Leaving Grand Cayman

6:39 pm on 23 Dec, night before we leave for Mexico.  We had hoped to leave Grand Cayman last Thursday but there was a nice storm forecasted for the weekend.  Thank Goodness we stuck around.  Starting Friday night and all the way through Sunday, it was high winds about 50 kmph plus gusts and they were estimating 10-12 foot seas; there was a small craft warning out all weekend.  Even being in the Marina which is in a little inlet behind land and a breakwall, we were rocking and rolling pretty good.  With 6 lines out we were pretty secure but it was bouncy and noisy.  Storms here are weird:  high wind, rough water but not a cloud in the sky and no rain.  We did get a 3 minute downpour early Saturday morning, just long enough to close all the hatches and done by the time we were finished.  Typical.

The extra few days allowed for some more repairs and we now have a darn good bilge going, the shaft coupler doesn’t leak anymore, a clean deck, clean downstairs and….wonder of wonders!…wait for it…..a working Garmin!!

While at Harbour House Marine we were able to get the chip we needed for the Western Caribbean and were talking with Carl who said to bring our Garmin 4210 in and let him look at it.  Within 10 minutes he had it all hooked up and working and set up to our boat specs as well.  There was nothing wrong with the damn thing and we found we were 0 for 10 with all the crappy info we had been given by people who were supposedly ‘experts’.  Ah well, it is now installed, the chip is installed, the thing works great.  Our next leg should be a whole lot easier without having to estimate and eyeball our way across.  Oh and by the way…..it was free.  I wrote a long letter to Garmin complaining of the service we got elsewhere and giving great kudos for Carl.  I wonder if they’ll get back to us………..

We also had the greatest of fortunes to meet a most wonderful couple here – Blake and Lisa.  We had only been at the dock for 1/2 hour waiting for management to come and settle us in when a tapping came and a cheery “Hello”.  Lisa is a warm and friendly lady originally from Georgia and is the epitome of Southern hospitality.  A marathon runner, she is in fantastic shape and looks 37 not ……….  😉   Blake works locally as an engineer and is the most helpful and caring man we’ve met here.  The two of them are “water  borne trailer trash” in their own words…lol…which means they are liveaboard like us – only more so.  We’ve had walks to the store, dinner and drinks and most wonderful conversations; Blake and Lisa have transported us where we needed to go here on the island, going to do laundry, on beer runs, to Customs….just everywhere.  For their friendship, warmth and welcome we are eternally grateful.  We plan to meet up with them again somewhere along our travels and wish them safe journeys on their own path.  Keep the stick in the air, guys!

The 21st came and went without all the fanfare “everyone” was expecting.  The world did not end but I do feel that our world “as we know it” ended and our new beginning has started.  I was hit by the energy not only on Friday but yesterday and today as well.  Things have quieted down a bit now and I can turn my attention to leaving tomorrow morning.

Time is weird here.  It’s so very hard to get used to the sun setting at 6-something and not rising again til almost 7 a.m.  When it gets dark I think “It’s warm therefore it’s ‘summer’ to me therefore it should be after 9:00.”  Then to look at my watch and see that it’s only 7:00 – as I say, weird.  And because we’re so close to the equator, it’s the same all year ’round.  Approx 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of dark.

When it gets dark, it gets cold.  I know it’s winter but that’s not why I’m in the tropics!  Here we are, sitting at 7:00 pm in 27 C weather with sweaters and long pants.  Even the wind was cold today even though ‘they’ said it was high 20’s.  On the water, we are usually in sweaters and long pants with blankets overnight – it makes keeping watch easier when you’re cold but darned uncomfortable.

We’ve got everything pretty much in order and got our walking papers.  The dinghy is up, the boat is clean, we’ve laid in the supplies and said our goodbyes.  We will cast off at first light again tomorrow and head to the fuel dock to wait for them to open.  Once that’s on board, we’re outta here, heading to Puerto Juarez just north of Cancun.  With fair weather and calm seas, we should arrive sometime early-ish Thursday.

Spending Christmas on the water will be different.  Lisa gave us our one and only Christmas decoration – a Colorado pine cone all glittered up.  It’s beautiful and sits in a place of honour in the cockpit.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for Santa Claus as he crosses the Caribbean, with a 2/3 moon he should show up pretty good.  🙂

So….have a great Christmas doing whatever it is you’re doing.  Hug everybody for us, eat lots of turkey and dressing, have that second piece of pumpkin pie (I know “I” would..lol), and just enjoy enjoy enjoy your time together.  We are there in spirit.

Talk to you soon, from Mexico.

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