Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cartagena, Columbia: The Most Beautiful Historical City in the New World

Towering up out of the gently rising arid landscape stood high rise after high rise of beach apartments, condos and hotels of the new section of Cartagena. From our approach, we had to navigate through a buoyed cut so as not to run aground on the nearly mile long underwater wall built by the Spanish Conquistadors. This hidden wall prevented enemy warships from entering the harbor from this approach. Alternatively, all vessels had to enter a heavily fortified entrance complete with a huge iron chain that could be raised and lowered. Cartagena and the now less prosperous Portabello, Panama served as the main ports for the great Spanish plundering of the new world’s gold.

Motoring through the bay we passed the 30’ tall Virgin Mary monument placed on the rocky shoal in the middle of the bay. Can you say Catholic country? We anchored and were reunited with our friends on Sea U Manana in Club Nautica. The marina is in a great location along a people promenade in a high rise neighborhood within walking distance of the walled city of Cartagena. Many cruisers come and end up staying a long while. Probably because the prolific barnacle growth joins their hull to the bottom and it becomes a reef. Each morning before sunrise, hundreds of health conscious Columbians are out walking. Just down the way, a local fitness junkie would do a morning exercise program on the promenade for anyone who wanted to join in. Angie enjoyed doing Pilates at the marina or walking only the promenade. Often, I’d just have my coffee and enjoy the sunrise from the boat.