11 September 2012

Backwaters: Back on the Horse and Back in the Water

We've spent a week now, in el Parque Tayrona. Yes, we are definitely in the backwaters, which for us is anywhere without internet. Not even a cell phone signal! But this is what we needed: a break from the noise and busy-ness of Santa Marta. We've anchored in four beautiful bays so far.

Bahia Cinto
First we motored about 15 nm from Santa Marta to Cinto, which is the most eastern of the Five Bays. After a couple of nights there we went even further east to a sixth bay: Guachaquita. (I don't know who decided there were five bays.)  We haven't spent much time ashore: in Cinto, the beach was so steep we would have had trouble walking along it. In Guachaquita (aka Bay Six of Five), the beach was short, and while we were there, several people arrived on a couple of small boats with camping gear. Going ashore would have been like barging into their campsite. Instead, we puttered around in the dinghy, admiring the steep shorelines.

Then we sailed west - yes, we sailed! We put the main up and ran with the wind for about a half-hour - we even did a very smoothly executed jibe to sail into our third bay, Neguanje, just west of Cinto. So I will give myself credit for "getting back on the horse" - except we didn't unfurl the big mean genoa, which was the sail involved in the twist-crack incident. Even putting up the main made me a little nervous, I have to admit. But it felt good. Maybe we'll put out the genoa on our way back to civilization.

A road brings visitors to Neguanje, and there were launches running across the bay, ferrying people to a remote but well-developed beach. We suspect there was a restaurant there, but we were still in hermit-mode, so we didn't explore. We had anchored Joy directly on the route of the launches - of course! - so we waved and smiled at the tourists all day. Moving along....

Gayraca is our least rolly anchorage so far, but that's not saying much. Big swells are rolling across the Caribbean, coming from the NE, so they roll right into the bays. We have had some 15-20 knot winds and a bit of rain here and there, but no serious weather. Anchoring in 25-30 feet of water, we're seeing parts of our anchor chain that weve never seen before.

More exploring via dinghy... we've wandered a couple of the pocket beaches, and I've spent hours snorkeling. So great to be back in the water again. The underwater landscape here is dramatic - huge rock formations and lumps of coral. It's nice to see some old friends and to meet some new ones.
Our buddy Cuthbert the Trunkfish
Porcupine Fish - U. G. L. Y.  You ain't got no alibi.  Ean calls this guy the Franken-fish.
Frank says, "Nothin' to see here.  Just coral.  Move along.  Pretty please?"
And who might you be?  I dub thee Slim. [UPDATE: a Trumpetfish, actually]
We have two more bays to visit: Chengue and Concha.  And then, The Internet calls out to us from Taganga.  And a bit of fresh veg wouldn't hurt, either.


  1. Underwater pictures are fabulous. And it was good to finally see some more blog! LC

  2. I'm having such fun with the camera - Ean is putting together another little video of footage.

  3. Good snaps! What was your favourite place to dive around Tayrona ?