|Diva, our home away from home|
|The water was about a foot deep here.|
|"Isn't this cool?"|
|Capturing this starfish took several attempts - there was a fast current which kept moving the dingy as I was trying to take a picture.|
|Tropical sunset #1|
|This is what it looked like when we were sailing. There were actually supposed to be dolphins in this picture, but they moved!|
We arrived at Cayo Breton and anchored just behind this lighthouse. The entrance to this anchorage was very shallow, and at one point our depth gauge read 0 meters. I was piloting, so I just gave up watching it and tried to steer to course, but Captain Phil had to remember to breath. It was at this point that we re-named the depth gauge to the "anxiety meter," since it has an alarm that goes off when there is less than 1.5 meters under the keel, and if you're not already nervous about getting stuck, the incessant beeping is enough to make you anxious.
|Sunset #2: You can't see them, but there were more bugs at this anchorage, since we were so close to the mangroves. Little bitey ones, plus bigger ones that liked our lights.|
Funny story about this anchorage: In the middle of the night, Captain Phil got up to pee, and discovered that the boat had turned around 180 degrees, even though the wind was still blowing from the east, and was lying stern to wind, which really isn't supposed to happen (boats always swing themselves bow to wind if anchored off the front.) The anchor line was slack, but it appeared to be wrapped around the keel. I stuck my head up to look, because I wasn't sure I believed him given that it was the middle of the night. We decided that we couldn't do anything in the dark, but we had a long hour or two lying awake, trying to figure out what had happened, and how on earth we were going to fix it.
At first light, Captain Phil got up again to take a look, and Diva had righted herself and was lying as she should, bow to wind, anchor still holding us in place. If I hadn't seen it in the middle of the night myself, I would have said that Captain Phil had dreamed the whole thing!
After much debating over what had happened, we think it was this - there was a stiff tidal current in the same direction as the wind when we went to bed. When the wind dropped, and the tidal current reversed, going out, we think the boat was pushed forward to a shallow spot, where the keel got stuck in the mud, causing the boat to turn on its keel when the wind rose again, shifting it around. Then, when the tide came back in, the boat unstuck itself. Either that or evil Cuban gremlins that live in the mangroves were playing tricks on us. The tide only shifts a foot or so here, usually not enough to worry about, but I guess that was enough for us!
|Sandy beach at Cayos Cuervos|
|Trusty "likkle boat"|
|Hanging about in the shallows|
The water was crystal clear and we saw lots of starfish, sea urchins, crabs and other cool things. We saw tracks in the sand that looked like they might be sea turtles. Phil also saw a clam that was as big as my hand. He had fun waving his had over it, so that it closed up, then removing his hand, so it opened up again with its little clam tongues sticking out to catch things, then waving his hand again, repeating this all over again.
|Relaxing on our "day off"|
|Tropical sunset #3 - Phil made me stop taking sunset pictures after this. He said we had enough - really, who can have enough sunset pictures?|
It took us 42 hours to get home. For the most part, it was great sailing, but the last 6 hours getting into Montego Bay, we had strong winds and 8-10 foot seas, which was really uncomfortable. It was especially frustrating because we could see the lights of Montego Bay, but we just couldn't get there fast enough!
Overall, the trip was a great adventure. We learned lots about the boat, about navigating through cays, about what we should have brought and what we didn't need, and other useful bits and pieces.
So far, the question I've been most frequently asked since we got back is, "Would you do it again?" and the answer is, "Yes!"
In fact, we're going to Panama in May and are looking for crew for that trip - you interested?