Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Puerto Velero Colombia

Puerto Velero lies between Santa Marta and Cartegena. It is a big sheltered bay with plenty of room to anchor however,we stayed in the new Marina which though still work in progress has a lot to offer. The floating pontoons are good and both Alex and Juan Carlos who look after the Marina side of things are very helpful. The one thing that is noticeable about this area is it is windy!! We tied up to a finger but Alex advised us to have long lines out holding us secure from the other side of the pontoon. It seems very secure and we have the Coastguard here on a permanent basis .....they live in a steel container at the end of the pontoons! However there are few boats here I counted 18 and most of these have been left by their owners whilst they travel in land or go home for the season. I would say it's a good place to do that. I have seen Alex and Juan Carlos check their lines every few days and when we had a bit of a storm they were out along the pontoons ensuring the security of all the boats. In some Marinas I have not found this to be the case....indeed the marinos complain about getting wet! When we arrived we were told that it had not rained for quite some time and this was evident as the boats that had been here a while had a visible layer of sand on them and the one heavy downpour we have had since arriving was obviously welcome!

Checking in was not much hassle the Marina took care of just about everything although we had to get a taxi into Baranquilla to immigration which again they organised for us. Raphael our taxi driver enjoyed trying out his English while we tried to converse in our basic Spanish which consisted mainly of 'Si' ....'si' ....and the occasional 'que' ! In immigration we waited in line telling them firmly ' non hablo Espanol'  'Si' came back the reply and we were then shown into a room where the immigration officer ' non hablo Ingles!' !!  Finally realising that he was not going to get very far he took us downstairs to a very nice gentleman who spoke passable English, well better than our Spanish, and we were out of there in no time. Waiting for Raphael to pick us up we hopped over the road to a kiosk on the roadside to sample the local beer, Colombians seem to be very conscious about underage drinking and as John went to buy it he asked to see me (I was around the side of the kiosk) to check I was over 18! We got back to the boat at dusk and there were still kite surfers out on the water .....there's dedication for you!

The following day we went to local village Porto Colombia using the motorbike taxi, as only the main roads are tarmaced it was a bit of a bumpy ride but good value. John and I had a bike each ,though John's was a bit of a boy racer and got there way before me. I was rather glad I got the tortoise and arrived in one piece. We ate dinner in one of the local restaurants and then did a bit of shopping for fruit and veg. It's cheap here and whilst I'm sure we were charged a little extra.....we bought lots of fruit and veg including a huge pineapple, mangoes, advacadoes and loads more for under £2....Mustn't grumble!! Whilst we were there the bin man with a donkey came to take away all the over ripe fruit and veg .....hopefully it was going to the pigs.

There is a restaurant at the marina which is really quite good, La Kioska, run and owned by an Italian, Franco, well he's from Scicily really! The food there is great good quality and really quite good value for what you get. It also gives John and me a chance to improve our Spanish. This is coming along.... slowly. Mind we had to laugh at a Pizza Express lookalike restaurant we came across and just had to take a picture

John couldn't get them to even sell him a beer!


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