After choosing a weather window with relatively calm seas and Easterly winds for sailing we set off from Grand Cayman and arrived in Providencia 355 miles or 3 days later. Your first sight of Providencia is the glistening palm trees and rocky cliffs and as you enter the channel you pass Morgan’s Head on Santa Catalina Island and in front of you is Morgan’s Crack on the main island Providencia.
View of anchorage from Fort Warwick, Santa Catalina with Morgan’s Crack on the right
You have to use an agent to check in to Columbia so we contacted Mr Bush the only agent here. After providing him with all our documentation we then found we had to negotiate his fees down as what he quoted was higher than what friends had paid 2 weeks previously. Must be end of season, hmmmm.
I then went in search of a Columbian courtesy flag but no such luck here. Luc and Aline on S/V Oceana1 who we knew from the Rio Dulce came to our rescue with a flag Aline had made us. Thanks Aline!
Aline delivering us a Columbia flag
Providencia is a small natural colorful island with no large resorts, a few small communities scattered around the island and this impressive rocky volcanic landscape, with its highest point being 360m; the Peak. The locals here are very friendly waving out as you wander by their homes and most people here speak English, which is a bonus.
Square in the Centre of Main Street Santa Isabel which always seems busy
The boardwalks are all painted bright colors; someone has a job for life
A small place where you come across the local Nun walking along the main road to church
Santa Catalina, the smaller island is a national park accessed via the 100m floating Lovers Lane bridge. The channel here was dredged by pirates to protect the islands from invasion. We climbed up the stairs to Fort Warwick and then walked the trail out to Morgan’s Head past pirate beach. Henry Morgan, an English admiral and privateer (sanctioned pirate) in the 17th Century terrorized the Spanish fleets from this area and set their headquarters at the Fort. We enjoyed snorkeling the coast here and came across an old Cannon under the Fort.
Lovers Lane Bridge
Sitting out at Morgan’s Head
Together with Luc and Ailene we hired scooters (40,000 pesos/ US$13 day) to see the main island and its sights.
Scooters are definitely the main transportation here and we’re fun to see the island
The bus stops scattered around the island are unique
One of the many bays – Southwest Bay, shame we could not anchor here…
Nice beaches with lots of shade for us people that burn
You can see the reefs crystal clear water; such a beautiful color
Lots of beach bars; we stopped at Roland’s on Manchineel Bay for a cold one
Lunch and a swim at Divino Niño, a huge seafood plate for two was good value
Then it was time to relax after a big meal!
We took our dinghies for the day out to Crab Cay and into the national park to the Three Brothers and the surrounding reefs to get some snorkeling in. (16000 pesos entry fee each to park incl Crab Cay). The views from Crab Cay were amazing looking out at the reefs and color changes of the water on this side of the island.
View from the top of Crab Cay
Yes the water was this crystal blue color
Unfortunately the coral here is covered in a brown green film as we have seen in many places in the Caribbean. The far reef out from Crab Cay was amazing as you felt like you were in a city as there were lots of huge coral structures coming up out of the sand.
There were lots of these coral pinnacles that towered around you
I organized a cruiser group hike up to El Pico ( The Peak) where Russell & Laura from S/V Lutana decided to join us as our guides, as they had already done the hike. It starts at the community of Bottom House an area which was where the freed slaves settled and was named this since the plantation owners were high above in the mountains.
The start of a 1.5hr hike to the top mainly in the shade of trees thank goodness
Along the hike Laura who is Columbian showed us lots of different plants and explained their uses.
Cotton Tree here is used to make pillow stuffing
a very small fruit similar to an apple that can be eaten
The blue iguana, which turns brown to blend with the landscape when it feels threatened
hot after 1.5hrs to get here but happy to make it to the very top S/Vs Matador, Sojourner, Oceana1 , Lutana and Seismic Wave
down to Bottom House where we started & out to the reef
down to the anchorage and Santa Catalina island in the distance
We had heard that there are bareback Horse races on the beach at Southwest bay Saturdays so together with Stu & Steph from S/V Matador we headed down there. After being told there was going to be a race it was cancelled as the sand was too soft. It’s meant to be a fun day with betting and brings lots of people out to watch it. Oh well lunch and a day out isn’t such a bad thing.
After getting permission from the Port Captain to go to Low Cay we sailed the 10nm north, for a change of scene for a few days. Crystal clear water and just a lighthouse on the reef.
coral was better with lots of small to med size fish
Finally word spread around town that there was going to be a horse race so off we all went again………
looks promising more people gathering
and then suddenly it’s on…..
one happy man & horse
Roland from Roland’s beach bar even did a lap of the beach
Definitely a great place to kick back and relax. Moving on to San Andreas, Columbia.