Rode Trip has experienced a whirlwind of excitement since we departed Providencia. We set out one fine morning, accompanied by friends aboard s/v Eva Marie, and sailed a smooth, 60nm day to the neighboring Columbian island of San Andres. We had a fantastic sail and lots of fun chatter on the VHF while sailing in good company. We anchored at San Andres and were able to connect with the clearance agent there, Rene Torres. Even though we had already cleared into and paid our Columbian fees, we still had to hand over $50 for Rene to receive our Zarpe (clear out paperwork) from Providencia. Rene was prompt, friendly, and also coordinated our clear-out paperwork with Immigration when we were ready to depart San Andres. This would not have been a stop along our route had it not been for some quick planning by our very good friend, Paul...
From the moment we'd arrived at San Andres, it was evident that this was the BIG city! (I say that having spent the previous 5 months in the Bahamas and Providencia, so in reality it was like a small town to those of you landlubbers who frequent actual cities.) A view of the cityscape was on the horizon as we sailed past numerous tour boats along the entrance channel. The island landscape was very different from that of Providencia; the island was also surrounded by coral reefs but was low-lying and had been overbuilt with hotels, stores, busy streets, etc.
...about our very good friend, Paul. He had been hoping to visit us since we've moved aboard Rode Trip. Paul truly understands the cruiser guidelines, "You (visitors) can select a location to visit or a time to visit but you (visitors) cannot select both." Paul's previous attempts to visit failed because of our schedule/weather conflicts and his schedule conflicts, but this time the universe had aligned! I received a message from Paul, "...where are you? how long will you be there? where will you be next?" All appropriate questions; I'd answered that we were at Providencia and headed to Bocas del Toro, Panama. I'd added that Paul could join us for the passage to Bocas, since he is a sailor and we do love the extra sleep that a 3-manned passage provides (thanks, BMac for establishing our 3-man passage schedule). Within minutes of Paul asking for our current location, he had searched the all-knowing WorldWideWeb and found flights and ferry schedules...long story short he booked a flight from Chicago to Panama City to San Andres. We couldn't be more excited!
We walked to the airport to meet Paul. En-route, Brian and I discussed airports and we couldn't even think of an airport in the states that we could have walked to if we'd wanted to. We were both surprised to find a Hershey's Chocolate shop in the airport...and a Hello Kitty "MAX Kitty" These are the things we miss arriving by sailboat.
Welcome Paul!! (a.k.a. Pablo, in Columbia) After hugs, Paul got down to business playing an augmented reality game called Ingress
(BORING!) Paul really loves this game; the object is to make triangles by accessing GPS-based portals...bla, bla, bla...it was created by Google and there are portals all over the world...bla, bla, bla...there is some point system...and there are lots of rules. Brian is very interested in this game. I am not and Paul's wife, Emily, is not. So thank goodness we had no agenda (hence cruising) and it was Paul's vacation and we entertained this madness.
Then, we meandered though the San Andres streets...
...pausing for a photo shoot at some street benches...
Oh hello, Rasta, check out Ingress
Yes, I'd love braids!
Got a little Captain in ya!
No better way to start a passage than to share the night with fellow cruisers, good music, and a rum sampling (rums from Panama, Columbia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and an added bonus Gin from good 'ol Canada).