Monday, March 16, 2009

San Andres, Columbia

This cargo vessel ran aground about a month ago on the eastern reef of San Andres. The crewmember at the wheel supposedly fell asleep! Insurance has paid off the owners and there will be no attempt to remove the vessel.

56 miles south of Providencia is the turning point back to the N.W. to approach the Sea Bouy for entrance to San Andres, the next island of Colombia cruisers often visit. We did the same, even though the info we had recieved on this stop was at best a 4 on a 10 scale. In Providencia, we were warned of thefts, problems with locals etc. We found none of that and had a good experience overall.... in that relm. However, the island seems to be a mix of locals forced to blend in with a trend to a become a city/tourist destination.

The city was not much and many stores offered the same thing as the store next door. This would continue for a few blocks, then change to a different kind of product as the majority of the mix. For example: for several blocks, it seemed that stores that were 'kind of' hardware stores, were the majority of stores on the block. Each had almost the same inventory. A few blocks later, this would change to stores that most seemed to carry, fabrics, ribbons and bows, as well as a few electronics, school supplies and basic pharmacuticals! What a mix for a single store, but that mix would be almost the same in half the stores on the block...or several blocks. Food was decent and there was a variety of restaurants to be found. Compare this to Providencia, where food was basicly subsistance quality...tasty and nutricious, but very basic.

Old and new, side by side. Much of the quite old city structures stand with their bases reinforced for the stores below yet the 2nd stories and above in serious disrepair. I often wonder tho what keeps the old up and certainly the rain out of the stores below? Sometimes from street level, you can 'see thru' the upper floors.

The harbor itself, north of the fuel depot, was almost full of what looked like layed up fishing boats. Sometimes several rafted up to each other with double anchors out at an angle; also boats with another tied astern, both sitting on a single rode. Swing room had to be considered then, if you were anchoring as we do on all chain. We took a position up at the front of the pack in the 25' deep hole, but set the 110 lb. Bruce up in 12' of sand and

While in Providencia, a gent named Howard told us of a boat his relative was on a month or so earlier, that had rammed the reef in San Andres at night, as the crew had fallen asleep. Well, here she is! Looks like a nicely kept ex- U.S. merchant or military vessel. They said it cannot be salvaged and insurance has already paid it off.

backed down on it well. Not my dream anchorage, but this was fair. The noise of the shoreside music was a pain, but at least they seemed to quit around midnight, unlike in Providencia where they blasted rap/rasta garbage till 4:40 Sunday morning.

The colors of the water are extremely unusual to this American...Just absolutely Beautiful!

We took a bus around the island and walked most streets in the 'city' and shopped many of the stores, just lookin'. We saw nothing we needed, so picked up a few things at a grocery store and cleared out for Panama.

Bocas del Toro, here we come!

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