Cartagena, Colombia, March 2016

Cartagena de Indias is a major city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The old city is surrounded by defensive walls and is a well preserved example of colonial Spanish architecture. The new city is a mass of tower blocks and there's heavy industry further out in the bay.

I booked to go diving with Diving Planet at their office in the old town. The price was $316,000 (about US$105) as I paid cash. They did take credit cards but it was an extra 5% on top. This price included insurance, so they need a copy of your passport. I had my own but it was only $3,000 of the price anyway.

We went to the marina and took a hotel owned out to Isla Grande in the Islas De Rosario archipelago. There was even a bit of on board commentary when we went through the narrow channel between two forts built to keep the British and French out. It was quite flat but there was still some spray on the boat. On a rough day, you could quite easily get soaked.

On the island, we sorted the kit out and walked across the small island to board the dive boat on the other side sheltered from the wind.

We then went to a site called Martinsito. It was an underwater mound and we circled around it. The coral was in reasonable shape. There was a lot of leaf coral inhabited by some very territorial damsel fish. There were also some schooling creole wrasse but not a great deal of fish. The water was bitty with some big lumps of plankton though the viz was still over 20m. My maximum depth was 18m though I could have gone deeper and we did 50 minutes.

After a short surface interval of only 40 minutes, we went to another site called Gloria. This was a drift dive though there wasn't that much current. It was enough to bring out more fish with much greater numbers of creole wrasse, some grunts and some big spade fish. The viz was the same as the other site as was the coral cover.

Then we went back to the hotel for a quick meal of sandwiches and chips before the boat took us back to the mainland.

It was a pleasant day out. The boat got back to the marina at around 4pm. The diving was nothing spectacular, but good enough for a day or two.