Tuesday, May 6, 2014

San Andres Isla, Colombia

San Andres Isla, Colombia

Wednesday 16 April – Wednesday 7 May

We watch the almost full moon set and the sun rise as we get ready to leave for San Andres Wednesday. Anchor is up at 6:30 and we are heading out the channel by 6:45 raising the main sail, then turn south and put out the genoa sail and turn the motor off. It is slow going at first but by 7:30, as we clear the lee of the island the winds pick up and the sails fill in and we have a wonderful day of sailing. By 2:30 we can see San Andres but we still have an hour to go south to enter the channel and turn north towards the town and anchorage. The island is surrounded by a reef(s), with many wrecked vessels along it. We are anchored by 3:45, behind Dream Catcher who has been here a week and Ultra who had left earlier in the day and had arrived shortly before us. We call Rene with the Serrana Agency, who we have to check in with, and go with Bill & JoAnne in their dinghy to check in. Stopping first at Dream Catcher to find out where the “marina” is to meet Rene. We had been talking to Bruce & Gina on the VHF radio as we were approaching and they had invited us all to dinner so we did not have to cook after our long day at sea. Great to have such wonderful friends. Another boat we knew from Roatan, Kokopelli with Linda & JD were about an hour behind us and they also joined us for dinner.

We could tell as we were miles offshore and even more so as we approached the anchorage that this Island was a lot more “built up” from the ones we had been use to seeing. Buildings and hotels more than 6-8 stories high, don't laugh we have not seen buildings more than 3 stories since flying back into Guatemala City in October. When we went to check in, the marina is off the main road that is a 4 lane divided road with traffic lights!! Bruce & Gina confirmed this at dinner, especially after the quiet island of Providencia, this island is a busy one. All kinds of stores to shop in with a very active visitor population, duty free shops and hotels and restaurants.

After a good nights rest, we went into shore to see what was around. The section by the marina is filled with a lot of small local shops. A large supermarket, not like Eldon's in Roatan but great for us to re-stock the things we have used up since leaving Roatan. The “Centro” “Downtown” area, just a ½ mile up the road, on the north east section of the island is filled with hotels and the more expensive duty free shops. Our timing was not the best or maybe it was, as all the shops close from noon to 3:30 for lunch. Still got to see a few and enjoyed the walk along the sea wall and amongst the shops.

Good Friday was a beautiful partly cloudy day, always grateful for a little shade when we go Island exploring. Steve & I had seen a sign in town about a music festival at San Luis Playa, so along with Bill & JoAnne & Bruce & Gina we went to see if we could find it. We got on one of the local buses that run around the island, asking first if there was a festival. Unlike Providencia where almost everyone spoke a little English, here most do NOT. JoAnne & Gina our Spanish speakers got a yes answer to us going to a festival at San Luis. Once the bus started thinning out with passengers I think the driver started wondering when we were getting off. A couple who spoke good English got on and helped interpret between the driver. It was explained that a whole section of the island is referred to as San Luis, and whatever festival we were looking for could be any where along that couple mile long stretch. So we got off the bus and started walking down the road along the waterfront. We had a fun day seeing the places along the road and beach as we walked but never found the music festival. We did find another sign advertising it right in the area where we were, but NO time indicated so we figured they meant a night time festival, not during the day. At one point we were walking by a beach with a lot of debris on shore. JoAnne found a sea bean right away and that started the hunt, they were everywhere, an Easter egg hunt island style ! After collecting 50+ sea beans we convinced JoAnne to move on as she vowed to come back another day for more treasures. She did and wound up with 3x as many after Bill & she spent 2 hours combing the beach, she will be making a lot of jewelry with these.

Saturday afternoon into the central downtown area in search of some specialty items that might be found amongst the stores. JoAnne found a Bullet blender like hers that had just broken at the same price she had paid 4 years ago back in the states. We stopped by the beautiful Sunrise Hotel to have a drink at their bar and get their WiFi signal code. Steve had brought along his tablet so he could keep busy while we were shopping and now was downloading some things. We have the Tigo internet on the boat but it is not as fast as the hotels WiFi. A game he downloaded was taking a really long time, so Bill & JoAnne & I walked down the street a little seeing the quiet deserted day time places start to come alive during the night. Restaurants all setting up their sidewalk tables, and filling up with people starting their nights out. We grabbed an appetizer at one of the places then went back to collect Steve who's download was almost done.

Easter Sunday, Gina on Dream Catcher had the idea to do a picnic lunch. We are anchored close to a little cay so we went over for a shared lunch then went out to swim & snorkel the reef. Another great day on another beautiful island with great friends.

Monday, we went to town to see a doctor. Steve had finished his antibiotics given to him in Providencia on Friday and had started to feel bad again. We wanted to try and not have him get as bad as he was with early intervention. The doctor said since he had just stopped taking the antibiotics she wanted to wait a few more days to get another sample so the lab could determine what kind of bacteria it was and what would be the best treatment, that or she could just give us another antibiotic not being sure it was the right one. Steve opted to wait a few more days for the test, in hindsight, and after talking to Bruce (a urologist before he retired) when we ran into them at lunch at Miss Celia's restaurant, maybe not the best decision. Maybe ?? if Steve had started on another stronger antibiotic right away he could have avoided several days of not feeling good.

The next few days were spent doing boat maintenance projects with short trips into town, and just relaxing on the boat. Got our portable depth finder out to plot the way into the fuel dock to be able to bring the big boat in to fuel up. Had to med-moor to part of the fuel dock where we had just enough depth. Bruce & Gina make plans & leave for Bocas del Toro, Panama on Wednesday. By Friday afternoon Bill & JoAnne & I are ready for some beach time. Steve, in the morning, had gone back in to give a urine sample but was still not feeling great. Instead of bouncing around in the dinghy out in the sun he stayed on the boat to prepare dinner for us later that evening. Taking the dinghy over to check out the ship on the reef and little islands, Haines Cay & Rose Cay behind us. The many different shades of blue water here are just beautiful, hope the pictures show some of it. We have a fun afternoon playing in the water and start to leave just in time, as the many party boats that we see around ALL start showing up at the same time !! One minute we had the waters almost all to ourselves the next 100's of people start getting in, glad we were ready to leave. Back to the boats for showers before a wonderful diner prepared by Steve.

Saturday, Steve feeling OK, we go in with Bill & JoAnne to a few stores and then lunch back at the great local restaurant Bruce & Gina had told us about Miss Celia's. Steve had gotten a call from the lab that he would have to come back in Monday to re-do the sample. The whole story of giving a urine sample is a blog in itself which I will try to get him to write up. For now he just has to do it again. Sunday dinner on Ultra, talking about options of where to go next. Monday morning Steve submits another urine sample, now we just have to wait until Wednesday for the results.

Tuesday night after dinner Steve started to feel much worse, he had a bad night, chills & sweats, aches and headache again, Wednesday morning he is feeling even worse. We go into the lab to get his results and call the doctor to see where to meet her. Turns out it is her day off but she will meet us at the clinic. The infection is back and she gives him a prescription for some stronger antibiotics, one a one time dose and the other to take over the next two weeks. She also gives him another shot of the steroid to help with the headache and help him feel better right away. UN-official diagnosis Bacterial Prostatitis. Back to the boat where Steve naps most of the afternoon. At 3:30 I go into town with Bill & JoAnne for a little shopping, while Steve reads & rests on the boat. By 6 when we return he is feeling a little better.

Wednesday May 1 AKA May Day a holiday here, like Labor Day back in the states, so when we went in to town at 3:30 just about everything was closed up so no grocery shopping for us. Good to walk around, Steve still weak having good days and not so good days, giving the medicine time to do its work will take a little while so the next few days are just a few boat chores and taking it easy.

By Monday Steve is feeling much better, so we go do the grocery run to stock up and get ready to leave. Tuesday we call Rene to tell him to get our departure papers ready, as we will leave on Wednesday for the 2 + day trip to the San Blas Islands of Panama for a short visit. We will just visit there until the heavy rains & lightening start then move to Bocas del Toro to wait out the worst of the rainy season then go back to the San Blas to spend more time exploring there. 

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