Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

April 27th, 2007 by: cheyenne

Church. Isla Mujeres Mexico

[Church virgin in the zocalo, Isla Mujeres.]

We spent only one day in Isla Contoy, mostly because with the new improved natural park restrictions one can only walk in a circle around oneself at a diameter of approximately 30 feet—that and the water was too murky to snorkel due to an algae bloom of a most vivid green —then we moved on to Isla Holbox. The island is pronounced like ‘ol-BOSCH;’ the “ol” part like “this ol’ dog” and the bosch really hard on the ‘sch’ part. We’ve been enjoying ourselves listening to the dudes on the radio trying to contact the Capitania del Puerto de OlboSCHHHH (he never answers).

The Boat Life has been pretty low key lately. We have continued to read an astounding number of books lately, but have slowed these last couple of days due to the fact that we’ve read nearly every book on board above ground, so to say, and would have to delve deep into the stuffy depths of our aft storage area to dig out new and unread fodder. New Unread Fodder includes: “Madame Bovary,” “Gravity’s Rainbow” (I have read this already, technically, yet it always counts among the unread), “The Origins of Postmodernism,” that Star Wars novel that someone gave us, “Caesar”—some historical fiction given to us by somebodyorother, oh there are others but you can only imagine. I’m likely to pull out the Madame Bovary next. I’ve been rereading Zorro in Spanish (by Isabel Allende, all good solid swashbuckling fun, I say). I like Isabel Allende in Spanish because I hardly have to look up words ever. Words I don’t know I guess at or just skip over yet I feel like I have pretty good comprehension. Foreign books are too hard to read if you have to look up every tenth word. Zorro is fast-paced and there are lots of heaving breasts and slashing sabers.

Isla Holbox has internet, which is a grand thing, and we were able to check our meager weather sources (NOAA and “buoyweather,” which pretty much sucks most of the time). There are northers coming all the time it seems for the “off season” as they say. So, not much that we can do except hang out here until our hair turns gray or else just pull anchor and head north across 700 miles of Gulf sea.

The plan this day is to head for Arrecife Alacran, north of here by around 150 miles or so, anchor for the night, do some snorkeling if it’s clear, then head on when we get a weather window (when-EV). Mileage should be around 550 or something like this and we should have at least a three or four day weather forecast so that if we hit anything unexpected (a norther—and probably more or less expected at that), we can alter course to the west and aim for Port Isabel, where the intercoastal waterway starts. We still have some minutes on our sat phone so if we can hold still enough out there in the gulf to get a signal, we can post our position and get some email. I’m a little nervous since this will be the largest crossing I’ve ever done but Joshua has done it a bunch of times. It doesn’t help that in all the times he’s crossed he’s never made it without a (harmless) “SCREAMING norther” coming through.

As a matter of fact, one just went by just now. A little one, but very squally. Heavy cloud cover, 20 knots wind max but only lasting a few hours. Then hardly nothing. I wonder if that’s all there is? I was hoping for a nice clean week-long window on that weather so we could head for Alacran but then just have such great sailing that we’d divert and go straight for Texas (and make it in record time, etc. blahblah) but now I’m thinking I’d feel much better if we went the short step before the big one and stopped at Alacran. Make cooked food. Maybe we can build a house. Compose epic novels. Raise a family.

2 Comments on “Crossing the Gulf of Mexico”

  1. Bozo says:

    Head for Florida ? Beam reach.

  2. Peg Bowden says:

    So—how can you control your boat if the rudder is broken and sort of gerry-rigged together?? How can you make a 550 mile sail with a flip floppy rudder? Let me know as soon as you hit terra firma, as you’ve got me nervous about this crossing. yo mama, Peg

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell