Monthly Archives: January 2014

What, still no Belize?

The weather just won’t cut us some slack. We took off from Bahia de la Asencion in a pouring rain. Knowing it wasn’t going to be perfect weather, but expecting it to be tolerable. We just wanted to get to Belize We’re all tired of getting beat up by the strong winds and big seas that we’ve been dealing with since we left Key West. About 25 miles south is Bahia de la Espirito Santo. It’s pretty much the last place to duck in and anchor protected from the weather for the next 100 miles to Belize. For fear of a mutiny, I reluctantly (not really) altered course for here to wait for calmer weather. Unfortunately that’s not expected for a few days. We’ll wait.
Because we have not officially checked into Mexico, we can not get off the boat. Not that there is anything here but a small Mayan village on the other side of the bay, but solid ground does sound appealing. So Belize will have to wait for a break in the weather, because nobody on Stray Catz are anxious to head back out to sea.

Not yet to Belize

Ok, yes, we were supposed to be in Belize by now. Not due to a navigational error this time, we are in Mexico. About midnight Saturday night we got hit by an unexpected gale and it was nasty. We were able to get the genoa stowed, but not before the sheet smashed a solar panel. The winds were blowing about 45kts and there was pelting rain. With a double reefed main(no,that’s not something you smoke) we hove to, which means we basically don’t go anywhere. With the strong winds and current we still made about 5 miles by morning. The waves continued to build and by morning we had 12 foot seas. When we next were able to get the weather we found out there were at least 3 more days of heavy wind and seas. We were only about 36 hours from Belize. Because of the coral reefs one should enter with the sun high and small seas. We decided it would not be prudent to enter in the rough conditions and standing off for an extra 24 hours or more is crazy. That is when we changed course and headed to Cozumel. By Sunday night we were anchored off the coast of Isla de Cozumel. On Monday morning I made a few repairs and we motored around to San Miquel to clear in. By the time we started to launch the dinghy it started to rain. It never got better. Prepared to stay on the boat and check in in the morning we kicked back only to have the winds continue to pick up. The anchorage is unprotected from the increasing north winds and this was causing an extremely bumpy anchorage. The waves through the anchorage actually increased to over 4′. At around 2130 the anchor bridle snapped in the 35kt winds and 4-5′ seas. We re-rigged it, but it was just too much for our ground tackle. We aren’t really sure how strong the wind was, but in the end the rode snapped, the cleat snapped in half and our anchor bent. So around 2300, before we lost the anchor, we raised it and took off down wind to try and ride out the storm. I’m sure it was a sight to behold with Anna and I in our pajamas and Kylan in his boxer shorts. Down wind we had a way better ride in the 40kt winds and 12 foot seas. We picked out an anchorage about 60 miles down the road that is protected from the north winds and geared up for the ride.
After all that we can’t even say we’ve been to Cozumel. We’ve been there, yet never set foot there. Kind of like landing at the airport and not getting off the plane.
Here we are tucked in behind Culebra Cays waiting out this storm at least through tomorrow. We are only an overnight ride to San Pedro, Belize so we should be there by Friday. We are all very excited about getting somewhere where we can get off the boat. As it turns out, we have not touched solid ground all year.

Update enroute

Here is the latest; We are currently in the Caribbean Sea somewhere between Cuba and Belize. 20.42N/85.36W if you want to know exactly. The trip has not been uneventful as hoped. As predicted the weather was not good from about midnight Thursday till about noon today. Then the strong 25-35 knot winds and 12 foot seas finally subsided. Not fun. Now we have continuous rain, but the winds a good 15-20 and seas only about 7 feet. Auto pilot quit for a bit, but is currently working. It looks like we will get into Belize on Monday.
We came within 5 miles of Cuba last night. In fact I was hoping to duck in behind the western point to block the wind and waves, but it didn’t really work. We’re more than half way. Yay!