Throwback Thursday: Speed, Squalls, Officers, and Ocluars – Our Crossing from Mexico to Florida

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

Our time on Isla Mujeres was winding down, but we still tried to enjoy ourselves as much as possible while weather fronts were keeping us there.  Luckily the weather we were getting was still warm and sunny so we kept our outdoor activities up as much as possible.  Which one Sunday afternoon, on the way to the grocery store for regular provisions, led us to a local Mexican baseball game.  We couldn’t understand what was happening over the speakers, but it was still a fun game to watch, and it must have been an important one as the stadium ended up packed, everyone sitting elbow to elbow.

A few days later while we were doing our morning scan of Passage Weather to see if there would ever be a long enough window for our 375 mile passage, something popped up.  It wasn’t great, and even though I genuinely was enjoying our time in Isla, I knew we had a lot of traveling left to do for the year and we needed to get a move on.  Finding this possible forecast at 10 am, it meant leaving that afternoon and we still had to go through the process of checking out, provisioning, and all the good stuff that goes along with leaving a place you’ve settled in to. It was a little hairy, and definitely rushed, but late that afternoon we found ourselves sailing out away from Mexico and back to the US.

You can find the original post here.

Friday February 14, 2014

2.14.14

If you asked us about this passage within the first 22 hours of leaving, and if it was a good idea to have gone with the forecast we did, I would have patted myself on the back while saying in a singsong voice “I am so smart. This is the best passage, Matt is silly for thinking we could have waited for a better one”. Because really, the first 20 or so hours truly were bliss. After eeking out of the harbor in Isla Mujeres at 4:30 in the afternoon, we rounded a few shoals and rocks on the north side before hoisting the sails and killing the engine. Straight away we were pushing forward at 6.5 knots on a close reach without much rocking under the hull. Matt took his spot under the dodger and I settled in to the leeward side behind the wheel, eyes fixed to the north where all the sport fishing boats were returning with their day’s catch. So far we had been able to start out the passage with neither of us feeling sick immediately upon departure, which I attribute to a well timed scopolamine patch on my neck earlier in the day, and suffering through many weeks in a less than calm harbor which made these small waves feel kind of like being at anchor.

We ate separate dinners of sticky buns and stale Oreos, and the only moment of panic for the day was when I literally jumped out of my seat yelling “Oh my god!!”, which made Matt assume that the boat must be falling apart, but in reality, was only due to the fact that I’d just seen two dolphins surface not more than ten feet off our aft quarter, seemingly out of nowhere. Unfortunately they did not make a repeat appearance. Georgie had taken up a spot on Matt’s lap, the only time now that she’ll willingly try and force herself as close to us as possible. During passage she’s like velcro on one of the two of us, not daring to get out of the protection of our arms, but as soon as that anchor is down, you can be assured that she can’t even remember who we are.

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 Protect me!!

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 Goodbye Isla!

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As night came upon us we fell into the Gulf Stream and began riding that baby to average speeds of 8 knots, all the while feeling the calmness as if we were motoring through a glass calm bay. I’m sure I’m overexagerating a little, but I don’t remember it feeling much worse than our slightly rocky harbor we’d just left.

To add to the smoothness in this first 22 hours, it didn’t even take me 5 minutes to fall asleep when I went below the first time, a feat that normally only takes place 20 minutes before Matt comes to wake me for my turn to go back out on watch. This time I was able to get up somewhat rested and happily occupied my time on shift by flipping through various albums we had finally set up to play through our stereo, and counting all the miles already ticking away behind us. Throughout my whole shift we kept that comfortable 8-8.5 knots, along with just the slightest rocking motion under our hull. Calculating that if we kept this pace up we’d actually get in by Thursday evening, which is a dangerous thing to do, getting one’s hopes up early in a passage that their time will be cut down, since it rarely ever works out that way.

At the time though, it seemed almost foolproof. It was 350 miles through the rhumb line, which due to wind direction, we wouldn’t be able to follow exactly but I assumed we’d only add an extra 20 miles max. 370 miles at 8 knots would put us there in 46.5 hours, add in the extra speed since we were really going closer to 9 knots now, add add a little cushion for when we probably slowed down to 7 at some point. But it sounds completely feasible, right? I mean, we’re riding the Gulf Stream, one of the most powerful currents in the world! Getting up for my second watch at 6 am I did the numbers again and found out that we’d already covered just under 100 miles in 13 hours. We were well on our way there.

I woke up to a light drizzle that went away just as quickly as it came, and left the sky with puffy clouds that lit up in bright pinks and oranges and even a partial rainbow between two of the clouds. What I didn’t quite catch on to at the time is that this was a red sky in morning; sailors take warning. And I should have. But the sky soon cleared into a brilliant blue and all I had to do was sit back and relax while enjoying my breakfast of 16 oz of Mexican Danone yogurt (best $1 purchase ever, by the way).

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Even though we were starting out with a passage that was much more comfortable than 80% of the ones that we’re normally on, we quickly fell back into the routine of sleep or waiting for sleep. I always think that on a calm passage I might start doing something like scrubbing the floors out of boredom, but apparently I was not quite that bored yet. Sneaking in one quick nap when Matt got up for breakfast, I settled into the cockpit with a book to read, something I hadn’t been able to do on many previous passages so I still consider that progress, while Matt went back to bed. Which at this time in the afternoon could probably be considered a nap. I wasn’t kidding when I said all we do is sleep or wait for the next opportunity to sleep.

This is where the pleasurable 20 hours of our passage ends. While getting into my book once more I noticed the skies were growing dark but didn’t pay it too much mind since we’d had the light drizzle in the morning and I expected more of the same this afternoon. Off in the distance there were some very dark clouds, and out of the distance a few rumbles of thunder were reaching me, but since all of this was downwind of us I still continued not to pay it much mind. At least it wasn’t heading at us. Or so I thought. The further I got into my book the closer the rumbles came, and as I scanned the horizon I only saw clear skies ahead, all of the nasty stuff supposedly passing behind us according to the current wind direction. I buried my nose back in my book, not ready to wake Matt just yet since that would mean a reef in the headsail and a reduction in speed. I still had my sights set on a Thursday evening arrival in Key West.

As the thunder, and now lightning, started closing in on us, I knew it was time to finally take action. I woke Matt up to let him know we were surrounded by thunderstorms while simultaneously taking our small electronics and sticking them inside the microwave and oven to protect them against a lightning strike should one happen. Our handheld GPS, sat phone, and e-readers were placed in the microwave; computers, wrapped in padding, were slid into the oven. Watching the wind speed jump up from the high teens to the mid to high 20’s, we kept going back and forth on if we should roll in the headsail. These speeds it could definitely handle, but should they get worse… Finally when we saw rain on the horizon we decided to roll it in ‘Just until this blows over’. Throwing the bow into the wind I tried with all my might to pull in the line while Matt controlled the jib line from smacking around. My arms were no match for this wind and we ended up switching places and getting it rolled in just before the blinding sheets of rain hit us.

Taking cover under the dodger we watched the rain pelt us from what seemed like every direction, and then out of nowhere, a huge gust of wind came along and almost knocked us on our side but did not seem to be letting up. Scrambling into the companionway with Matt, we watched the wind speed jump into the 40’s and keep rising. 48..53..62. Yes, we topped out at winds of over 60 knots, by far the highest we’ve ever seen on a passage. We were getting pounded by a squall, but the funny part was, there was no sense of urgency for our safety. We’d had a double reefed main up ever since we left Isla, we usually do if we’re ever on an overnight passage, and the waves were only 1-3 feet, so we were by no means getting tossed around in high seas. If fact, the wind was so strong that it was basically blowing the caps of the waves into their troughs, almost smoothing out the seas. Serendipity was handling this like a champ, and the only issue we had was when the wind caught the piece of fabric that connects our dodger to our bimini and began ripping it apart at the zipper. We were able to catch one end and hang on to it before it could completely come apart and blow away.

The 50-60 knot winds only lasted about 30 seconds before subsiding back down into the 30’s. During this ‘lull’ I jumped back into the cockpit to secure lines that hadn’t been properly tied off, and finished unzipping the fabric connector so we could quickly stow it away. We had to wait out a few more somewhat strong blows into the 40’s along with driving sheets of rain….and then it was gone. Just like in the movies, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and all wind seemed to have left with the storm. We were literally left there scratching our heads as we watched the windex spin in circles, clueless of which direction to now point our bow. It was a good 20 minutes before we had any semblance of wind come our way again, in which time we watched the boom slide from one side of the boat to the other, trying to catch the wind each time it clocked around the boat.

Our speed had regrettably cut down to just over five knots and I had to set my sights for a Friday morning arrival now. Tracking our progress, I marked our position at 24 hours from our departure and found that we’d still managed to make about 180 miles in one day. Had we kept the same speed we were getting before the storm there would have been no question on if we’d hit the 200 mile mark, something Matt’s been aiming for ever since we started cruising and will keep striving for until the day he dies. That may require a different boat… We’d still put ourselves in a good position for one day out though, and I have a feeling that Serendipity will be hard pressed to get to those numbers again. The remaining hours of the day and into the wee morning hours of the next were spent dodging the thunderstorms that still had us boxed in, never coming closer, but always visible on the horizon.

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Marking our progress once more at the 48 hour mark I’d found out that we’d done just about 120 miles, having kept true to the 5 knots, and sometimes under, that we had slowed down to the previous afternoon. When the sun had gone down and the full moon lit a trail behind us, it was quite visible that not only had we fallen out of the Gulf Stream, but we were probably now trying to fight it’s counter current. 3.5 knots was a struggle to keep, and when even three knots wasn’t happening any more, I begged and pleaded with Matt to let us put the engine on and motor until we were out of the counter current…if that ever happened. Remember those numbers I kept running through my head? Anything under 3-3.5 knots would mean certain nighttime arrival, which neither of us wanted, and I’ll be damned if I was about to spend another night out at sea if we could avoid it with a solution as simple as turning on the engine. Matt decided to go with the ‘wait and see’ option, but an hour later while I was snuggling into bed, I heard the engine roar to life and smiled as I fell asleep.

The last day of our crossing today, we were struggling to keep those 3.5 knots under power. During the last hour of my morning sleep shift I could hear Matt on the radio, and then shortly later, rustling through cabinets for paperwork. I tried to ignore him the best I could until 10 minutes later he came shaking my shoulder, telling me to get up because the Coast Guard had just radioed him and they were sending a launch to come board us. The boat was a mess and we probably stunk to high hell, but at this point we were so tired and worn out that we didn’t even care. They wanted to board us during a passage, this is what they were going to get. Another 15 minutes later, after we had both found clean clothes to put on along with a healthy dose of deodorant, we were watching the well outfitted tender pull alongside our boat while depositing two officers on it.

Having already been through this procedure while traveling down the ICW we already knew everything they were going to ask for and better yet, this time I actually knew where all of it was. While Matt kept one of the officers busy while filling out paperwork, I took the other one below where I produced life vests, flares, access to the bilge (no Cubans hiding in there, I promise!), and even the sticker about trash that we had been written up for the last time. There was only a slight snafu when Matt refused to give out his SSN, not finding necessary after showing both a drivers license and a passport and was about to ‘take it up with the captain’ when the second officer told the paperwork guy to let it go. The only thing we did have an issue with was that our boat documentation was now two weeks expired, it’s replacement supposedly waiting for us in Key West along with all of our other goodies. Getting let off with a written warning, I think they wanted us to show the new one when we did arrive at our destination (to whom, I have no idea), and then they were gone just as quickly as they had come.

A few hours after they left we realized we probably should try and clean ourselves up a little, lest any new officials in Key West have to put up with our stench. The only problem was, it was freezing out! I’m not kidding, somewhere along the way we picked up some cold water under our hull, and the breeze running across it was enough to have kept us in our foulies for half the trip just to stay warm. So taking a cockpit shower in that? I wanted to search for alternative methods. Matt braved the cold and forced himself under the hose for 90 seconds while he quickly lathered and rinsed. I was not so brave. Or maybe I was just smarter. I decided for a sink shower instead. Sticking my head under the faucet I was able to give my hair the three washes it now needed after not having cleaned it since Isla, all without soaking my body or having chilly winds blow over me. The rest of the body was done with a washcloth and soon I was back under my layers, feeling warm and clean and glad that I didn’t have to suffer through the brutal cold outside. That was until my left eye started getting a little blurry.

It’s not uncommon to get a Georgie hair stuck in there or have one of my contacts be placed inside out and irritate my eye. But wait a second…I wasn’t wearing my contacts. After 15 minutes of not being able to figure out what was in my eye, I finally went down to a mirror to inspect. If you had looked at me at this point it must have appeared that I was licking toads or on some other kind of drug because my pupil was dilated to full size. And immediately I knew exactly what had happened. While sticking my head under the faucet, the water had run over my scopolamine patch and brought the medication right into my eye. Having experienced a case similar to this once before in Manhattan where I had touched the patch and then touched my eye, I knew I was in for 24 hours of blindness in that eye and an adversity to bright lights. Oh joy, they perfect way to end what started out as the best passage ever. I will now be singing to myself “I am not so smart, this passage kind of sucks, I’m glad it’s almost over”.

scopolamine in eye

Ice cold winds continued to blow across the water as we slowly puttered in to the southernmost point in the United States, and back in to the land of plenty with only two hours of daylight left. The ride was a little rougher on us than we expected, but if I had to look back on it I’d say it’s not even necessarily due to boxed in thunderstorms or squalls along the way, but the snails pace we had to suffer through after they were all finished. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that nothing kills a sailor’s mood more than cutting his pace in half. From envisioned Thursday evening arrivals, pushed back to a Friday morning arrival, now coming in late Friday afternoon, this 72 hours was a very necessary passage for us, but I’m so happy to be back in the land of day hopping.

Key West Harbor

cruise ship in Key West

lats 2

 

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Throwback Thursday: Down By the Beach…Boyyy!!

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

We had our perfect New Years in Isla Mujeres and then were ready to get ourselves moving to Florida and hopefully the Bahamas, but the weather had other plans for us.  It looks as if it may not have been the best decision to pass up a perfect weather window to Key West in order to celebrate the holidays with our friends, and we spent most of January paying for it.

A few terrible storms came through the harbor, and for the first and only time in our lives we had our anchor drag on us.  Good thing we caught it was happening just before we crashed into the boat behind us. Over the next few days it was a mess of making sure other boat’s didn’t drag into us (and one almost did) in these cold fronts that just did not want to leave us alone. In between a few bad blasts where we didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boat, we spent a day touring the town with a few new friends we were sharing the lagoon with and they introduced us to the best drink ever, the sangrita.

After another few weeks and the wind never changing in our favor, I was about to completely lose it, thinking that we would never get out of Mexico.  But once I realized that I could do nothing about the weather and should enjoy my days that I did have there, our stay took on a new light as I began to enjoy all the small things of sitting in a beautiful anchorage. Long drawn out mornings of coffee in the cockpit, and many afternoons spent at the beach.

You can find the original post here.

Sunday February 2, 2014

North Beach, Isla Mujeres

I’m so glad that I finally listened to my own advice and decided to enjoy however much time we have left here in Isla instead of whining and complaining that we’d never get out. Once I let go of all the frustration that we weren’t on schedule and we weren’t moving on and seeing new things, this place has taken on a whole new life and we’ve really come to start enjoying each day. Plus after seeing how low our spending was in January, we’ve kind of fallen in love with how beautiful, cheap, and relaxing this place is. We were even joking that we could probably double our time cruising by spending half the year here in Isla Mujeres and the other half in Rio Dulce, minus the marina (not that those even cost very much there).

In keeping with the Carpe Diem frame of mind, we’ve spent our past two afternoons at the beach just hanging out. I would say that it’s pretty sad and pathetic that we couldn’t actually move ourselves off Serendipity until after one in the afternoon, but at least yesterday we had a good reason. Due to some begging and pleading on my part and showing how well we did with our spending in January (seriously, have you seen these numbers?) I talked Matt into letting us go to BoBo’s after the beach for their happy hour. Packing up our trusty backpack with a blanket, some beers, and books, we found a spot that was a bit further down the beach than we had normally gone before. All the shady areas had already been snagged and we managed to find one little sliver of space under one of the palm trees that dots the beach. We also managed to find the spot with, I don’t know what else you’d call it, but a hippie drum circle. 50 feet behind us was a group of bohemians with their guitars, tambourines, drums, and oh yeah, ganja.

Since we had gotten out there so late in the afternoon we were easily able to fill just the few hours we were there with random people watching. I barely had a chance to crack open my book. Not only did we have the hippies behind us to keep us entertained for part of the day, but the tourists strolling the beach in front of us were pretty good too. Usually it was the little bits of conversation we caught which we found the most delightful, mostly the disgust of older American women to the partial nudity of the women on this beach. Between that, listening to some music, downing a beer, and a quick dip in the water, it was already time for happy hour to be starting at BoBo’s. While gathering all our things up and trying to dust the sand off my legs I realized this stuff is like glue and you basically need an exfoliant to get it off. I do miss my powdery sand from the shores of Lake Michigan, but you won’t hear me complaining about being stuck here, believe me.

At Bobo’s we must have been some of the first customers there since they don’t even open until their happy hour begins. Snatching a table outside on the street we each ordered ourselves up a pound of wings and a nice cold beer to wash them down with. When the wings came to our table shortly afterward, they.were.heaven. Seriously, is there anything better in this world than a plate of buffalo wings and a nice cold beer? You’d be hard pressed to find it. Back on Serendipity we were lazy and content, pretty sure that we would be becoming permanent residents of Mexico, and not minding it one bit.

Today we brought ourselves back out to the beach, right back to the same spot, with our same hippie friends sitting just behind us. Today they decided to up their game and had taken what looked like ratchet straps and secured them between two palm trees, making an area to tightrope walk. Well there goes my need for a book again today. Pop open a Barrelito, soak up some sun, and enjoy hippie tightrope walkers. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

Barrelito beer

laying out on North Beach

sun on North Beach

wiping off sand

Tecate Light

hot wings at Bobo's

sign at Bobo's

Matt on North Beach

hippie tightrope walkers sun on windsurfer

sunset in Isla Mujeres

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Let’s Get this Show on the Road

Tuesday February 11, 2014

2.11.14 (1)

Every single morning, one of the first things we do over a hot cup of coffee, is bring up Passage Weather to see if there are any opportunities coming up for us to make our escape. Usually once or twice a week we’ll get excited by the beginning day or two of a window projected for the next week, but as soon as the full forecast loads, we’ll find out that our window is only 24-36 hours instead of the 72-84 that we need. In a 7 day period, we can never seem to find more than 48 hours, usually not even grouped together, where the wind isn’t blowing from the north or the east, and usually pretty damn hard at some point.

While checking the weather this past Wednesday or Thursday we had seen a window come up for today, Tuesday, but given a few more days that opportunity was gone by the weekend. Strong east winds had filled in for what would be the last day of the trip, right at the point where we would have rounded Cuba and been heading through the Florida Straights toward Key West. We’d actually been hopeful that we’d come across a really good forecast with four days of good wind that would bring us all the way up to Miami, but that was absolutely in no way going to happen. So while I was boiling the water for coffee this morning and letting the week’s forecast upload, I was really surprised to see that our window was back. We had 3-4 days of wind on our side…if we left today.

Seeing this forecast pop back up we had two big questions to ask ourselves. The first and biggest one being: Do we trust this forecast? Normally we’d like to monitor something like this for a few days to make sure it’s stable and that it won’t change on us mid passage. This would now be the third time we’d seen this forecast change, going from favorable, to unfavoarable, and back again. Would it stay this way? Or would we bit hit with a nasty surprise in the Gulf of Mexico. One place you definitely do not want surprises. The other question was: Do we still have enough time to get ourselves out of here, hopefully no later than 3:00 today? Knowing that we might try to jump on a window as soon as it came up, we tried to prepare ourselves in the previous days so that if we did only have a day to get ourselves ready to leave, we could do it. There really isn’t much to do to get ourselves ready for a passage anyway. The normal things of getting everything stowed away so it doesn’t bash about the cabin while underway, run the jacklines so we’re not trying to do it underway, and getting the dinghy safely stowed and tied down on deck. In addition to that, for this passage we also needed to fill up our diesel jugs, make a quick run to the grocery store, and oh yeah, check out of the country.

With it being just past ten in the morning, it would give us five hours (if stretching it) to complete all the things above. For the first question, I turned to Matt. He turned right back to me and said “You’re the captain, you decide”. Well that wasn’t very helpful at all. I asked him what his thoughts on the weather window were. He replied that we could do it, but it would be easier if we had a better window. The one we were looking at had north winds on our fourth day, in case we didn’t make in in the three we were hoping, and there were also possible thunderstorms for some of the areas we were passing through. I decided to start checking more sources to see what they said. Wind finder looked about the same, but I wanted at least one more reputible source. And while wading through the many links and forecasts on NOAA, I found it. Winds were to be fairly low (we never travel with anything forecast over 20), waves were to be low, the only thing we had to watch out for were those possible thunderstorms. Although after sitting here now for almost five weeks while waiting for any kind of window that would carry us to Florida, I figured it was worth the risk. We were more than behind on our original schedule, and I didn’t want to still be sitting in this harbor come March.

Finally deciding on this course of action at 12:30, we really needed to get our butts moving to check everything off our list. First stop would be the port captain to begin check out procedures. Making a few copies of necessary documents, we rode the dinghy into town and walked into the office. Letting the man behind the counter know that we were bound for the States and needed a zarpe, he gave me a few pieces of paper to fill out and then let me know that I needed to get copies of them made. Getting directions to the nearest ‘Kinkos’, we searched through the back streets and found it on our second try. Bringing all these papers back to the Port Captain, he indicated he would need a little time to work on them and we should have a seat. Glancing at the clock that was now reading two, we started to worry that we wouldn’t get out of the harbor before nightfall. Even worse, while sitting there waiting we watched black clouds roll in from the south, threatening some nasty storms and making us second guess our decision to leave. Except, now that we were 90% checked out, we couldn’t really hang around for the next few days, or weeks, while waiting for another window to come up. Before we had time to even think about it more, the Port Captain called us back up and told us to bring the three sets of forms he had been working on to the Immigration office to get stamped, where one would stay there, one would be for us, and the last would need to be brought back to him. We rushed out of there hoping it wouldn’t take very long.

Luck was not on our side. What should have been a five minute process at Immigration turned into 45 minutes because it turns out that we didn’t have the receipt for the money paid to Immigration when initially checking in to Cozumel. I always keep all my papers together, and bring more than what’s needed each time I visit officials, so I knew that I hadn’t left it back on the boat. But I also remembered receiving this receipt back when we checked in. Which means one thing. Back when I handed all the papers to the Port Captain back in Cozumel to show him that I had gone through all the steps of checking in, he kept it along with all the other papers. The next forty minutes consisted of us trying to tell the current Immigration officer that we had paid while checking in, and the officer at the Port Captain took it along with everything else. She wasn’t convinced and was ready to have us pay the 560 peso fee all over again. After a little sweet talking on the part of Matt, she agreed to call the Immigration office in Cozumel to see if they had record of us checking in and paying the fee. We watched the clock as the minutes ticked by.

Without even really vocalizing if there was or was not record of us, she called us back to the desk where our papers from the Port Captain were handed back to us. I was about to begin asking questions, but Matt noticed the stamp on them and scopped them up before I could utter a word. Thanking the woman, we ran out the door before they could change their minds. Back at the Port Captain, we handed his copy to him and once again ran out the door. It was now just before 3:00 and we still had errands to do before we go.

Tearing through the aisles of the local market like contestants on Supermarket Sweep, we filled out basket up with junk food, muffins, cookies, and a few bottled yogurts. All things that did not need to be prepared and could quickly be grabbed from the chill box or pantry when we were ready to eat. As far as prepping meals for the passage, that was out the window. We just had to focus on having any kind of food aboard that would see us through the next three to four days. Back in the dinghy we took the long ride across the harbor and part way through the channel that leads to the lagoon to fill up two of our jerrycans with diesel. We had just filled up the tank in the morning with what had been in the jerrycans, so at least we knew we’d be leaving fully loaded.

It was four o’clock when we finally got back to Serendipity, but on the bright side, it literally had gotten brighter. The dark clouds that were hanging over us for a few hours were now gone, only having left a light sprinkle behind. Knowing that our family had no indication that we were leaving I quickly got a few messages out that a window had just come up, and they could expect to hear from us in a few days. It was also a chance to let my mom know that she could finally send that care package containing our new debit card to Key West, and it wouldn’t be shipped back to her because we weren’t there in time to receive it (good thing I didn’t tell her to send it back when we first started looking for a window). When I had completed that and Matt and the jacklines run, we worked together to get the dinghy up, and with engine running, could finally get the anchor up and start the 375 mile journey to Florida. I have a feeling though, as desperate as we were to get out of this place, we’re kind of going to miss it.

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Jose’s on First

Sunday February 9, 2014

baseball game, Isla Mujeres

The past few days I’ve been trying to find a peaceful balance of relaxing and enjoying our time here in Isla Mujeres, and also not freaking out that we are so far behind schedule. Nevermind that they’re mostly self inflicted schedules, but keep in mind that if we make the jump to the Med this summer, we’d like to position ourselves in St. Martin in early May just to be ready, and that’s a long way to go in three months. And that’s if we left tomorrow! To take my mind off these deadlines and dreaded miles, I’ve been trying to find things to occupy our time, and my mind, here in Isla. It’s occurred to me that we honestly haven’t done much of anything here, and I blame that on an equal balance of having a speedy internet connections at our fingertips on the boat, and almost making a game of keeping the monthly budget at low as possible. I’m not kidding, it gets addictive, trying to beat out the previous month by making statements like “We already have rice, so if we just buy some vegetables and Stir-fry sauce, we can turn that into three meals, and we don’t even have to spend the $2.50 on meat!”. It’s actually getting a little embarrassing.

So now, I’ve made the resolution to let us live it up a little bit. I’ve made a pact with Matt that if we’re still here one week from now, we’ll allow ourselves to rent a scooter for the day to tour the island, and I’m going to try and talk him into going to a restaurant called Mango’s to celebrate our 18 month cruising anniversary coming up on Wednesday, based on a tip from a cruising friend and about 1,000 five star reviews on Trip Advisor. Today though, I was going to force upon him some more wandering on our way to the grocery store, along with a stop for Poc Chuc to eat on the way back. That last part was actually a request of his, with a little nudging on my part to do it today instead of ‘One of these days…’.

Making the mile long walk from where we land our dinghy at Marina Paraiso down the main road mixed with vacant lots, local restaurants, and tiendas (not the whored out restaurants and tourist shops of the north side) we detoured down a side road to satisfy my wanderlust. It wasn’t going to be a huge day of exploring, mind you, just getting to know these streets we wander past every 2-3 days a little more in depth. Even just one block in, the shops reminded us a little more of Fronteras and the day to day life we were used to in Guatemala. The stores may have been just a tad more built up, but it was the same basic feel. A hardware store here, a restaurant there, a pharmacy on the corner. It looked like the Central American living we’ve come to know pretty well, and even though I wasn’t surprised or amazed by finding anything new off the main road, it was still nice to get off it for a few minutes.

This section of town didn’t look too large so after two blocks and one turn, we came to a dead end in front of the baseball field that sits across from the supermarket. And joy of joys, there was a game going on today. Rooting around in our pockets to see how many pesos we had, it was deemed that 100 should be at least enough to get us into the game and possibly even buy a beer. Walking up to the ticket taker who was actually just a woman ripping up shreds of what looked like recycled paper, I was told the entry was 20 pesos a person, which we gladly bought in to. Shuffling through the maze of patrons standing in line at the concession stands, we made our way to the concrete levels of seating and grabbed a spot on the lowest level. Realizing that we had situated ourselves on the side of the home team, the Isla Mujeres Pescadores, we decided to align ourselves in cheering for them since, hey, we were basically residents here anyway by now.

Sitting so close to the field we had, literally, a front row view of all that was happening on the sidelines. What really captured my heart was the bat boy, who was not even close to being a boy, but instead an older and slightly weathered man who would spring to life when it was his turn to round up a foul ball or present a player with his selected bat. The man had to be nearing 80, but took so much joy and pride in participating in the communities events. Good thing there was a 12 ft fence in front of me or I probably would have leaped over anything smaller, wrapping this grandfather figure in my arms and gushing, “You are just too cute!”. Matt saw my desired intentions and just rolled his eyes. I can’t help it that my cat isn’t enthusiastic about being scooped up and cuddled and I have to focus my affection elsewhere.

Finding that we should have enough pesos left to buy a couple of beers even if they were charged at ridiculous stadium prices, I was ecstatic to find out they were only half the price that we normally see at restaurants, essentially turning this into a buy one get one special for me. With a grin on my face and cold beers in my hand, I returned to Matt as we tried to beat the hot sun with our cold beers, and make room for all the locals filling in the seats around us. And this is what surprised me: I didn’t mind when there were so many Pescadores fans coming in that we were literally squeezed like sardines onto these concrete slabs. There wasn’t the traditional American personal space issue where, even if you were on a bus or a train with a somewhat spacious seat under your behind, you cross your legs away and lean the other direction as soon as a stranger takes the empty seat next to you. Here I had one arm smooshed against Matt, the other arm smooshed against a sweaty man in a tank top, barely enough room to bring my beer up to my lips, but you couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face because I was having such a good time.

Though I should have been paying attention to the actual game, I couldn’t take my eyes off the happenings in the stadium. The sights, the sounds, the sense of community; everyone here knew each other and it was as if a big family potluck had been taken on the road with some entertainment thrown in for good measure. Some families had shown up with large coolers stocked full of cold beers and tasty treats, others were bringing back plates of nachos, or my personal favorite, ceviche, from the concession stands by the entrance gate. Although my hunger was beginning to grow, we’d left on empty stomachs so we could later fill them with Poc Chuc, I wanted to make sure we stayed through as much of the game as we could to enjoy the experience and the bit of serendipity we had wandered in to. This game really was the community coming together to unwind on a Sunday afternoon, and for the first time in awhile, I felt a sense of belonging. Matt was enjoying the afternoon just as much as I was and we made yet another pact, that we would come back to the next home game, armed with a cooler and possibly some wide brimmed hats (that sun is a killer!).

When the fifth inning had come to and end and my stomach was starting to talk louder than the Mexican women a few seats down from me, we decided to pack it in. After all, we’d probably be back in 3-4 days for their next game, so no sense in dropping flat from fatigue. Strolling back out to the main road we tucked into our favorite little pink shack for some of the best pork one could ever ask for. Having the confidence of some beer and the recent buzz of local conversation, I did not have to rely on English at any point for my stop here. While sitting at our little corner table and watching the American tourists flock in after parking their golf cards outside and working their hardest to use the little bit of Spanish they knew (Grassy-ass!!), I thought back to ourselves having now been in Isla for almost two months and smiled to myself while realizing, ‘That’s right, we finally belong here’.

Isla Mujeres baseball game

Isla Mujeres baseball game

Isla Mujeres baseball game

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Isla Mujeres baseball game

Isla Mujeres baseball game

Isla Mujeres baseball game

Poc Chuc, Isla Mujeres

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Random Images of Isla Mujeres

Thursday February 6, 2014

2.6.14 (8)

There hasn’t been much change in our routine, so, nothing to write home about.  Unless you’d like to hear more about how I’m devouring the Pretty Little Liars series on my nook, or how we keep going out for some sand and surf since we can’t seem to get enough of it.  So you probably don’t need another post about how we enjoyed the beautiful Playa Norte, with photos like this:

Jessica on beach

 Or, you don’t need to hear the back on the boat, we keep finding Georgie in the cutest positions, like this.

Georgie sleeping So instead, I’ll fill you in with random images of our time in Isla Mujeres.

iguana in Isla Mujeres

rubble in Isla Mujeres Matt playing with dog coral pools in Isla Mujeres

fenced in beach Isla Mujeres cabanas on Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres

Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Matt walking with dog fishing boats in Isla Mujeres tall ship in Isla Mujeres

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Down by the Beach…Boyyyy!!

Sunday February 2, 2014

North Beach, Isla Mujeres

I’m so glad that I finally listened to my own advice and decided to enjoy however much time we have left here in Isla instead of whining and complaining that we’d never get out. Once I let go of all the frustration that we weren’t on schedule and we weren’t moving on and seeing new things, this place has taken on a whole new life and we’ve really come to start enjoying each day. Plus after seeing how low our spending was in January, we’ve kind of fallen in love with how beautiful, cheap, and relaxing this place is. We were even joking that we could probably double our time cruising by spending half the year here in Isla Mujeres and the other half in Rio Dulce, minus the marina (not that those even cost very much there).

In keeping with the Carpe Diem frame of mind, we’ve spent our past two afternoons at the beach just hanging out. I would say that it’s pretty sad and pathetic that we couldn’t actually move ourselves off Serendipity until after one in the afternoon, but at least yesterday we had a good reason. Due to some begging and pleading on my part and showing how well we did with our spending in January (seriously, have you seen these numbers?) I talked Matt into letting us go to BoBo’s after the beach for their happy hour. Packing up our trusty backpack with a blanket, some beers, and books, we found a spot that was a bit further down the beach than we had normally gone before. All the shady areas had already been snagged and we managed to find one little sliver of space under one of the palm trees that dots the beach. We also managed to find the spot with, I don’t know what else you’d call it, but a hippie drum circle. 50 feet behind us was a group of bohemians with their guitars, tambourines, drums, and oh yeah, ganja.

Since we had gotten out there so late in the afternoon we were easily able to fill just the few hours we were there with random people watching. I barely had a chance to crack open my book. Not only did we have the hippies behind us to keep us entertained for part of the day, but the tourists strolling the beach in front of us were pretty good too. Usually it was the little bits of conversation we caught which we found the most delightful, mostly the disgust of older American women to the partial nudity of the women on this beach. Between that, listening to some music, downing a beer, and a quick dip in the water, it was already time for happy hour to be starting at BoBo’s. While gathering all our things up and trying to dust the sand off my legs I realized this stuff is like glue and you basically need an exfoliant to get it off. I do miss my powdery sand from the shores of Lake Michigan, but you won’t hear me complaining about being stuck here, believe me.

At Bobo’s we must have been some of the first customers there since they don’t even open until their happy hour begins. Snatching a table outside on the street we each ordered ourselves up a pound of wings and a nice cold beer to wash them down with. When the wings came to our table shortly afterward, they.were.heaven. Seriously, is there anything better in this world than a plate of buffalo wings and a nice cold beer? You’d be hard pressed to find it. Back on Serendipity we were lazy and content, pretty sure that we would be becoming permanent residents of Mexico, and not minding it one bit.

Today we brought ourselves back out to the beach, right back to the same spot, with our same hippie friends sitting just behind us. Today they decided to up their game and had taken what looked like ratchet straps and secured them between two palm trees, making an area to tightrope walk. Well there goes my need for a book again today. Pop open a Barrelito, soak up some sun, and enjoy hippie tightrope walkers. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

Barrelito beer

laying out on North Beach

sun on North Beach

wiping off sand

Tecate Light

hot wings at Bobo's

sign at Bobo's

Matt on North Beach

hippie tightrope walkers sun on windsurfer

sunset in Isla Mujeres

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Not so Safe at Anchor?

Friday January 31, 2014

boat at anchor

I don’t want to jinx myself by saying this, but it seems like some of our most hair raising experiences so far on this adventure have been at anchor. And of all those hair raising experiences at anchor, they seemed to be focused here in Isla Mujeres. Or, The Anchorage of No Holding, as I’m going to start referring to it. First, there was the time that Skebenga started dragging their big steeled hull toward us shortly after we arrived here, luckily to have Luki and Elmari be on the ball and start fixing the problem as soon as it started. Crisis adverted there. Then during one high winded night, we watched a boat from the other side of the harbor drag it’s way into the channel, finally catching again while it was still far enough away for us to catch our breath and go to bed without too much worry.

The next night, it was us who found ourselves in trouble, our anchor having gotten caught in a bike frame, causing us to drag about 400 feet, narrowly missing the boat anchored behind us. After all this excitement, we decided the lagoon would be a much safer spot to sit out the next storm. And oh boy, it was a nasty one. Sustained winds of 40 knots put all boaters on edge and on a close look out through the dark to make sure nothing seemed out of the ordinary. All of us who had secured a spot during the day, properly setting our 1-2 anchors, were kept on watch all night long as a new boat came into the lagoon while the storm was blasting on high, dragging multiple times and almost running into us twice. From experience here, we’ve learned that it’s not only your anchor you have to watch out for, it’s everyone else’s too.

Back out in the main harbor for a few weeks now, we’d been keeping a very close eye on the weather every day since we’re trying to take the first chance we can get of sustained south or west winds to carry us over to Florida. We also keep an eye out for any strong systems that look like they might pass over us, but I hadn’t seen anything coming through over 20 knots. Nothing was in the forecast, and we felt comfortable staying where we were in the large and open harbor. Then just a little after nine o’clock last night, we noticed the winds shift and begin to pick up a little. Usually we have E or SE breezes blowing through here, and all our bobbing our bouncing is due to boats passing through the channel and throwing off a wake. When we suddenly shifted to the NNW, we were open to the bay that separates us from Cancun, and there was a noticeable fetch starting to come through. Winds had gone up from the 5-10 range to 20 or so knots, and although it wasn’t bad, it was something we said we’d want to keep an eye on.

When the clock struck 10:30, my eyes began to get droopy and I was ready to head off to bed. But just out of curiosity, I wanted to sticky my head out and check conditions since they seemed to be steadily building. While looking around I saw the catamaran that had just anchored next to us that morning seemed a little close for comfort, although it was hard to tell how much they moved since monohulls and multihulls move differently at anchor. Looking at the boat directly upwind of us, their anchor light appeared just a little bit brighter than it had before, and it was enough for me to know that one or both of us should keep an eye on everything until the winds settled down more. It was shaping up to be another long night of anchor watch. Throwing on a jacket and tucking a flashlight in my pocket, I went to start watch in the cockpit while Matt made tea below to keep us warm. At the beginning of these storms, both of us usually have enough piqued curiosity that we want to be out there and see what’s going on.

On this night we didn’t have long to wait before the action started. While the two of us were having a debate on if the little 22 ft boat directly upwind of us looked like it was dragging closer or was just swaying back and forth at anchor, we caught the movement of another light further north in the harbor. Sure enough, there was a boat on the move, and not at the will of the pilot. It wasn’t headed near us or any other boat thankfully, but it’s always a sad thing when you see another boat in impending danger and you can do nothing to stop it. This boat was headed for the shore and the few wrecked and half sunken boats already in that spot did nothing to ease our nerves or our empathy for this boat on the move. Once or twice it appeared to catch and we breathed in a sigh of relief, only to watch it pick up and start moving backwards again moments later, finally coming to a halt against the shore but without any perceptible danger of it flipping on it’s side.

Just as we thought that was going to be the whole excitement for the evening, the catamaran just to the side of us began to move as well. It was strange since it appeared moments before that we had seen movement in the cockpit by one of the owners, but once this hunk of fiberglass began taking flight through the anchorage, not a soul was to be seen. Having been smart enough to put on the radio this time, we heard calls to the catamaran, warnings that they were dragging. There was no response, and no light on board. Another boat from the far side of the anchorage began flashing a light in their direction, trying to get their attention. This also did nothing to stir any person on board. Watching and hearing this all happen from our own cockpit where we were still safe from this wrecking ball, we tried to to our part, bringing out the air horn and giving it five short blasts. Nothing. Then all three of us started in at once. Calls on the radio, blinding flashes of light, blasts on the air horn. Still, no one was to be seen on the catamaran.

We all watched as it slid back to the same shore already holding the first boat that dragged. Thinking that if anything, they’d just end up on the shore and be their own problem, we were wrong. Just as it looked like they were about to make contact with the mangroves that lined the shore, lights lit up in the cockpit and there was an illusion of forward movement. We quickly breathed out a sigh, knowing they appeared to be safe, only to suck in our breath again and wonder where they would try to go from this point. For us, we didn’t need to worry. For the poor fellow on a mooring at the back of our group, well, he had a new permanent neighbor for the night. After wondering why this catamaran wasn’t moving out into the anchorage, I pulled out the binoculars and saw through the lights on deck that they appeared to be tangled up with the boat in the back.

Everyone in the anchorage seeming to sense this at the same time, jumped on the radio to see what the issue was and offer their help. Unfortunately, winds were still blowing so high and the chop in the water was so rough, that sending a dinghy to get anywhere near or possibly between the two boats seemed like more danger than do-gooding. All the while on the radio, there were also messages of spare anchors if needed, or if any boats felt they had poor holding, they should move to the lagoon before another situation arose. This message was relayed many times to the initial boat that dragged into the mangroves, whom did not have their radio on, but eventually did get themselves off.

Through the next hour we waited for winds to subside and kept a keen eye for anything else on the move. There was one large steel hulled boat on the other side of the channel that, in my eye, had clearly moved much closer, but caught once again before even making it to the channel. The initial boat to drag, once their anchor was down again, dragged at least twice more that we saw, but each time was able to get moving before getting too close to the jagged rocks they had now decided to put themselves in front of. We finally went to bed weary and hopeful that no more storms ever come through while we’re here. Maybe we’ll just take our chances out on the open water instead of waiting for a window?* At least it’s not likely that anything is going to hit us out there.

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 The boat that spent a few hours in the mangroves.

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 The red boat on the far right was the one making it’s way toward us, luckily catching before it got too close.

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 And…the big wreck of the evening.

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*Of course we’re actually going to wait for a good weather window. We may be anxious to get out of here, but not that much.

 

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Sometimes Nothing is All You Need

Monday January 27, 2013

reflection in hatch

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, you may have noticed me spending a little of my time complaining that we can not seem to find a weather window to get to Florida and we’ll be forever stuck in Mexico.

Today, I decided to let that go. I can’t control the weather. I can’t control the universe. I can’t control much of anything, really. But what I can control is my outlook. Yes, we are stuck in Mexico. No, there is nothing in the forecast that shows we’ll be leaving anytime soon. So instead of sitting here whining about the one thing I my life that I can even complain about, I decided to sit back and get a little perspective.

All of my friends back home are suffering through one of the worst winters we’ve had in years. Not only are they shutting down schools, but they even closing down places of business and sections of road altogether. People are only leaving their house unless it is absolutely necessary.

Where am I during all of this? Sitting on a sailboat in Mexico. For the past few days I’d been bummed that we’ve been here so long and I wanted to get a move on to something new, something interesting. We’ve already done town, the beach, the restaurants. What most of our days are filled with now are sitting on the boat, only getting off every few days when groceries run low, or maybe once a week, just to force ourselves back into civilization. I was bored with it and I wanted a change. Then while checking the weather again this morning and realizing that we very well might be stuck here until the middle or end of February, I finally accepted it. And then I realized, this is not a bad place to be.

It was like a curtain lifting over my eyes. I started to take pleasure in doing the same nothing that we’ve been doing for weeks now. I made a cup of coffee this morning and savored it. I sat in the cockpit and got work done on my computer, taking in the beautiful sights around me. I let the sun warm my skin and then jumped in the teal waters surrounding me to cool off (and sneak in a bath). I spent my afternoon swaying to music playing through the speakers and making fresh salsa. I mixed up a fruity little cocktail and watched a beautiful sunset from my back porch.

There really hasn’t been much of a variance in my schedule from what I’ve been doing the past few days, but what did change was my outlook. Did I do anything extreme or out of my ordinary today? No. Basically, I did nothing. But just sometimes, nothing is all you need.

sunset in Isla Harbor

sunset in Isla harbor

 

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Pizza and a Sunset

Thursday January 23, 2014

Elmilagro Marina Isla Mujeres

There still isn’t much to update here in Isla Mujeres.  We keep looking for a weather window to get ourselves to Florida, and they keep disappearing as soon as we get hope that there’s something on the horizon.  We’ve actually been spending a lot of time on the boat, really enjoying ourselves here now that we have a fast internet connection.  Couple that with the sun keeping our batteries pretty full lately, and we’ve been electronic maniacs for the past few days.  Tool around on the internet in the morning, read a book and catch some rays on deck in the afternoon, prepare a tasty meal and enjoy in while watching a movie at night, and then maybe a little more internet time before hitting the sack at night.

Tonight I decided that we needed to get off the boat to finally do something more than grocery shopping.  Matt suggested we try one of the pizzas over at Marina Paraiso.  Luki and Elmari had told us the portions are very big, along with the pizza itself being really good.  Plus, since we land our dinghy there every 2-3 days and haven’t actually given them any business since having lunch with Lee and Amanda about 10 days ago, we figured they were due some of our cash.

The nights here have been getting a little bit cooler, enough for me to start nagging Matt that I need to pull out the down comforter that had just been stored away when we were leaving Guatemala.  Donning long pants and t-shirts, we went to the open air bar/restaurant, and put our orders in for pizza and beer.  While glancing back and forth at the many tv screens playing various sporting events, the wind was still kicking up and making it a very chilly evening.  As soon as the pizza was set in front of us we quickly picked up the piping hot pieces to keep our hands warm, but couldn’t seem to stick around any longer than when we’d had our fill.  As Matt was paying the tab and getting the remaining, truly generous portions, boxed up, I snuck away to the docks to get in some photos of that night’s sunset.

Matt kind of likes to mock me each time I run out with my camera to do this, but really, do amazing sunsets ever get old?

Sol

sunset at Marina Paraiso

Sunset at Maraina Paraiso

Sunset Marina Paraiso

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The Wanderers

Saturday January 18, 2014

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

We finally moved ourselves out of the small depressing hole that is the lagoon, and back into the main harbor. The weather was good enough for us to do this days ago, but the fact that we were getting internet on the boat there made it very hard to leave. It’s so nice being back out in the harbor though, the sun shines a little brighter, the water is much cleaner, and now thanks to Lee, we can get internet out here as well. Life is pretty perfect. I do feel a little bad though that we’ve now spent over three weeks on this island and haven’t fully explored it yet. I’m sure we’ll get there in stages, so today we decided just to take a leisurely stroll before hitting the grocery store in the afternoon. Instead of doing the large 1-2 week stocks like we used to, we found out in Guatemala that it’s much easier just to buy for the next 3-4 days. Something that forces us to get off the boat, and keeps our waterline just a little bit higher.

On our way in we decided that instead of filling up on carbs through the various muffins, cookies, and rolls that we’ve been buying dirt cheap at the store, we would try and hit this taco stand right next to where we land our boat, one that has always sold out of food by the time we walk by it in the late afternoon.  After looking through the many varieties of ways she could make up our food, we put in our orders and enjoyed them under the shade of a palm tree nearby.

Matt said my Spanish is getting much better, but I’ve just realized that’s because instead of trying to put together elaborate sentences that I don’t know how to conjugate I’m going for very simple fragmented sentences instead. “Two chicken and two of those (point at one of many pork dishes). With everything. One Coke and one Pepsi. How much for everything? Thank you.” To the woman working the stand I must have sounded like a struggling preschool student, but to Matt I sounded like a Spanish speaking goddess. All he saw was that I was actually able to get my point across, and was understood. Which I guess in the end is all that matters. Until I finally have enough battery charge to keep my computer going for more than 4 hours a day (these blog posts are really time consuming! (ok, and Facebook)), and I can get back to my Spanish lessons.

taco stand, Isla Mujeres

 When we finished with our food we didn’t really have a certain area in mind that we wanted to check out, so we fell through the back streets until we eventually ended up at the Melecon that lines the east side of the island.  I was hoping that some of the large 3 meter waves that were supposedly rolling through during the last storm would still be there, crashing up against the rocks, but we were just left with the easterly trades throwing up a little bit of spray here and there.

Taking a left we starting making our way to a small sandy beach ahead, one much less crowded than north beach, but with a few people still taking in the afternoon sun.  There were a few wading pools to go in and cool off, although the red flags were flying which meant it probably wasn’t a good day to try.  The area reminded me a little bit of the Bahamas, all the jagged coral edges we’d tiptoe around while exploring uninhabited islands there.  On our way down to the beach, Matt even found a little dog that wanted to be his best friend, and if it wasn’t for the collar on his neck, we probably would have tried to take him with us.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Matt with stray dog

Jessica on rocks in Isla

Walking all the way until the beach ended, we found a little trail through the sand and rocks until it dropped us off at the beginning of North Beach on the east side of the island, right next to the Avalon Hotel, a landmark that many sailors coming from the north use to first spot the island.  It looked like a beautiful place that had perfect turquoise waters with sandy bottoms for families and little kids to safely swim in.

As we wandered further up, we came across parts of the beach that we had never seen before, never having ventured that far down.  Today there was one area set aside for a wedding, dozens of chairs set up and a canopy perfectly framing the white sand and clear waters behind it.  Each seat a a maraca lain down on it, a little present for each guest attending.  Not that I didn’t love my ‘destination’ wedding in Vegas, but had we been a little bit older and willing to part with a little more money for the even, this would have totally been the way to go.  It was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.  Whomever you are, Matt and Emily, you made a great choice by planning your wedding here.  I was almost tempted to force Matt to run me back to the ‘Dip so I could throw on a dress and crash the thing.  Guess I’ll just have to come more prepared next time.

Ten minutes later we had made our way across the whole North Beach and were back to the main street with all the vendors and tourists just getting off the ferry.  Our whole wandering experience had taken less than an hour.  I looked at Matt and pathetically muttered, “We are the worst wanderers ever, we couldn’t even make it two hours”.  Then he corrected me.  “No, that just makes us good wanderers.  We don’t get distracted”.  I guess that’s one way of looking at the glass half full.

Avalon Hotel Isla Mujeres Mexico

wedding reception

wedding on beach Isla Mujeres Mexico

wedding on beach Isla Mujeres Mexico

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