Cartagena – 07:00 to 14:00
Our final port of call on the Atlantic side, as tomorrow we transit the Panama Canal and return to the vast Pacific Ocean. Cartagena is a regular stop on the Trans-Canal run, so we have been here a few times, having already visited the Old City and walked the wall. Therefore, we decided to remain aboard and enjoy a quiet day.
Temperature: High 30C/86F, Low 27C/81F
Wind/Weather: Light airs alongside. At sea, E’ly winds at 25 to 30 kts. Fine and clear
Clox: Z-5 (no change)
Throughout the early morning Sea Princess maintained SW’ly courses, following the Columbia coastline, at a speed of 15 knots. The pilot boarded about 05:30, at which time various courses and speeds were set through the buoyed channel of the harbour entrance. Sea Princess was secured alongside her berth at 07:00.
About 14:00 the Captain let the lines go and thrust Sea Princess off the berth, commencing the passage out of the harbour to the pilot station, where the pilot disembarked shortly after 15:00. Once clear of the harbour Sea Princess set a WxS’ly course, at full speed of 20 knots, towards Cristobal and the entrance to the Panama Canal.
A prominent port city, located on the Columbian North Coast, in the Southern Caribbean. Founded in 1533 and named after Cartagena in Spain it served a key role in the expansion of the Spanish empire.
Historically, it is also renowned as being a centre for piracy in the Caribbean and in 1984, UNESCO designated the walled city and fortress as a World Heritage Site.
Awakened by the frequent slamming of cabin doors, which commenced about 06:00, we just chilled while the hoards hit the trough and headed off ashore. Shortly before 08:00 we meandered down to the restaurant enjoying a quiet breakfast with some others, who like us had visited Cartagena previously and had no wish to return. After breakfast we grabbed books and the laptop and headed up to the deserted pool deck, sitting in the shade. We probably stayed for about an hour before Judi got bothered by the flies, so we headed down to the Wheelhouse Bar for a comfortable seat. I worked on writing the blog post on Curacao, which I finished just prior to Noon.
Expecting to have to visit Horizon for lunch we were pleasantly surprised to find the dining room open. We sat with another couple, enjoying some excellent conversation for about 90 minutes. It is amazing, as they have similar opinions regarding the pushing and shoving that goes on, especially with respect to the tours. Ken talked about his experience when on the Normandy tour from Le Havre. Being the last person on the bus, he asked the chap in the first row with an empty seat, if the seat was vacant. Negative was the response, his wife is coming. Well apparently his wife was aboard but in a separate seat on the other side. He has since seen the same chap a few times, and he stays at the top of the theatre and just before his tour is called he makes a run for the gangway to be first on the bus. They always sit on opposite sides of the bus and do not share the other seat unless the bus is completely full. Totally sad, but we did get a good laugh at their expense.
The next eating sojourn was Afternoon Tea in the Vista Lounge with live music and dancing. We headed down about 15:30, enjoying a few cups of tea and a couple of hot scones, adorned with oodles of cream and strawberry jam. One of the resident bands, Sundown Duo played some easy listening music for our listening and dancing pleasure. This really is an excellent facility to host the most enjoyable afternoon tea. On return to the cabin, I embarked on my next project, which is teaching myself Adobe Lightroom 5.
Dinner was a full turnout and the conversation was so good, we were the last table to leave. In fact we were so late, all the other waiters had their tables vacated, stripped and cleaned before we left the restaurant. Most of us ventured for the Rib-eye steak, which was cut so thin it was little more than a sliver. Not too bad, although mine was well done, which was expected when I saw how thin the steak was cut. This is one thing we are looking forward to on return home – a huge 2” thick Rib-Eye from Costco, cooked to perfection and so tender you can cut it with a fork.
We started rolling a fair bit in the almost constant gale force seas, which got Judi’s tummy rumbling, so she skipped out after the Main Course. I followed her back to the cabin after we all left the restaurant, for an early night before an early start in Panama tomorrow
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.