Isla Mujeres


May 20th - 23rd

Didn't hang around too long in Dry Tortugas, shame really. Quite idyllic here but the show must go on!

We headed mostly south-east, hoping to avoid taking the Gulf Stream head. Winds pretty much south-east but kept coming around to the east. Dave mentioned he wanted protein so I break out the fishing lines, takes about 20 minutes but we land a tuna, that gets butchered for filets and a little shashimi. What a mess, blood everywhere, the extra bowl I bought to coral the blood was more than a little useless when the fish is thrashing and throwing blood out of its mouth. Mental note, kill the damn things early. Still there really is nothing to beat fresh caught tuna. Unless of course its fresh caught Mahi Mahi (or more correctly dolphin in gulf, or perhaps dorado). We caught 4 of these after the tuna and put them all back alive. I'm glad we caught the tuna first because we have more than enough fish to eat and the dolphin are such pretty fish. That green color is just something else.

Sailing through the first night we can see the glow of Key West to the west and Havana to the south. I would really like to have cruised along the north coast of Cuba, stopping, but the amount of paperwork to make a visit is ridiculous. We've been off soundings since we left the park area of the Dry Tortugas but the water her is deep, around 10,000 feet in places. We are constantly spotting and avoiding ships here, its busy. We're also having to go through the odd squall every now and then so we're not showing all our sail, so we're not making huge mileage. The winds in the squalls frequently hit 35+ so just flying through with all sail up is not what you want to do.

We make it through to about 12 miles off the Cuban north coast and follow it south west. There's supposed to be a Gulf Stream Counter current here. We follow the coast for roughly 100 miles, again, not flying but progress is good. Traffic is busy.

We make it to Caba San Antonio, at the west end of Cuba and I check with a dutch ship passing for a weather forecast. He tells us “its fine just, high winds”. Oh is that all? We loose the lee of Cuba and all hell breaks loose, high winds, breaking seas, and the occasional squall. We're going to have a rough night. The boat handles it beautifully, reefed main, 8 feet of gib, but its like being on the inside of a washing machine. Dave leaves dinner behind and is turning green, not unlike the dolphin. Well, only 94 miles to go. Time to suck it up.

Crossing the Yucatan Channel is like playing frogger while riding a bull. It is so busy. Big ships, and I mean BIG ships are flying past us and at one point on the plotter we looked like Custer at Little Big Horn. The Indians were circling.

We make it though the night, we pick up the Mexican coast, adjust for Isla Mujeres and open a beer. We pick a marina, clear the bar, to the bay, drop the sails and fire up the iron spinnaker. We get to the marina a little after 4 (we're back on central time now) and the marina crew help us in and tie off the boat and we're in Mexico! Well sort of, we're not supposed to leave the boat (really?) until we get cleared by:

I agree to let the marina act as my agent. Of course none of this will happen until tomorrow (or the day after). It's raining.

May 24th

Turns out we have a tropical depression forming off the coast here. Its really early for that but with the warming seas this is something we're going to have to get used to. Of course its raining. The Sanitation guy arrives, lectures us for not having a Zarpe and step one is done. Later Julio (our agent), drives us into town for immigration, I don't think we got above 15 mph. This island just isn't that big. The other office we went to, didn't have the lady who did whatever we needed. Turns out she stayed home because of the rain. We did take a walk and found a chicken roasting restaurant, Dave's happiness continues to rise.

Its raining.

May 25th

Its official! Tropical storm Alberto is with us. It rains hard, all day!

At some point during the night the boat leaked rainwater, and not just a little bit. It does this under certain circumstances, I don't know why. Anyway, Dave has had enough and booked a room at the marina for the rest of the stay. His happiness level just climbed through the roof. The room is nice and has view of the sea. If only it would stop rocking.

Not a lot happened today, some lady appeared, and Julio had me sign some paper, I tipped her and that was the day's major accomplishment. Changed my books out with the library at the marina and got laundry done (i.e. handed a bag of dirty clothes off to some lady who later appears bearing clean ones).

Ate at a restaurant owned by the next door marina. Food was good, and the guacamole divine.

Retired to the room and read. Did I tell you it was raining?

May 26th

Wait! What? Blue sky?

OK Good time to be tourists. We take a pair of bikes from the marina and head to a little park at the south end of the island. Sat most of the afternoon in the restaurant there but did manage to get motivated for a walk around the park. The park is full of modern art and sits up on some fairly decent cliffs. You can see Cancun from here as the waves come crashing in on the cliffs and the rocks that surround them. There's also a butt load of modern art sculptures sitting in the park, interesting.

On the trip back home,somehow, on an island as small as this we took a wrong turn and rode a mile or two into a dead-end. No really!

Got back and went for dinner to the Soggy Peso with Jeff. Jeff has a center console and lives mostly at the marina here, he is quite a character. A Good day was had.

May 27th

Headed to the other end of the island today (the north end). Quite a bit different here. Its very built up with nice beaches with lots of restaurants and hotels hugging the beaches. This must be the social end of the island here. The water and the sand is very welcoming here. We had a couple of beers at a bar on the beach. A couple sat down from us and the guy must have had the worst job of cosmetic surgery I have ever seen. His nipples pointed upwards and in opposite directions, no really!

Picked up lunch at a bar and put down a few more beers before heading back to the boat.

Decided to break the torpor and go swimming with whale sharks. Made the arrangements, weather stepped in and put the Pom on that idea. Port Captain blocked whale shark visits for the next wee.

May 28th

Rode the ferry with Dave to Cancun, said good bye. And that's it for the hotel room, its back on the boat now. I'm going to miss Dave, I always enjoy his company, never a dull moment.

Snorkeled on the dock, a lot. Tons of fish all packed in under the dock. Angel fish, parrot fish, Grunts of all kinds. I ended up doing a lot of snorkeling, one way to cool off.

Took a paddle-board out for a bit. Counting it a success because the last time up I jumped off voluntarily.

May 29th

Rode a ferry to Punta Juarez, to get my “Importada”. Failed. The Zarpe exemption page has a receipt on the photocopy, and apparently that is “verbotten!”. Head back to El Milagro (the marina). Went the next day with Julio to the Port Captians office and get another photo copy. Then I make the journey again. Hooray! Succcess! This time Banjercito (a military bank?) decide to take my money. Now the good to be in Mexico for 10 years. At this rate I may need to extend.

Ate dinner most nights with Jeff.

Watched a cuttlefish for 10 minutes before what looked like a suitor showed up. Both about 18 inches long. 2nd one was a lot more animated.

Talked with Don and Dave from Merida with the sport fishing boat.

The couple with the lovely taiwanese ketch in the slip opposite show up. A young couple of nature film makers from NY? Sold their condo to buy the boat (a Tai Chi or something like that) and sailed it from Los Angeles. They're both vegan and says that Tulum has a major vegan restaurant scene going on. They stopped there just to check it out.

Visit to the super market again. Unfortunately the hot tacos came with a live roach. I really hope it was not pregnant.

June 2nd

OK! Ready to leave! OK but wait I need my Zarpe and Julio isn't working today. Oh well one more day won't hurt.

Don's wife is visiting, came on the bus from Merida. They have taken a room and so Dave is stag tonight and joins Jeff and myself for bbq night at Skull's Landing.



Mahi Mahi

And they keep on coming

... and coming

Dave walking

Southside views.

El Milagro - a great place


Dave playing 

More cliff views

View south

The art