Archive for the 'where the hell are we?' Category

Re-insertion into America

Friday, May 4th, 2007

hand painted welcome sign

At 4am this morning, we maneuvered ourselves into the ship channel, rolling with the large swell and dodging speeding sport fishers, strange towering oil-related machine-barge things, and a shrimper who was actually shrimping right in the middle of the channel. Where the hell were we anyway?

Once inside, I navigated by flashlight along the intercoastal channel until it got light enough to actually see the marker barrels and burnt-out nav lights (so lame!) and Joshua made coffee and Spanish tortilla for breakfast. We got to Key Allegro in Rockport (where Joshua’s grandfather, Tucker, lives) at 7:30am. He had no way of knowing what time we would arrive or if we anchored inside someplace off the intercoastal before heading in and we tried to call him using the last single minute of time on our Sat-phone, but it wouldn’t connect. We decided we could just anchor outside Key Allegro and row the bote up to his house but then we noticed that he was right there standing on his porch, waving his arms at us!

So we motored up the canal and not only is Tucker waiting with camera in hand, but so is Bill (Joshua’s uncle) and a big closed-cell foam “Welkum” hanging from the deck. (Sniff sniff!)

The boat is just quietly tied up right in front of the house and we are both sort of dazed—even though it took painfully long to get across that damned gulf, our arrival feels very sudden and time-warpy. The boat is an absolute mess inside (outside too, but the inside mess is physically painful) with days-old dirty dishes clogging the sink, cookie crumbs and coffee splashes in the cockpit, salt water crusting everything from spray that *somehow* got inside, bilges and everything in them drenched from salt water, wet foul weather gear hanging from every hook, dirty laundry, things that fell off their shelves on the floor…

searunner 31 at the dock

We’ll deal with that all tomorrow. After we get some sleep.

Mansfield Cut

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Tree. Isla Providencia, Colombia

[Isla Providencia, Colombia]

We arrived at Mansfield Cut this afternoon around 2 only to find it closed out by surf. I knew it was a small channel but it hadn’t occurred to me and I’m glad we arrived in the day when we could see the situation clearly. Cheyenne was not happy. Our choices were; head back south 30 miles to Port Isabel or go on 75 miles to Port Aransas. A strong current is running North along the coast so our decision was to head North down current, down wind, to Port Aransas. We had a thunderstorm last night that was really something. It only hammered on us for an hour and a half but we both think it was the worst storm we’ve seen on the TimeMachine. Luckily, I was on watch and the sails were already down. I desperately wanted some sail to help control the boat, but the hell if I was going to go up on the fore deck and try hank on the storm jib. It was all I could do to hang on while being bludgeoned by the awning as it tore itself to streamers. Cheyenne was not happy. I’ll let her tell the full story later.

Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

fishing nets. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

[Isla Mujeres, Mexico]

We’re about 100 nautical miles east of Port Isabel. 26 degrees 05 minutes North, 95 degrees 21 minutes West. Our rudder bracket failed again this morning so we have it lashed on and are making way under much reduced sail. Waves are 4-6 ft but we’ve slowed enough to not be surfing. Our goal was Port Aransas but we’ve altered course to Mansfield Cut which is 30 miles closer. From there we will proceed up the intercoastal in protected waters. We haven’t run the motor since arriving in Isla Mujeres so we still have full fuel tanks. Mansfield Cut is within motoring range and if worse comes to worse we can motor in steering with the outboard.

Arrecife Alacran

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Winds were variable in both speed and direction for our trip to Arrecife Alacran. It took us so long to pick our way out of Isla Holbox (murky water and SHALLOW), we didn’t think we would make it to the reef before late afternoon when the sun angle would be unfavorable for picking through coral heads but the way in to Alacran turned out to be a piece of cake. There are many lighthouses on many of the keys and quite a sizeable naval installation (they never came out to visit us though and we couldn’t hail them on the radio). Lighted green and red buoys mark the main channel into the southern anchorage of the reef but there is sandy shoaling off the southwest edge, off Isla Pajaros, and we just anchored there rather than go inside. The water is clear and the place looks cool.

Shortly after we got settled, a tiny bird settled on our rudder outside our settee window. We took pictures and got on with our lives but then he moved to the edge of the open window and looked like he might actually come inside. I nudged a tupperware lid with some water near him; he seemed mostly unconcerned by the presence of the large mammals. Then he hopped inside and explored the window shelf area. After about ten minutes of initial shyness, he was hopping and flying all over the inside of the boat, exploring many of the cubby holes, landing on rims of dishes in the galley, Joshua’s arm, my book, etc. We had a field day taking pictures of the little guy; I’ll post some when we get where there is internet. Every time he took a sip of water, he would shudder and fling it all over the cabin. He explored the cockpit and cubbies there and then moved on into the foreward cabin for a while, then came back for a few more laps of the aft cabin. After a few hours, around sunset, he took off.

We would like to hang out a day here at the reef and do some exploring but we just checked the NOAA weather and there’s something brewing over Texas later this week with winds increasing; therefore, we will pull anchor and leave as soon as we get coffee made.

Salt Fish

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

drying salt fish. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

We left Isla Mujeres on the 24th for the short trip up to Isla Contoy. Inside the reef was pretty hairy. Not much protection from the eastern swell and very very shallow and somewhat murky water. We luffed the sails to slow down and picked our way through, but finally dropped anchor in the lee of the island off of a rocky beach. It wasn’t long before the guardaparque came by and told us to move. It turns out you can only stop at the island off the park station to take one of their moorings. After moving to a mooring, we went ashore to pay the park fee ($4 per person per day) then explored the nature trails. This took all of an hour and we spent some time talking to the park ranger before heading back to the boat. It’s a nice park, but it’s too bad you are very restricted in exploring it.

In the morning we couldn’t think of any reason to stay since we’d already seen all the trails so we dropped the mooring and headed for Isla Holbox. Everyone told us that “Isla Holbox is like Isla Mujeres 30 years ago” which is probably true. Except for internet cafes and lots of motorized golf carts, the streets are still sand and the atmosphere is low key and sleepy. We hope to find the flamingos.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell