Not going into too much detail on this one. We can say that Cartagena is a cool city but we’re glad to be out of there. And that is entirely because we spent most of our time in Ferrialquimar SA, a shipyard in the industrial area south of town.
We hauled out there to get new antifouling painted on and fix a couple things that had come during the inspection in Le Marin. First stop however was the anchorage outside Club Nautico. It’s a nice place where it is safe to leave your dinghy and pay a small weekly fee you get showers, wifi etc. Also a restaurant with cheap and really really cold beer.
You need an agent to clear into Colombia so we met with Manfred who did all our paperwork during the stay. He’s a big guy from Germany and we usually met in the Carla supermarket cafeteria that he uses as his office. Ended up costing 660K pesos (~$200) for our 12 days which was OK. He also introduced us to Señor Victor, an experienced fiberglass guy who ended up doing a lot of work for us at the shipyard together with his team.
The next day we came to Ferroalquimar and got hauled out. The days there were always hot, 37℃, and incredibly windy and dusty so all hatches had to be closed. Inside the boat was like a dusty sauna. The cafeteria had really good colombian food but after a couple days our stomachs were getting unhappy so we stopped with that and cooked white rice instead. The toilet/shower was adjoining the wifi-room, usually filled with the workers from the oil drilling etc ships in the yard, and didn’t have a working door most days. The dust sand covered the walls and made it look more like a prison dungeon.
We had planned to work a lot ourselves but found there were lots of workers around and the prices were really good. So we went ahead and started project “Remove all minty green Cat a la menthe color” - the lines by the waterline, windows, above deck and the huge green turtles on the sides. We went for more reserved color scheme with black and aluminium grey the let all the Forest Green canvas of the boat become the main color. We also got a complete polish of the boat, hulls deck, cockpit - incredible what difference it makes. Our days were filled from early morning to evening with managing all the work. We learned early that we had to be present all the time and really make sure we got things done the way we wanted, with the materials we had ordered. In the end it took longer than expected to be done, we were very persistent on getting the right finish on the work, and after ten days we had a big argument with the boss of the yard. He wanted us out as other boats were waiting for our spot, we didn’t want to leave until the work was done as we wanted it. It was a bit messy but in the end we got out of there with a GREAT looking boat and that feels awesome!
After getting pretty much kicked out of the shipyard we anchored one last night outside Club Nautico. Saturday night and the Cartagenians cruising all around the anchorage on the many big party boats with pumping latino music. We has an early night and left for the San Blas islands in Panama the next morning.
The good things I’ll remember from Cartagena are the friendly people (really wish i spoke more spanish tho), bustling streets and great nightlife. We went out a couple times in the Getsemani district in the old town where there are good restaurants and bars and people everywhere. It was also cool to check out Boca Grande, a peninsula that look more like Miami with high rise buildings and more posh shops and restaurants.