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The Crew's Last Dive in San Blas

The Crew’s Last Dive in San Blas

Then we spent the last night in San Blas with celebratory drinks.  Waking up happened early enough, but when I woke up I was reminded of the Scotch I’d consumed – my head was a little cloudy.

Picking up from an anchorage and getting underway has become second-nature for myself and the crew.  It happens without me even saying much.  I’m thinking that it takes 3 weeks or so for a crew to get in that groove. At about 3 weeks, I start saying things like:  “we need to pick up the dinghy on the davits”  and the crew starts saying things like:  “did it 10 minutes ago.”

So, without much fuss – we were out of Chichime heading back to Puerto Lindo.  We were greeting with flat seas and no wind.  It was hot, and we were motoring.  After a couple of hours – the wind picked up, right on our nose.  I could make some tacks, but the amount of wind we were getting made the extra distance incurred from the tack too much.  So we motored, and lost half a knot to the headwind.

By 10 AM I was hoping the Wind Gods would change the angle of the wind.  Or, at least, increase it to a useable speed so we could sail and tacking would be worth it.  The Wind Gods heard me – they opened up to about 12 knots (still on the nose) – which wasn’t much, but enough to make me put out the headsail and actually sail a bit. The wind also cooled things off.  It’s funny the difference that makes.

Our fishing wasn’t going well – we trolled through several baitballs and right through birds working the surface:  no dice.  There were also huge logs drifting everywhere and grass patches that looked more like islands.    So whoever was at the helm really needed to pay attention.  After a few hours of pulling in lines to de-weed them, we got sick of trolling.  Rather, we decided to do something we’d threatened to do the night before – jump in.

Damo Suited Up On The Weed Line

Damo Suited Up On The Weed Line

So we buzzed some floating grass-islands and I managed to see some chicken-dolphin (small Mahi) under the weedline.  Since I wanted to be onboard in case something went haywire – Damo went in.  We talked about not shooting the chicken-dolphin unless that was the only thing under the weedline.  Damo took his floatline rig in, and by the time he’d gotten into the water – we’d drifted over it.

So I jumped in and untangled his line as he pulled it out.  I didn’t put on a mask, so I was a little nervous splashing around on the surface next to this weedline in the middle of the Caribbean.  Too much big stuff hangs out underneath those weedlines.  Like big, offshore sharks.  When I was back onboard, one of those sharks, completely visible in the crystal-clear water – buzzed S/V NOMAD.

Bird Action Over Damo

Bird Action Over Damo

Damo kicked around for an hour or so – just hanging out and scoping the fish underneath the weedline.  Eventually he headed back, so I angled the catamaran so we didn’t wrap up his floatline and he back onboard.  No fish?  Nope.  He’d seen plenty of bonita, blackfin, and some chicken-dolphin – but he was holding off so I could jump in and land one.   Unfortunately we’d burned our time, and needed to get back underway or we’d be trying to moor in the dark – this headwind sucked.

So we were off again.  The wind picked up for brief gusts, but then would die down again.  It wasn’t the “set it and forget it” type of sailing, and it wasn’t fast sailing.  Nonetheless we made 7.5 knots at one point and averaged almost 5.  Not horrible, and we didn’t burn too much diesel.  By 3 PM I’d called ahead to a friend in the anchorage to make sure my mooring ball was clear.  When we got into the anchorage, Rob was sitting in his dinghy holding our mooring ball for us.

Rob Waiting On Us

Rob Waiting On Us

He handed it to Damo and just like that, we were back home.  Naturally, Rob and our other friends (Harry, Linda, Laurie, and crew) were all having drinks and we were invited.

Too Many Hands...

Too Many Hands…

So we went and started the story-telling.  We had some good ones.

In Puerto Lindo, seems there had been some changes.  It’s funny how far away I was from Western civilization, but how our little group of friends was just like a community.  In fact, this little community was – in many ways – tighter than any I’ve had back home.  Within minutes, we were told all of the major happenings around here,  being fed drinks, and they even got the captain some 12 year Scotch as a welcome-back.

  • Andy, with the Catana, had put his boat on the reef in San Blas. He’d almost destroyed it and had only owned the boat for about a month.  Major, expensive bummer.
  • A Frenchman had gotten stranded at sea in a shipping lane and called a launcha to drag him back into the harbor (20 miles).  That’s a long tow.
  • A few boats had drug anchor. No surprise. 
  • Alex was gone in New York, he’d bought a second boat. Twice the problems, now.
  • Other friends had taken to feeding the monkeys and defending them from the locals.  We were replaced. 
  • Another couple of boats had been robbed.  Nothing major, but a disturbing trend. 

And there were rumors floating around that we were coming in crippled.  Well, we came in a little worse for wear – but we came in under our own power, with both engines, and no immediate needs (water, medical, etc).  So I think we did just fine.

We had dinner at Han’s.  There’s nothing quite as nice as coming in from sailing and having someone else cook fresh food and hand you cold beer.  I consider that a win.  

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