CURRENT LOCATION: On a Mooring Ball in Ensenada Dakity
18 17.417' N, 065 16.839' W
On one count, this blog title (an homage to Mr. Jimmy Buffett) is not entirely accurate: both our latitude and our longitude have changed, and even then only by about a minute each. On the other count the sentiment could not be more true, we certainly have undergone a change in attitude.
Dakity provides a different perspective on Culebra. It is a little quieter, the sounds of planes departing the airport has been replaced with the sound of waves rolling up onto the reef. It is a little more scenic, water in various shades of blue has replaced the concrete buildings and dilapidated docks of town. And, the water is just a little bit more clear, inviting you to dive off the boat without a moment's hesitation.
All of which adds up to a sense of 'vacation'. Not that we need to escape from the rigors of life near the tiny town of Dewey, but it is nice to experience a change from the normal every now and again. And, when you can move your entire home to your vacation destination in under an hour's time, so much the better.
Things went relatively smoothly yesterday in preparation for the move. Sheryl shuttled enough water out to the boat to top off our tanks and ran some in-town errands while ashore. Meanwhile, I cleaned the inside of the boat and took care of all the small things which should be done prior to departure (even when moving the boat only a short distance). Sometimes, even the small things take time.
For example, we have two spare halyards which we clip near the bow while at anchor. This keeps the lines from banging against the mast. In that location, though, they would be in the way if we wanted to unfurl the genoa. Even though we were going less than two nautical miles, directly into the wind at that, I always like to be ready to quickly put up some sail should we experience engine problems. While trying to unclip the halyards and move them back to the mast, I discovered that one of them had become frozen and would not unclip. It took a pair of pliers and a shot of PB Blaster to get it released. I'm glad I didn't have to suffer through that under the dire circumstances of engine failure. Moral of the story: It is always good to be prepared.
Even though she had initially departed at 8:00 AM, by the time Sheryl returned from land it was time to enjoy a late lunch. We finally got the engine started around 1:30 PM. I pulled up chain by hand for a while, but then decided to give the hand signal for a little help from the engine. Sheryl, at the helm, shifted into gear and heard a rather rough sound from below. She immediately put it back into neutral and called me back to the cockpit. I cleared out enough of the starboard side cockpit locker to see the transmission and driveshaft, then had her put it back into gear. The sound was rougher than usual, but nothing looked awry from this perspective.
I decided that I had better check things out from below, so Sheryl shut off the engine while I jumped in the water with my mask and snorkel. Things looked O.K., but while I was down here anyway, I thought I should clean off the 3-week old fuzzy growth on the prop and shaft. I discovered a large barnacle on the prop, and it could have been causing some vibration when it spun (resulting in a slightly rough sound). Or, maybe the fuzzy growth was preventing water from adequately lubricating the cutlass bearing. In any case, I removed both and it seemed to sound better when we tried it again. It could simply be that we are paranoid and haven't heard the transmission engaged at idle speed in far too long. Regardless, I should probably find some time to check the level of the transmission fluid before we head back to Ensenada Honda (just to be sure).
With the assistance of the engine and newly cleaned prop, I picked up the remainder of our anchor chain and hoisted our 60-lb CQR. Sheryl steered us out toward Dakity and gave the engine a good number of RPMs, just to get it up to operating temperature (I have been told that it is a good thing to get the engine up to temp whenever you start it, and our engine has a tendency to run on the cool side). Even pushing the engine at the high end of our normal cruising RPM range, we only did 4 knots through the water. Since we were pushing against a mere 10 knots of headwind, I can only assume that our bio-coated bottom is responsible for the relatively slow pace. It has been over 10 weeks since the last scraping, so I suppose I should not be surprised at the resistance to forward motion.
We arrived at Dakity and sought one of the mooring balls near the northern end of the reef; however, after just a few moments hanging on that ball we decided that it was a bit too rolly for my tastes there. We let go of that mooring and motored around further inside the protection of the reef. We grabbed a vacant ball next to Miss Heidi, home to fellow cruisers we have spent time with at Sunday breakfasts these past two weeks.
After we got tied up and squared away, Rick & Debbie were swimming off Miss Heidi between their boat and ours. While Sheryl was down below checking to be sure we could still get an internet signal at our new location, I dove in and joined our swimming neighbors. We treaded water and chatted until our skins got a little pruney, then we invited them over to Prudence to join us for sundowners. It has been far too long since we entertained aboard, and a good time was had by all.
True to the moniker of the social gathering (sundowners), Rick & Debbie took their leave after the sun disappeared behind the hill. Sheryl and I enjoyed dinner and a little computer TV time in the cockpit before retiring for the evening. It had certainly been a full day for Team Prudence.
So, as I wrap up my draft of this blog entry and prepare to proofread before posting, I took a moment to snap a couple of morning photographs, first the sunrise off our bow:
And our view to starboard:
At the risk of sounding like a postcard cliché ... wish you were here.