So as you saw from our last post, we were able, without cost, to extend our stay here and we’re so glad we did. However, as blessed as that felt, I felt less blessed as a day or two later I received ‘the runs’ and a poor stomach. The first time since December in Manaus that I felt ill; that time we *believed* we had caught Corona from Vivian’s extended family members.  Although I didn’t show many of the symptoms this time around, it can still play havoc with your paranoia – especially when you have flights booked in the same week! That would have been catastrophic for us, health aside. The logistics and expense would have been unimaginable.

So whilst I required a couple of days of zoning out and watching Netflix, we fulfilled the other two days spectacularly well thanks to our friend Dave and his itinerary. 

But first, a real event to bring you up-to-speed with: As you saw from the MAP location of San Andres in our last post, there’s really not much around for miles – except for a couple of sister islands that fall under the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina.

You’d be forgiven for thinking life here was permanently bliss but alas, not so. An event of a natural disaster kind took place just 6/7 months ago back in November 2020. A hurricane named Iota arrived and it would eventually reach category 5 status. It did some damage here but it was on the other island of Providencia that the devastation was profound. In fact, this is hard to process but an estimated 98–99 percent of structures on the island were damaged or destroyed, including buildings constructed in the 15th century. Every home on the island suffered damage, with 80 percent being destroyed.

Hearing the stories firsthand from a number of locals just on San Andres was jaw-dropping enough you can imagine.  Lota would make its way across Central America and would result in deaths from 7 countries despite the death toll being relatively low at 61 but with many others “missing”. Horrific.

The closest we came to remotely understanding the impact or force of a Cat 5 hurricane was when we visited a popular spot on the west coast of the island.  As you can see below, nothing idyllic here for a main spot on the island. All courtesy of hurricane lota.

Land and local devastation aside, during our extended stay and on the days that I wasn’t ill, Dave arranged a couple of unique experiences for us. The first was a BBQ at his friend’s coastal home. Cooked meat, a pool to ourselves, chilled cans at the ready, and a scooter ride across the island!

The second day was the most serene, have-I-died-and-gone-to-heaven few hours any of us have ever experienced. Honestly.

The backdrop was honestly fairy tale stuff as you’ll shortly see. The kind of thing you only occasionally see in the movies. I’ll start with some teaser images and if you think this looks special, just wait until you see the 4-minute video, it’ll blow your mind.

You know things will hopefully go well when an image includes a private boat and a coolbox full of beer!

Big Dave ready to add extra weight to the boat with our box of beers!

Big Dave ready to add extra weight to the boat with our box of beers!

And we’re off. Vamos.

Now, it’s time for the proper spectacle so I’m calling in Vivian. Enjoy, guys.

So, what did you think? Did that leave you with your mouths open and eyebrows high?

I remember being totally awestruck that we had left the shoreline some ten, fifteen minutes prior only to find ourselves standing chest-height in the middle of the most idyllic and crystal coloured sea far from land. What’s the science here? Anybody?

As for the stingray, words fail me. Did anyone remember the well-known and animal-loving Steve Irwin actually died from a stingray!? I didn’t. Our travel pal who shared this experience with us, the Jesus look-alike, kindly re-educated me. That makes those scenes even more powerful to know this ‘kid of the sea’ was handling such a deadly creature.

But as we all know, all things come to an end. We’ve stayed nearly a week on the island and it has been incredible but our time is up. Earlier we left for the capital city Bogota; this was the first of two flights in as many days. The second will be on to our new and very possibly final country!? Get guessing folks! This domestic flight was stress-free; hopefully the second (international) will be too as we’re running out of reasons as to why it shouldn’t 😂 Surely this time everything is covered!

Thankfully we are only staying in the capital for one night. Firstly, the temperatures will be noticeably different from what we’ve been used to, it’s predicted to rain for the next few nights, and to top it off, major strikes are planned. Oh, and not forgetting just how serious Covid is over here in the country at the moment.

Thinking back over our time in Colombia, another country that we never thought we’d visit, it really has provided us the fondest memories and these were only amplified after meeting up with a fellow Clevedonian! I recall saying to Vivian before we left Panama that I had a strong gut feeling that we would enjoy it in Colombia – despite knowing nothing about the culture or the people. As you’ve seen and read, this really did prove to be ‘as hoped’. We’ve loved almost every minute minus pretty serious airport shenanigans and for me, it really has been the biggest surprise on our adventure so far and one that I doubt we can trump.

Here are our final two shots of San Andres; our little piece of Heaven that we shall never forget. Thank you, Dave.

No filter needed, just natural beauty at its finest.

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4 Responses

  1. Sami Hope you are feeling better now.
    Glad you both had a smahing time with Dave and his friend in the beautiful isaland with its beautiful crystal cleared sea. It looks idyillic.
    Vivian you swim like a mermaid.
    That Stingray was amazing and yes I remember when it was in the news that Steve Irwin died from the Stingray bite.
    Lovely experimence for you both.
    Take care xxxx

    • Yes, we are so glad it was just a quick relapse and he’s now back on form.

      Such a stunning place! We had a blast. And I felt like a mermaid swimming with so many fish 😂 xx Viv

  2. Wow guys what a beautiful place. How lucky to visit there. You both look well and enjoying your amazing trip Enjoy yourselfs for a little longer. Stay safe and hope your flights are good. Lots of love G,Z,I &G XXXX

    • Thank you so much Zoe. You and the kids would love it here. Shame it’s so far away, but maybe Gino’s properties can sponsor a trip for you guys soon. 🤞🏽😊 Send hugs and kisses to the kids 😘 Viv

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