A Black Night in the Yucatan Channel
We were heading north along the Caribbean coast of Mexico, after exploring the interior of Guatemala and the atolls of Belize. It was dark, really dark, with no stars or moon. The Last Laugh was cruising easily, radar on, good visibility, and calm seas. Our cruising buddies on three other DeFevers were in a line behind us, spread out over about two miles. We all saw the two radar blips heading south at about 8 knots and, as they approached in the opposite direction, we could see their running lights. Suddenly, the lead radar blip doubled her speed and did a U-turn behind Endorphin, the fourth DeFever. Tricia White, who spoke the best Spanish, hailed the unknown attacker but got no answer. She tried English. No answer. We all felt the chill in our spines. The three leading boats did a quick one-eighty to head back toward Endorphin at flank speed. Whoever was approaching Endorphin’s stern would have to deal with all four of us. The unidentified vessel powered right up to Endorphin, blasting her with white light to read her transom name. We all monitored the radio as we converged on Endorphin. Suddenly, the attacker broke radio silence with Spanish for, “Have a good voyage,” and turned south again. We guessed it was the Mexican Navy, perhaps working with the DEA, to spot drug smugglers on their way to the USA. We will never know. But we will all remember that night and the value of our DeFever cruising buddies who will circle the DeFevers in time of need.