Sunday, 1 December 2013

Stuck



The ship above came into the harbour in Providencia the day after we arrived.  It came down the channel at a good speed, turned at the last mark, and... ran aground.  It took a week for the ship to be freed, which seemed to involve lots of men standing around, looking over the side and shaking their heads. 

When we talked to a fisherman nearby, he said that this was not the first time the ship has been in the harbour and became stuck.  According to him, everyone knows the channel is shallow and only allows for nine feet of draft, but this captain was going to try and gun it through with an overloaded ship of a draft of eleven feet.  As you can see, it didn't work.

We feel a little bit stuck in Providencia too.  We've been waiting for a weather window to move on to Jamaica, but it is proving a bit tricky to find. (We just might have found one, but I can't make any promises yet, that might jinx it.)  And oddly enough, we were stuck in the main anchorage where the wind was blowing straight through at 25 knots for two days and, for an assortment of reasons, we couldn't get permission to move to the calmer anchorage.

I don't think we're the only ones feeling stuck on this island.  Providencia's population is only about seven thousand people and the island is less than four miles long and two miles wide.  The closest place to go is San Andreas, two and a half hours by fast ferry south, which isn't a very big island itself, altough I hear it has better shopping.  Mainland Nicaragua is closer than mainland Colombia, although Providencia is a territory of Colombia, but both of those options are at least a couple of hours by plane.  So there aren't very many places to go if you live on Providencia, and everyone probably knows your name.

It reminds me a lot of the small town where I grew up in Manitoba.  There are about the same number of places to order fried chicken as where I grew up too.

The island's culture is a mix of the legacies of both the British and Spanish colonialists.  All the shops close from noon to three for the siesta, but many of the signs are in English.  In fact, mainland Colombia recently sent seventy of its teachers to stay in Providencia so they could improve their spoken English. 

It's a funny little place, a small town stuck way out in the Caribbean ocean, and stuck a little bit in the past too. They have bareback horse races down the beach as part of their annual festival. (We saw a horse and rider practicing and they both went for a swim in the ocean to cool off afterwards.) We were lucky enough to see a local music group that plays old time melodies while traditional dancers waltz along.

I haven't taken a lot of pictures, but here are a few so you get a sense of the place.

The belle island of Providencia, a welcome sight for weary sailors for centuries,

Looking towards town.  All the wind was coming directly through the gap on the left side of the picture.

Churches - inescapable from either the British or Spanish colonizers and a few other variations in recent years.

The lovely coast we sailed down once we finally had permission to hang out in the anchorage off the beach.
The Captain and Crew hiked up to the statue on this hill.  The Captain with much protesting, but he was rewarded by a very pretty beach on the other side, and of course, the requisite beer at the finish.

The community event we attended.  No, they did not turn on the tree lights after all, but there were speeches and music and dancing.

The Captain (on the left) with Mike and Karen, who are on S/V Drifter, and came over to see the tree (not) get lit as well.

The musical entertainment portion of the evening.  It's a bit hard to see, but these guys are keeping the rhythm on a horse jaw bone.

The band was a mix of the old timers and...

...the younger generation.

Maybe being stuck isn't so bad after all.

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