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Back to School Bucket List
The days are growing shorter, and the final weeks of summer are upon us. So, before the school bell rings, Marinalife is wondering if you’ve checked off everything on your must-do list this season. If you’re looking for ways to wrap up summer, consider the following ideas for last-dash, fun activities.
- Learn how to do a back dive, canon ball or jump off the back of the boat into the water. Rope swings are also an invigorating option.
- Have a tiki party on a boat and serve your guests tropical blender drinks. Bonus points for Hawaiian shirts and grilled pineapple or savory Polynesian snacks.
- Pick a dozen crabs on your boat or at a waterfront dock bar, along with all the classic fixins’ of corn on the cob, hushpuppies, coleslaw and a cold brew. If crabs aren’t your preference, a lobster, clam or crawfish boil will do just fine.
- Ride down a giant slide, roller coaster or death-defying ride at a waterpark while letting out a mighty yell.
- Body surf in the Atlantic waves or build a sandcastle strong enough to withstand the tide.
- Explore a hidden cove or a dream destination that you’ve never visited before on your boat.
- Go fishing and catch something big enough for dinner.
- Get pulled on a raft or inflatable behind a boat or learn how to waterski.
- Catch lightening bugs in a jar to make a glowing lantern. But be sure to poke holes in the lid and release them when the fun is done.
- Under the stars, go to an outdoor movie, music festival or seafood feast.
- Learn how to shuck an oyster, clean a fish or pick a crab, then invite friends over to taste dishes made from the fruits of your labor.
- Invent a nautical cocktail to commemorate the summer of 2022.
Open every day, CBMM’s members-only Marina offers 55 slips with electric, pump-out services, climate-controlled showers, Wi-Fi, and other amenities. Overnight docking privileges are available for Mariner Level members and above. Hourly docking is available for Household members and above.
Not a CBMM member yet? Call 410-745-4991 to join or visit cbmm.org/join.
Marinalife, the leading provider of tools and resources for the boating community, is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website at https://marinalife.com. Created to make cruising easier and boating even more inspiring, the streamlined, modern site offers a user-friendly interface, improved navigation and easy access to engaging content to allow boaters and marinas to fully embrace life on the water.
The new website builds upon Marinalife’s printed pages to give boaters access to a greater scope of nautical resources, data and services. A multitude of benefits await Marinalife visitors on the new website, where you can use simple online navigation and search tools to:
Chart a course for adventure with detailed itineraries crafted by seasoned seafarers, and book a slip in advance at your dream destinations
Access an extensive database of marinas across North America and the Caribbean, while scoring discounts at Marinalife partner locations
Enjoy tales of adventure by fellow boaters, pick new travel destinations, and get advice from maritime experts so you can boat with confidence
Gain instant access to exclusive digital content that comes to life with videos, maps, charts and other visually engaging displays
Marinalife invites you to explore our new website https://marinalife.com and encourages you to sign up as a digital subscriber to stay in the loop and up to date with all things boating!
Founded by lifelong boaters, Marinalife delivers tools and resources that encourage the boating community to embrace life on the water. Marinalife joined with Snag-A-Slip in 2017 to create tech-enabled solutions that allow boaters and marinas to connect and transact easily. Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, our crew is passionate about boating and delivering exceptional service to our customers.
Whether the boat is anchored at sea, or your feet are anchored in the sand this season, it’s always good to have a book on deck. Check out Marinalife’s top nautical picks for this year’s summer book club.
A Voyage for Madmen
By Peter Nichols, 2022
Set in 1968 before cell phones and satellite dishes, this story takes you on a journey with nine sailors who set off on a daring race to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop — and only one man can win.
The Last Resort: A Chronicle of Paradise, Profit and Peril at the Beach
By Sarah Stodola, 2022
This book dives into the psyche of beachgoers and digs deep into what drives humans to seek out the sand. The author weaves firsthand travel notes with an exploration of beach resort culture.
Hudson Bay Bound: Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic
By Natalie Warren, 2022
For an amazing boating adventure, get lost in this remarkable story about the first two women to canoe the 2,000-mile route from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay. They face unrelenting winds, sweltering heat and dangerous carnivores while meeting unique people who live and work on the water.
By Allie Reynolds, 2022
If you love a good adrenaline-filled thriller, check out this new release about a passionate surfer who escapes to a dangerous world on a remote Australian beach.
The Incredible Voyage: A Personal Odyssey
By Tristan Jones, 2022
This author details his six-year voyage covering a distance equaling twice the circumference of the world. Join him on his amazing expedition dodging snipers and trekking uncharted rivers.
People We Meet on Vacation
By Emily Henry, 2021
This dreamy, comedic novel is about two polar-opposite, long-time best friends who test the romantic waters on one last vacation together. Be sure to also check out this New York Times bestselling author’s recent 2022 release, Book Lovers.
It’s the moment you have all been waiting for… time to vote for your favorite marina! Cast your ballot for the top marinas of 2022. You can now vote for Best Large Marina (more than 100 slips) and Best Small Marina (less than 100 slips). Submit your selections by the form below by October 1, 2022.
Route planning can sometimes be more about what you choose to miss rather than what you include. Time in country can be surprisingly short for many cruisers, as seasonal weather requires you to plot a destination and move toward it on a relatively strict timeframe. Often you leave little room for detours and deviations. If a country isn’t on your track, it is left in your wake forever.
The problem is, unplanned destinations often crop up and fitting them in can become a priority. Colombia was never a name on our cruising destinations list until we arrived in the Southern Caribbean, but the closer we got to South America the more frequently the name Cartagena cropped up. At the time our focus was on transiting the Panama Canal and cruising the remote Pacific Islands, so detouring to a big city didn’t appeal. However, we were going from low-key islands in the Atlantic to low-key islands in the Pacific, so an injection of high-speed would be a nice change of pace. With a large, sheltered bay, busy metropolitan city, UNESCO World Heritage Site and the vivacious Latin culture, Colombia was our unexpected add-on.
As the date for our transit to Colombia neared, rumors started to spread concern. We heard reports of strong winds, poor anchorages and crime off the north coast of Colombia, as reasons to avoid the country. The winds that funnel around the coast create a wind acceleration zone, resulting in high winds and steep seas. Would we be driving our boat Aeta into a chaotic washing machine? Colombia has a history of violent crime. Would we lose everything not padlocked to the deck or hidden on our bodies? Everyone spoke of rough anchorages and the need to stay in marinas. Could our budget survive?
The more we heard of Colombia, however, the more the sense of adventure outweighed calls for caution. As sailors, how could we not be drawn to a city steeped in piracy, conquest and gold? As travelers, how could we not fall under the spell of a vibrant city thriving behind old, fortified walls? Plus, we’d get a break from our lazy sun-drenched Caribbean beach days to drink “aquadentes” under the twinkling lights strung above Cartagena’s rooftop bars and dance until dawn in the city’s famous salsa clubs. We re-drew the travel plan for the season and decided to sail for Cartagena.
The Old Amid the New
Cartagena’s dramatic high-rise skyline rose up on the horizon as we closed our two-day passage from Bonaire to Colombia, giving our first indication of the different pace that lay ahead of us. As we entered through the eastern entrance to Bocagrande, our echo-sounder bounced from 10 to 3 meters, registering an underwater breakwater that was built in the mid-1700s to close off the northern entrance to the bay and force access to Cartegena by sea past the heavily fortified southern entrance.
Old military forts that once protected the Spanish from foreign invaders now stood idle, welcoming inbound traffic from all over the world. Today, Cartagena is Colombia’s main container port and processes around 1,600 vessels each year, including container ships, cruise ships, bulk carriers and the odd cruising yacht. The cannons that point seaward are no longer a threat to foreign interest.
Sailing past these 500-year-old fortifications is a reminder that much of Cartagena’s past is deeply woven into its present. Old forts stand beside modern skyscrapers that line the shoreline of Playa de Bocagrande, Cartagena’s version of Miami Beach. Empty turrets stand next to busy modern housing complexes and sections of fortress break way to streets and pedestrian walkways. La Ciudad Amurallada, Cartagena’s historic walled city, is the most well-preserved and complete fortification in South America. As in the past, horse and cart roll down old cobblestone streets; however, they are now interrupted by lengthy traffic jams.
Perfectly preserved colonial architecture has been repurposed into swanky cafés, upmarket restaurants, local residences and boutique shops. The 11 kilometers of old city wall are a unique feature, as you can circumnavigate the city by walking on top of them. The old, exposed brick covered in beautifully painted graffiti and covered in brightly blooming jacaranda is a perfect example of how the past has been woven into the present, creating one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We enjoyed every minute of our time in Cartagena. We wandered through San Felipe de Barajas Castle and learned about the constant pirate assaults and colonial invasions, then strolled through the convent and chapel of La Candelaria de la Popa, a beautiful church that sits atop the city’s highest hilltop, Mount Popa. We walked throughout the old walled city a dozen times, seeing popular landmarks from statues of Simón Bolivar and India Catalina that stand in central plazas to gold museums, theater houses, slave quarters and bull rings held within beautiful colonial buildings. We found a dozen or so Spanish colonial-style churches and cathedrals spread throughout the city.
When we were done sightseeing, we soaked up the colorful Colombian environment. We relaxed in street side cafés, listened to buskers strumming local tunes, window-shopped outside upmarket designer boutiques, ate scrumptious local chow in hole-in-the-wall restaurants and gazed at the provocative murals and graffiti that are displayed throughout the city.
While ambling through backstreets and staring at magnificent street art, I remembered the list of reasons not to come to Cartagena, and crime topped the list. When everything around me left me buzzing with delight, I wondered what the negative comments were about.
Little Reason for Concern
After gaining first-hand experience, we saw that many of the streets considered too dangerous 20 years ago are now popular hangout spots filled with funky cafes and swanky bars, trendy artisan shops and local art galleries. Rough turned bohemian, and the historically volatile neighborhoods had transformed into a hip, artistic quarter that drew international visitors by the thousands. While I was wary of pickpockets, I had no cause for concern regarding serious crime.
Poor anchorages and restrictions to marinas were also mentioned, but we stayed just outside the Club Nautico de Cartagena marina with our anchor buried deep in the mud. The only rough movement we experienced was created by daily tour boats rushing past us and stirring up significant chop. If you do Cartagena right as a busy tourist, daytime discomfort is irrelevant. By the time you return to your slip, tour boats are tucked in their berths and the peaceful quiet of a flat, calm anchorage surrounded by a city full of sparkling lights presents a view no fancy hotel could match.
Regarding caution with strong winds, the place of greatest intensity is the water between Punta Gallinas and Cabo Augusta. Approach the area with a good forecast, but it requires nothing more than standard good seamanship. The winds can be strong, and the swell can be large, but with a proper forecast you need not avoid the north coast of Colombia. We enjoyed remote, peaceful bays of the Tayrona National Park and the bustle of our anchorage in Cartagena’s busy port, but planned our movement between them with a quick weather check. With time and prudence, entry into the country doesn’t warrant precautions out of the norm.
After experiencing Colombia firsthand, we start a new rumor — Cartagena is a fantastic cruising destination. The winds are manageable, safe anchorages are plentiful and serious crime is a carryover from a bygone era. Take your time, check your weather, trust your anchor and go have big city fun. I came to Cartagena uncertain about what lay ahead, but in a matter of days I’d fallen for its charm. I could stay in the area for weeks, months, even years. Given a sturdy A/C unit, I could stay indefinitely.
The people are friendly, the topography varied, the cruising options abundant. The city is a living history, blending the old and the new, the past and the present. It is radiant, vibrant and absorbing.
Adding Colombia to our itinerary was a fantastic diversion, and if it lays as a detour from your route, do yourself a favor: rewrite the plan. Make sure you don’t look back and see it left behind in your wake. A dog-leg isn’t a detour when it holds all that Cartagena offers. It is the destination.