I know a lot of you are wondering what is going on? Why haven’t Tate and Dani left yet? Where is the grand adventure? Why hasn’t their delorme tracker moved? In fact some people have mentioned the tracker because it looks like a starburst. It looks that way because when at anchor a boat moves in all directions as the wind changes and so the tracker ends up looking sort of like a 360 degree flower. Looks cool, the reality is not so cool though.
Well reader, I will tell you why. I assure you that it isn’t because we wish to bore you or that we’re content sitting on our haunches here in Isla Mujeres. No, someone in my family had a serious illness and had to have surgery. Rather than taking the weather window to hit Guatemala I went to Cancun and flew home to be with this person. I spent two weeks there trying to help and support my family as best I could. In the end, things have turned out as well as we could have expected and I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers sent our way. That said, it was a stressful time and I’m happy to be home.
Leaving the boat was stressful. If anyone in this world could go it alone for a few weeks it is Dani, but even so, I was worried about leaving her.
The day before I was to fly home I was sitting in the cockpit drinking coffee and I see this boat drifting down the fairway. “Dani, Dani, come look there is a boat dragging!” And as we’re sitting there watching it drag along and pondering getting the dink ready I notice trees sliding by… “Dani, Dani, We’re dragging!” It was our first drag. The anchor had undergone a 180 degree change, and dug into weeds which it pulled up in a giant mound. We started the motor and reset nice and tight. However, another 180 wind change was forecast to come with strong winds AFTER I’d be gone. Oh bother…
We considered moving the boat deeper into the lagoon, but holding there was questionable too. We considered bringing the boat into a marina, but we didn’t want the expense of that. In the end we had another first. I deployed a second anchor towards the direction of the forecast wind change and let out a huge amount of rode. The idea was that when the wind shifted if the main anchor didn’t catch the second anchor would.
This worked out almost perfectly but when the wind shifted there wasn’t enough scope (barely!) on the second anchor to allow the main anchor to reset. It was good experience though and Dani reset the main on her own after a long conversation over IM by winching up the main anchor chain enough to force it to turn and reset. This involved her diving on the anchor about 5 times to check progress and also tying more anchor rode to the second anchor using bowline knots to increase the scope. I was so proud but for the two hours that it took for her to do it then give me an update, I was an absolute mess back in the states. I actually poured myself a drink to calm down.
Being back in the good ole US of A was a culture shock too, however some good came of it. I came home with lots of goodies in my luggage however but also some interesting problems.
Leaving Mexico by plane when you arrived by boat causes a stir in the airport. They made me pay Immigration a SECOND time despite having my documentation (minus the key immigration receipt). I’m not sure why. Then they took both visas and the new receipt when I boarded the plane. No amount of arguing would do, it just happened.
When I returned with my one way ticket to Mexico, the people in the US airport demanded proof that I could leave by boat. I had print outs of all of our boat docs (USCG Doc, TIP permit, Mexican clearance docs, etc). They eventually let me on. When I arrived in MX, immigration didn’t care about anything and let me through. I actually filled out a customs form to declare some stuff but the guy literally ignored it and told me to “press the button”. I pressed it and they let me through. If you press the button and it lights up you’re selected for a random search. So the clearance back in was painless.
Now I’m back on the boat, back with my wife, and the temperature here is going higher and higher with the boat getting up to 87 F during the day. I rigged a tarp over the main cabin and it is helping.
Dani and I want to leave soon. Only one more little string holds us here, a special delivery that has made an absolute mess in Mexican customs, but more on that later.
So don’t despair, we’ll be on our way south soon.
East side of Isla Mujeres
Scrabble Tournament with Belinda from Free Spirit and Andy from Good Day 2.