Travel Diary #6 – Stuck in the Caribbean

 - 01 Février 2019 - Récits de voyage

2.5 months “stuck in Paradise” trying to reach South America…

After the transatlantic, we thought the biggest part was behind us … We arrived in Martinique for Christmas. The plan was to get some rest before we start to look for a boat for Colombia. We agreed: “max at the end of January, we will be on the continent!”…

We finally arrived in Cartagena on the 11th of March…

What we didn’t know was that the majority of the boats crossing in November/December and then stay in the Caribbean until May, before the beginning of the hurricane season… So it was probably going to be a bit more complicated than expected to find a boat going directly to Colombia.

We still had a small hope when we learned that the World ARC boats were about to leave from Saint Lucia directly to Santa Marta a few days later. But after 3 days spent going around the pontoons of the marina and meeting all the captains who were taking part in the regatta, we were still empty-handed.

We have to say, we were a little desperate after this. We even looked at the prices of the planes… But from the Caribbean, it would have cost us less to go back to France and take a plane to Colombia! We also thought about containerships, but lately they have not been taking boat hitchers anymore because of insurance problems. And we sent emails to cruise ship companies offering to make a promotional video in exchange for a transfer to the continent. But no answers either….

So we decided to enjoy Saint Lucia for a few days, before returning to Martinique. At that time, the objective was to reach Granada in order to join a captain who could take us to Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles. We had found him thanks to his post on a Facebook group and he was supposed to leave in a few days.

Once in Martinique, we met Antoine. He was 70 years old and had just sailed across the Atlantic on his own. He kindly agreed to take us with him to Granada.

The boat that was supposed to leave for Curaçao in a few days finally stayed another month in Grenada… and so did we ! But this time, we had learned the lesson: you have to be patient. So we took this as an opportunity to explore the island, to meet people, to party, to hike… and we even started to learn how to « recycle ». 

We finally set sail for Curaçao, and we will never forget this crossing ! We were only 3 people on an old wooden boat with no satellite phone, no AIS, no life jackets, a harness made of rope, almost no autopilot and a life raft last revised in 2006 …

2 days after our arrival on the island, Sylvie and Eduardo, the captains of our last boat, accepted to take us with them to Cartagena. We then found ourselves on a really big catamaran with Agnès and Alex, 2 other “boat-hitchhikers” that we met in Grenada.

Beginning of March, we finally set our foot on the southern American continent and could start to travel without money. And we can tell that the first weeks were quite intense!

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