World ARC begins, Columbia here we come.
11th Jan 2020 at 12 noon– An epic milestone, crossing the World ARC start line with three other lovely capable ladies on board and a very capable yacht - SAORSA. The crew, – all about the same age, all with kids who have grown up and now fending for themselves and all who love sailing. As we crossed the start line, not really knowing each other very well, our new adventure began and boy did we start with a blast!
The trip from St Lucia to Columbia was 833 miles of record breaking speeds for SAORSA. We had stonking winds and waves, averaging 200 miles a day, winds 25 – 45 kts and the exhilarating experience of surfing down waves at 10-12kts, topping out at a whopping 17kts – our eyes could not believe the GPS. It was an exhilarating sail with a fitting finish as we rounded the headland into Santa Marta in 45 kts of wind. Fortunately we were pre-warned and SAORSA just took it in her stride as we reefed down early and with Nicky at the helm we ploughed through the waves and crossed the finish line in the dark and with ZERO engine hours.
It was now time to explore Columbia. After a vigorous sail team Saorsa enjoyed being served a fabulous flat white Colombian coffee relaxing on a very large bed. Karen had been to Columbia before and very skillfully guided us on how best to use our time. That night we dug in to some very tasty tapas and some local cocktails.
Next; backpacking - Armed with a small rucksack, we caught the local bus, then a motorbike to our lovely hostel next to beach. After some terrific food and many drinks, (for next to nothing), we trekked off into the rainforest with our trusty guide. We trekked uphill for a couple of hours and eventually reached a small indigenous village, where it was fascinating to see how families today live a very basic existence.
Our local guide had brought with him five large rings which enabled us to have a lot of fun floating back down the river. - what a hoot!
It was fabulous to sample the local culture. I had many preconceptions about Columbia before I arrived – drugs, dangerous and lawless. We experienced none of this, only lovely people, great food, and never once did we feel threatened.
Our last night in Columbia was the ARC dinner. Turns out the “mums on SAORSA” can also sail! We were chuffed to bits to get a prize for coming third place overall on leg 1! It resulted in rather a “big night” as we celebrated with style - dancing and singing well into the night. All credit to the team – we shook off the resulting hangover and made the start line for leg 2 – bang on time. Now we are truly a great team.