Monthly Archives: February 2016

“Be humble” Job Saas

A roadside sign announcing Job Saas’ paradise farm caught our eye as we circumnavigated San Andres.  If Columbia possesses San Andres as its territory, Job retains much of the island’s soul.  A Caribbean renaissance man, Job presides over his acres and stewards its resources by day and provides rasta love with his reggae band by night.  


Job, the sign to Paradise Farm and his words to live by.


The Black Crab is just one of the farm’s inhabitants.  Job has labeled the native flora and fauna.


Job’s home.  Now an empty-nester, Job’s son and daughter are pursuing careers on the Colombia mainland.  While Job, bemoans Colombia’s domination of the San Andres economy it is unclear that the next Saas generation will return to Paradise Farm.


Job provided the musical coda to our San Andres visit.  We closed down the house the night before we set sail for Providencia, San Andres’ sister island 55 miles to the north.


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San Andres: Colombia’s Hawaii

After our month rusticating in the San Blas, we looked forward to the resort island of San Andres, described as Colombia’s Hawaii.  While the island is 470 miles northwest of the coast of Colombia and only 140 miles east of Nicaragua, the island has been recognized as part of Colombia since as early as 1900 and withstood efforts by Teddy Roosevelt to have it become part of Panama, when that country announced its independence from Colombia.  Disputes over the island’s nationality persisted with Nicaragua until 2007, when the International Court of Justice recognized the full sovereignty of Colombia over the islands of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina.


The red star that marks San Andres above illustrates the islands strategic importance to cruisers moving north and south in the Western Caribbean.

SanAndres aerial

This albatross-eye view of San Andres shows the island’s extensive reef system as well as the high rise hotels fronting white sand beaches. The island is 7.8 miles long and 1.9 miles wide.


Our favorite lady at anchor.  The San Andres skyline is visible in the picture in the lower right hand corner.


Nene’s Marina, a two minute dinghy ride from Elizabeth Jean’s anchorage, provided water, fuel and a convenient dinghy dock for Schooner.


Schooner loaded with 5 gallon tanks of water.


Tourist oriented amenities fill the waterfront near our anchorage.


We bought a two week membership at Club Nautico, a marina catering to the sport fishing fleet.  We enjoyed the club’s pool, restaurant, cold water showers and the Seahawks last minute win against Minnesota.


Decorations on the path leading to a restaurant near Club Nautico.


Eric on his way down to visit King Neptune at an underwater park.  On the bottom divers with helmets and air hoses look up to see if Eric will make it (he did, but just barely).  Photo credit: Rod Merritt.

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Reef: A Haikuu


Angel, Butterfly

Blue Tang, Parrot, Grunt, Chromis.

Reef fish abundance.

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“How the wind does blow” Lydia Marie Child

In the weeks since our last post, we have covered roughly 700 miles.  The strong trade winds have been both our ally and our nemesis. In the words of Robert Service the winds have at times seemed “a solid thing.”  As a character in this year’s adventure, the wind merits an introduction. .

Amanda Delaney, a meteorologist and weather router, explains that two features govern Caribbean winds: a high pressure system in the North Atlantic and the northern Caribbean; and a thermal trough of low pressure in the SW Caribbean and along the NW coast of South America.  Delaney further explains that an “interaction between these features will typically bring NE to easterly Trade Winds across the Caribbean” and advises boat travel from “November through March . . . be done ahead of cold fronts in the NW Caribbean with plans to stop frequently in ports” such as San Andres, Roatan, Grand Cayman and Cancun.  The cold fronts that Delaney describes interrupts the Trades with strong north winds.  For those keeping track we are heading north.

Thus, Delaney’s summary has characterized our strategy for leaving the San Blas (the location of our last post): wait for a weather window and then head northwest for San Andres (on the weather map below a speck on the weather map below at 12N and 82W), 260 miles north of the San Blas and east of Nicaragua.

passage weather 3

For example, this wind forecast from Passage Weather for February 25 shows north winds of 20-25 knots from the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Channel and along the Yucatan Peninsula south to Belize and Honduras.  The light blue area off the coast of Nicaragua depicts East Northeast winds of 10-15 knots.  There are also East winds of 20-25 knots off of the Colombian coast.

Had this been our forecast in January (the above figure is only for illustration) it would have made heading north from the San Blas Islands (our location as of our last post) to San Andres (that black speck at 12N and about 82W) a bit iffy because of the north winds of 10-15 knots at the very bottom of the picture right above Panama.

In early January, we actually found a favorable window with East Northeast winds that we used for a two night passage to San Andres.  With winds averaging 15-20 knots, Elizabeth Jean bolted forward, the bit in her teeth for a spirited ride north.  As we adjusted our course to take the 7-8 foot seas more comfortably on our beam we enjoyed our first taste of Caribbean sailing.  We arrived in San Andres on January 6.

What have we been up to for the last 7 weeks?  Stay tuned for future posts.

For those interested in exploring Passage Weather and other weather forecasting sites see the following:

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Lobster according to the Albatross

Elizabeth Jean albatross

Earlier posts have celebrated the lobster as a source of Guna Yala abundance and mola inspiration.  Below, Albatross shares his perspective on lobster as totem.

If Lobster has crawled across your path;

You are being asked to come out of your shell and allow yourself to be a little more vulnerable. Emotional experiences are key to personal growth and understanding. Know that by dropping some of your armor you are opening yourself up to a more positive life experience. Embrace the changes that are on offer for you and have faith that the Universe is giving you a gift – even if you perceive it as a painful outcome. Know that in order to grow you must shed your shell.

If Lobster is your Animal Totem;

You know when to lead and when to be lead. You have strength of character and stand up for your beliefs. You have a tendency to insulate yourself emotionally and occasionally have trouble accepting love that is being offered. You have the ability to intensely focus on any project that you begin as well as find unorthodox solutions to problems. You love to keep things simple and will often reduce complex problems to simple facts in order to resolve them.

If Lobster has come into your Dream;

To see a Lobster in your dream represents strength and persistence. You will hold your own ground and overcome minor difficulties and problems.

Alternatively Lobster can be an omen of great abundance coming your way in the immediate future.

To dream that you are eating lobster indicates that you will regain your confidence.



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