dad so frail. He passed away peacefully December 4, 2017 at 5:15 am, in his sleep surrounded by family. I stayed with my Mom until December 19 to support her.

Upon my return on December 19, Shaun and the girls flew in to Bogota to meet me. We stayed 2 nights before flying to Cartagena. Before leaving Bogota, we were able to join a free walking tour that was reccommended to us. The tour started at the gold museum and lasted 3 hours. It took us through several areas in Bogota. We were able to try the local fermented corn drink called chicha (this is the preferred drink of Columbians), we visited a modern art museum, saw some awesome wall art and learned about some of the history in Bogota. We highly recommend it! After the tour we explored the gold museum.

We were lucky to experience a Christmas street festival with loads of people and food vendors, we even saw a Christmas llama (sadly had no camera to capture it). We bought desserts, a full pineapple sliced up with a scoop of ice cream and a cookie straw for 2500 pesos (approx. $1.00 CAD) and the girls had fresh strawberries and whip cream for the same price.

On December 21 we flew to Cartagena, Colombia to see the old city. That evening the girls went to sleep and Shaun and I walked to the movie theatre to watch The Force Awakens the latest Star Wars movie (14,000 pesos for both). The following day we headed into the old city to walk around. We were inondated with street vendors hauking their wares. It was a bit overwhelming. We walked past a street that had a chocolate museum. Outside the door, there were young ladies calling for visitors. I caught a picture of one of the gals and when we did visit a couple of days later, she was working and remembered us. Funny enough all three gals were from Venezuela. We had a lovely chat with them, as we had been to the Los Roques islands not long before. On this same day we visited the emerald museum as well. It is a jewlery store with a small museum attached. It was short but very informative. This was our second choice, originally we were planning on going to an actual emerald mine. It was so close to Christmas and they wanted to charge us an arm and a leg. While in Cartagena we also had a chance to visit a naval museum. This is a great interactive museum and one of my favourites.

During our visit in Cartagena, we went for a walk to a central park to see the local slothes that live in the trees. We were fortunate enough to be able to see three of them (a baby, mom and dad). This was our first wild sloth sighting. The markings were incredible!

on our way find the sloths

our first ever camo Santa
our first sloth sighting

We enjoyed our time in Cartagena but needed to get back to Element for Christmas. Shaun organised a bus to get us back. It was a lovely trip back. We made it back in time to celebrate with fellow cruisers and friends. There was a Christmas shirt painting for the kids followed by a cruisers get together and a white elephant gift exchange.

the cruisers Christmas Eve gathering
Manuel and John with their crazy shirts for Christmas Eve

the finished Christmoose shirt

Terry's whack a orange.....

art with friends
the kids gift exchange
our new mochillas
hair dying in the marina bathroom 

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

Follow us on Instagram: Element Instagram photos