Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Belize

Just spent two weeks in Belize. The clear, warm waters of Caye Caulker blew me away again. Snorkeling with Carlos showed me the next level of being a snorkel guide. He had Horse-Eyed Jacks schooling him the entire dive with some huge black grouper and some blue tangs thrown in for good measure. The reef looked amazing with turtles, tarpon, stingrays, nursesharks, queen conchs, eels, lobster, and lots of elkhorn and staghorn coral.
We swam in a few rivers overlooked by towering guanacaste trees filled with howler monkeys inland belize. Then rode the old school buses back to the border and on back to Isla Mujeres.
Now we just need to put the finishing touches on the 44' Lancer, get her Jib on and she will be ready for the trip to Bocas Del Toro, Panama.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tulum

Another sunny weekend in mexico and I find myself back in beautiful Tulum. Heidi and I took a bus down here from Isla Mujeres early yesterday to kick off our two weeks of travel before having to be back in Isla to sail to Panama.
We checked into a bike&bed&breakfast hotel and biked all over town yesterday. We checked into kiteboarding lessons but unfortunately there will be no wind this week, so we organized two dives into the Dos Ojos cenote for today instead. I cant wait. There is something very surreal about diving in an underwater cave.
We plan to head down to Belize after this and then overland to Guatemala. We'll see how far we get with our limited time. No rush and no worries.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Adventure New Title

Big Changes in store for me and the blog. I have left the Odyssey after our crossing of the Gulf. Differences between the owner and the crew became too great and try as I might to avoid the inevitable it came time to step away and choose a different path.
But you know what they say, 'when one door closes many more open.' And it just so happens that another boat in the same marina, a 44ft sloop named Against the Wind offered to have me and Heidi on board to help sail down to Panama. So the odyssey of Dai Mar still lives on.
We won't set sail until May 1st, which should give Heidi and I some travel time as well as time to put the forestay and foller furler back on. We took it off, with alot of help from Ryan before he left, after I found the stay seriously frayed up near the top of the mast. I hope putting it back on will be easier than everyone thinks.

Heidi, Ryan, and I did get a chance to jet inland to the ruins at Chitchen Itza, 50ft cliff dives into cenotes at Cuzama, and Samani Santa celebrations in old town Merida.
Now Heidi and I are spending the weekend in Tulum. Ancient ruins by the turquoise ocean and some cenote scuba diving!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pics from the crossing and Isla Mujeres

Dai Mar with a really big fish.  
 
 
Turquois waters of Isla Mujeres.  
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Crossing the Gulf: Accomplished

What a feeling it was to sail into a new port in a new country. We raised the yellow flag, which means we needed to go thru immigration, and found a sturdy place to anchor. Finding the right people to get the immigration paperwork over and done with went fast and they just so happened to have an empty slip, a pool, and a help yourself bar stocked with cerveza.
The trip itself lasted 8 days. Sometimes the weather was against us, blowing right out of the southeast. One particular time we fought for over a day just to keep our position and avoid being blown backwards. Other times the winds would shift out of the north and west and the Odyssey would sail on her edge so smooth that it felt like skating on ice.
The entire run from South Padre Island to Isla Mujeres was approximately 700 nautical miles.

Highlights...
Day 1: Following winds, calm seas. A days headstart and bioluminescent dolphins bowriding
Day 2: Putting the miles behind us. A couple big fish hit our lures but none landed. Cupcakes and some group Shackleton reading
Day 3: Winds turn against us and turn nasty. Ryans jambalya.
Day 4: Winds increase. Deploy storm sail. No sleep.
Day 5: Swim call, Hawksbill turtle catch, photo shoot, and release. Sea horse hunting by scooping up floating sargassum.
Day 6: Good wind shifting later to in our face. Contemplated pulling into a small mexican anchorage and waiting it out. Decided to fight on.
Day 7: So close but SE winds. The winds shift suddenly late at night to speed us towards our destination. Realized we had caught two jack mackeral...a while ago by the looks of them.
Day 8: Arrive at Isla Mujeres early in the morning after finally landing a big Jack Crevalle