After a couple weeks at Marina Paraiso up in Isla Mujeres, we set sail early Sunday morning for a little trip of just under 60 nautical miles to Edward Blair's more permanent marina, Puerto Aventuras. It was a great day for sailing, heading mostly wing-on-wing all day, although the winds could have been a bit stronger... until they were too strong.
An isolated shower we saw on the shoreline near Punta Maroma formed into a real storm that didn't catch us off-guard. We reefed early and still heeled almost 30° before bringing the genoa in. If you know the area, the Yucatan Channel is a current that runs strong and to the north, the opposite direction we wanted to go. It cuts in close to Punta Maroma and is almost impossible to avoid it there without cutting too close to shore.
On a port tack run, the wind lifted, coming around our stern, jibing and became a starboard header putting us into a beam reach. Good thing we were sailing with a preventer put out off the boom. It happened fast and I didn't have time to check our anemometer but the wind felt like it was gusting above 25 knots as we rode up, cutting through peaks and surfing down the backs. The storm didn't last long, but it was the most fun we had all day.
To make good time and fit the plan to arrive with some daylight we motor sailed the entire way at points making over 7 knots on our 32' Morgan and an estimated time that would get us in just before sunset to a new marina with a relatively small mouth, surrounded by rocky points.
As things go with schedules and sailing, the wind had all but completely died some ten or twenty minutes prior, and for a still unknown reason our engine shut down close to a rocky shore directly in front of the mouth of a giant commercial shipping marina.
A large container ship docked to our starboard and another commercial ship coming out. The wind had died. We pointed away from shore to catch a bit of a broad reach as the sails luffed, slightly pulling us away from shore and into the Yucatan Channel.
After jumping down into the cabin as fast as I could, checking the Racor, water strainer, fuel tank and everything I could on the engine in a rush, there was nothing I could immediately see. We thought even though it didn't grind to a halt that it could be something in the prop. After all, it wasn't two weeks ago that we ground out the engine wrapping our prop over one of hundreds of lobster traps off the coast of Key West in the pitch black. I hung off the back of the boat then and cut us free. I threw the remaining line down to the depths of hell.
Back to present, I grab my mask and tie a bowline as quick as I can around my waist and Katy cleats me off to the stern. We are still in front of the mouth of this shipping channel and dock. I dip into the sea, tied to the boat knowing that line had better hold. We're in a current with no power and two sails that won't do much good in these conditions. Nothing in the prop. After five or six attempts, the engine starts but does sound like it needs a little more throttle to get to the same power it did at lower RPMs. I throttle it in neutral, bring it back, throttle it in forward, bring it back, throttle it in reverse. The Yanmar kicks itself back into gear and we're starting to move from negative knots back up to 3, 4, then 5 as a ship passes us closely just as the engine begins to work again. There is no way we're making it to this new marina by sunset. Get me a beer.
We made it to Puerto Aventuras just after dark and our good friends Mack and Lisa, who are true blue, whipped out of the marina in their Zodiac and guided us in through the narrow channel into a temporary slip in front of Mack's 72' yacht, Piratas de Tejas (Pirates of Texas). After tying up from a trip like that, you know drinks are the first item on the agenda.
Mack runs a charter company down here in the Mayan Riviera, h2Oh! Sun Cruises. Hands down they have the best tours in the Mayan Riviera if you're looking for a day at sea. Whether it's with a group, private, fishing, snorkelling or whatever you please, they're your best option.
Mack has been a great friend to us, and while we were away, helped set us up with the perfect slip in Puerto Aventuras, with close access right to sea. We've been travelling almost non-stop since April or May of this year, so it felt good to get back to somewhere familiar, see friends and enjoy cold drinks and food together.
At least for now we'll get three days of normalcy before heading off to Mexico City on a work trip for our beer distribution business, Casa Barriles, followed immediately by a visit to see family up and Providence and then catch a show with Future Islands and The National in Boston followed by a Jays game at Fenway.
It's good to be home in Mexico. If even only for a moment.