We arrived at Isla Mujeres this morning and Intermezzo is tied up at the pleasant little El Milagro Marina, all cleaned up and taking a well-deserved rest. This is a brief blog post just to wrap up the last day of Leg 4 of the Voyage. There is a good internet connection here, so I will post a summary of the leg and PICTURES tomorrow!
The boat felt like it was going slow the whole way from Grand Cayman. Around 0200 this morning it felt like we almost came to a stop, despite a 15 knot wind from behind us and an engine running to help us sail the dead downwind course required to make our final waypoint. We were only making 2 or 3 knots over the ground. I wondered, were we dragging a fishing net or something? Was the boat just an overloaded cruising cat slug? I almost stopped the boat to dive under it to take a look if something had fouled us.
I looked at the water running by the stern of the boat and our wake. It looked like we were going through the water at a good clip. (Our paddlewheel speed transducer is fouled, so we don't get a reading of speed through water, just speed over ground via GPS.) It had to be a strong current. By strong, I mean 4-5 knots, as we should have been running a 6-7 knots in stationery water. That seemed very unlikely, but when we got to our waypoint, we would be turning almost 90 degrees and we would find out when we turned. Sure enough, when I made the turn, speed over ground increased to 7 knots even with the engines just idling! Amazing! None of my voyage planning research indicated the we would encounter such a strong current.
Now I'm figuring the we must have been bucking a 1-3 knot westerly current the whole way from Grand Cayman. It would explain our low average speed (4.7 knots) for the passage and the confused seas. A westerly current would be running into the easterly swells, steepening them and disrupting their pattern.
What a relief to know that Intermezzo wasn't fat and slow or that my sailing ability had gone awry.
The big news upon our arrival at Isla Mujeres and had an internet connection is that Roy will be leaving the boat, jumping ship if you will. He received a job offer in Australia that is to good to refuse. We processed through his decision today and bid a sincere, mutually grateful farewell. Roy showed up on the dock in La Paz exactly when I needed him and Intermezzo showed up in his life exactly when he needed a boat to sail on. We sailed four epic legs of The Voyage together. He took great care of the boat and engaged authentically with all the other crew members who joined us. I will miss having a good sailor on board and his quiet, loyal company. We grew a great friendship that I know will endure.
Now I have to find crew for the next leg. Possibilities have already emerged. I'm broadcasting the opportunity to my potential crew list. If you read this and are interested, email me at stephenjcox61@gmail dot com. Planned departure from Isal Mujeres to Key West, Florida is June 3rd, figure five days, start-to-finish.