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Published: August 3rd 2009
A recurring theme in this trip so far has been the constant need to rug up against the cold. With a month to go we decided that we needed a holiday from travelling in the sun. Given Colombias's proximity to the Carribean.....ie it has a Carribean coastline.....and due to some dodgy diplomacy about 200 years ago, Colombia has possession of two carribean Islands which are about 750km North of Colombia but about 200km's off the Nicuraguan Coast.
With Ann recovering from our night out in Bogota we headed to the airport a little early. To be fair the airport was a little quieter than our hostel, especially since the crew from the night before still hadn't made it to bed. The flight itself was pretty uneventful......until we came into land. San Andres is pretty small so we got a good view of the coastline as we set up for landing. Well we should have but most of the island was obscured by a massive cloud....hmmmmm so much for sunny Carribean paradise! The plane approached the runway and dropped lower and lower.....then unexplicably it accelerated and ascended again. We had aborted our landing! There was an annoucement in Spanish over the
tannoy.....neither Ann or I could decipher what was said, though we did catch Panama in there somewhere.
Our expectation was that the plane would circle round and try to get it right this time! Strangely though we continued to ascend and soon were back at a cruising altitude......maybe we were going to Panama.....surely not! About 45 mins later the fasten seatbelt sign came on and we descended. Looking out the window we noted that there was a large urban area with HUGE skyscrapers.......that wasn't in the Lonely Planet! Still though, the land did look pretty tropical from the sky, though we weren't sure about the big highway that seemed to run through the land. So we landed and at this point we decided to ask a fellow passenger......."¿Donde estamos?" "Panama City" was the response. "¿Por Que?" we asked........the guy shrugged his shuoulders and said something in Spanish that we couldn't understand. We did establish though from another passenger who understood our rudimentary Spanish that the airport had been closed because of the weather......nice of them to tell us when were were about 100m off the ground!
After waiting patiently in Panama, on the aircraft, on the tarmac for
about 2.5 hours we took off again and finally, an hour later, we disembarked at our tropical paradise! Well we hoped so anyway since it was dark and we couldn't really see much. Given we were 4 hours late our pick up had given up......not that we blamed him and our cab driver, unlike the wonderful London black cab drivers who know where everything is in London and can actually follow a number sequence like 1,3,5,7 etc, couldn't find the Dive Shop office....eventually after Ann asked directions we found it, got Werner's number off the door and phoned him! Finally, we were picked up and whisked away to our Island Accomodation!
Ok a time for a short plug here. Werner is the owner of Karibik Diving. AS part fo deal of diving with him he has pretty good value accomodation which he rents our for $30 a night. Now given that accomodation on San Andres goes for around $50 pp/pn minimum, $30 for whole apartment is a steal! To top it off, the diving is great as well and Werner is a really good divemaster, who takes his time so its never rushed. We originally planned to do 2
dayd, but given we´d had so much fun we ended up diving for 3 days.
For the rest of our time on San Andres we visited the islands most famous touridt attraction.....the Cave of Captain Morgan.....tacky, but fun and swam and fed fish at a beautiful little cove called La Piscinita. We left San Andres a little sad. It had been a great break, with a good mix of activity and relaxation.....it did leave us wishing that some we´d go back to San Andres, and its amazing coral reefs.
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