To say that it rained several times during the night would be like comparing the flow of the Mississippi to the flow of a creek. Thunder rumbled, the wind whistled through the rigging, and the rain dashing down against the fiberglass deck and sides of the boat sounded as if someone had focused the stream of a fire hose on us. Loud, but steady, the white noise lulled us back to sleep as it tapered off.
At half past nine, we were met at the boat by our Sunsail mentor for a walk around briefing on lines, halyards, reef-points, diesel engines, water and waste systems, and all the various mechanical things we needed to know about the boat.
The Sunsail base is on a narrow spit of land facing a shallow lagoon, and we had to steer carefully from way-point to X-marked way-point for the first half hour to stay in water deep enough to allow passage. We eventually passed all eleven marked way-points, reaching the open water between the mainland and the barrier reef far offshore.
In addition to the GPS chart plotter we had been given updated paper charts and two inch thick Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast, with specific cays and hazardous obstructions charted in greater detail. Our first encounter on our route toward the north east became apparent as a broad area of lighter blue water that marked a bank of coral reef very close to the surface. We adjusted course slightly to motor along parallel to it, soon leaving it behind as we approached Lark Cay.
As we cleared the north end of the cay we could see the small green patch of trees that stuck up from Logger Cay and South Long Cocoa Cays a few miles behind that. Safely past Logger Cay and its surrounding coral heads, we altered course a bit more to the east.
We eased up on the mooring buoy, but the wind veered the bow at the last minute, and we could not retrieve the mooring line. Turning in wide circle we came around again, heading into the wind that was now blowing harder. The rain fall turned into a violent deluge, beating down the crests of the waves as nearby bolts of lightning added to our anxiety and urgency. The next attempt to snag the mooring line with a boat hook was successful.
As the heavy downpour had started, Ruth had begun to make her way toward the shelter of the inside cabin. As the boat pitched and rolled, she grabbed a hand hold for balance. Unfortunately the handle was on the sliding glass door, which was not locked in place. It slid, and Ruth fell to the deck, lacerating her leg on something as she went down.
I examined the wound, which was almost four inches long, and deep enough that the sides were separated by at least a quarter of an inch. I tried to pull the edges together with some adhesive tape that someone handed me, but it was soaked, and would not stick. I got some paper towels and applied gentle pressure to slow the bleeding while others searched for the first aid kit. Jane found some regular band-aids, and Sheila came up with a gauze bandage that had an adhesive edge all around it. John found in his emergency supplies a tiny bottle of super-glue gel.
I removed the ineffective tape, one strip at a time, blotted the gash until it was dry at the edges, and gently pulling the two sides together, applied the super-glue gel to the cut. I cut one of Jane's band-aids in half the long way, and placed it tight across the middle of the wound to hold it closed. I applied the super-glue gel to the upper half of the cut, and then covered the whole thing with the large adhesive bandage that Sheila had supplied. Ruth said that she felt fine an hour later.
I have no recollection of what we ate for dinner that evening, but everyone was in bed before eight thirty. Distance covered today: 17.3 miles.