Thursday, January 30, 2014

Second day on the Cayo . 1/30

It rained during the night and several times throughout the day. We went to the beach resort a bit later. I took another swim off the beach and another shower at the open beach rinse showers. I laid a bit in a beach lounge chair and walked the length of the 2 mile beach in both directions. The seas were quite calm yesterday with no surf but during the night a small surf had accumulated some sea vegetation along the beach. Small waves were still rolling in.

We did the lunch buffet again but I had discovered a smaller lunch buffet at the beach snack bar for $6 and decided on that. It seemed the more popular place as I was one of about 40 people eating there.

Captain chose not to swim either yesterday or today but did use the beach rinse shower to bath. Yesterday after heading out to the boat after both eating too much at the $8 equivalent lunch buffet we both scrapped the hull of marine growth. At 7 pm yesterday we went to the bar to catch news for the weather but it was really quite worthless as a marine forecast. Today, Captain hooked up the halyard antenna for his portable SSB receiver and the signal was good. He connected it to his laptop and we have a marine forecast for the next few days.

We are down for being cleared by the guarda at 7 am tomorrow but are convinced we will not get off early enough by the time captain goes to get him and we then put the dinghy up on deck. We plan to leave where we're now anchored and tuck around to a nearby bay. Then we'll wait for evening and leave as the sun sets and sail the 38 NM through the night. It should be daylight by the time we get to the next pass through the reef. I get the feeling we might arrive to this next reef pass before sunrise but time will tell.

The beach resort even had a selection of water toys.

The main restaurant/bar and the start of the cabanas.

More recently constructed cabanas.

In addition to the main bar/restaurant and registration there are 2 other snack bars a ways down the beach in each direction.

One of the older cabanas. The roving musicians played at the snack bar I had my lunch at.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cayo beach resort . 1/29

The title is not the name of this resort just a discription. We spent our first day here. Going to the dock about 9 am. It's quite a nice resort. Lots of Europeans are staying here. In addition to guests staying in the cabanas, day beach visitors also come on the ferry which has a morning and evening round trip service. I took a swim off the nice 2 miles long beach and we laid in the sun. Beach showers were nice as I'd not bathed since 3 days. We had hoped to top up our potable water and gasoline and access the Internet based on what was mentioned in a cruising guide? No such luck on all 3. We both scrapped the hull today with mask and snorkel.

Hearing English right behind us on the beach we met a couple from the U.S. doing a day visit along with 3 others from Denmark. We also met the woman from a boat we'd met at the previous Marina. It's a British couple taking a number of years to sail around the world.

3 other sailboats arrived around 2 pm. We watched as check-in for them went quite nicely. One boat dinghies over to pick up the guarda. Went finished with that boat he had that captain take him to the next boat. Once through with that boat he was taken to the 3rd. Finally the 3rd boat returned him to the dock. Quite a contrast to captain's 4 trips to pick the guarda up to get cleared. The successful dinghy trip being well after dark. While we knew the boat that was here before us, the 3 new arrivals we've not seen before. One anchored somewhat near us is flying a Norwegian flag.

The plan is to be here one more day here continue west early morning, January 31. If it takes too long to get cleared out by the guarda, we will go just a short ways and anchor another night so we can get an early start. An early start is important as we have to navigate through the reef pass and back in again 38 NM further down which has to be in daylight.

A classroom area for the dive shop and board walk through mangroves to the beach resort.

Separate beach cafe/bar and changing area

Beach and beach showers which we used

Example of cabana and indoor dinning room

Another example of a cabana and another remote cafe/bar

Newer lodging units at the resort

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday motorsail . 1/28

We set out at 7 am for our next stop about 30 NM further west. We were aided by the wind though it was mostly too much on our stern. We had to use the engine to maintain a 4 knot average the entire 30 NM. Our destination was on the south side of a Cayo. We had to negotiate a poorly marked pass through the reef. Our sails were furled as we approached the pass. It was a stressful couple of hours of slowly motoring before finally anchoring south of the Cayo. I was on the bow looking out for swallowing water but surface chop and sun glare made that somewhat worthless. Our depth sounder indicated one area with just a foot under the 6' draft of the fin keel.

At this particular Cayo you are supposed to deploy your dinghy and the captain is to go to the dock and pick up and bring the guarda out to your boat for check-in as they have no boat. This Cayo also has a small resort on the 2 mile beach on the north shore of the Cayo. The dock is not available for visiting boats other than dinghies as it is used by a ferry to the mainland for resort guests and several resort dive boats.

Captain ended up going to the dock 4 times. First he was told to return at 6. He went back 5 minutes early but was told he could not wait but to return at 6?? He returned at 6:15 but still no guarda officer had returned from the mainland? At 6:50 pm we saw the ferry return as we were eating dinner, assuming we would now wait until morning. The guarda called on the radio and a 4th trip to the dock was successful and we are now cleared to leave the vessel. The guarda was a friendly fellow and enjoyed showing us photos of his 2.5 y.o. son and 14 y.o. daughter and his wife on his LG phone.

The guarda mentioned another cold front is approaching so we plan to be here the next 2 days and continue west at 7 am Friday, January 31.

We left our Tuesday anchorage before sunrise.

Buoy at the outside vaguely marking the pass through the reef

A look toward the mainland from anchorage and toward the Cayo...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Heading West . 1/27

After not quite 2 weeks at the Marina we checked in at we are again on our way west. We started out with another overnighter. Leaving at 7 am and arriving at about 1 pm. We had hoped to continue another 30 NM but it took us to long to get as far as we got. Tomorrow will be an easy 30 mile day as we still plan to stop where we had hoped to get to today.

Sailing was far from ideal with a lighter wind on the stern. We used just the head sail and motored as it was slow going. Captain at one point decided to try setting out the spinnaker which ended in a wet spinnaker and a decision to not use it. The dinghy tied down on the bow was certainly in the way. It was not a good lesson in flying a spinnaker. Captain seems to get winded quite easily unless it's just for dramatic effect? I went forward and untangled the spinnaker and stuffed the wet sail back in the bag.

We only turned the motor off for part of 2 shifts but only about 4 hours total. As the sun rose today, Monday it seemed like it would be a breeze to make it to our hoped destination but the wind soon died to the point of even roller furling both sails in.

Sailing along at night we encountered not a single freighter as we were not out in shipping lanes. Even crossing past the big city we saw none. Now fishing boats I saw over 100 during my shifts. These were just small fishing boats and most were very small. They had no running lights and often no lights at all until they decide they should let you know they are there. Several times a boat would suddenly appear out of the darkness not to far off the bow.

During my final 4 am to 8 am shift I noticed one boat off our starboard bow and it seemed to have a blue flashing light and bright white light and a port running light. It certainly was not a fishing boat. Many of those had a green light or just a lantern light but this red port running light was the first I'd seen all night including my 8 pm to midnight shift. Captain was resting in the cockpit and I asked him what he thought about that boat with the blue flashing light? He glanced at it and said ? I don't think anything about it.. I sensed an attempt at sarcasm for my even bringing it to his attention? It got closer and eventually gave us a short sounding of a siren. Then bright spotlights and a request to stop I assume? But in Spanish. I put her in neutral and eased off the throttle but we left the jib out as we were barely moving under just sail power. I recommended captain turn on the hand held as they have probably been trying to contact us for quite some time. A bit of a language barrier but the person on the radio spoke English though with an accent. A few questions were asked and after seeing we were on the list of cleared and authorized boats we were told to continue our navigation. The sun rose shortly after.

We entered our early destination and anchored near the guarda dock.. The guarda knew basic English but I think he wanted us to move closer to the broke down dock which was too shallow for our 6' draft. In the cruising guide it clearly says anchor and wait for them to come out in their boat...with oars by the looks of the photo in the cruising guide. Anyway we did not pull up our anchor to move closer and eventually he called a boat from the scrap metal salvage yard across the bay.. We are clear to continue on our way at 7 am.

Remember that wet spinnaker. The plan was to dry it out once we got to where we were headed for today.. After the whole morning of zero to 5 knot winds, it was blowing easily over 10 knots. Captain said let's hang out the spinnaker to dry. As we are connecting the top to the halyard he says why couldn't we have had this wind all this morning? I mentioned maybe we should wait and dry it out when it was less windy... Anyway as he had me hoist up the halyard it got away from him before either bottom points were secured.. We both watched as it flew like a mighty flag aft of the boat fluttering just above the rapidly spinning wind turbine. Captain quickly moved to the cockpit and got that spun around so the blades weren't spinning. I hauled it the rest of the way up so that when the wind did die it would drop into the cockpit rather than the water. It dried out nicely and was soon back in the bag.

No more overnight sails until we finally head for Mexico.

Leaving the harbor we've been not quite 2 weeks.

Anchored in ? Oh I best not say and the guarda there

Sunset and the crane at salvage yard

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cars from the past . 1/23

As I walked to the Internet Tuesday I came on 2 areas with a good selection of vintage cars from the 50's. They were mostly being used as taxis and they all wanted to take me somewhere.