I would have left Isla Mujeres some time ago but for the frustrating weather which has pounded us with rain and strong winds for 13 days now without any breaks worth mentioning. The tourists have stayed in their rooms, activities like diving, snorkelling, sailing, island tours and paddleboard rental are all suspended and the local people are out of money and unhappy. The seas to the East of the island were for days quite huge but now that the winds are coming from the north they have moderated and become barely navigable however with more severe weather on the way it seems I should remain here where I know the ropes and have a few friends, until things calm down. Desesperado spends most of his time hauled up upon North Beach beneath the palms, every day I move him a little more inland as what little beach remains is eroded away by the waves. Yesterday I took him for a risky little spin and was hammered by a squall, lashed by horizontal rain and bounced around until my passenger (carried for ballast) screamed. She has a story to tell her friends, and I am reminded that what has come to seem normal for me is quite abnormal for others.
Mostly I sleep on the boat but I have been forced into cheap hotels some nights by the continued leaking of my shelter which I was unable to re-tar due to the weather – finally in desperation I lashed it to the boat and thoroughly smeared it with goo (the ninth time. The cover is now so thick and heavy I have trouble stuffing it into cargo bay three) in a 25-knot howler and I think this may have done the trick at last. Funny that after a day on the beach being wind-blasted my hovel now seems to be a luxury pad, a delicious escape from the elements. I have also replaced a cracked rudder bracket, repaired my folding chair and created a new non-slip deck by mixing sand with paint which worked a treat; thanks to Dave the mad scientist for that suggestion.
A rotten thief keeps stealing stuff from the boat- navigation lights, two sets of snorkelling gear, ropes and so on so I have moved everything to another hotel room, this one rented in anticpation of Hurricane Rina which should arrive in force on Thursday night if nothing changes in its predicted track. The authorities are likely to evacuate all foreigners from the island so I will have to hide from them in order to stay near my vessel. Rina, now north of Honduras and moving slowly directly towards us is at present a category 2, not as bad as Gilbert a couple of decades back which really wrecked the place… the locals say that the waves were so huge that they broke clear over this narrow island such that it could not be seen from the air. I am not yet sure where I shall store the boat but at least I have the advantage that I can dismantle it and carry it inland and as long as I can avoid falling palms it will be ok.
I am feeling a little happier though still somewhat full of self-doubt. It is hard to keep in mind why I am doing this; maybe I was never clear in the first place. There is some Dengue fever knocking about here but it has missed me; my health is good apart from a cracked or broken rib sustained whilst climbing coconut palms. I have made a few friends and Isla Mujeres is not an objectionable place to get stuck; I wander about, fiddle horribly in the wind on the beach, drink a little in the evenings and even dance a bit… salsa does not really move me, it kind of has to be learned, it is all in the hips they say and this movement feels to me to be more than a little, well, gay. (“But it’s not your culture!” exclaims my Cuban instructor). It seems to me that salsa is great for dancing in couples but I have never seen anybody dancing to it with wild abandon as they do to say, Appalachian fiddle or Trance Techno. Nonetheless I am insanely jealous of those who can do it.
I have not filmed anthing nor sent any SPOT messages since I arrived here. Likely we will be without power for some days after the hurricane so I will dig out SPOT and send messages during the storm to let folks know it is all ok… if it is ok that is. I am kind of looking forward to it. Today I will see what I can do to help others prepare, boarding up houses and so on though I have seen no such activity at all, the island is in a state of oblivious calm as far as I can see; perhaps this happens often enough that nobody takes action until the last minute when impact is certain.
So, I still exist and everything is ok. I will report on the hurricane as soon as I am able.