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.
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 www.passageweather.com.
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