I booked a slip at "El Milagro Marina" at Isla Mujeres, Mexico off the Yucatan. I outfitted my boat with two types of radar reflectors (tube& tri-lense), radar, drogue, sea anchor, two bilge pumps (one with high water alarm) two manual bilges, EPIRB, hand held VHF radio and Zodia life raft. I have a Standard Horizon GPS and Garmin hand held for back up. I have Chart View Pro on my laptop and the Garmin interfaces with the program. There is a custom-built nav station and additional berth in the salon with a lee cloth. I will have 56 gallons of fuel and 75 gallons of water.
Plan to sail from Punta Gorda to Cayo Costa Island at the south end of Charlotte Harbor (5 hours), overnight, sail to the Dry Tortugas at the end of the Keys (20 hours), overnight, and then a little over two days to Isla Mujeres.
We will leave right after a cold front the last week of April. Since my boat is 31 feet long, I have to watch for a window in the weather. Not looking for any war stories.
Float Plan
Depart Punta Gorda Apr 28th and "gunk hole' the Gulf side of Florida protected from the Easterly winds to Key West. Will depart Key West May 1. Found a good web site for planning trips
Had engine problems enroute to Key West. Polished the fuel tank and had the engine gone over. Checked out OK.
Motoring from Key West to the Dry Tortugas on May 8th (perfect weather window) the engine stalled again, so I aborted the trip and limped back to Punta Gorda - 120 miles/ 40 hours at 1500 rpms.
Had the engine gone over at Punta Gorda. Checked out OK. Plan to run under load to see if it stalls again. Have to isolate the problem. The problem was the lift pump.
Selling the boat, will close on June 12th.
Might get a bigger one some day.
Captain Michael Holm signing off

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Comment by Terry on March 28, 2009 at 5:53am
Sounds good. I like your float plan. It is much easier to get a two day reliable weather window than say 5 or 6 day. Even if it takes you three days, that is a very nice run with winds that time of year coming from the right direction. I have made the sail from Louisiana and Pensacola several times. First time no radar, never again, and with two hand held gps units, and paper charts. Did just fine. Boat was a 32 footer. I like the little marina you have booked and met the owner when last there last year (flew down) There are no cat walks so decide how best to exit on your boat. Bow to may work for some or stern to but either way that is how you will get on and off the boat.
I like the Spot idea and plan to buy one myself. I also believe in two spots (beams) of another type one as a back up. Ships sometimes have trouble seeing you and even 5 or 6 miles away with a flash of a spot, near their bow when they confirm on radio they can't see you, they can see you much better and that is a comfortable feeling.
Comment by John Shasteen on March 25, 2009 at 12:29pm
Sounds like you are well, if not over, prepared, especially for island hopping. You didn't say what kind of boat you have, but, a 31 foot, solid, blue water boat can go anywhere in any weather - Paloma is a 29.9 foot Bristol and we've been through hell together.
We've made the Galveston to Isla Mujeres run several times - takes about five days, no stop overs. Make sure you have all your paperwork in order and no guns or or ammo aboard, goiing through Mexican customs is slow and deliberate.
You might want to see if you can find anyone who has been on the Pensacola to Isla Mujeres race..
Comment by Mike Holm on March 23, 2009 at 1:48pm
I think SPOT is a good investment. I plan to get one next year when I go to Central America
Comment by Jay on March 23, 2009 at 8:44am
Ahoy Mike,
We too, are heading for Isla Mujeres and El Milagro on April 2nd from Kemah Texas on a Hunter 38. We brought a friends sailboat back ftom Isla last May. It was an adventure.....But not a war story!

An item that you might want to look into is a "Spot". It is an inexpensive tracking device.

If you would like to follow our trip use the following link We went for a 6 hour run in the bay this weekend to do a battery check and tried out our Spot


Keep in touch and we will meet you In Isla......Jay Bailey

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