Down the Mexican Coast

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To check out photos from our current voyage, please click on the “Catalyst Photo Archive” to the right. 

March 5, 2011

Dear friends and family,

Puerto Aventuras

We moved the boat yesterday from Isla Mujeres to Puerto Aventuras which was about a 65 mile sail down the coast.  We passed Cozumel Island which created a softening of the waves as we sail between it and the main land.  In places around points on the mainland we would encounter greater current and in some places very confused seas.  It created some issues but nothing difficult. It was all in all a very pleasant sail with one reef and good winds most of the way.

Anchoring or even going in to a marina can be challenging on this coast as the wind coming from the east on to the shore does not make for a protected coast.  That is one reason Belize is easier becasue it has a reef protecting it from the worst of the seas hitting the coast and there are reefs and islands to anchor behind.  Mexico is not as easy.  This same weather condition will be a challenge for us when we get ready to leave next year as well but we will consider that later.

Russ really wanted to come to this marina.  We had not been here before and generally don’t enjoy Marinas.  This one is a lot like being in a very nice marina in the U.S. except like at home, many places are vacant, up for rent or sale because of the economy.  Mexico is suffering from lack of tourism and it is showing.  The prices here are unreal though.  We are paying only about $20 per night.  It was about $40 in Isla Mujeres and in the U.S. can be well over $100 per night.  At the moment, we are not in a great location.  We are tied up near the fuel dock on a high wall which makes getting on an off more difficult.  It actually is not so bad as we do have power but no  water to wash the boat.  We may move closer to the hub of activity near Chat-Eau but we would have to do a med mooring which means that we attach a line to a mooring and back in to the wall.  They have a plank to help you get ashore from the boat.  That maneuver takes a little more effort and we have never done it before.  If they can move us later though, we will give it a try.  Right now we have to put the dinghy in the water and take it over to the main part of the marina or make a circultus walk which would take about 20 minutes each way.

At the moment, we are waiting for the marina to open to so we can take on fuel since the hose reaches to our boat.  Then that will be done with.  We joined Cat-Eau last night for drinks and snacks but have not yet  explored the area.

Playa del Carmen

We have plans to take a bus later this morning to Playa del Carmen to visit friends who are staying there.  Wes and Sabine are a couple we met last winter in a Bahama’s Bound seminar that Nancy and Steve ran.  We have served as advisors to them in getting their boat ready to live aboard.  They have a trawler rather than a sail boat.  Wes left with two friends in February for Mexico but encountered trouble with 50 knot winds and rough seas as they were transiting.  Wes was pulling a Boston Whaler dinghy which was too big to mount on the boat.  Because of the wave action, the tow line was pulled from the boat and it wrapped around the prop.  It put a stop to steerage and forward power.  The boat started to shift in the waves and long story short, it was on the verge of breaking up when they abandoned ship on to a Carnival Cruise liner.  They were returned to Ft. Lauderdale the next day where they  were met by their wives.  Wes and Sabine had everything they owned on that boat except for the small amount of luggage Sabine had to get her to meet Wes in Mexico.  For now they are not going to go right back in to boating but are exploring options.  Friends had access to a rental in Playa de Carmen and they are currently staying there for some months.  They joined us for a Day in Isla Mujeres and we will join them at their place today.  I am sure we will be here, probably at leat until Tuesday.

We did have some time to explore Isla Mujeres.  Those who know  we don’t go out to eat much will be surpried that we have eaten out most meals since arrival.  The cost is reasonable here.  We took one full day to explore the town and rented a gulf cart to get around.  We went to the hotel on the north end of the island that I sent a picture of.  It is really nice there and close enough in town to explore but far enough out to be more private. 

Mexican Cemetery

We saw a cemetery along the way.  Last time we were here, we saw a mock up of what Mexican cemeteries look like at a tourist place we went to on the main land.  This was the real thing. 

Mexican Captain's Grave

Graves are for family and I think often more than one person is burried there. 

Most are like little houses and there is usually a glass door that allows one to put candles, flowers, food and pictures in.  I have sent several pictures so that you can see how close together everything is and how each memorial is very different.  It refects the colorful style that you see also in the houses here.

Being a boater, one particular monument was interesting.  The top of it is a boat and inside the boat is the captain.  You can see in the window his captains hat and his picture.  It was difficult even to walk around because things were so close.  It is beautiful in it’s own way and certainly interesting.

Albino Sea Turtle

We took the gulf cart to the other end of the island.  We saw a turtle farm and paid the equivilant of $3 each for a very small exhibit.  Not  really worth it since we have been to so many more interesting places but there were some albino turtles. 

That is  pretty unusual.  There was an adult and also two baby white ones.  You could get a close look at the beautiful shells and the designs and colors are wonderful.  I hope our money helps their efforts to protect and increase the turtle population.

Easternmost Point in Mexico

We stopped at the eastern most tip of the island which is also the eastern most point of Mexico.  We saw houses along the way that were beautiful in architecture and interesting in color.  Color really is impactive here and it doesn’t seem to matter how bright a house is, it seems to fit.

Of course there are some beautiful buildings here but there is a segment of the population that does not live as well.  I have a picture of a slum but this is taken very close to one of the nicer houses and it has the same beautiful Caribbean view.  I can’t imagine what would happen in a storm though!

What has been nice about this island is that there is no secuity risks to speak of.  You  can leave your dinghy pulled up on the beach and they have not had a theft in 5 years.  You can walk the street at night and feel secure.  You are approaced to buy things but you just smile and say no and you are left alone.  There is so much fear about Mexico these days but I think it could be a real bargain for a vacation right now and if you avoid the really big places and look for something a little more off the beaten path. I think you could have a wonderful time.  Like our country, there are hot spots of security risks and behaviors that are less secure and it is true everywhere.  Any concerns about human problems here are laid to rest.  Weather is always the main concern but only because we are on the water.  The people have been very friendly and accomodating at our two stops.

We will have more pictures and stories to tell soon.  I will also try to get Rob to write about what happened to the SSB when we could not transmit.  It seems like the boat structure and mechanics are fine but the electronics so far have been the problem.

Rob and Sue
Fast becoming marina people!

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