Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mike and Kathi's Visit - Moho Cay, Emergency Surgery, Pelican Cay, and a 50 Knot Storm!

After a beautiful sunrise at Hatchet Caye, we headed west to a little cay called Moho Cay.  It is a private island that we always pass by, but today we had time, so we decided to stop and check it out!  We anchored in 15 feet in sand, dropped the dinghy, and headed to the beach. 
Sunrise at Hatchet Caye

Moho Cay
MokaKat on anchor at Moho Cay
After we arrived, I went over to talk to the caretaker, as the island was private.  He only spoke Spanish, so I got to practice my Spanish.  He said that we needed to pay $20 Belize for each person to stay on the island.  I told him that we were only going to stay a little and take pictures, so we only had to pay $20 Belize for all of us!  The island is usually used for tourist from Hatchet Caye.  There is an artificial white sand beach and tables for lunch.  It is nice, but a little too touristy for us! 

Kathi, Mike, and Mom
Kathi, with MokaKat in the background
Mike staying out of the sun!
The local guard dog that was very friendly
We raised the anchor and headed off to Pelican Cays!  The sail was easy and we had plenty of time.  Mike put out the fishing pole, hoping to catch dinner!  Finally he hooked a small tuna!
Mike's Surgery causing Tuna
Well, after Mike pulled in the little tuna, that is where the fun stopped.  This is also the place for those with squeamish stomachs should probably skip ahead a few pictures. 
***  Warning - the pictures below are graphic ***
I grabbed the needle nose pliers and was in the process of removing the hook and lure from the tuna when he flipped and the loose hook slid right into my thumb!  The problem was that I couldn't  let go of the fish or the pliers, as the fish was flopping around and moving the hook in my thumb.  I also had the lure with the pliers and was trying to hold the lure and he fish.  Mike ran over and grabbed the fish, and we were able to get the fish off of the lure!
I then sat down in the console and looked at my thumb to decide what we needed to do.  Don't forget the boat is still sailing along, heading to Pelican Cay.  Luckily, we were in open water and had some time before any course correction was needed.
I tried to push the hook through the skin, but it was too tough, so we had to go to plan B.  I told Kathi where the medicine kit was and that there was a sterile lance and a bottle of alcohol.  We soaked the whole area with alcohol, and then I had to take a break for a few minutes.  I was sweating and light headed, so I had to put my head down for a few minutes. 
Kathi took the lance and I grabbed the hook.  She cut a small incision near the point of the hook, and I pushed it through!  It was amazing that it didn't really hurt...maybe the adrenaline!  Once the hook was through, Mike found the wire cutters and cut the end of the hook off.  I then pulled the hook back out and soaked my thumb with more alcohol! 
I put on a band aide with some Polysporin and we were back sailing! 
Ok, let's get a plan together!  Kathi digging out the wire cutters!
No words needed to explain....

Doctor Kathi, after cutting above hook and me pushing it through!  Mike then cut the barb off, as I pulled the hook back out!
Thanks to Mom, we were able to get some pictures.  It was funny, as I wanted pictures for the blog and kept asking if anyone was taking some!  She took these three pictures and then was feeling bad, and heading down to her stateroom!
We arrived at Pelican Cay and caught another small tuna on the same lure!  I guess the missing barb didn't impact the performance!  We grabbed an empty mooring ball and relaxed for a few minutes!
We had planned on staying at Pelican Cays for a couple of nights, but there was an approaching northern front coming, so we ended up staying an extra night.  We snorkeled a couple of times and found a new spot that was amazing!  I saw a couple of eagle rays that made my day!  They are still my favorite sea animal here in Belize!  Kathi and Mike terrorized a couple of starfish for a few minutes, but returned them gently on the bottom.  I am not sure what it is about starfish that everyone wants pictures with them!  I am sure that they are not too excited about it!

Morey Eel

Spotted Eagle Ray

Kathi terrorizing a poor starfish!
Mike: I found it!!!
More starfish terrorizing!
We also enjoyed eating dinner at Hideaway Caye with Dustin and Kim!  Dustin was around, so I was able to get a picture of him this time!  We had a great time visiting with them and some other cruisers.

MokaKat on a mooring ball at Pelican Cays 
Dustin and Kim
 Since we had an extra day and we were tired of snorkeling, I spend some time to repair the autopilot which for some reason stopped working when I got the hook stuck in my thumb.  It turned out to be a simple fix, as the sprocket came off the end of the shaft.  I fixed it in a few minutes, and it was working again!

Autopilot with sprocket and key off the shaft
Fixed autopilot motor!!!

As we were waiting for the storm to hit, the day was extremely hot and still.  We played Texas 42 dominoes most of the afternoon, waiting on the front. 
Playing Texas 42 dominoes while waiting for the storm to hit!  FYI, Mike and I won 2 out of 3!
Later that afternoon, we cooked some fish and chicken on the grill.  The air was very thick and it was really hot.  We just sat down to eat, and the storm hit with a fury!  We moved all of our plates inside and the temperature dropped 10 degrees.  We had moved to a mooring ball that was behind Hideaway Cay, thinking it would be more protected.  As the wind picked up it moved to the North West.  Even through we were on a mooring ball, I dropped our main anchor as protection against a mooring ball failure.  We then rode out the storm, as the winds were clocking over 40 knots and up to 50!  Since it was very dark, it was hard to tell, but it seemed like our mooring ball was being drug further into deeper water away from Hideaway Cay.  I stayed on anchor watch until almost midnight, and the wind slowed under 40 knots.  I also had my handheld GPS with anchor watch with me as I tried to get some sleep.  Around 1:00, something woke me up, so I checked my GPS.  It showed that we had moved about 100 feet or more, and that the wind was coming from the south!  I am not sure why the wind changed direction, maybe some swirling, but it was pushing us back closer to Hideaway Cay!  I started the engines just to make sure that the were warmed up, and Mike came shooting out of his stateroom!  Of course everyone was up then to see why I started the engines.  I ended up watching the storm for another hour and a half, and finally the wind died down to 15 knots, I went back to sleep!  Wow, what a night!
In the morning, we discovered that the mooring ball had moved about 200 or 300 feet away from Hideaway Cay!  We were happy that it drug away from the cay and the storm didn't come from the east or south!  Later on that day, we moved over to one of the other mooring balls, as we didn't trust that one anymore! 
I didn't think about trying to take any pictures or video of the storm, as it was pitch black.  We were happy that we were in a protected anchorage.  The other two charter catamarans did fine during the storm, but I am sure they had stories to tell too! 

It has been an action packed week, and we have more days to go!
We enjoyed Pelican Cay, but were ready to move on to South Water Cay! 
Happy Sailing from MokaKat!!!


  1. Hi Dale,
    I enjoyed your tales, it made me remember a time when Rosemary and I were fishing in Padre Island and she got a lure hook stuck at the end of her thumb. The barb was also inside; we could not get it out and ended up at the hospital. After giving her an anesthetic shot, the hook was pushed all the way through and barb came out the other side and then they cut the part that connected with the lure.

  2. You definitely had a memorable experience.