Saturday, May 25, 2013

Arrival in Isla Mujeres


Whispering Jesse in her slip at El Milagro Marina for sunset
If you were following the Spots, you know we arrived in Isla Mujeres on Wednesday evening. Whispering Jesse is now safely slipped at the El Milagro Marina, and Nan and I are adjusting to our new life here on the island. Jack flew home yesterday, Jim is flying home on Monday, and Mike is staying on until June 3.

Within sight of the island on Wednesday afternoon, I said to Jack, "I can't believe what an uneventful trip this has been." I should have knocked on wood because a few miles later, the diesel engine, which we had been running to make headway against the Yucatan Channel's 3.5-knot current, suddenly changed its tune from a steady chug-chug to a high-pitched whine. I throttled back immediately, shifted to neutral, and then stopped the engine. We already had our stay sail out so we could continue making slow headway. Based on the sound, we all thought it had to be a problem with the drive train. Mike went over the side and confirmed that the propeller had not fallen off. We added diesel to the fuel tank from a jerry can in case we were wrong about the drive train. But when we restarted the engine and put it into gear, nothing really happened. The whine was gone, but the propeller was not spinning. With no hope of engine power, we put up the main sail and were able to achieve about three knots. We were close enough to Isla Mujeres by then to pick up a one-bar cell phone signal, so I texted Nan to let her know what was happening. She had Jaime and Julio, the El Milagro Marina guys, contact us on the VHF radio to arrange a tow. By the time we reached the Avalon Reef Hotel at the northeast corner of the island, they were waiting for us in their panga. We continued sailing to the northwest corner, turned into the wind to drop the sails, and took a line for the tow. Julio had us raft up to the panga just before we reached the marina, and he guided us into a slip, where Nan was waiting with open arms. The twelve-day sail from Savannah was over.

Now I'm sitting under a palapa waiting for the mechanic. He came by yesterday evening and determined that the bolts connecting the coupling plates between the drive shaft and the propeller shaft were sheared. That was a relief. It should be an easy, inexpensive repair, if the mechanic ever shows up. I'm slowly adjusting to "island time," but I've been waiting for four hours now. Tal vez hoy, tal vez maƱana.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/22/2013 21:02

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 21.24356
Longitude: -86.74084
GPS Location Date/Time:05/22/2013 21:02:21 EDT

Message: This is the crew of  Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=21.24356,-86.74084&ll=21.24356,-86.74084&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/22/2013 15:08

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 21.32104
Longitude: -86.56784
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/22/2013 15:08:27 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=21.32104,-86.56784&ll=21.32104,-86.56784&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/22/2013 9:36

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 21.47740
Longitude: -86.28131
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/22/2013 09:36:26 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=21.47740,-86.28131&ll=21.47740,-86.28131&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/22/2013 3:03

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 21.66166
Longitude: -86.11588
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/22/2013 03:03:58 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=21.66166,-86.11588&ll=21.66166,-86.11588&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/21/2013 14:22

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 22.09476
Longitude: -85. 32297
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/21/2013 14:22:32 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=22.09476,-85.32297&ll=22.09476,-85.32297&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/21/2013 6:52

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 22.38862
Longitude: -84.77170
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/21/2013 06:52:11 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=22.38862,-84.77170&ll=22.38862,-84.77170&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, May 20, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/20/2013 22:27

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 22.79446
Longitude: -84.14908
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/20/2013 22:27:33 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=22.79446,-84.14908&ll=22.79446,-84.14908&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/20/2013 14:43

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 22.99809
Longitude: -83.39105
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/20/2013 14:43:49 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=22.99809,-83.39105&ll=22.99809,-83.39105&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/20/2013 6:33

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 23.35653
Longitude: -82.73013
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/20/2013 06:33:41 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=23.35653,-82.73013&ll=23.35653,-82.73013&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/19/2013 18:02

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.09532
Longitude: -82.10986
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/19/2013 18:02:34 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.09532,-82.10986&ll=24.09532,-82.10986&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/19/2013 13:00

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.37014
Longitude: -81.97156
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/19/2013 13:00:42 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.37014,-81.97156&ll=24.37014,-81.97156&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Key West

Jim holding up the second tuna he caught
Sorry for not posting sooner. Key West was a whirlwind of activity, and the Internet access was terrible. I'm writing this from my iPhone before the signal is lost.

We arrived at the A&B Marina in Key West on Friday afternoon after two nights at sea sailing from Fort Pierce. We caught another tuna along the way, and Jim cooked it up as steaks. 

Saturday was spent preparing for the sail to Isla Mujeres. We bought provisions, rigged up more eye screws and bungees to keep things in place, and started looking into the dead float switch in the bilge. There's a stowaway fiddler crab in there that has been eluding me.

I saw Nan off this morning. She's flying ahead to meet us. We departed at around 10:00 and are now back in deep water, heading southwest toward the western tip of Cuba. More when there's a signal...

Nan seeking shade under the dodger
Update 5/25: This post needed some color, so I added a couple of photos from the Fort Pierce to Key West leg of our sailing trip.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/19/2013 9:05

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.56196
Longitude: -81.80228
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/19/2013 09:05:41 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.56196,-81.80228&ll=24.56196,-81.80228&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Friday, May 17, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/17/2013 13:30

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.56201
Longitude: -81.80231
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/17/2013 13:30:35 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.56201,-81.80231&ll=24.56201,-81.80231&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/17/2013 7:32

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.55715
Longitude: -81.30933
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/17/2013 07:32:36 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.55715,-81.30933&ll=24.55715,-81.30933&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/16/2013 22:52

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 24.91512
Longitude: -80.50278
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/16/2013 22:52:34 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=24.91512,-80.50278&ll=24.91512,-80.50278&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/16/2013 15:20

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 25.42458
Longitude: -80.10617
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/16/2013 15:20:12 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=25.42458,-80.10617&ll=25.42458,-80.10617&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/16/2013 9:39

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 25.84508
Longitude: -80.09225
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/16/2013 09:39:50 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=25.84508,-80.09225&ll=25.84508,-80.09225&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/16/2013 3:57

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 26.26434
Longitude: -80.06216
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/16/2013 03:57:10 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=26.26434,-80.06216&ll=26.26434,-80.06216&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/15/2013 18:23

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 26.87876
Longitude: -80.00269
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/15/2013 18:23:39 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=26.87876,-80.00269&ll=26.87876,-80.00269&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fort Pierce

Jim holding up the tuna we caught on the way to Fort PierceWe are in Fort Pierce, Florida now, the second of our planned stops. We arrived around noon and have been catching up on repairs and other projects this afternoon. The seas have been heavy, and the winds have been shifting around from west to east, making for a truly rough ride. Large stuff, like the air conditioner and the dog trailer, have been flying around the cabin as we endure the ever-present swells. Mike and I have installed some eye screws in the V-berth as anchor points for new bungee cords. We'll see if they hold.

Last night, just before sunset, we heard some drag on the trolling line we had set earlier in the day. Sure enough, we had a fish on the line. Jim reeled it in close to the boat, and I expected to see a barracuda or some other undesirable fish, but instead, there was a ten-pound tuna. We got a bucket under it and brought it aboard instead of gaffing it. It flashed its bright colors but did not put up a fight otherwise. Jim cleaned it in the cockpit and there was much blood. He is cooking it up tonight scampi style with brown rice.

Tomorrow, we will set sail early for Key West. Depending on conditions, we should be there around mid-day on Friday after a double overnight. We will practice the rig I expect will get us to Mexico if the easterly winds prevail: a broad reach set with a preventer and our Genoa jib set with the whisker pole. Expect more Spots along the way.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/14/2013 12:32

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 27.45039
Longitude: -80.32297
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/14/2013 12:32:46 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=27.45039,-80.32297&ll=27.45039,-80.32297&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/14/2013 7:28

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 27.78473
Longitude: -80.34726
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/14/2013 07:28:06 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=27.78473,-80.34726&ll=27.78473,-80.34726&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, May 13, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/13/2013 23:37

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 28.48659
Longitude: -80.44635
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/13/2013 23:37:45 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=28.48659,-80.44635&ll=28.48659,-80.44635&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/13/2013 16:41

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 29.11324
Longitude: -80.83737
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/13/2013 16:41:50 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=29.11324,-80.83737&ll=29.11324,-80.83737&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/13/2013 9:00

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 29.83992
Longitude: -81.22559
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/13/2013 09:00:39 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=29.83992,-81.22559&ll=29.83992,-81.22559&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Sunday, May 12, 2013

St. Augustine

After a grueling day and night of motoring into the wind followed today by a full day of really good, actual sailing, we tied up at the Municipal Marina in St. Augustine at around 3:00 this afternoon. We all agreed to stay for the night instead of just buying fuel, water, ice and beer, and then heading out again. We also agreed to eat off the boat at a brew pub, which was pretty good considering they didn't make their own beer. Yuengling has been the flavor of the trip so far.

Tomorrow, we set sail early for Fort Pierce, the second of the three legs that will get us to Key West, our launching point for Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It will be a little longer than our first leg, but the forecast is calling for winds 10-15 out of the north, so we may be able to ride a fast broad reach most of the way. Spot notifications will continue to show our progress.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/12/2013 17:10

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 29.89192
Longitude: -81.30878
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/12/2013 17:10:34 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=29.89192,-81.30878&ll=29.89192,-81.30878&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/12/2013 11:50

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 30.15011
Longitude: -81.30533
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/12/2013 11:50:19 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=30.15011,-81.30533&ll=30.15011,-81.30533&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/11/2013 16:01

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 31.53392
Longitude :-81.02722
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/11/2013 16:01:33 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=31.53392,-81.02722&ll=31.53392,-81.02722&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Whispering Jesse: 5/11/2013 10:34

Whispering Jesse
Latitude: 31.89005
Longitude: -81.06223
GPS Location Date/Time: 05/11/2013 10:34:35 EDT

Message: This is the crew of Whispering Jesse checking in. All is well. Click the Google Maps link to see where we are.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=31.89005,-81.06223&ll=31.89005,-81.06223&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Away we go!

Me, Nan, Jim, Mike and Jack just before we departed from SavannahThe big day is finally here. Our crew members have arrived safely. The boat is ready to go. And the weather looks fine for now. We are planning to set sail at high tide at 10:30 this morning. Spot Beacon postings will follow our course. Wish us well!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Boat projects

Whispering Jesse with new Forespar Nova Lift installed
A week from right now, we should be most of the way to St. Augustine, Florida, our first planned stop after having set sail from Savannah on Saturday, May 11. In the meantime, Nan and I have been chipping away at our endless list of boat projects and making numerous trips to West Marine, Home Depot and Walmart.

Nan is back in Wisconsin for a long weekend celebrating her mother's ninetieth birthday and seeing her family one last time before our departure. She is due back tomorrow evening for the final project push before our crew members start arriving on Wednesday, when Mike and Jim fly in, and then Friday, when Jack joins us.

My progress on exterior projects has been hampered by lousy weather. It has been raining off and on since Thursday, and the winds have been gusting to thirty knots. There are whitecaps on Delegal Creek, and breaking waves are visible out toward Ossabaw Sound. The high tides have been record breaking, flooding huge expanses of the Romerly Marsh. Whispering Jesse has been rolling in her slip and straining at her dock lines, making balance in the cabin a challenge. We are hoping for much calmer conditions after the current low-pressure system moves out. We can handle light winds, but rough seas to start would be no fun at all.

Before the weather turned ugly, we employed the services of Sailor's Nautical Services, as recommended by Joel, who slips his cat ketch at the adjacent pier. Walt Suter spliced our anchor rode to its chain after we cut out a badly rusted shackle, and then he returned to tune our mast with some precise adjustments to the shroud turnbuckles. If only everyone in the marine services business were as reliable and professional as Walt!