We have been happily trapped in Cartagena ; we felt into a black hole and time stopped. We enjoyed living in the marina (usually, we do not spent more than 2 nights in a row), we loved the city with all its small museums and people from Cartagena have proved to be really friendly. We spent more time in Cartagena than we initially anticipated but it has been a great opportunity for us to explore a city rich in culture. On top of that, we had the opportunity to attend to the “Cartagineses y Romanos festival”, full of old traditions and festivities.
We met others boats/sailing families with kids or not, from different countries, like “Wanderlust” from Brasil, “Pouplier II” from France, “Zingha” from UK, “Luna Bay II” from France, “Flying” from the UK, “Spirit of Fern” from the US, “Timeless” from the BVI/UK/Canada, “Acrobat” from Spain, “Sonrisa” from Spain etc. We met new people, we learnt more about sailing, the world and life in each conversation. Our kids enjoyed meeting new kids and the language was not a barrier to play Uno, football or Minecraft. The YPC marina has a great atmosphere, the live-aboard community has its own website (sail cartagena), and every Sunday we had a barbecue.
It took more than a week for the spinnaker to get repaired (it got torn during our crossing from Menorca to Cartagena). During our first 10 days at Cartagena, Soledad’s crew has been very busy:
- visiting Cartagena’s roman ruins, we did all guided visits and we learnt more about Romans, we also had an incredible guided visit in the archaeological museum.
- learning new things in the first sailing living lab. Diego shared his passions (technology and sailing) with us, and we all loved what he is doing. He has many prototypes on board, from ROVs to navigation software, that he helps developing and testing.
- learning about underwater archaeological explorations in the subaquatic archaeological museum
- exploring the Naval military museum and the first military submarine, built by Isaac Peral in Cartagena
- going back in dark times, visiting the Spanish civil war refuge museum
We also took the opportunity to perform some boat maintenance tasks:
- New sheets for the main sail and the jib
- The two chain hooks have been serviced
- The bob-stay (holding the bowsprit) has been changed
- The 2:1 reduction sheave for the spinnaker/code 0 halyard has been serviced
- Main diesel engine has been serviced (oil, filters, impeller and alternator belt)
- Watermaker and outboard engines have been serviced
- etc. (the never ending list)
When we were ready to leave 10 days ago, the fresh water pump started to act funky. In fact, it was not the pump that was failing, but the main rubber seal on the water heater. The water heater was leaking water, grrrrr. It took some days to get the parts and the repair done, mostly because of the week-end.
As we had to stay more time at the marina, we decided to take a break on full time parenting and we sent the kids, for 3 hours a day, on a nautical activities course. We were all happy to have the break and kids really enjoyed others activities like dragonboat, kayak and sailing.
We keep practising discipline positive ; as parents, we are changing a lot. One of the biggest challenges are:
- Be available for them when they really need us. Even if we are together all day long, sometimes it can be difficult to be fully available
- Our ego, our own education have been driven for a long time in the past by authority and focus on punishment instead of working out solutions. changing our mindset to encouragement and mutual respect education is a challenging exercise that requires a lot of discipline and self control (i.e. cold thinking). The “Dolphins and sharks” comparison is helping me in this journey: we want to be dolphins (guiding), not sharks (always on your back, all teeth out)!
Kids are improving and testing their sails boats. They have upgraded the sails quality and now they are using fabric for the sails (old t-shirt, broken shopping bags, etc.)
During these 3 weeks, we have been able to follow a weekly program for homeschooling: kids work 2 hours per day, 4 times a week. They study French, Maths, Spanish and English. Our neighbours (from UK/Canada) has been incredible helpful with the English lessons, kids were excited to have English with them!
Staying longer has also made us discover the “Cartagineses y Romanos” festival and we learnt more about Romans (again :-)), this time about military strategy and how they conquered Spain.
managed to break the chains around the keel left Cartagena and we are sure that we will come back soon. We had a good time in the marina, but it’s been also fantastic to be back sleeping at sea, anchored. We stayed sooooo long that we had to scrub the dinghy and to clean the wheel on the log – next time we’ll take preventive measures 🙂