Santa Marta Christmas 2020.

Santa Marta street art.

In the days following our arrival in Santa Marta, Colombia on Sunday the 6 th December, a number of other yachts arrived. These were Australian, New Zealand, US and Belgian registered yachts who we had all met before in various anchorages, so there was a flurry of reunion drinks and dinners in the evenings of the following week.

Statue of Simon Bolivar “The Liberator” of South America from Spanish rule. He died in Santa Marta.

Colonial government buildings.

During the day, we explored the town of Santa Marta, which was bustling with street traders on the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the streets and running the gauntlet of vehicles whose drivers consider traffic lights as mere decorations and their hooters as the cure-all for pedestrians in their way.

Bustling streets and sidewalks.

Having a cup of coffee at a busy street cafe.

A hat and bag seller.

The marina could arrange hot dip galvanising with a local plant, so we had our badly corroded anchor and 80 m of anchor chain sent in for galvanising. Our BBQ which runs off an Aussie gas cylinder, was back in action as the local gas supplier had an adaptor for it and refilled the cylinder for us.

Santa Marta cathedral.

Our daughter Karen who travelled South America two years ago and spent some time in Colombia, suggested we visit Minca, a small town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We headed out there on the 13 th December to spend a relaxed time on land for a couple of days. The town reminded us of Nimbin, the hippie town in northern NSW, Australia. We stayed at the Chunu’u hostel resort in a “glamping tent” next to a river.

Arriving at Chunu’u – named after the small nectar eating bird.

The “glamping tents”

Inside our “Loveshack”

Taking a breather.

After action satisfaction – man, relax with a cup of coffee.

Fellow Aussie Colin, arranged for us to visit the La Victoria coffee plantation high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To get there, ten of us sailors got onto the pillions of the local moto taxis and had a hair raising ride on narrow unpaved roads with hairpin bends and sheer drops to the valleys below.

Annie and her driver.

Miguel my driver – hairstyle is important to these youngsters. The “Style du Jour” is “Mullet meets Mohawk”.

La Victoria is one of the biggest and oldest coffee farms of northern Colombia. It was founded in 1892 by Charles and Alice Bowden, a couple of English entrepreneurs who arrived in the country. The Bowden’s were among the pioneers that started producing coffee extensively in the region around Minca. They engineered a system of pipelines that uses water from the numerous streams of the farm to collect coffee from remote areas and to power the machinery of the coffee factory.

The water powered generator supplying power to the farm.

Thanks to these innovations, La Victoria Coffee Company became one of the top producers of coffee in the region by 1921, with a yearly production of 200,000 kg. More recently, the Weber-Wilde family, who has owned the property for two generations now, is opening the farm to alternative activities. We enjoyed a very informative tour of the coffee factory built in 1892 and still running today. The owner who’s husband passed away two years ago, is running the big farm and coffee factory on her own.

The owner explains how the coffee fruit is soaked to separate the flesh from the bean.

Coffee beans are dried in these turning vessels.

The trip back on the moto taxis were even worse, because going downhill the riders could show off their considerable racing skills, which would have had the motorcycle racers in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, green with envy. When not hiking along the rivers and the mountain trails, we explored the town and enjoyed the local food.

Crossing the river on a dodgy bridge.

Locals enjoying the chilly mountain water.

Up in the mountains, these huge bamboo forests are prolific.

A nymph in the river.

Bye-bye to Chunu’u.

Back at the marina, we had new neighbours, Rokas and Simona on “Starlight” from Lithuania and Elaine and Crawford on “Nauplios” from the UK. The galvanising of our anchor and chain had been delayed due the volume of work at the plant, with the promise that we can expect delivery just before Christmas, which is celebrated in Colombia on the 24 th December. We will set sail to Cartagena, 120 nm to the South, after Christmas, to celebrate the New Year down there.

To all our family and friends, we wish you a merry Christmas and after hopefully receiving your Covid vaccinations early in 2021, a brighter and happier new year than the year that 2020 has been. Cheers!

Annie & Dirk

9 Comments

  1. Dave Bruce

    Wonderful times you two are having.
    Hope settling down won’t be too difficult.
    You both look and sound well so keep it up.
    Panama here we come then for the final leg.
    Gee what a great achievement and you are both still together and happily married as I see it.
    Keep it up and stay safe.
    We talk about you two a lot.
    Love from Patricia and Dave

  2. Paul Munro

    Hi Dirk & Annie, hope all is well with you both. Thanks for the enthralling blog, thoroughly enjoy them. It has been a a trying year for all, glad to see you have managed to make the most of your limited cruising. All is good here in Far North Queensland, we have been very fortunate with no COVID in this neck of the woods and have been able to cruise up and down the coast in isolated anchorages and very few other travellers about. Take care, enjoy the Festive Season, hope 2021 treats you both well, look forward to many more blogs of your adventures. Cheers Paul & Marlene-Thirsty Dog

    • Hi Paul & Marlene

      Great to hear from you. Thanks for your good wishes. We look forward to get back to your neck of the woods by this time next year.

      Cheers, Dirk & Annie.

  3. Marty and Sue Loader

    Merry Christmas to both of you and let’s hope 2021 is a better year for the world.
    Marty and Sue.

  4. Jeremy

    Hi Dirk and Annie, Niel’s message says it all. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us all in such colourful pics and descriptive prose. Stay safe and may the breezes take you and Esprit on to many more fascinating destinations and adventures in 2021.
    Feliz Navidad y bueno An’o Nuevo. Mucho suerte en 2021. Buen viaje!
    Jeremy & Gerda

  5. Neil Duncan

    Annie and Dirk

    This year has seen most people read article after article of the challenges our world has faced and will continue to face for some time yet. It is impossible for these articles not to lower one’s spirits.

    And then there is your blog…it has been a shining light, a beacon that throws out all things positive. I’m sure at times your prolonged anchoring etc must have tested your levels of frustration, however, you have managed to find the lighter side whenever the going got tough.

    I’m in absolute awe of your adventure and eagerly look forward to each new edition. My partner Sandy (who you haven’t met), reads every one of your blogs and is equally enthralled with your travels.

    So to the two of you, thank you for sharing your journey in such a positive and entertaining way and putting such a positive spin to a challenging year.

    May the festive season treat you well and whichever star you follow next, may it take you there safely and in good health .

    Neil

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