I awoke to a huge, exaggerated moon looking down on Kuhela and I, inside I felt a calm that I have not felt previously on the trip. Even though the thought of sailing solo had been something that had previously made me fairly nervous, this morning it was simply something that I felt I was ready for. After sitting with a cup of coffee and enjoying the moment for a bit I got the final things sorted, pulled anchor and began to make my way out to sea. I hoisted the sails and cut the engine, there was no noise other that the gurgle of water as it whispered past the hull and the occasional flap of the sail as I glided out towards the channel. The boys on “Fishers Hornpipe” were out slightly ahead of me but I soon caught up with them. This is what I came here for, it was something very surreal and very beautiful, one of those moments that make it all worthwhile. I thought of getting the camera and getting some shots, but decided against it, all I had to do was sit and enjoy and slowly wake up as the scene unfolded before me.
It wasn’t long before I started to run into the current that runs up from the south and tried to stick close to the shore, heading south west to trying to stay out of the worst of it. The sun rose with the moon still hanging proud in the sky and Kuhela seemed to be loving the fact that she was sailing again and made pretty good progress against the current. A few hours later I looked back to see the sails of “Suricat” closing in on me, but heading further out to the east. They had not left till later in the morning but can make far greater speed being a catamaran. The current continued to build and I noticed “Suricat gibe and head really close in shore and was able to radio them and see what the current was doing in there, and was told it was a lot less. So I followed suit and after a quick jibe was heading straight for shore. It was amazing there was an actual line in the water, on one side the current and chop and on the other calm clear water, the dynamics of the amount of water movement here is amazing. I stayed close enough to shore to see people on the beach and found that I could gain an extra knot like this. Soon though it was time to make the turn, head for deeper water, and for Cozumel.
The wind had come up from the North East and was a good direction for a steady reach to where I was headed. It was a great feeling, being out there on my own, feeling comfortable with Kuhela, a good wind, and Cozumel slowly materializing on the horizon. I don’t know how to fully describe it, I had music playing and was standing down on in the cockpit and just found myself feeling like I was absorbing it all, the feel of the boat, lessons I have learnt, realizing that I had accomplished a part of what I had set out to do, cant really put my finger on it, but it was all of that and more. I went and lay on the bow and found that if I put my ear on the rail I could hear and feel the water moving beneath me. I didn’t speak and my mind just kind of drifted, but didn’t go very far as I was content.
Mentioned must be made of the new dish I invented for the trip though. I thought it would be a good idea to make a big Thai green curry the night before so I’d have food for the trip, and was really looking forward to it. Got everything going and fried up my spices and paste and veggies and then added my coconut milk that I’d bought in Mexico, that when it got interesting. Turns out it was coconut cream, like for mixing drinks and is pretty much like condensed milk. Suddenly I had Thai green desert. I still ate it for dinner and also a bit on the trip over, waste not want not, but it was sickenly sweet, not even pepper sauce could save it. Glad I only bought a couple cans of that and not the five or six I was going to.
I got in to the anchorage just before dark and found a sandy spot to drop the anchor but had to dive on it as the ground here is mostly shallow sand covering rock. Found a good spot and dragged the anchor over and there I was, first solo trip complete, at anchor of Cozumel, floating in some of the bluest water I have ever seen, Barbados had held that spot for me, until now. A cup of tea and relaxing in the cockpit was just the only way to end a day like that.
The boys on “Fishers Hornpipe” showed up later that night as they are a big bigger and slower and the Czech couple I met briefly in Cuba sailed in that afternoon as well. Was pretty tired and content and ready for bed. Great being anchored off a new spot and slept pretty well, except for the occasional swell that would roll though the anchorage every hour or so and set Kuhela bobbing about like we were at sea.
There’s not too much to Cozumel, as far as the town goes, its REALLY touristy and geared for the cruise shops that pull in every day, what it does have though is amazing diving. We took the dingy and went searching for a spot up to the north, as south is all national park, and jumped in to do a bit of spearing. The ground was pretty good and there were lots of juvenile fish around and I did see a good sized mangrove snapper disappear under a ledge but couldn’t find him again. Got a smaller snapper and enjoyed the blue water and checking out somewhere new. You know the water in clear when you get to the bottom thinking your in ten to twelve meters of water and suddenly the alarm set for eighteen on your watch starts going off. Awesome.
After a few days here it was time to move on. Didn’t really get to do too much diving as I’m still trying to make fairly quick time heading south, but will definitely be doing a bit more in the next few spots.[gallery link="file" ids="976,977,978,979,983,984,985,986,987,988,991"]