Day 3 and 4 come to an end! and now Father’s Day……
We made it to a safe harbor a few days before I thought. Still, these long days and nights at sea are taking a toll on me. What a difference it is from being a weekend yachtsman to being a real first mate!
Well Jorge, as days 3 & 4 come to an end I find myself sitting on the boat docked in Marina Amada in Cancun Mexico wondering how to put this adventure, that sometimes feels like an ordeal, in perspective. Having all these duties actually helps to break up the monotony. While at sea it goes from beautiful to scary to peaceful to agonizing – all in a moments notice!
As I mentioned to you in my prior email, we left Wednesday evening from Miami towards our first stop Key West, Florida. After navigating 150 miles at a speed of 7 knots, we arrived Thursday afternoon at 5:00pm at Conch Harbor Marina located in downtown Key West. The captain checked the upcoming marine forecast and determined that it was best for us to leave for Cancun as soon as possible. After going to Home Depot & Winn Dixie we had dinner, and decided to sleep a few hours before leaving for Cancun. At 2:00am we fired up the generator & engines and started our 360 mile journey to Cancun.
Being a prior boat owner and an avid angler I have traveled long distances before, but nothing like this and at night. As we headed out to sea you could not see 5 feet in front of you! We depended solely on the navigation system and I continue to grow in my faith on our Lord!
As morning broke on Friday, on our starboard side of the boat (for those non-boaters, the right side) we had the Dry Tortugas, and on the port side (left side) of the boat the island of Cuba was in the distance. We chugged along at a speed of 7 knots and the island of Cuba was there right next to us. I wondered wether we would find some poor souls on a rickety boat or inner tube trying to leave that forsaken island but never did. We did enjoy nature though as we saw bottle nose dolphins and huge sea turtles accompanying us on our journey!
We took turns at the helm doing 2 hour shifts. As I mentioned before, this helps break up the monotony of a long trip. As Saturday morning broke it dawned on me that we were running out of food on the boat & our water supply was running low. Fortunately, we caught a dolphin that weighed approximately 20 pounds. We immediately filleted the dolphin and prepared ceviche. It was delicious.
As the captain predicted the bad weather appeared as we were finally approaching Cancun. The once calm Yucatan Canal was now getting sloppy & the winds picked up considerably. Remember this is a 37 foot boat! We tossed around and had more water in the boat than I would have liked..My prayer life has improved dramatically! This seemed to take an eternity. Fortunate for us, we were not far from the marina. After most 40 hours at sea, we reached Cancun.
We plan to stay at port Sunday and possibly Monday to allow the bad weather to pass us before we make the approximate 1,000 mile journey to the Panama Canal. Our itinerary has changed somewhat due to the fact that we will not have sufficient fuel to reach the island if San Andres as originally thought. This is due to the fact that our vessel is extremely slow and we can only carry 300 gallons of diesel fuel in the boat tanks, and additional 100 gallons in two (2) 50 gallon tanks in the boat’s cockpit.
After leaving Cancun, we will be stopping in Roatan, Honduras to refuel & spend the night before continuing to the island of San Andres of the coast of Columbia. This part of the trip is approximately 750 miles, which at the speed of our boat, it will us 5 days at sea! A little too much for me. Honestly I know this is a change of pace the Lord has presented me with but 5 days at sea! I am really going to need the brothers to pray for me! Roatan is approximately 300 miles from Cancun so before we leave on the 5 day trip we will spend about 2 getting to Roatan.
I am exhausted & tomorrow will be a tough day for me. Not only because it’s fathers day & it will be the first time without my daughters, but because I have to wash the boat, something I am not used to doing. When I had my boat, I paid someone to do that for me. In fact now I look back and remember thankfully that I used to treat my crew with respect and as part of the family… I know that is how they are treating me now as a lowly first mate! It is tiring and humbling but I do thank God for this opportunity he has presented me with.
Have a great & blessed fathers day and I will keep you updated on my trip through your blog. I have a new app making it easier for me to take pictures and will start doing that soon for your blog. Blessings to the brothers…. Manny