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OCC RoRC report from Mexico

by Suzanne Chappell 30 Jul 2019 12:28 UTC

The Suzie Too Rally is over, I'm sad and happy at the same time, sad because I've loved visiting all the fabulous places, experiencing all the vibrant cultures and meeting happy people en route, and making good friends with my fellow sailing buddies.

It's now time to take Suzie Too north, out of harm's way from any hurricanes. With our 9ft draft, we cannot get into the Rio Dulce in Guatemala which we would love to do, so our next best option is to sail to the US, our final destination, where we will complete this season in the Chesapeake, haul out, and get some R&R for ourselves. It's also time for some TLC for our yacht, which unfortunately will hit our bank balance, but you cannot put a price on the freedom and enjoyment we have had over the last few years since we last did an overhaul.

Heading north our next stop was Mexico, a little marina south of Cancun part of a 4 star US hotel chain. It has a spa, pools and the marina is very reasonably priced. Another attraction is direct flights to the UK, so we took a flight home to visit family as we had been away 8 months organising the rally and completing the 6 months' route. We made our passage from Belize with 4 other rally boats, as we like sailing in company, and all agreed to take an easy passage with nightly stops at anchor. We had 2 boisterous days of sailing and 2 fabulous days with the Gulf Stream making our passage an occasionally fast 13 knots and very comfortable.

The Mexico coast and many of the beaches in the entire Caribbean were full of Sargassum seaweed - we have never seen so much in all our sailing days. It was washing up the beaches in huge volumes daily, the smell of it rotting on the beaches was very unpleasant and a real problem for hotels and resorts.

Like all sailors before a passage, we started watching the weather forecast to pick the best weather conditions for moving north and David had updated his MaxSea Time Zero to V4 which has much better detail on wind, waves and currents and was able to plot a very fast route with the Gulf Stream. We made 385 miles in 42 hours, we were flying along in relatively calm seas and steady winds; these are the kinds of days you want all the time but are lucky to get on occasion. We arrived in Key West in the early morning missing all the thunderstorms and lightning you get on this East Coast of the USA during the summer afternoons.

Suzie Too anchored in Wisteria anchorage, just a short dinghy ride into the docks, costing just $7.00 to dock the dingy per day. After a call to Customs and Border Protection on toll-free 1 800 432 1216 to report in, we made our way to Simonton Street to check-in. After our experiences of time-consuming, difficult expensive check-ins throughout Central America, this was so easy. Just the usual passports and B2 Visa required, and after fingerprints, a photoshoot and payment of $19.00, we came away with our cruising permit for the next 12 months for the boat and a 6-month visa for us. Wow, the procedure works well, all we have to do now is report into the 1-800 number every time we pick up and drop our anchor.

Y'all will hear more of our exploits on route to the Chesapeake and all the stuff one has to do to haul out in the next report.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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