Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cancun to Fort Lauderdale Delivery

I returned last week from delivering a 2007 Doral 47 Alegria from Cancun Mexico to Fort Lauderdale.

To preface this posting, three years ago I delivered this same vessel (fuel cap. 400 gallons), with a 200 gallon fuel cell strapped on the foredeck, from Fort Myers, Florida; arriving in Cancun with 60 gallons remaining.

Along with Sean Woods as first mate, we flew down to Cancun on June 24. The boat was located at the Novo Cancun condo/marina complex; one of the new projects springing up in the Cancun area.

 Cancun Airport Control Tower

The afternoon was spent on inspection and seatrial of the boat with the owner. On the way to the Pemex  dock, I noticed that the performance numbers were off considerably. A look underwater showed a running gear fouled with barnacle growth. Apparently, the local captains have created the legend of a crocodile in the marina so they don't have to go under their boats in the marina.

June 25th was spent trying to acquire a supplemental 200  gallon fuel container as the fuel cell I brought down three years ago had been damaged and lost. The challenge was finding a tote tank that could be  strapped to the swim platform as carrying barrels in the aft deck area would not allow us access to the engine room. Most everything found was used and had everything in them from industrial cleaner to glue. As I had planned a midnight departure, we really didn't have the time to clean out and dry one of these. However, in Mexico, much of the populace is not on "city water." What they use are roof mounted cisterns with potable water delivered by truck. We located a 1000 liter tank that was 44" in diameter; a perfect fit for the back of the boat. With another run to the fuel dock and the Mexican captain charged with care and custody of the boat sent over the side at anchorage with Sean overseeing the chore (a good thing as the captain was only scrapping the waterline), we have a boat ready to go.
The owner took Sean and I to La Farola Parrilla Argentina restaurant in downtown Cancun. No finer steak could be found in Mexico than the flap steak that I had. The service, including table side salad prep, was superb!

Dinner concluded,  Sean and I thanked the owner and retired to the vessel for a few hours shut-eye before pushing off at "media noche."
26 June, Sean and I slip the dock lines and move out the channel by 0015. A full "super" moon two nights earlier, a big waning moon will provide us a horizon for most of two nights required for the 37 hour crossing (@ 9.5 knots) to Key West. Sean and I set into a 3 hours on - 3 hours off watch routine for the 37 hour crossing.

As usual the crossing in the vicinity of Arrowsmith Bank and much of the Yucatan Channel is a lumpy 4-5 feet for the first 12 hours. However, once we got off the coast of Cuba, the water and waves subside into a pleasant day. This enables us a stabile platform to transfer fuel from the tote on our transom. At sunset, Sean and I are looking forward to a calm night.

As we cross the Florida Straight and get out the lee of Cuba, at 0300 in the morning, ESE wind and waves again make for restless sleep off watch.

It was not until we were within 60 miles of Key West on the morning of the 28th do the winds and waves subside and we make Key West mid-day no worse for wear.
With the obligatory phone call and visit to customs, we cleared in. Interesting note: Not only did customs typically want all of the fruits and veggies onboard, they also had us bring all meats; including pre-cooked/packaged products. Some of these, like Johnsville franks, were manufactured in the US! I guess they were stocking up for their Fourth of July BBQ.
We spend the rest of the day cleaning boat, transferring the last 50 gallons out of the tote... 

... and giving a tired Sean a just reward for a job well done.

Once "ship's business" was concluded, there was a little time left to play tourist.

29 June has Sean and I up at 0630 to move the boat to the fuel dock at Conch Harbor for an 0700 opening. Once we uploaded 183 gallons diesel ($4.21 w/ .10 discount), we "shoot and scoot" for the all day run to Fort Lauderdale.

By 1700,  we are secured and mission completed. Total expenditures including fuel (after Cancun), transportation, crew fee, meals, etc...
Available for next mission.
John Wampler