Santa Marta to San Blas 2015

By Art on (with 3 comments)


Distance (nm)
Average (kts)

OK, we may do a separate post for our visit to Santa Marta, Columbia. In short... nice people and good food that is well worth the visit. However, now we leave for a our passage from Santa Marta to the San Blas Islands of Panama. It’s about 300 nm direct but, of course, we’re sailing so it’ll be longer than that.

The winds look like they will be similar to what we experienced on the way to Santa Marta… 25-35 kts, big seas and exciting sailing. So, we’re back on the watch schedule and will look forward to the next 36 hours of fun sailing followed by several weeks of exploring this fascinating part of the world.

Because the San Blas are surrounding by beautiful coral reefs that also makes it important to approach the islands cautiously when the sun is overhead and we can put a person on the bow of the yacht to help us safely navigate through the reefs on the way in.

Passage Position

Log Entries

by Art

We've arrived in San Blas anchored off the island of Porvenire. We will clear customs tomorrow and begin our two week exploration of this unique part of the world. No internet, no phone, no stores, no bars. Just pristine nature. Mahia Mahi for dinner, wine and a good night sleep for all. Sleep well dear friends and family, I know we will!

by Tracy

It's hot. A short distance from my head a small fan whines as its tiny motor attempts to generate a breeze slightly stronger than that of a sneezing mouse. The closer we get to the Equator the worse the heat, we knew this, we've been talking about it quite a bit actually but now that we are living life in a never ending sauna, we've all stopped talking, we no longer have the energy.

We left Colombia yesterday, it was hot. Even in Florida there is some relief from the heat and stifling humidity during the winter months but in Colombia? There are only two seasons there apparently: hot and hotter. How the Spanish managed to conquer this place with solders in steel armor is beyond my comprehension. Making matters worse, the waters around Santa Marta are full of garbage, so no swimming. Soot from the nearby industrial port left its black residue everywhere. The view of the Colombian coastline slowly disappearing into the distance as we sailed away yesterday left me with no sense of loss.

The Caribbean sea was at first emerald green, with strong winds up to 39 knots, then it turned black, with rough angry waves that hit the boat from all sides. They say this area is treacherous, Giamma says it reminds him of the Gulf of Lion back in the Med- dangerous and infinitely changeable. The boat is tossed about, sleeping is difficult, everybody is tired, everyone is hot.

We are under motor at the moment, we had been sailing fantastically fast for the past 24 hours, but the winds have just dropped off. While still under sail, Andrea caught another beautiful Mahi (2.5 kg), so we're all looking forward to dinner, small things mean a lot out here. During the excitement Carmen's favorite sunhat went flying into the sea, Giamma spotted it atop the crest of a distant wave so we all instantly voted to have a live action man-overboard drill. Art took the helm, Giamma grabbed the gaff and Andrea kept his eye on our target. We spun the boat around and within ten minutes Giamma retrieved the hat: team work!

We are rolling horribly, and I'm sweating profusely as I write this, FG is never happy under motor- she likes to sail. The San Blas islands of Panama being only twenty miles away, we hear it's amazing there, we are all looking forward to jumping in the water as soon as the anchor is set- can't wait!

by Art, at sea 04:00 LT

I write this update at 04:00 as I just got off my watch and wanted to post something before I went to sleep. Four more hours until my next watch so every minute of sleep is important! We are now about 100 nm from the San Blas Islands and the winds have dropped off a bit down to 25 kts or so. This makes things a little easier on the helm however the night is black with no moon and the stars obscured by clouds so it's still a challenge to helm smoothly. We expect to arrive in San Blas after lunch today.

by Art

We got off to a nice start about 09:30 this morning. As we left the shelter of the Santa Marta bay and headed back out into the sea the winds and waves picked up. Winds steadied out at between 30 and 39 kts and the sea state increased to 3 meters as well. We anticipated these weather conditions and smartly had put the second reef in the mainsail at the beginning of this passage. We ran the full genoa along with the main reefed to the second position all day and through the night. Our usual great performance numbers were exceeded a number of times as we routinely saw over 16 kts SOG and once we reached 20 kts SOG. Not bad!

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Comments so far

  • comment from Alberto&Patrizia Alberto&Patrizia on February 24, 2015

    Great FG and you all. Enjoy Kuna's tribes, fantastic people. Ciao to Samurai Fisherman and to my favourite novelist Tracy!!

  • comment from Vickie Vickie on February 23, 2015

    Welcome to the San Blas! Roland and I so enjoyed them but only had time to visit only a few of the islands. My favorite "dream island" is Green Island but if you go there, ask the locals if the croc is still around before you go swimming. Hopefully you will meet the queen of Molas, Tina.

  • comment from Murray, El Magnifico Murray, El Magnifico on February 23, 2015

    Hi Guys, Just checking on your progress through the Caribbean. I went diving in Bocas del Toro back in 2003 which was great and there's a nice bar called the "Wreck Bar" which is built over a small sunken barge and is floodlit at night, quite cool! I suppose the canal is next and into the Pacific. Yahoo!!!