Here we Columbia…

Ahoy Boatbloggers® ,

We finally made it to South America. Santa Marta in Columbia to be precise. And it is well worth the trip – even though it was quite a tricky passage.

We managed to get our MDI unit fixed, but it was a bit touch and go. Nico came along to install it… 


All was going well, until we tried to start the engine. A new fault had developed. The temperature alarm was beeping and the engine still wouldn’t start – but for a different reason this time. So either the new MDI box was duff as well, OR the temperature sensor was faulty, OR… was something else.


Nico eventually decided it was the temperature sensor, so the best thing was to put in a new one and see if that worked.

They didn’t have one in stock.

It would take a week to get it delivered.

There was one in St Lucia.


I don’t think he could bear to see a grown man cry any longer, so he thought he had better swap the sensors over from one engine to the other to make sure that was definitely the problem before sending off for the new part.

Which he did..and lo and behold the engines started! Just like that. There is no explanation for it. The identical sensors worked one way round and not the other.

This is not mechanics. This is witchcraft.

No matter. the engines were working so thank you Nico, thank you Grenada Marine, and thank you Island Dreams who sorted it all out for us.

So by three in the afternoon we were off. Two days behind the rest of the fleet, but there was still a chance we might get to Santa Marta before the cut off time on Saturday.

There were high winds, and plenty of squalls.

Line of line squalls

This one was almost as big as the radar screen.

Big Squall

and when a squall hits, you get drenched.

You get drenched

Though luckily on a catamaran you can come inside for the worst of it.

When it rains

One night we seemed to have squall after squall with lulls in between, so we were doing the sailor’s Hokey Cokey all through the night.


and so on till you either run out of sails or you’re seasick.

Pulling the sails in quickly when a squall is approaching needs both of us, so when it’s like that you don’t get much of a night’s sleep. But on the plus side, having high winds does mean you go fast.


That big 46 is the wind speed. It actually got to over 48kn at one point which according to Ju’s Beaufort Scale Mug is officially a storm.

We managed our first 200+ mile day (212 miles to be exact) and once saw 18 knots on the log (speedometer for the landlubbers). OK, so that was surfing down a wave and it lasted about 3 seconds, but still – pretty impressive stuff.

We were romping along, and just as everything was going right – a very unusual state of affairs for a sailor – Lyn noticed something trailing behind us. Perhaps we’d caught a tuna? It seemed unlikely as we haven’t got a fishing rod, but we needed to take a closer look.

We quickly stopped the boat, which is not that quick when you’re barrelling along at nine knots with a screecher out one side and a genoa the other. Ju then climbed down to the transom and at last we could see the problem. There was a whole bundle of fishing ropes and netting and buoys tangled around the rudder. What a mess.  

He managed to cut the worst of it away, but some of it was still tangled out of reach under the boat. Even though we were stopped the boat was still bobbing up and down, so the normal thing of going over the side and cutting it all free wasn’t an option. The transom can easily come down and whack you on the head, which would definitely spoil your day. Besides, even if he could clear the ropes, it didn’t seem like it would be that easy to get back on the boat afterwards.

So what next?

It’s amazing what you can do with a boathook and a knife. It took a bit of doing, but eventually he managed to cut some more away, grab one of the buoys and pull the rest on board.


What a hero!

But after four days, Columbia came into view.

Captain Hunchback

Is Ju getting a bit of a hunchback?

Columbia 3

Nearly there.

Lyn  Columbia

The final stretch was really rough, 

Final stretch

…but we managed to get in just as the sun set.


…and before the steakhouses closed.


First impressions are that Santa Marta is fantastic. This is a city that never sleeps – there is an amazing buzz here.

Santa marta 1

And it’s very pretty.

Santa Marta Finish Line

We shall be sorry to leave.

Next stop, The San Blas Islands.

Ju & Lyn

5 thoughts on “Here we Columbia…”

  1. What an adventure!! Full of admiration, but we have been practising Train Dominos and won’t let you win next time!! Have a wonderful time and keep safe.xxxxx

  2. So glad you got there safely after a dodgy start. Love reading about your exploits. Can only dream of such myself but doesn’t lower my admiration of you both. Keep logs coming. Following with excitement. Safe sailing. xx

  3. Fantastic. Inspirational! Keep enjoying it to the full.
    While your there. Could you pick up a jar of Nescaf for me. There is always something I forget when I go shopping. I’ll settle up when I see you.

  4. Ju, you’re a like a cross between Indiana Jones and Jaque Costeau, with a touch of Sir Francis Drake thrown in (for circumnavigation purposes, not bowls). You’ve had a tough old start – or maybe that is just the world of sailing? – but hopefully you are shipshape and Bristol fashion now and cruising the high seas…. I still think you and Lyn will win x

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