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June 2, 2014 / Andee Frizzell

Adventure On The High Sea

water taxiThe boat before me didn’t look anything like the laminated picture of the water taxi we had been shown the day before. The sun faded and fraying photograph had shown a 20 ft, twin outboard motored, canopied, sea faring vessel fully outfitted with life vests and a cheery group of tourists, happily sipping cervezs while they effortlessly glided across the clear blue waters cutting a soft wake behind them. 

What I was looking at in no way resembled that pristine, tranquil image. The craft moored on the beach before me looked like a raft, canoe combo (something like Tom Hank’s ride in Castaway), sans a Wilson, a canopy and life vests. There was a single motor attached to the rear that to my untrained eye looked like it had been lifted from a lawn mower.

Cartagena is surrounded by hundreds of secluded beaches, Playa Blanca, Playa Linda, Baru and the Rosario Islands are just a few of these pieces of paradise. These beautiful beaches are only accessible by water taxi and the lesson we were about to learn was; size does matter!

Tony, our captain, reached into his surf shorts pocket, extracting two cold cervezs, flashing us his incredible smile and citing his trademark motto, “No Problem” to our curious faces.

Tony is an Afro-Colombian, multi-trade business entrepreneur, who radiates confidence through his easy, boisterous laugh and wild dancing eyes. He reminded me of a line backer, broad, tall and bald.

Tony’s cousin, Robinson, (and yes, the irony of a shipmate named Robinson did not escape me) was in charge of steering the outboard motor for our journey. Tony, his eyes sparkling with mischief, handed me a ceveza and ushered me gently into the water craft. To my surprise, the sail out was amazing. The water was warm and calm, a refreshing breeze subdued any anxieties and doubts about the worthiness of our carrier.

Though, six hours later, the time scheduled to head back to the mainland, our doubts were forefront once again. Throughout the afternoon, a 20 knott wind had picked up and was causing 8ft high waves to crash against the shore.

As we watched Tony and Robinson wrestle the raft/canoe towards us, we weighed our options, drown in the sea or death by mosquito, an enviable end one would suffer sleeping on the beach over night tent-less. Having decided our chances of surviving the sea were slightly higher than surviving an onslaught of itchy bites, we boarded, setting our hopes on a bad bout of seasickness over death.

Tony was seated at the head of the boat, directing Robinson wordlessly, shifting his bamboo staff from side to side, his t-shirt around his head flapping out behind him, he resembled a really tanned Moses; I was comforted by the Biblical imagery.

For over an hour we were pelted by relentless salty surf, lurched upward and then violently downward, followed by a thunderous sound of the boat slamming hard against the surface of water which vibrated every bone in our bodies, we somehow, miraculously, made it back to the other side.

Soaked and nauseous, we hugged each other, celebrating the fact we had once again avoided becoming, just another statistic and adding our names to the tourist causality list. We rode the high sea and lived to tell the story.



Leave a Comment
  1. Slam / Jun 2 2014 11:49 pm

    That boat must have been on the same fleet as the one we went on in the Dominican Republic. It was for a glass bottom boat ride. The brochure showed a beautiful modern boat. It turned out to be a wood row boat with a house window caulked in the bottom.

  2. arcticgoddess / Jun 4 2014 10:21 pm

    Time to write a book, Andee!

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