It was a nice sunny day in the anchorage, certainly the lull before the storm. The winds and seas picked up at dusk. Winds gusting over 25 knots, the mangroves stopped the big waves which were 5-8’ in open water, but it was still rolly and so cold out came the blanket.
It is rolly, but the winds are reduced. It is still very cold and calls for socks and fleece until the sun comes out properly.
Another cold start to the day and it remained overcast. I soldered one terminal on the battery tester and then tried to wire in the led light strips, but gave up due to lack of proper connectors and ability. I was aiming to use the current light as a switch and take the bulb out, or wire in a switch to give me the choice of halogen or led, white or red. The project was far too ambitious for an anchorage with nobody to ask for advice.
I got out the parts to change the bearings on the wind generator alternator, one look at the instructions confirmed that this was not something to be done in an anchorage either.
The weather is still not looking good to go anywhere for a day or so, the main problem being the wave heights, although we are protected behind the mangroves. The wind keeps going West, which would be great for the journey, but has not been forecast and it is the direction there is no protection for here.
The 6pm marine weather forecast by the Belize Port Authority did not happen.
The swell came straight in for most of the night and was noisy and uncomfortable.
The Port Authority did give a 6am forecast: wet, windy and waves, not forgetting cold.
HO are doing the NW Caribbean Net this morning, so I should be able to hear their half of the transmission on my SSB receiver.
It was 0900 before we left the anchorage, normally I would have left at first light, but as this was going to be an over-night trip it did not seem to matter. We took the short cut out of the anchorage, very slowly. Then we followed the big ship channel. Another boat, Pako, which is shallow draft and knows where it is going, left after us and beat us to the main channel. They went across the 12’ bank, which is 12’, except for the rocks and where it is not 12’. The guide did not suggest this and we took the long windy way. I had expected this to take 2 hours, but it took 3 and was sailing all the way. I kept the engine on tickover to charge up the batteries and just in case. Until I get a new stop cable I have to go indoors and push the lever on the engine, so I am less inclined to switch it off for short intervals.
The winds were in the high teens and the swell was 4-6’ and uncomfortable. The 1 knot current which we had previously had with us did not make an appearance, although we did get up to ½ knot by the evening.
It was close hauled all the way, which is not the fastest or most comfortable point of sail. I was hoping to make it past the end of the Turneffe Reef on one tack and before dark. Neither of those was possible.
The wind clocked East and I had to tack away and back 3 times. Tiring and frustrating.
0000 the wind was light and variable and I turned on the engine to make sure I could clear the reef, which I could not see in the dark and did not want to trust electronic charts at the very end.
0300 I could see Liberty of the Seas and Carib Navigator on the AIS heading towards me. I contacted Liberty to give them my position and they found me on the radar. This took a while, I must have been a very small dot. I did not want the one big ship moving out of the way of the other one without knowing I was there. I have used AIS to radio many ships, but this was my first large cruise ship, which was something I wanted to do.
I spoke to Homers’ Odyssey every 3 hours, but at 0330 lost the radio connection.
Very pleased to see daylight, but with the wind angle and the swell I had only made good about 50 miles. A shower and a change of clothes makes me feel better, even at this angle, and it is sunny.
The winds have dropped to mid teens and the swell is down, but still significant. I have ½ knot of current with me.
At 0900 I had a huge pod of dolphins, dozens and dozens curving out from the waves behind me and then playing alongside the boat.
I was doing well, but the winds start to clock round from NW to N and NE and I am going to have to tack soon to get along the inside of the Chinchorro Bank is on my right, but at least I am in Mexican waters.
I don’t know where I will get to stop, so I am sending this with my noon position.