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Fighting Myeloma at Sea!
12.03.04

Jerry Eisenhower, myeloma patient and member of the San Diego support group, along with his nephew and brother, sailed from Lake Erie, down the Eastern coast, to the Bahamas, Haiti, Mexico, Panama Canal, Baja, and then back home to San Diego. He's home now, and we have the final installments of the diary of his voyage. Jerry's trip was more than just an exciting sailing vacation, it was a symbol of strength, bravery...and LIFE with myeloma.

Read the latest updates below. Note: If you have missed his missives up to now, read the full journal by clicking here: JERRY EISENHOWER'S MARITIME JOURNAL.

December 16, 2004

Hi there,

We stayed in Isla Mujeres for 6 days and 7 nights; it was quite a party town. Slower pace than mainland Mexico , it seems that drinking, eating, and shopping are mainly what it has to offer and tourism is apparently what it thrives on. I’m still looking for those places a little more laid back where I can see the roots of a culture unspoiled by the frantic chase for dollars. I know that’s asking a lot.

We originally wanted to go to Cancun, Cozumel, and then down to Belize but decided it would be better to go half way to Belize, which would break up our 300-mile trip and give us a rest before going the remainder of the way. When checking out with customs, we discovered that we were not allowed to go into any Mexican ports we hadn’t listed when we first checked in with immigration and customs. Cancun, Cozumel and Belize were the only ports we listed. We thought we could add additional ports as we went, but that is not the case (according to the customs officer). We would have to start all over with customs and immigration so we decided to go straight to Belize .

Before leaving for Belize , we needed/wanted to have a new autopilot to replace the one that broke while sailing to the Yucatan . It was ordered and accidentally sent to San Diego . There it was repackaged and sent to Melanie’s house in St. Louis where it was delivered by midnight. Flying out to Isla Mujeres, Mel brought it to us in person and joined us for the sail down to Belize City .

With a crew of 5 now, we finally left for Belize on Sunday morning, the 5th of December.  The trip was long and uneventful. When the winds and seas were calm enough, we were able to use the autopilot which allowed an additional person to rest. We were warned by the Coast Guard to stay a good 30 nautical miles offshore because of recent reported piracy along the coast from the bottom of Cozumel down to Belize . Staying that far off shore is the same as crossing a large body of water. It’s so far out that you can’t see shore so you just sail along and enjoy sailing. Well some of us did. And some of us got sick. I was one of the lucky ones and didn’t have a problem. 

I was on the helm and tired early evening (we were all burnt out) when a squall came up and tried to get the best of me. I simply surrendered to it, heaved to and went below. We bounced around there in the tossing sea while on the outside, the wind and rain tried to get in. Then, like a switch thrown, it was gone. We immediately got back out and up on deck and cranked the wheel to the lee, and off we were again, flying along under sail.  We only lost a couple hundred yards of cross track error which we got back in a heart beat.

Tuesday Dec 7, we arrived and docked at the Princess Marina in Belize . Yeah! We made it! It is always exciting to actually get somewhere, yet, for me, somehow surprisingly anticlimactic. 

The sickly soon perked up as feet hit terra firma. We had our quarantine flag up under the Belize flag, and we contacted the Harbor Master to get the boat thru all the documentation stuff we had to do. He was easy to find because he was also the dock master on the dock where we had pulled in to fuel. He said he would contact all the folks we needed, and they would be there shortly.

Well, we’ve learned about foreign time tables. An hour means two. Two hours means 4.  Noon means 3 and so on. They would ream us right there on that dock, keeping us for 2 days for lack of coordination (or intentionally). Immigration and health were the first to arrive, near the end of the first day. They sat with us and checked our passports and looked at Athena’s documents and finally signed us off. They told us we needed to pay about 100 dollars, covering the documentation fees along with their taxi fees and harbormaster fee. Then they told us we needed to wait for Customs and Quarantine which would be coming soon.

We dined in the café overlooking the dock where Athena rested while we waited. We waited and waited, and it wasn’t until the following day that Customs and Quarantine finally came. They asked us the same questions as immigration did and finally left us after another hundred dollars and copious quantities of redundant paperwork. Well, that’s the way it goes.

My back was hurting too much, so I didn’t go into Belize City with Jeff. I decided to take a room at the Princess Marina Hotel and get some non-rocking and -rolling flatness.  It seemed grand compared to a couple places up in Mexico but no HOT WATER!!!  I couldn’t belize it. Still, I managed to have a wonderful night’s sleep, lying flat and motionless, allowing my bones to sit together and do some knitting.

We fueled up there, three bucks a gallon, and got underway for an island a little north of Belize City called Cay Caulker.  (Still pronounced key like any other Cay.)  Well, being pioneers that we are, we headed out the shortcut way which we figured would save us several hours. We ignored the recommended and tried route written in our cruising guide by Frieda and got stuck in mud about 5 miles out. Our keel was submerged in goo. We finally came to a stop, plowing slowly into a mound of sandy muck. There was no telling which way to go to get out of it. We tried to weasel our way free, but I knew that it was time to see if I could hail some help. (There are many ways to get out of these situations, but I like to go with the easiest first.)

I radioed for a tow, and the folks at Belize City were useless in response. Someone from shore said they would finally send out a tow boat when they could. Jeff, Brian and Lee took the dink and went fishing, Mel and I stayed back to wait for the tow boat then radio the guys back when they came. After about an hour, someone in Belize City radioed us that they would have someone on the way. I hailed the boys back to the boat and once again we waited and waited. Finally, as luck would have it, a taxi style fast boat came near and Jeff flagged it down. With two engines equal to 300 horses, they agreed to pull us to deeper water and did just that. The ride was mushy and felt very weird. We plowed along the slimy bottom and occasionally hit soft little mounds of mud slowing us down momentarily. Finally reaching deep water, they cut us loose and waved goodbye. They asked for nothing in return but I gave them 40 dollars Belize (20 US bucks) for their gas and good deeds done. Finally, we were back on track on a recommended route for Cay Calker, but decided to stay at a little island along the way because it had already gotten late. We pulled into a little anchorage in St. George Cay.

It was a gentle night on hook and we were able to get underway for Cay Caulker the following morning. It was a light wind and sea; we had no problem going between sailing, motoring, and motorsailing. The autopilot was a big help. It made the entire day a relaxing one. 

We pulled into an anchorage on the back side of Cay Caulker and anchored not too far out. That evening promised a storm, so we put down another hook and set it good. We had a great time in Caulker, with a great beach and tourist town right off our dinghy dock. They had internet cafés and diving schools and services.  Mel and I decided to take a diving tour to the Famous Blue Hole, the Half Moon Cay and Light House Cay. The company we went with, Paradise Down, is owned some good folks named OJ and Patty.  Their programs offered both snorkeling and scuba diving in some of the best diving places north of the equator. 

The two hour ride out there was a pounding experience on my back, even though I sat in the back of the boat on my air cushions. But, once I got into my gear and got in the water, aaaaaaaaah, total weightlessness. They took Mel with the other snorkelers to one place for safe snorkeling and good seeing, and all the scuba divers straight to the rim of the hole which is about a 450 foot drop to the bottom. They only allowed us to go down together at a maximum depth of 130 feet for 8 minutes, just long enough to swim into a cave where there were stalagmites and stalactites made way back when the water was still shallow. The rest of that dive lasted about 15 minutes at 30 feet. There were two more dives at 60 feet, 3 dives total. After the 2nd dive they took us all to a nice spot on the beach of Half Moon Cay for lunch where we enjoyed chicken, beans, rice and tortillas.  After lunch we had our final dive then made it back to Caulker.

What wonder. In fact, all three of the reef dives we did out there were more than spectacular, the most amazing aqua beauty experience of my lifetime, including diving Hawaii . I was in awe as I swam down hovering weightless above the brain coral and trumpet shaped coral and pottery vase looking reef coral. More and more variety filled my vision, almost to overload, groups of cilia type succulent plant/animals (I think they were a type of sea anemone) parked next to Antler Coral and great long tubular inverted cones. Some looked like huge funnels growing out of the rock and coral. There were many different kinds of snails, and small, large and huge fan corals waved in the gentle surge at that depth. And the fish, oh my, such a delightful living example of how beautiful and colorful life is when allowed to grow unmolested. It was all so surrealistic and yet cartoon like with the incredible, infinite shapes and multi-colored flora/fauna. It gave me a deep feeling of being connected to everything with every part of me. Love could not escape me as I was overtaken with so much splendor. It reminded me of nature turned inside out.  Its entire nakedness hanging out there to be touched by what ever nourishment was brought by the sea’s love. It seemed comical too, like a scene of lets say, cross between Salvador Dali and Dr. Seuss. Wow, I’ll never forget it!

Cay Caulker was my favorite place so far. We are now at a turning point. Either we go further south or turn north for a different sort of plan. Our original plans were to go south thru the Panama Canal . My crew and my back are dropping me hints. I think it’s time to head north. My crew is getting restless as this journey has gone into overtime for both Jeff and Lee as far as their work opportunities go. You can only leave a job so long before competition will fill it and this voyage has been going on since April. Also, the hurricane season took a big chomp out of our scheduled time so now we are paying the price.

My body is telling me the same thing. The constant movement (and not so gentle at times) is telling me to get somewhere and stay put for awhile where I can be flat and calm. That is how I healed my back the last time it was hurting. It’s been getting worse, especially my thoracic spine region and left rib cage towards where it connects to my spine.  It hurts to walk short distances, I’m back in my shell at times and it keeps me awake at night because I can’t find a position that is painless.  I do have Advil, Ativan and Vicodin which is heaven sent when the pain is heavy.  I usually only need the Advil but sometimes I take an Ativan and within a half an hour I’m back in the nurturing arms of loving, restful sleep. 

Our water maker has been working perfectly, giving us pure, fresh water to drink and rinse off the saltwater when we climb out of the ocean after diving.  It’s quite a luxury to have fresh water but there may be something about pure water that isn’t so good for Myeloma.  I think it may be taking too much calcium from my from my bones so I’ve started taking a calcium supplement.. (I’ve been told this can happen even to a “healthy” individual drinking pure water) The calcium with seems to be helping.

The decision was made; we are now sailing back up to the tip of the Yucatan where we will head straight out across the Gulf of Mexico straight for Texas .  Of course we will stop along the way from here on up to the tip for some final touristy stuff but I am already making arrangements to have the boat pulled out and trucked to San Diego from Texas around the 15th of January.  I also have a slip available and paid for.  Joanie personally did the transaction for me in the Chula Vista Marina.

This decision to head north was relieving yet bothersome for me.  I made plans to do a thing and found it changing every step of the way.  Just like life, the ever present changelessness changing all the time, keeps a fella on his toes.  Still, I did have a feeling of incompleteness but I didn’t let it to dig in too deep and make me feel bad.  I just watched it come and go like the tides.  On this voyage, I started out seeking but along the way it turned into more of an exercise in being.  These days, I don’t seem to seek like I used to.  This was the gift to me.  To find that there is nothing to seek.  I just live and look around, allow everything, including my own involvement.  I move thru life each day, each moment, and allow myself to be comfortable with the present moment even though sometimes I need cushions.

We all enjoyed Cay Caulker and it was from there that both Brian and Melanie left us.  We said our goodbyes and the original three of us headed north for San Pedro Thursday morning on the 16th of Dec.  Our plans were to make 30 to 50 nautical mile stops all the way up to Cozumel . 

Bye for now,

Love,

jer


January 11, 2005

Hey there…

We arrived in San Pedro on the 16th of Dec and docked at the fuel pier about 1 in the afternoon.  We fueled up then went out on anchor for the night and stayed for 4 days.  We did some snorkeling by ourselves out on the reef and saw a large Nurse Shark sleeping in a small cave, probably 10 foot long.  We didn’t wake him respecting the old adage:  “Let sleeping sharks lie”.  We poked around there and found shells and ancient conks and such but took very little.  And, we did some dining in town.  After we had our fill and it was time to go, we got underway early morning for the next little hop northbound to a little port along the coast called Xcalac.  We were out of cash and thought we could get some there.  NOPE.  Nearest money like a bank or ATM machine was about 40 miles inland on bad road.  All we had were credit cards we couldn’t use, a couple hundred pesos and Jeff had a traveler’s check which no one would accept way out there in Bumluck Egypt.  Well not quite true.  The lady that saw us dinghy in invited us warmly into her café but then told us she would call a friend down the road that might take Jeff’s Traveler’s check.  It turns out she would so one of the fellows hanging out at her bar volunteered to drive us down the 8 miles of rough road at breakneck speed to the other place and got us there safely.  He was a nice young fellow and we thanked him kindly.

 That night we partied, Jeff’s traveler’s check saved the day and the good hospitality and cooking was wonderful.  I wound up drinking 4 margaritas and got plastered and on our way back to the dinghy we happened thru the first restaurant and had one more drink, Jeffy made me drink it!  Well, to say the least, I literally floated back to the boat.  The following morning I was pretty thick headed and nearly lost my edge on sea sickness.  I skated by on thin ice, hanging onto my cookies and not feeding the fishes.  I will never, never, never do that again. (right?)

We planned that Xcalac would be our first port of entry back into Mexico.  The Customs man spoke pretty good English and was against the Mexican system of bullshiftiness and also hated paperwork.  He told us of some rights we had…As long as we pulled into Mexican ports for rest, we needn’t even go thru the customs rigmarole.  Just pull in, anchor, rest and leave.  You are even permitted to come ashore for provisions such as water, food and fuel.  24 hours seems to be the magic number to be gone.  But, there’s also another rule.  If the weather doesn’t permit, a boat can stay until it is safe to leave.  Or, if the weather is rough, that is a reason to land on any foreign shore, including Cuba.  But of course, that won’t be happening on this trip.

Still northbound we left Xcalac the following morning heading out to sea to hit a little cay called Cayo Norte, a small pair of islands that provide safe anchorage about 45 nm away.  We got there by 1455 and anchored.  We anchored just southwest of the lighthouse.  We could see a dock in the distance and a long white boat tied up along side.  No sooner did we anchor, we were approached by that same open boat along with 5 large serious looking men.  Each in their own chosen attire, shorts, sandals or barefoot, ball hats and varied colored clothing.  They all looked our way, very intently.  Of course, piracy sprung to all our minds.  They circled around us speaking Spanish and I went down inside and located the flair gun and Lee readied the 3 machetes.  When I got back up on deck, they were coming right up to our stern to tie up and then I noticed that one fellow had a clipboard in his hand with some wrinkled sheets of paper on it.  Somehow, everything instantly seemed to fall together.  He kept saying Marina, Marina!  It was another instance of having to just let go.  Surrendering to this moment, we allowed him to come aboard so he followed me down into the cabin and he sat down and accepted some water.  He laughed when he saw our stack of machetes leaning up against one seat and I immediately said: “for banditos”.  He laughed again and said “No banditos.  Marina!”  He then asked for my boat documents and passport and filled out a form and a crew’s list for customs.  He then proceeded to inspect the boat, starting forward.  He opened one drawer, tapped another, banged on the deck above the bilge and asked to see underneath.  Then he tapped the mast with his knuckle, stood up and said, “OK, gracias”, then proceeded to leave.  I was relieved at to how it all worked out, never really getting any adrenalin going in me.  He climbed off Athena and back aboard his own boat and they took off.  I didn’t offer a propina (bribe).

We left our anchor light off that night; I didn’t want us to be seen easily in that far away place.  We were the only boat in the world except for their marina launch that was kept over by the lighthouse.  Apparently, those 5 men lived there on the little dot in the ocean to help mariners like us in bad weather. 

Next morning Wed. 22, we left out early once more, on our way to a bay above Punta Herrero to anchor inside a reef around Bahia Del Espiritu Santo.  It’s a safe anchorage thru one of the cuts in the reef inside, which runs nearly from Honduras to Cozumel.  We made it there a little later than we wanted so it was a bit tense trying to verify the actual middle of the cut based on NOAA’s charts of the area that are not really dependable.  The charts of Frieda’s cruising guide would have us land squarely on a reef if we stuck doggedly to her GPS waypoint in her references.  We did figure it out; the light was good enough to see the slab of concrete marking the southern side of the entrance so the rest was obvious. 

We cruised cautiously in, hung a northerly turn and went up inside far enough to get away from the ocean waves tho we could see them breaking outside over the reef.  I enjoy anchoring inside a reef.  You can hear the ocean crashing on the reef and a little spillover is nice as it gently rocks us.  Also the sea breeze is right there, unobstructed and keeps us pointed into the wind and away from the reef where we lie at anchor most comfortably.  Plus, the reef is close so the snorkeling is grand.

Thursday the 23rd (Dad’s birthday) I started my first day of Dex, Thalidomide, Diflucan and Ativan since I’m running out of Essential Greens.  It’s been a while since I stopped the Dex and Thalidomide to see what the Green Essentials can do.  Now I’m back on my standard Chemo track and am anxious to see what my numbers will be when I get back to SD.

We sailed out for Tulum, a place we heard we could find a bank and get some pesos and finally get something to eat and drink besides our pure water and canned food.  Where we landed was also inside a reef with a small cut, another nerve wracking experience coming in.  You never actually know how far out into the opening the rocks and coral heads will be poking up so it can get a little tense.  Anyways, we made it in slowly and safely and again, turned right and up to a small village and anchored right next to shore by early evening.  It was beautiful.  It was like a jungle paradise with only grass and straw huts roofed with palm thatching, and these dwellings formed a little village which sat along the shoreline.  The whole place had a very primitive look about it like something in Tarzan movies.  However, once ashore, it becomes obvious it was just a little rental area of Cabanas.  They were nice but the actual town of Tulum was 10 miles away and we had to hitch hike there or walk out to the nearest main road and hail a taxi.  We did walk to the road but some kids picked us up with the radio blasting and took us to town in a flash where we got some money and sat down to a nice meal.

After dinner, we walked across the street to a grocery store and bought some bread, frosted flakes, storable milk, jelly and a few other things.  Then we caught a taxi back to the cabanas, jumped our dink and got back to our Lady Athena who was waiting for us patiently.

The next morning we put anchors away and sailed off for Isla Cozumel.  It’s a rich little island just about 33 km up from Tulum across the water off the coast of Playa Del Carmen.  It was a pleasant sail, gentle breeze on a beam reach and calm seas, no motor.  I took the helm most of the day and sailed her into Cozumel where we anchored, a stone’s throw from shore.  Jeff and Lee went to shore for Christmas Eve to check things out in Cozumel and I stayed back and laid back on my back to keep back the back pain. (he he) Well, the pain did come back a little but I took care of it with my usual treatment; then slept like a dead thing. 

Jeff spent that night ashore and stayed there thru Christmas.  Lee and I were happy to hang with Athena on Christmas day.  Thank goodness we had a satellite phone so we were able to call our loved ones to wish them a very merry Holiday. 

The weather was nice all during the day but as the sun set, the wind picked up and the waves picked up too.  The wind and seas continued to worsen, bringing in breakers that were crashing on the beach just inside us.  With fins, snorkels and masks, Lee and I dove on the anchors to check them out because they drug a bit when the wind shifted more and more out of the west.  The locals say the bottom is coral but it is totally flat, white and hard as limestone.  The Bruce anchor was caught solidly on one of the few rocks in the area.  Hoping it would hold, we swam to the Danforth anchor and found it in a shallow hole.  It was now facing the wrong way since the wind has shifted from south to west.  I couldn’t trust it there so in the stormy surf we swam it over to a large and lonely coral head and wrapped it around and back on its chain.  If the coral head broke loose, I knew we would be in trouble.  We were setting bow to the sea and stern to shore slightly in the surf now and getting tossed like a cork.  I was sore, tired and dexing and felt it was too dark and treacherous to try to do anything more with the anchors for the time being.  On shore, Jeff could see us but we had the dinghy and he couldn’t reach us thru the surf with all his stuff without a great deal of hassle.  There wasn’t any apparent immediate danger.

As each hour passed, things got worse.  Like a bucking mare trying to get loose, Athena heaved up her bow high in the air then down hard yanking on her anchor lines which now lead out in a 90 degree V configuration to the dark and angry sea.  I hoped we could just stay put and ride this storm out.  I thought if we needed to, we could either pull up or break free the anchors.  Then we could motor out to deeper water and cruise around offshore till sunup or find a place to drop our third hook, dive it and set it.  I kept a close watch on both radar and GPS, looking for movement towards shore which was about 100 yards away.  I knew that if both anchors let go at the same time, I’d have maybe only a minute to start moving forward, get free of the hooks, and motor out of the surf area.  I had the engine running, batteries charging, and we were standing by just in case such an emergency called for immediate action.

Things got even worse and waves began breaking over our bow.  They would hit up forward and occasionally continue all the way back to our stern, crashing over our wind dodger and bimini as they went.  Soon after that, all hell broke loose.  Our Bruce began to drag.  It must have shifted and let go of the rock in the growing, surging surf.  The Coral head anchor was at a 90 degree angle from the dragging Bruce which allowed us to swing around the coral and come even closer to shore.  Several large, breaking waves crashed into us and then washed right over us carrying us in even closer.  When the water settled back down after those waves, we also settled down, right onto the hard coral bottom.  Bang!  Bang!  Crunch! 

We immediately jumped to our feet and went topside to take action but our rudder shaft was already bent and Athena was unsteerable.  I didn’t know the rudder was bent at the time so I cranked the wheel all the way to the right but we were still in a hard left turn.  I thought it was just the wind and waves pushing us to the left.  Pulling away in a left turn, the propeller caught the Danforth anchor line and stopped the engine dead.  The pounding surf continued to move us towards the hard coral beach, still dragging one anchor and pivoting back and forth on the Danforth which I could no longer bring in since it was wrapped around the propeller. 

With the sounds of rudder still colliding with hard ground, Lee and I (and adrenaline) quickly brought out our third anchor (Another Bruce) and took it up to the bow.  I tied the bitter end of the line to the cleat and paid out the rest to the sea.  We then dropped the anchor to the bottom but kept hold of some chain.  I got in the water, then Lee and together we swam with the chain, bouncing and dragging the anchor along under us on the hard bottom.  We could hear it clink and clank and even see it from time to time in the 10 to 15 foot deep water.  We swam it out as far as we could into the dark, stormy surf looking for a hole to drop it into or something to wrap it around.  The visibility was very poor and when we got to the end of our 200 foot line we managed to get it hooked under a small but solid rock which was stuck hard to the bottom floor.  We both went down and wiggled it by hand, making it grab as best we could.  We then made it back to Athena and hauled her out of the surf and into deeper water by her electric windlass. (Anchor winch)

Besides her broken rudder, Athena was taking on water thru the rudder shaft hole in her hull below the shaft housing which had broken away from all the pounding.  Also, the top of the rudder shaft ripped a long hole running forward in the bearing housing under the access cover on the upper deck.  The poor girl was hurting.  Our bilge pump was able to keep up with the incoming water for the moment.  I radioed the port authority and by daybreak, they finally sent out a huge steel tow boat to pull us into a nearby marina.  Though cosmetic, as much damage was done from the towboat as crunching our rudder on beach.  Their huge steel craft was lifting high out of the water and crashing down on our side.  Hand rails were bent, rub rails crunched and rolled off, and big gouges were torn in Athena’s top deck edges where the hard steel came against her tender fiberglass.  They also broke our starboard bow cleat in half with too much force.  It was a nightmare of a tow.

Finally, we were towed into a marina and rafted up next to a couple of glass bottom boats.  I immediately got back into my gear and jumped in the water for a closer inspection.  It was as I expected so I dove under and packed all around the rudder shaft and opening with terrycloth and string to cut the constant flow of water down to minor seepage.  Then we were able to relax for a few days until they pulled us out of the water and put us back on the hard for repairs.  This would be a long 4 to 5 days for me.  I was coming off dex the following morning, then of course, the crash.  My aches and pains would be back plus my energy would be at a lull.  Well, as I like to say, “We shall see…”

When we got in the dry yard, we immediately began the repairs on Athena’s hull and upper deck.  The fixes were fairly easy, just messy and fiberglassy. I had a respirator but the rest of me was covered in fiberglass for 3 days. (Itchy and nasty!) I ran out of rubber gloves too and wound up smearing epoxy with my bare hands on the last couple lay-ups.  A week later I still have epoxy coated nails.  She’s now ready for the rudder, stronger than when she came out of the factory.  Now all we need is the rudder.

As I sit here and type, January 12, 18 days since our mishap, I am recovering from either Montezuma’s Revenge or a bad stomach virus.  I hadn’t eaten for 5 days but drank plenty of water and Gatorade and vitamin supplements. I’m eating a bit now and I think I’ve rounded the corner to better health but now, Jeff, Lee and Craig are sick.  They came down with a similar thing.  They are recuperating also and seem to be getting better quickly.

The rudder was bent too severely for me to feel good about just fixing it.  We ordered another one from Catalina Yachts in California.  It was supposed to come straight to Cozumel but somehow landed in Mexico City.  It was held there hostage until we finally discovered its whereabouts and hired an import agent to get it released from the clutches of Customs.  It would be a whole chapter just telling you about the fiasco I had getting that rudder released to us.  Well, almost released to us.

The rudder cost about 1200 dollars and the shipping went UPS express which was an additional 400 bucks.  Now, since needing an agent with an import license, and import fees for Mexico City Custom’s and additional shipping and handling charges; I had to pay another 900 dollars, plus about 300 dollars more for the extra days laying in the yard on the hard.  Not to mention (I’ll mention it anyway) the additional food and lodging for the four of us since they wouldn’t let us stay in the boat while on land. We are still waiting for our rudder to arrive.  It was due to be here tonight by 1500 but they “forgot” to put it on the plane from Mexico City.  With yet another promise and some good luck, it will be here tomorrow before noon…

I am very anxious to see Cozumel on the horizon, and then, just sort of fade away.

Cozumel is about 55 nautical miles below our final northern place of departure before swinging up and around the point of the Yucatan Peninsula.  If all goes well, we’ll get the rudder tonight, install it in the morning and get put back in the water by 10am.  We’ll head up the coast towards the point and stop in at Isla Mujeres for fueling and taking on final provisions.  Then we’ll take a course straight across the Gulf of Mexico right into Texas.  That will be a 5 to 6 day open water crossing, approximately 660 nautical miles of water.  Our friend Craig of St. Louis joined us in Cozumel and will help us with the crossing. (Bless his heart!)  I can’t wait to get to a place I can call home again now that we’re committed and heading that way.  It should be absolutely grand…unless something bad happens…(he he)

Not to invoke, just an old joke.

All in fun soooo,

Take care and be well, we’ll be doing the same thing.  I hope to see you real soon and that’s a fact.

PS.  Remember, we are made of love, surrounded with it, and can’t escape it.  Our separate lives are only apparently separate.  The one creation expresses itself in so many wonderful, creative ways.  Like with a painter’s brush and disappearing ink, we are painted onto life’s 3-D canvas.  The magic is that it’s all the same dream stuff, the brush, ink, canvas, and our apparently separate lives, all part of the one creation.  There are no accidents, no mistakes.

Let’s play and welcome each experience as though we’ve asked for it, regardless of how it appears.  Just watch our reactions when it doesn’t go as we planned or hoped.  We take things so seriously, especially our own identity.  I know this personally and sometimes it’s such a chore to allow things to be as they are when apparent victory seems so controllably close.  Just relax and watch our reactions (good or bad) to the surprises life brings us, and consider the idea that all is one.  It is fun/interesting/notsofun to see how quickly we judge ourselves for our reactions and judgments we put on others.  Our mind is designed to play this game of separation.  Luckily these judgments are nothing more than thoughts, our “own” ego/mind’s creation.  The bummer is that most of the time, it keeps us distracted from realizing our being in love.  In this way, we remain apparently separate while in this state of mind.  It has been said too many times in every language yet remains the main idea that points towards truth.  Everything in existence is part of the one.  Nothing is not part of the one which is part of our self; nothing is not part of our self.  It’s all one.  It’s really all one.  It’s simply     all     one.

Tiz all I gots,

Love forever and always,

jer

Read the full account of Jerry's maritime adventure.

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