December 22, 2018
Somewhere off the coast of Mexico, Yucatan
is floating in a protected cove. The water is brilliant turquoise,
and the sun is shining
It is like a postcard, white
sand beach and palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze.
We don't know where we are.
Robert calls me to come up and look,
but I continue with what I am doing for a few more minutes before making my way to the companion way and looking out.
I have the radio in my hand.
Pan Pan !Pan Pan! Pan Pan! We are in no imminent danger. I repeat our situation into the radio for the 15th time that morning.
We can see 5 or 6 fishing boats in the cove
"I need something to get their attention", Robert says.
I crawl around in the disaster area that once was the interior of our sailing vessel and find the safety bag.
I hand him a lazer light, the flare gun, and the
Just then, the radio crackles to life.
"Sailboat, sailboat", (in broken English,) we see you." Something unintelligible…something
about a reef.
"Come in, come in …! I reply, We have no working instruments or propulsion...Are we going to hit a
REEF? Requesting help. Please help!"
Robert, meanwhile,has fired several flares, has the light flashing distress, and is sounding the air horn.
Finally a fishing vessel, Claudia, approaches. Amazingly, our dinghy is aboard their ship! They point and nod and hand it over to Robert, who ties it to the back of NeverLand .The aluminum bottom is gone. But then, so is the motor. Somehow,
one oar stayed aboard.
One of the Pescadores jumps aboard, and they tie NeverLand to their vessel.
us to a good spot, and drop the anchor. We are, at least for the moment, safe from the reef.
to communicate that our vessel has been disabled, we have no navigation or power, and need a towboat.
They nod and smile and just untie, and go back to fishing.
I spend the day cleaning inside the boat ..handing bags of broken, soiled, mess up to Robert as he does the same topside.
My shoes are coated
with pumpkin butter, eggs, and flour, and Lord knows what else. I laugh wryly to myself. I could make a cake. Except my stove is lying in the floor.
Everything is soaked, and we hang as much
as we can out to dry in the sun.
It’s a long, tedious, day and we are both battered and bruised.
I try not to let
Robert see how much I’m crying.
Outside, we see the fishermen getting ready to call it a day. We sound the air horn again, and finally the guys who had helped us
earlier, swing back by.
Robert asks him to take us to Port. We still do not know where we are.
seem to be out of somewhere called Progreso. We find that in our guidebook, but we still don't know where we are in relationship to that.
He says ok, but not until tomorrow, as there is rough
water outside the jetty.
We ask about payment.
Cigars? No. Cigarettes? No…Mota?
Robert hands them a nearly full bottle of Captain Morgan.
We agree to be ready at 0600.
I line the damp berth with our only dry towels and one dry sheet. I find one semi dry settee cushion
for us to share as a pillow.
We crawl in, exhausted.
Usually at anchor I’m a light sleeper, nervous about drift
and constantly checking even though we have a drift alarm.
Of course this night we have no drift alarm, and did not even set the anchor ourselves in our usual cautious and measured manner.
But this night..after three days battling rough seas and with everything damp and cold.
The anchorage is flat and calm, and under any other circumstances we would have found it enchanting.
Robert went topside at 5 am….and watched every single
fishing boat leave, en masse.
He repeatedly fired the air horn, but they just kept going.
The radio is now completely
Maybe we should have given them the rum afterwards.
Maybe they will send help.
We could never have been prepared for what happened next