21:14.800N 086:44.600W Isla Mujeres Mexico
The missing month - When I was feeling decidedly low I phoned a sailor in the UK and asked for help to get to US. I waited for him to arrive on 9 December, but he thought it better to go via the Windward Passage. 10th we left heading back the 100 miles into wind and current. 16th arrived back in Port Antonio (via a very nice anchorage in Cuba for a few hours). I cannot motor at enough speed to guarantee getting to the WW Passage when there was a calm. Set off back to Montego Bay, crew back on the plane and back to Plan A.
28 December – checked out and left at 1.30. Had a message to ring Steve re potential bad weather, but couldn’t raise him on the sat phone, so decided to pull into Lucea to anchor for the night and have a good night’s sleep.
29 December – no problem with weather so left in the morning. The wind was above the 15-10 kts forecast, 20-25 for the day and 25-30 in the evening; starting to reduce after midnight.
30 December – wind still 20 kts
31 December – decided not to stop at Grand Cayman, continuing to Mexico. Wind 10-15 so not fast sailing and not suitable for motor sailing.
1 January 2016 - Had to give up and turn the motor on in the early hours. The engine still had instances of fuel starvation surging, which was worrying. By the morning the wind was light and in the right direction to allow full sails to go up and manage 4 knots. By the evening the wind died and I had to revert to the motor.
2 January – the same pattern of full sail early and then motor sailing 100 miles to go.
3 January – no wind, now motoring. 75 miles out a Cuban motor boat with 3 huge outboards came by, the first humans I had seen in nearly a week. Other than that I only had a large number of dolphins for over an hour. The engine was beautifully behaved, although it was on constantly for over 30 hours. I was getting stressed because I was so close, but worried I would not get in before dark. Going across the current I was down to below 2 knots.
Isla Mujeres – finally! I knew the holding was not good, but was too late to get into a marina. I anchored at 6.30 and at midnight I dragged. Trying to avoid the shallows and other boats and anchor in 28 knots of wind in the dark was no fun and quite worrying. I anchored in 5’ of water, with shallows behind and on each side. In the morning I went into a marina for the check in process and two days later I moved into a dock in the lagoon – shallow but sheltered. Time to relax.