Friday, June 8, 2012

Celebrating our 5th Cruising Anniversary in Mexico


My apologies again.  It's already June but I need to back track to January 2012. 
Now with company gone it’s time to prepare for our next leg of our journey which is MEXICO.  We actually are very excited about heading to Mexico….not only is the Quintana Roo one of our most favourite holiday destinations it is where our youngest son Sean and his fiancée Carlie have planned their destination wedding.

We decide to head first to West End where we will “stage” for our trip.  By 1055 hours Jan. 6th we are on our way and arrive on a mooring by 1400 hours. We got in a last visit with Dovekie and dinner with Interlude & Appleseeds.

What a roily night; and the Boom, Boom, Boom of local mainland music carried on until 0500hours.

(Jan. 7th) At that point we decided we may as well get up.  Randy put our safety harness lines out along the deck while I made the coffee. It’s still dark due to cloud cover but by 0600 hours we put up the main, started the motor and we’re off, 

An hour later we reef in the main as the wind is on the nose.  By 0730 we finally can put out the foresail and turn off the motor. We’re only doing 5 knots and we’ve got 6 foot swells. By mid morning we still are only doing an average of 5.4 knots, not making much headway. After a good six hours we’re finally able to turn off the motor and sail..

1300 hours and Rand says we’re about sixty miles off Glovers Reef.  To turn in we’d arrive around 2200 hours which is not a good thing so we decide to keep our heading.

1340 hours and with a squall approaching we put out a bit of head sail to see if we can pick up some speed.  We do manage to pick up speed along with some rain which gives High States a good wash down. We’re also finally seeing a ½ knot current in our favour.

0500 Sunday and we’re about half way to our destination. A most brilliant orange moon leaves us as the sun rises.  The winds continue from the East which is wonderful and we’ve got a 6 plus foot choppy swell. During the night we saw one freighter and now we see one sailboat heading our way.

I decide to bake two chicken pot pies for brunch. All of a sudden I hear a light explosion--- it’s the inside oven window.  It’s exploded into small pieces…Amazing the glass did not get on the meat pies…Randy scrutinizes the pies for me and then I micro wave them.  Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until we get back to the States to replace the oven door.

By 1400 hours we’re finally seeing more current and we are averaging 7.4 knots.. We’re 72.5 nautical miles from our waypoint off Puerto Adventuras so it looks like we will have to continue to either Cozumel or El Cid, Puerto Morelos. The seas are down which is a nice bonus.

Sure enough we arrive off the southern coast of Cozumel at 2230hours…and it is blustery.  With these seas Puerto Adventuras is untenable so we decide to slow right down as we’re a good seven hours earlier than planned.  We’ll work our way along Cozumel and decide if we’ll anchor here for a few days or go to El Cid Marina.  We try to get in close enough to anchor but change our minds as there are so many lights on Cozumel it is too confusing.  Instead we start to work our way to El Cid.

0644 The seas are absolutely ugly as we work our way to a white flashing sea buoy…We’ve gone from sea depths of thousands of feet to only hundreds and this is what causes this “washing machine” condition. Due to this sea state we could not see anything flashing so called on the VHF a few times for assistance. Finally the Dock master Armando answered our call and tried to explain the way in.  Of course with my hearing issues and his Spanish accent we decided to head back to Cozumel. We turn around get the fore sail back out when sure enough a small panga comes out and says,
“follow me”…..
By 810hours we are on A Dock of El Cid Maarina. Armando welcomes us and explains he will look after our entry.   Having reviewed Captain Freya Rauscher’s Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast prior to us leaving Roatan I have all the necessary papers together.  For Mexico that includes our Roatan Zarpe with five copies, original crew list with three copies, boat documentation with five copies, two copies of our passports along with the original. WHEW… We give him the paperwork and he explains we did not need to do all the copies…that is part of his job. Oh well.

The Customs/Port Captain fees are $100.00US and Immigration $44.00.  This needs to be paid in cash and of course we had no US cash. Lynn is allowed off the boat only to go to the El Cid Resort bank machine which is a few hundred yards away. I tried to get $500.00US; no go. Then I tried $400.00 again no go…This is not a good sign.  I finally manage to withdraw  $200.00 which barely is enough to pay the fees. Once we were checked in Lynn tried to do on line banking and again had no success.  Interesting our Visa for a month’s dockage worked.  Of course our phone will not work until we get a Mexican SIM card. Stressful, you betcha!

Once all the authorities showed up and the paperwork was completed we finally were let off the boat so we decided to celebrate by going to the restaurant here at the Marina. We have also been advised we must go to Puerto Juarez, the head Port Captain office and pay $50.00US for a Yacht Temporary Import Permit.  This permit is valid for 10 years ands without it one’s yacht can be confiscated.

With the priority getting our finances in order the next day we went by Collectivo, (mid size van used by the locals as a bus) into the town of Puerto Morelos.  These collectivos are 5 pesos a person which is approximately 40cents.  From the Marina it is a 5 minute walk out to a road where one waits for the collectivo to come by. We could go by taxi but they want $8.00 one way…The Collectivo can also be ridden all the way up to the main highway for an extra peso…amazing.   After again having no luck getting money from the ATM’s we head up to the main highway.  Puerto Morelos is actually in two locations.. On the water side the town is more of a tourist destination where across the highway it’s called the Puerto Morelos pueblo which is where the locals primarily live. We do manage to find a SIM card.  For $20.00 US we get a TELCEL chip and phone minutes. Quickly we returned to the boat and managed to get our banking all straightened out.  Of course they did not know we had come to Mexico hence the stop on our debit cards. It was for our own protection which we can appreciate…however we have not had this challenge before.  We will remember to contact them before we leave so we don’t have the same problems.

Now it’s time to get ready for the wedding which is barely a month away.
Plus we celebrate our 5th year of cruising with the bottle of wine Jim brought down to us for a special occasion…..It’s Molly Dooker “Two Left Feet”  Shirah & Sparky Marquis-2009  DELICIOUS!!!!       Thank you Jim.

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