We haven't left Santa Marta yet as the winds have been so high and seas so rough that it was considered unsafe to start. You might think "but they are oceangoing sailors, they should be able to cope with rough weather" and you would be right, but there's no sense in us courting disaster is there?
We had already made up our minds that if the rally was to continue today as planned, we were going to sit it out in port for one more day to let things settle down a bit. We weren't alone either. Several other crews had reached the same decision.
What is causing it all is a high pressure area that is pushing southwards to Cuba and a low pressure over Columbia south of where we are, and the two systems have created a wind tunnel, pushing the wind strength up into the forties. One boat recorded 50 knots in the marina last night, and Tumi was certainly feeling the strain on our dock lines. In fact, we had a dinner last night and on our way back, we noticed the boats were really pulling at their lines, so we doubled up on several just to be sure. Our only concern was that the finger pontoon didn't break under the strain of heavy boats being pushed sideways against the mountings.
We slept OK through the tempest, and despite the rocking and rolling of the boats, and woke to a layer of sand everywhere. It is all pervading and we have been sweeping, swilling and hoovering to try to remove it.
The damaged ring for the whisker pole has been repaired and is back on the mast, the pole end has been re-riveted and we hope it will last us through to Panama when I can replace it again. Having an extra day in port now means that we have one day less in the San Blas islands, which is a shame. We're looking forward to taking lots of pictures of the most idyllic islands, but as one of the rally members said, we'll have lots of opportunities to do just that in the Pacific, so we mustn't grumble.
We set sail at noon our time (UK time -5 hours). Hopefully we will get the parasailer up again once the winds settle. Watch this space!