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Updated June 6, '10

After Kathy recovered from her long day of travel, we took her on a hike around the nearby island of Santa Catalina. The trail begins as a relaxing walk at the edge of the harbor complete with colorful benches and signs describing the flora and fauna. Here, theyíve constructed the walkway around an old mangrove tree.

The weather was favorable for a sail, so we took Kathy out for an overnight to a favorite spot north of the main island called Low Cay. We had a great sail and Kathy took her turn at the helm, helped furl in a sail, and watched for fishing buoys from the bow.

Kathy jumped right in to help with whatever needed to be done (She was excused from helping clean the small 2 ft barracuda we landed). Here she assists Jim when we hoisted anchor to motor to another snorkeling spot in Low Cay.

The peace and quiet that comes when the sails fill with air is indescribable. Itís even better when you can do it AND point the boat in the direction you want to go!

The following photos outline an excursion to what is reported to be Pablo Escobarís abandoned house. If you arenít aware, Pablo was the head of a large and powerful drug cartel and he was eventually killed in 1993. (See Jimís Anniversary Blog April 2010) This is an unrelated photo of one type of crab that frequents the shores and sidewalks near the water. He is about 5 in across NOT including the long legs.

The route to Escobarís house on the hill begins at a dilapidated pier on a secluded side of Santa Catalina. This is the site where we securely locked our dinghy only to discover we didnít have the key to unlock it. The route to get to the house is also unmarked, so we spent almost an hour (on our second attempt) to find the reported stairway we were supposed to follow. This was at least 55 minutes too many of extremely hot, humid, hiking in dry, thick, thorny brush and fallen palm branches.

Both sides of the house had views of the water Ė just vast expanse of Caribbean Sea.

We tripped and clambered over piles of loose coconut husks and picked off fire ants that we riled up that would rain down off the trees. On the first attempt, Kathy took the brunt of the raining ants, and on the second, Laura suffered their stings. For some reason they didnít bite Jim!? On the second attempt, after reconnoitering back at the waterís edge, we found the right set of stairs. The route was not as unpleasant and they led first to a guest house, then up to the main house, which had what surely used to be a grand pool area on the west side.

We finally figured out that this gothic structure was an outdoor shower.

View from dining room. Under the floor of the dining room was what looked like a large cistern, full of dirty, stagnant water. It didnít seem to be the same mosquito larvae breeding pit that the pool was. You can see how dry the trees are as the islands need rain.

The house had been stripped of anything of value and much of the woodwork was torn down or eaten by termites. Vines and trees have taken hold, along with trash and past campfire pits from previous visitors. The property was recently purchased and the new owner has plans to rebuild. It will need a lot of work.

The colors still pressent showed a typical 70ís decor and color theme Ė orange and blue were prominent.

The now inoperable lock and broken ďsecurityĒ cable we once relied on to protect our dinghy. One cruiser suggested that itís obvious the best security chain would be made up of a long series of these apparently strong locks! (See anniversary blogs April 2010) End of Pablo Escobar Photo Blog Series.

Our friends Orville and Areliz onboard Nilaya where they enjoyed our special Green Chili burritos and they entertained us with singing and guitar, along with some great stories of the island life.

While on a fishing/sailing trip to Low Cay, Jim studies a book on refrigeration systems. We already know more than we wished we had to, but the bottom line is we will soon know first hand how to remove and install evaporator plates, vacuum pump and recharge the system. We give seriously thanks to our friend Dennis on SV The WC Fields for an enormous amount of information, help and hands-on assistance.

While on a chiva ride one day, we found a group of men boiling sugar cane on the side of the road. We got a taste of the raw syrup, which we found and bought later along with a bottle of the local Bushís Rum made from sugar cane. We think weíll be able to remove varnish with the rum or use it in the stove in the place of grain alcohol.

We watched fishermen empty their traps set out near Low Cay and they gave us a couple of red snappers. We offered to pay, but they refused, which is a regular occurrence here on the island. People here are very generous.

Extraordinary sunset after a rainy day in Providencia. Behind us was a large rainbow.

The anchorage in San Andres harbor.

One evening after a rain, we found the road covered with black crabs trying to get to the sea from the mountain. This one was up against a curb and didn't like the flash of the camera.

Typical street in one of the many shopping areas in San Andres. Many small motorcycles and one lonley expensive sports car

Sunday afternoon softball game in Providencia

Cayos de Albuquerque - Pathways are lined with conch shells. There was also piles of the shells on one side of the island like a breakwater. We didn't see many live ones...go figure.

San Andres has a Mickey D's! Well, it's actually called Mc Flaco BUT if the McDonald's legal team saw this there would be an instant law suit, but in San Andres, who cares?

This is the Marines fresh water supply, a spring in the middle of the island which actually didn't look all that appealing. It's hell being a Columbian Marine.

The Marine base gym. Notice the vehicle axle being used as a weight. They don't have the best equipment, but they make due.

The Marines kitchen. They cook the rice in a big pot over a wood fire. Not Martha Stewart kitchen, but again they make due.

Not bad duty for a Marine! The gym and diet of rice and fish seem to agree with them.

This Marine was getting dressed in his uniform and had his weapon. He was having his photo taken for his girl friend. He seemed to be very proud of his status.

Jim taking cover behind one of the bunkers.

A Marine grave which they maintain daily. They decorate with small bibles and are very concerned about it's appearance. Go to the next photo page for a related photo.