Sailing Across the Gulf of Mexico – Day 2

If you haven’t already, start by reading Part 1

When we finally made it through the first night and the sun graced us, the dolphins came back. Different ones, maybe, but more this time. At least ten escorting us on each side of the boat to lift our spirits.

I could have passed the entire day watching those dolphins. RJ took some time to rest around this point and to make some food.
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Then, we traded.

Then, we traded, again. The only timing I remember of anything was that I started this watch at about 2:30 P.M., RJ cooked, we ate, and then RJ rested until 6:15 P.M., just after the sun went beneath the horizon and as the clouds grew darker with no sunlight to brighten them.
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At around 7:00 P.M., we saw land in the form of lights. I avoided a collision course with a shrimp vessel (something I learned in Colgate’s Sailing Theory) and then it was time to make a decision.

Would we rather continue sailing South until sunrise or sail towards land for a few more hours and ultimately anchor for the night? We decided to keep sailing South until sunrise.

The reason being, that we could head towards land and anchor in daylight, rather than taking our chances with unknown territory in the dark. We did not want to run aground, nor did we want to run over any crab pots (little annoyances that can cause big problems).

At this point, spirits were high. We were feeling well rested and excited. A “let’s do this!” attitude coursing through our veins. RJ cooked dinner (un-froze freeze dried food), we ate, and then I decided to try and sleep so that we could both be awake for the hardest parts of the night.

But man, did I suffer. Most things had already fallen everywhere in the boat, but the things that didn’t all started coming down. Our kitchen-table-turned-bed slid apart and I almost came crashing down into the pile of what was collected and now rolling around on the floor.

I switched sides, twice, three times, maybe even four. Everything was making me nauseous, again. My “let’s do this!” attitude had quickly diminished. When RJ eventually got sick of my whining, he told me to get out on deck, that the fresh air would help me. The bad news? I couldn’t even move enough to put my waterproof shell on to get outside. I could barely put my boots on. RJ had to come down and help me. It was a clear low.

Somehow, eventually, I fell asleep. I only know because I remember a small part of a dream. I can’t remember anything in particular about what happened in the dream other than my Aunt Tammy was in it with me.

RJ came below at one point to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (what else?) when the boat was rocking at it’s worst. A wave came and he flew to one side of the boat, smashing his lower back, just above his coccyx, into the corner of the table. Jelly went flying. Well, I didn’t know it was jelly at first and I am blind without my glasses so when I looked up and saw red splotches everywhere, I thought he had cut himself with a knife. I then panicked for about three quarters of a second before realizing what had actually happened.

You know it’s rough when you can’t even make PB&J.

After a couple more hours, RJ called to me, “I need you up here. I can’t keep my eyes open and I’m hearing voices.” Enough said. Foul weather gear back on and out I go.

It was only twenty or thirty minutes of nothing happening, RJ passed out on deck, before the colors in the sky started turning pastel. Dawn.

RJ wakes up. “I didn’t think it would ever come.”

“What?”

“Morning.”

Me neither.
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7:00 A.M. hits and we’ve been at it for forty-eight hours. Wow. The sun blinds us as we look out for channel markers and crab pots. About two hours later and we are anchored. I cleaned up as much as I could, RJ hung up most of what was wet from our leak above the bed, and we can breathe again. We snack a bit and I catch up on the internet. We both call our moms. It seems like everything really does start and end with calling our moms.

RJ slept and I just sat in the sun, writing and soaking up all the warmth my body could absorb. Fifty hours of pure adventure. It feels like an amazing accomplishment.

Eventually, it’s time for me to take a nap, as well.

Sleep felt like a fantasy, and now it was a reality.

Stayed tuned for RJ’s side of the story, if he can ever stop working and sit down to write for you all.

3 thoughts on “Sailing Across the Gulf of Mexico – Day 2

  1. Sidney;
    Great post and longer comment later. Quick question—how far south did you get? Sounds like the waves were no bueno. Hope you both are doing well and recovered. We are in marathon for at least another week before the Bahamas. Skinny dipper is in Marco until Xmas.

    1. At the end of this crossing we were in St. Petersburg, but right now we’re anchored in the bay outside of the marina where Skinny Dipper is! We’ve been here since Sunday and our next plan is Key West or Dry Tortugas, we aren’t sure when we’re leaving quite yet. We had/still have/will always and forever have a lot of work to do after everything got soaked in our V-berth.

  2. Nice work you guys. Mike and I (we gave your ship that dodger in St. Joe’s Bay) saw you guys for a good chunk of the night ahead of us, as the weather built. I was awake all that night on watch, thinking about you two, but amply distracted by the phosphorescent torpedoes (dolphins).
    Hope to see you again!

    Dan

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