Providencia, Colombia and diving to 223 feet

Saturday, May 4, 2002
Colombia

013-22.800 N
081-22.740 W
Marine forecast for this location

We're continuing our northward trek, this time adding a fair amount of easting. And that easting was not done without pain. The predominant winds around this area are NE. We waited until we had a 15 kt ENE wind and left San Andres for Providencia on 4/30 at 06:00. The trip was 58 miles, and 16 of that were to the east. It was quite a beat, with the toe rail buried for a good portion of the time. The short period waves bashed the boat pretty well and did a good job of slowing us down, but we pulled into the anchorage at about 16:30 just after a large squall line had come through.

The entrance to the harbor is well marked with buoys. This is good as the channel is lined with reef. The light was very poor, so we anchored towards the back of the boats that were already here. The next morning when I got up I noticed a small reef about 50 feet behind to the left of the boat. Later I discovered that it was only about 3' deep! Man, I never saw that!!! Scary. Frank, from Passion Too, anchored to my right, but said that he almost came around to the other side. Lucky!

Providencia is a sleepy island with less than a 1000 people living here. It's reminiscent of the Leeward islands as it's volcanic, rising 1200'. One road circles it. There are 2 small grocery stores and an Internet Cafe with painfully slow access. The restaurants here seem to serve all their dishes (fish, shrimp, lobster, crab or chicken) in 2 manners. Fried or in a garlic sauce. With the amount of garlic they use, they all taste the same!

 

Diving here isn't as good as San Andres. The visibility is nowhere as good, although there are more large fish. We even saw some Midnight Parrot fish, which we haven't seen since the Roques in Venezuela. Yesterday, which was my birthday, I went diving with a firm that I had dove with before. In the previous dive, 2 of the people sucked up all of their air right away, so these same 2 were going to do a shallower dive & this other gentleman & I were going "deeper." Unfortunately no one told me that "deeper" meant that we were doing a "bounce dive" which consisted of descending into "The Well" and coming right back up. At 150' I knew that this wasn't what I expected and at 223' with 2200 PSI left, I stopped as I could feel nitrogen narcosis setting in. You start to get light headed & tunnel vision sets in. The dive master probably made it to 240'. I made sure that I was positively buoyant and concentrated on photography (something to keep the mind active) as I ascended. We were well decompressed before ending the dive, but I was very unhappy that they had failed to brief me as to what was planned & to get my buy-in (which they wouldn't have). But I survived & hope that was the deepest dive of my life!

We're stuck here for a while as the winds are 20-25 Kts with 8-10' seas. We've got a 170 trip to Media Luna and don't want to be out there if we don't have to be.
Log ID: 231

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Providencia  Diving: Providencia 

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