Welcome to Gypsea Heart

This blog documents the adventures of the sailing vessel Gypsea Heart and her crew Rankin & Sandy. Thank you for visiting our blog and we encourage y'all to poke around and explore. We have many features which will enable you to keep track of us and in touch like subscribing below. We hope you enjoy your visit and follow our adventures.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Puerto Isla Mujeres Resort & Yacht Club

We left the Hobbies on April 15th sailing for over 24 hours using only the spinnaker until we dropped it the next day.  The remainder of our trip was uneventful and a bit slow due to the light winds.  We arrived Isla Mujeres, Mexico at 10 a.m. on April 18th and docked at Puerto Isla Mujeres Resort & Yacht Club.  They arranged for our check in with immigration and customs which included drug and bomb sniffing dogs. 

Isla Mujeres

Our friend and crew member Dave had not been feeling well since we left the Hobbies, so we went to the doctor, got some medicine.  He still wasn't feeling well so decided to cut his trip short and fly back to North Carolina.  We really appreciated all his help and was glad to hear later that he was doing well.  Thanks again Dave for your help.

Rankin and I stayed in Isla Mujeres for a few more days relaxing, enjoying the local cuisine, doing a few minor boat chores and waiting on a good weather window.   On April 25th, Rankin and I left Isla Mujeres and sailed North for Bradenton, Florida.

An iguana hanging out around the resort

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cayos Cajones (Hobbies), Honduras

The Hobbies

On Monday, April 11th, we left Low Cay (Columbia) sailing to Cayman Islands.  We had a great sail for about 24 hours, however, the wind had other plans ... it died completely.  So we made a detour to a small out island of Honduras called Cayos Cajones (Hobbies) where we spent about four days waiting, snorkeling, working on boat jobs until the wind returned. 

Rankin spearfishing

One of two spinnakers aboard
In the first picture, the structures on this island which appear to be buildings are actually stacks of lobster traps formed like buildings.  The two men who stayed on this island are fishermen and their responsibility was to guard the lobster traps.  The local fishermen take turns guarding the lobster traps for two weeks at a time until lobster session begins.

Rankin, Dave and I did a little snorkeling.  Rankin also did a little spearfishing, however, the fish were successful at evading him.  Since the winds were so light, we took advantage and raised one of the two spinnakers (a light weight sail used for light, downwind sailing) aboard.   During the taking of this photo, I was in the dinghy alone then the engine stopped and I couldn't get it started again.  The current was quickly increasing the distance between me and the boat.  Unfortunately, I wasn't successful paddling back to the boat so Rankin swam out to me and since he couldn't get the dinghy engine started either he rowed us back to the boat.  My hero!

During our stay at the Hobbies, we were continuously monitoring the weather, so we could begin our trip.  The weather had changed, so our plans changed too.  Based on weather, we determined we would be able sail to Isla Mujeres, Mexico instead of the Cayman Islands.  So, off we went.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Providencia, Columbia

Boat Delivery

On April 1st, we (Rankin, Dave and Sandy) left Panama around 3 p.m. in the afternoon for our next stop in  Providencia, Columbia.  In the beginning, we motored for about 10 hours after which the wind picked up and blew from a sailable direction.  We hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the jib with winds blowing around 12 to 17 knots and seas around 4 to 6 feet and we sailed the remainder of the trip.  The boat sailed nicely and was pretty quick.  While under sail, we heard a loud bang like a cannon followed by a shudder which we finally realized was the "pounding"  described by other catamaran owners.  Their descriptions hardly prepared us for the sound and feel, but we quickly realized the boat wasn't coming apart so we relaxed a bit until the bright red bilge light came on.  We've got water coming in or just rolling around somewhere in the bilge.  We ran around checking the engine compartments and bilges which were fairly dry and then began monitoring how often the light came on ... not too frequently.  We continued our trip making good progress toward Providencia and discovered a few more issues: the generator wouldn't start, the starboard engine overheated while entering the harbor at Providencia, and the VHF and SSB radios weren't working well.

We arrived in Providencia around 8 am on Sunday, April 3rd and checked in with Mr. Bush, a physician, an immigration officer, and an agriculture official all of whom came to the boat in a local power boat.  We've been to Providencia before back in 2007 and this procedure was definitely new.  Apparently, the physician's role was to determine if anyone on board had cholera which has been a concern since the outbreak in Haiti this year.   They didn't want anyone leaving the boat even to check in until the phtsician had checked for cholera.  We were all cleared and checked in.

We spent a little over a week in Providencia troubleshooting, repairing boat items and touring the island (see pictures below).  The starboard engine just required us to change the impeller in the sea water cooling pump.  The generator actually didn't have any problems except for user error.  We didn't realize we needed to hold down the start button as long as required -  talk about feeling foolish not to mention thankful.  We determined the VHF could transmit but we were not receiving calls.  We were not able to transmit or receive voice on SSB (short wave radio), but at least we could send and receive emails using the SSB.  We decided to fix the radios upon our return in the States.  Due to radio problems, we made it a point to report our positions to a fellow cruiser friend in the area as we made our way back to the States.  Judy Rollinger on Caribbean Blue kept track of us during our travels and deserves a special thanks for all her help.  She reported our positions on the Northwest Caribbean net and provided us with a sense of relief just knowing she was keeping an eye out for us.  If anything would have gone wrong, we knew that Judy would have our backs.  Thanks so much Judy for your help.

Of course after all this hard work, we snorkeled, toured Santa Catalina Island right across the bridge from Providencia and enjoyed a few rum punches at Roland's.

Mr. Bush and his gang
Dave and Rankin
Fisherman paddling to shore

Rum drinks ... MMMM
After a few rum drinks
and a few more rum drinks

After making our repairs, provisioning a bit, jerry jugging about 70 gallons of fuel and checking out, we left Providencia and anchored at Low Cay (just a few miles north).   While at Low Cay, we relaxed and snorkeled a bit just waiting for the seas to drop.

Low Cay an appropriate name

On Monday, April 11th, we left Low Cay making way for the Cayman Islands.