Last year Kodo had struggled to make the 25 miles to Cayo Largo in a day and so we left at 5pm to get through the reef in daylight. We could sail in the direction we wanted to go and the wind was not too strong. Something is wrong, why is the world being so helpful for a change? We slowed down all we could, but we could have been in to Cayo Largo by midnight.
I sailed up and down for 3 hours, but at 3am I settled for drifting. If that sounds comfortable, then let me assure you that it was not. I tried to rest in the cockpit, but the rolling made it impossible st keep on the seats, I was soon on the floor. It was easier to stay on the floor and even with cushions it was very uncomfortable. No danger of falling asleep. Since the kitchen timer went overboard I have been using the phone. It is very easy once you have set up an alarm for every half hour they just go off, one after the other. They go until you press dismiss. If you press snooze by mistake then in ten minutes it goes off again. After 72 hours with this throughout the dark 12 hours 3 times I hear the ringing constantly. The current was going East and the wind was going West, so I ended up 1.5 miles down by 6am when we set off for the marina. There is no point anchoring as you have to have the officials when you arrive and leave, it is easier to stay on the dock. Also the bad weather was nearly due. Xanadu were already there and left soon after we arrived.
The formalities were easy enough and then I managed to stay up until 6pm. 84 hours with 7 hours sleep is a bit hard going, so I slept well.
Homer’s Odyssey were on their way, direct to Cayo Largo from Mexico, but had an engine problem. A dive boat went out to help them in the last part. I had to rush up a batch of choc chip cookies for Stan.
The bad weather came in early and did not last very long. We went to lunch, half a chicken and chips 3CUC. I gave them the guided tour, one shop with nothing much in it, some tourist stalls and shops, the internet and the dive centre.
There are tarpon in the water by the bar with 3’ square glass squares in the decking and some of them are as long as I am tall, disconcerting.
Marsha Claire a boat that I met in Trinidad also came in. They leave their boat in Aruba, so I am going to ask my insurance broker if I would be covered there or Curacao. It is further than going back to Guatemala, but not as far as Trinidad.
Lots of boat chores this morning. Jean-Marc made 2 loaves and gave me one to cook. He cooked his in the BBQ as an experiment. In return I made 2 coconut pies and gave them one with lemon pie filling.
Stan got his engine working, well done amigo. I was going to pickle the watermaker as I have to keep running it to keep the membrane happy, but not making water to put in the tank. The water here is awful, very salty so I tested it – 800ppm. My tank water is 400ppm, because I filled up at Isla Mujeres, normally it is rainwater which I drink and is under 50ppm. I made 10 litres of water good enough to put in the tank and will keep doing this until I get to some good water.
It was very cold last night and this morning I boiled the kettle to get water for a shower and put on socks and my thick travel jumper. It should warm up soon when the sun comes up, but this wind is too cold.
This afternoon Jean-Marc went up the mast to check my steaming lights. It is only below the spreaders, so I could get there, but it is the up and down for what tools are needed and switching the lights on and off that makes this difficult. If that sounds like an excuse for not going up myself, you are quite right, but it is a genuine excuse. The problem was oxidation and sandpaper sorted the steaming light, which was the important one. The deck light still does not work, but that is not important for now. I can’t remember when I last used it.
I put 40 litres of diesel into tank 2 and paid for the jugs to be filled. You have to pay today and collect it tomorrow morning at 8am. The opening hours say 8 till 11, but if you aren’t there at 8 you don’t get it.
The food shop is the same, it has long opening hours with an hour for lunch, but you have to keep going back until they open. Not that there is a lot of food in there. They have lots of wine and alcohol and drinks, huge catering cans of peas, tomatoes, etc. and small portions of butter and marmalade. This island is purely tourist, diving and sunshine. What is the betting that this is acquired from the hotels.. They must have had a delivery because yesterday there were eggs and rolls and half a dozen fruit and veg items that you could order. I just bought eggs and some of the portions of butter.
Opening times are long and even the bank was open Sunday morning. Cuba is a socialist state, but they have no problem with churches and I saw nuns in Isla Gerona with pretty blue trim to their white habits.
This morning Stan came over to look at my shaft problem. The drip I can deal with, I have cut a section of hoseclip which I can slip under the clamp, to take up a little extra space and make it grip better; time will tell. After initial investigations by a Canadian, a French Canadian and a Belgian, it is considered to be an engine mount in which the rubber is disintegrating. I would suggest the back port one as there is black dust there. The engine is not out of alignment with the shaft, but the uneven mounts are causing the engine to vibrate. The only good news is that at higher engine revs this is eliminated, just at idle and low revs. So try to use the engine as little as possible and get into higher revs as soon as possible when using it. To replace the engine mounts requires, 1 new engine mounts, 2 disassemble the shaft and lift up the engine to remove the old and replace with new mounts, 3 reassemble and realign the engine.. I do not want to do this here, primarily because of waiting for the mounts.
This afternoon we went on the little train, that runs on the road between resorts. We had an hour driving up the island, stopping to see the beach at the other end. White sand and surf you would not venture into.