The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.

Our favorite sailing quote:

"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Splitting ranks, October 25

somewhere 30 miles off the coast of Colombia, snorkeling one of the many logs we had to watch out for after the last big rain emptied many of the beaches and rivers.  It is amazing how much life accumulates under one small log.  Hundred of fish, small crabs and the occasional pelagic fish come to feed.

Lunch of sushi on the deck. When you have a 6 year old on board you have to do the obligatory picnics, regularly. Uhm, we've been essentially camping for the last two years, let's make it more difficult and move everything on a moving deck! Fortunately it was ridiculously calm weather  so we could give in to her whims (yeah, no sailing) and great fishing.  
We are currently in Santa Marta, Colombia.  Colombia is quite safe today.  It definitely got a bad rap in the 80's and even into the 90's due to the narcotic traffic and the accompanying crime.  Even in 2002 when we were sailing off the Pacific Coast of Colombia we didn't stop and in fact heaved a sigh of relief when we crossed into the Panamanian border.   In the 70's and 80's the country was responsible for almost 80% of the cocaine production in the world so the cartel leaders led brutal crime campaigns and totally controlled local politics and the police.  The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have been in the news recently negotiating with the Colombian Government, but they have been a feared guerrilla rebel group operating in Colombia for over 50 years.  Where and why did the Farc come about?  Colombia has historically (modern history anyways) been a country suffering from huge levels of inequality.  The land owning elite were brutal in the suppression of the majority or anyone that opposed them.  Inspired by the Cuban revolution, a group of Farc founders (wanting more equality) demanded more rights and control of the land.  That didn't go over well and the group resorted to guerrilla tactics to get their way.  Their main opposition has been the Colombian security forces and they raged a violent war against them.  They financed their operation with drug trafficking money, or taxes levied on drug traffickers.  They also kidnapped members of wealthy families to fund their group. Mike had a college friend from a well off Colombian family whose sister was kidnapped in the late 80's and held for ransom. He doesn't remember if it was specifically Farc forces, but it seems likely.  Fortunately, she was released after a few months.  For the last 4 years Farc and the Government have been in secret negotiations to broker a peace deal.  Up until a few weeks ago, the worldwide expectation was that the deal would go through.  While the deal would have brought peace to the region, it also excused previous crimes as well as appointed Farc leaders to prominent places in the Government.  Many locals were not happy with the deal (they wanted the peace, but not at the cost of amnesty for crimes and political appointments) and in a surprise vote, Colombians voted against it.  Regardless of the official peace deal, the Farc has diminished in its stranglehold over Colombia and it is a much safer place to visit. OK, so that is my limited understanding of the Farc history and regional crime in Colombia.

Mike really should be the one writing about the political or historical summaries of the areas we visit.  He's far more knowledgeable than I am and keeps up with the current events.  It seems he thinks maintaining the boat is job enough!  Safety, schmafety!

So, what are we doing in Colombia?  Well, we arrived into the marina in Santa Marta on Friday and just got our paperwork completed Monday afternoon.  We often wonder why these latin American countries make it so difficult to get through their paperwork.  Don't they know we just want to come and spend money in their country, we aren't refugees trying to milk the system.  Anyway, we were somewhat imprisoned in the marina over the weekend as we couldn't go anywhere until the paperwork was complete.  As soon as we got the clear we started making plans.  We are splitting ranks and Mike and Zander are going to hike to the lost city "Ciudad Perdida", a 5 day trek into the rainforest mountains to find the lost city, ruins that were only discovered in 1973 and cannot be reached any way other than trekking in.  Why aren't we all doing it?  It is somewhat cost prohibitive for the whole family.  Porter is also still recovering from an ear infection (all that diving in Bonaire came with a cost) and we weren't sure Ana would really love slogging through slippery rainforest trails, crossing rivers and sleeping in hammocks under mosquito netting for 4 nights in a row.  She's a trooper, she probably would have liked most of it, but it seemed sensible to do something else, something closer to the boat, something less expensive.  Porter, Ana and I will be taking an overnight trip up to Minca, to escape the humidity and heat for a night or two at a higher elevation and hopefully do some of our own trekking.

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