Monday December 23, 2012
Our plan for sleep before departure failed miserably. I don’t even know why we tried. I should have just said eff it and stuck with the Pepsi Jolt I bought at the grocery store since at least that way I would have had a few more hours to play around on my computer while we had internet, and a sugary treat to boot. Since we both happened to be up when the alarm would have gone off at 11:00, we decided not to postpone until midnight before leaving, originally giving us time to fully wake up and become alert, which we unfortunately still were at this point. I was a little worried that if we left too early we might get to Isla before the sun rose, but as far as we knew, we’d have to be traveling at average speeds of almost eight knots to make that happen. Not very likely.
Since we were still in the lee of the island for a few miles before rounding the north tip of Cozumel, we started with a double reefed main and decided to wait to see what conditions were really like before unfurling the headsail. As we motored out to the depths separating the island from the mainland and dodging any late night ferries, there was an obvious and sudden change in the air temperature. Rain was definitely on it’s way. We brought the radar up to see what was in store for us, only to see massive pink blobs headed our way. They were coming at us fast, but it also meant that they’d be passing by fast as well. This time I heeded Matt’s advice and took shelter under the dodger through the storms so I didn’t soak, but probably only because I was going to bed shortly and didn’t want to sleep in wet underwear. If it was daylight out though, I’m sure I would have kept my spot behind the wheel, eyes glued to the chart plotter, which rotates, getting soaked and telling myself “This is my place”. What’s wrong with me?
Once we had finally ditched our shelter of the island, the winds picked up from 10 to 25, although we had been expecting this. Turning off the engine we still cruised along at a swift 6.5 knots, and when I realized Matt was fine on his own up there, I retreated to get a few hours of sleep, my eyelids finally drooping. While going below to strip out of my harness, sweats, and foul weather coat, a realization occurred to me. I didn’t feel sick at all. Normally this routine has to be done with the utmost precision to make it as quick as possible and keep me from running to the sink to get sick. I usually throw myself on the bunk just before sickness hits, eventually sleeping it off until it’s time to wake for my next shift. This time, we rocked back and forth and I slowly stripped off my gear, used the head, and calmly walked toward my inviting bed. During my sleep I could hear Matt unfurl the headsail, which was nice because it felt like we had slowed down to about 3-4 knots. I was confused when I heard it rolled back in a short while later, but since I know what he’s doing up there I never question anything unless I hear a loud bang.
Since Matt had gotten no sleep in the night and I didn’t go down until 1 am, he was only able to keep his eyes open until 3 before coming to wake me for a shift. I asked him about the headsail and why he rolled it in, it felt like we were moving so slow. Then he pointed to the chart plotter, which only under a double reefed main, showed us currently going 7 knots. He said that with the headsail out we were doing over 9, and while it was quite comfortable, we would have arrived in Isla way too early. Everything was looking great on the course we were on, all I had to do was fall off the wind a little once we got to a certain point and then bring in the main sheet to compensate. He went down below, and I sunk into my sport-a-seat, my normal immobile position after just having gotten queasy again from now putting on my gear. Except, I felt fine. Maybe a little tired, sure, but not sick. I didn’t get it, I hadn’t used any patch, taken a pill, used a pressure band, or put in an ear plug. I didn’t know why I was feeling so fine, but decided to just enjoy the ride.
Throughout my shift I snacked on Cheetos that we picked up in Cozumel, sipped on Pepsi, and just generally enjoyed being on passage without feeling the least bit sick for once. When the turn came I subtracted the ten degrees and took a spin on the winch to get the main in. There was only one issue during my shift, where one of the Disney cruise ship seemed to make it their business to want to run me down. I didn’t get it, we were basically hugging the shore, yet the AIS was saying they were going to come within less than a mile of me. Of the five cruise ships headed down to Cozumel, they were the only ones that didn’t have a distance of at least five miles from us. I’d subtract a few more degrees, gain some distance, and then lose it because they changed course as well. I should have just called them up on VHF to see who on board had gone off their meds, but I finally got us more than a mile apart and took the red light of my headlamp to illuminate our sail in the dark. It seemed to do the trick of finally keeping them away, but the light shinning through our deadlights woke Matt up a little bit earlier than I was going to let him sleep.
Since he was regrettably awake now I tried to sneak down the stairs to sleep again, but was quickly called back up. We were getting close enough to Isla now that he wanted a second constant pair of eyes deciphering the million white buoys that lay out before us. We couldn’t match them all up with what was showing on our chart plotter, and only two whites were showing on our paper charts. Eventually we got ourselves sorted out, and with the sun starting to now rise, we could make out the island with it’s jagged cliffs to the south end, and the visual markers on our paper charts. As we crossed the space of water between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, Matt fell back into a slumber out in the cockpit while I made sure to keep all red buoys on our starboard side. Startling him awake as I turned on the engine to enter the harbor, we passed by the beaches and the few people on them who were either very early risers, or very late partiers.
Back when we were still in Guatemala and our friends on Skebenga had already made it up to Isla to pick up family members before bringing them down to Belize, we’d received an email from Elmari, detailing a good anchorage in the lagoon here, as well as the passwords to a marina’s wifi network in there. The two of us were ready to head directly into the lagoon this morning, instead of sitting with the fifteen or so other boats in the main harbor. Just as we were debating which spot between the two we should settle in, we saw a familiar dingy racing our way. It was Luki and Elmari! They were just on their way back to Skebenga after an early morning run and gave us a quick low down on the place. They were currently in the harbor, and told us we should anchor just behind them. While they shuttled off to their boat we quickly put our anchor down where they told us, and put Serendipity back in her regular at-anchor state.
Even though we were each running on two hours of sleep at this point, we couldn’t let the opportunity go by to do some proper catching up with our friends. Getting the dinghy in the water, we ferried over the short distance to see what they had been up to the past few weeks since leaving us behind at Tortugal. Climbing on board in a sleepless stupor, we gave big hugs and rehashed our last few weeks, glad to finally be among friends again.
*All photos above are of Cozumel