All to soon it was time to head to the next spot, actually Cozumel was cool, but with the rolling in the anchorage and good weather for the next few days, I felt the need to move on, and decided that I would leave very early the next morning. I spoke with the Boys and we decided to check out of Mexico here in Cozumel, which means we can still stop in spots along the way, but cant really go ashore. The checking out process involved a fair bit of getting sent here and then there only to be told to go back there, but on the whole the authorities and the harbor master were pretty helpful and we had all the paperwork done in a few hours.
Its funny, but I felt more nervous about this next leg than the first, I don’t know why, I just did. After all the paperwork was done I got back to the boat around five o’ clock and got things ready to put to sea again. I like to have some time to organize and get in the right headspace for sailing, and this is getting easier as I get accustomed to the routine. Josef, the Czech guy who’s sailing with his family, and who had me over for dinner the other night came over to have a look at my charts and I was able to pass on a few charts that I had double of and a cruising guide for Mexico that I had found in marathon, it’s a great feeling to be able to help people that are out here following similar, and was pretty humbling to see how grateful he was for it. Everyone I have met here on this trip is going out and following their dreams and to hear the different stories are pretty inspiring and I respect them a lot for it.
At one the next morning my alarm went off and after a cup of coffee I set about pulling anchor and heading down the coast of Cozumel. The forecast the last few days has been pretty light wind but it’s been blowing 12-15 knots, which would have been great for sailing. Unfortunately though, they finally got it right and there was not a breath of wind as I motored down the coast. Again the current is a factor here and by staying close to shore could gain and extra knot. Soon enough though I was heading out to sea and when the sun rose there was no land in sight. The wind still had not materialized and then noise of the engine certainly takes away from the serenity and experience of it all, but at least I am out on the water.
I found myself in a funny mood, slightly nervous and unsure of myself and decided to stop and take a swim to clear my head and get a dose of salt-water medicine, which is one plus about having no wind. For anyone who has never had the opportunity to swim in 1000 ft. of water, alone, with no one and no land In sight, I highly recommend it. I got back on deck in a totally different mood and found myself talking aloud a lot and shouting things at the top of my lungs, just to hear my own voice and to put them out there I guess. Was kind of therapeutic in a way, either that or I've lost it. I don’t mind my own company, which is a good thing I guess, and this time alone is a good thing I think.
Slowly land formed on the horizon and soon enough I was at the pass through the reef and into the bay. Where I had chosen to anchor was off the light at Punta Allen and tucked in behind the reef, which would block the ocean swell. In short time my anchor touched down in a large sandy patch and there I was, not another boat in sight, blue water and a small fishing town about a mile further up the coast. This, in some way, is what I had come to find, a place where it was just me and I could sit with my thoughts. I spent the afternoon swimming and had a cup of tea in the cockpit watching the sunset. Suricat, sailed by a bit later, but were heading to another anchorage, as much as it would have been great to catch up, I did enjoy the feeling of being alone. Tired, relaxed and in a reflective mood I headed to bed that night to catch up some sleep.
The next morning the boys on fishers hornpipe showed up and we headed out for a dive. No shortage of god ground and the visibility was around 20M, so wasn’t long before we had a few fish and lobsters on board for dinner. Its been great to get a chance to dive some of these more remote spots and would love to come back to explore them more extensively. Cooked up a big feed of fish curry with lobster starters and hung out with the boys while we decided what our next move should be. I had spoken to the guy I'm getting my weather from and he said that there would be string winds from Sunday night through most of next week. So after thinking it through we decided to leave the next day for Belize.
This trip would be a bit longer than the other solo trips I've done so far, at about 120NM or around 36 hours, but I felt OK about it. So far on this journey every challenge has come about just in its right time and even though they are still a challenge I try to take things one step at a time. What did bother me though was the prospect of the forecast weather and the fact that from here most of the entrances are through small passes in the reef and are unlit, not something you want to do when its windy or in the dark. I very seriously considered waiting it out in Ascension, but decided in the end to go and we pulled anchor and headed off at around 7 A.M. the next morning.
One thing that has been pretty annoying, but unfortunately necessary, is the amount of motor sailing I've had to do. There is a totally different feel making your way along using the wind alone and listening to the wind in the sails and the water slapping against the hull, than there is to being assaulted by the throbbing sound of a diesel engine. Fortunately though the wind came up a bit son after lunch and I was able to put the sails up in a nice fifteen not southeasterly breeze. This would have been totally relaxing and a great time lay down and get some rest for the night ahead, except for the fact that just after I unfurled the last sail the engine dropped speed and died. Not good. I am still not fully sure of why it happened but suspect that the pump which runs my diesel through the filters to clean it stopped working and caused the engine to run out of fuel, I was able to bypass the system and bleed the engine through and get it running again. Another thing to add to the list, but at least I got it working again.
The day slowly came to a close and I was able to have a shower, after sweating it out in the engine room, cook up some tasty dhal and rice and sit in the cockpit looking at yet another amazing sunset. It was a pretty wonderful feeling as it slowly dawned on me the many things I have accomplished that were on my list. At some points I wondered if the only reason I wanted someone else with me is because I was unsure of it I could pull it off by myself, but by now I know I can. Thing is though that knowing this has been a bit of a revelation in that, yes I do still want to share this, and other experiences, with people, but not just anyone. And until then I can do it on my own.
I slept in twenty-minute blocks during the night and would set my alarm and have a look around and plot my position before lying down again. I slept sometimes inside but also out in the cockpit under the stars, and with front row seats to the huge lightening storm off in the distance. Slowly, as the hours ticked by and the positions on the chart slowly made their way south, Kuhela and I head on towards another country and new adventures.
I’ll leave it there and fill you in on Belize in the next post, as this is getting kind of long. Things are going well though and this trip is exactly the challenge that I needed. Not everyone’s dreams are the same and we all challenge ourselves in different ways, but if your following your dreams and giving it a shot in whatever way you desire, then nothing but good can come from that, even if it is hard to see right away.
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