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 fiancĂ©e 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.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Our friend Jim has arrived from Victoria for about 10 days.   
He gets to see first hand how cruisers enjoy themselves by attending a Derelict Dock Pot Luck.

Ash has arrived too. The weather had not been exactly great for Jim's first few days so we decide to head to Old French Harbour.


Old French Harbour can be a little tricky to navigate until you have done it once. Here the
boys are on their way to help a boat that is stuck on the reef. In fact they have helped boats successfully twice.

We found Frenchy's a great place for HAPPY HOURS and/or lunch and dinner...

Frenchy's just opened at the end of October and there is lots of space for dinghies.

Appleseeds are here so we decide to rent a car and go out for lunch.

The plan is to meet up with Interlude and Enchantment and go to the restaurant up at the Lookout. 

On our last visit here we asked about coming back for lunch and they said no problem so you can imagine our disappointment when 9 potential paying customers were told the resort was not open to the public for lunch. The view is spectacular. We did find a fun place called Herby’s, a sports bar that served very good food.

Before we know it, it’s time to say goodbye to Jim….The time has flown by….Thanks Jim for being such an easy guest.
We decide to purchase 300 feet of new anchor chain as ours is starting to show wear. A mooring ball is a perfect place to do the changeover. And it’s a bonus having Ash here to help with the installation.

Then it is time to head back to West End so Ash can do more diving.

Interlude have graciously leant Ash their spare dive vest and regulator….so it’s off to more diving. THANK YOU KAREN and CHERYL.

Of course we enjoyed the Champagne Breakfast at the Lighthouse so we had to go back again.

High States at anchor.

We again meet up with Appleseeds. Their two children Meghan and Matt have also arrived to spend Christmas….Of course this means going out for dinner to the Chicken Shack.  Karen’s brother also arrived so its party time….Oh, there is nothing like Christmas!!!!

Time to head down to Coco Cochinos for Christmas.  Karen and Cheryl have invited us to their friends’ Greg and Judy's home for a Pot Luck Christmas Party. What a great sail.

We had no luck fishing so we purchased a Snapper from this local.

The entrance to Coco Cochinos is very straight forward and deep.  Cochinos being a Marine park the mooring balls are mandatory. The Navy was quick to arrive for the park fee. The reefs we snorkeled were quite good.


And we had fun exploring.

Enchantment, Interlude and Jumbie arrive.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.....Ash managed to get in two dives Christmas day while Randy and I try to communicate with everyone back home which was near impossible as
the resort on the Island has intermittent wifi. Also, I did not realize before we left Roatan that our phone ran out of minutes. 

Everyone pitches in bringing a scrumptious assortment of dishes.

Time for presents.   To back track a bit, when we were in Fronteras, Guatemala I went to the bank with Karen. She could not believe it when she saw me put my money in my bra for safe keeping….So, while shopping in Roatan I came across underwear that had a front zipper compartment. Of course I had to get Karen and Cheryl a pair each…Everyone had a good laugh.

After an incredible meal many decided to hike to the lighthouse.  With no appropriate shoes I decided to stay behind on High States.

Rand and Ash  85 feet up at the top. Rand where are your sunglasses?

  What an incredible view looking down at High States, Interlude, Enchantment and Jumbie.

Of course they had to hike back and saw this amazing slug.

Is this the correct way back??  OOPS, NO!! Oh well, a good time was had by all and an excellent way to spend the afternoon after a fabulous meal.

Ash's last few days called for vegging so we returned to Old French harbour and dinghied into Fantasy Island Resort

where for five dollars each a day we could use their facilities. The beer was really reasonable at five beers for nine dollars. Pretty hard to beat….beautiful white sand, comfortable lounge chairs….and of course hamming it up with the monkey's.

There's also a gorgeous bay for swimming.

What a great month...The weather was great, well, most of the time

And THANKS ASH for taking a month out of your busy life to come and visit your mom and dad.  We sure appreciate it and loved having your company.

We would like to wish everyone a HEALTHY, HAPPY 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


But first my sincerest appologies for being so far behind.. It's amazing almost three months have gone by since our last post..I will try and get everyone up to date as soon as possible.
Hurricane season is now behind us but before we can say good bye to Guatemala we do have a few necessary tasks, one being greasing our electric winch.  We always find it prudent to take a number of pictures when we take a piece of equipment apart "just in case"..

We are so excited when our new prop arrives.. "Watch out Interlude".

Using "Louis", our Hooka underwater dive system Randy proceeds to install the new prop. We are sooooo disappointed---The prop does not fit. This of course means shipping back to Beneteau....

We are all fuelled up and ready to go. We're buddy boating with Enchantment and decide to spend a couple of nights in Texan Bay.The entrance is very straight forward  The anchorage encircled with mangroves gives us good protection.

Randy and Vern dinghy down the seven miles to Livingston to see Raul who has our Zarpes ready.

Next day we slowly head down the Rio enjoying the incredible scenery

as we do not think we will be heading back this way.

At the mouth of the Rio we’ll also meet up with  Interlude making up our buddy boat threesome for our overnight crossing to Roatan.

1610 hours and we’re crossing the bar.

ADIOS GUATEMALA------A Beautiful country, a Fabulous Experience….
We all decide to stop for the night off Cabo Tres Puntas.  It’s dark as we drop anchor with no lights on shore.
The next morning we’re up at 0700 and its raining.  We all are quite antsy to get going but  decide to wait until 0900hrs as we do not want to arrive at West End too early tomorrow morning.

1025hours and we’ve got a six mile long squall which brings us more rain but not much wind.

By 0500hours next morning we’re off West End, Roatan waiting for a bit more light. We’ve two cruise ships hovering off our port. By 715hrs we are on a mandatory mooring ball in the West End Marine Park.

We all decide to treat ourselves at one of our favorite eateries The Chicken Shack for dinner. And then its back to our boats for an early quiet night with time to enjoy another tranquil magnificient sunset.

Champagne Breakfast anyone???  Each Sunday from 10 am til 2pm "The Lighthouse" has a special breakfast menu which includes ever flowing Champagne and Orange Juice. The food is delicious and the price reasonable. Of course cruisers being cruisers cannot pass up a fun time to socialize. We had a fabulous time reconnecting with friends Pavo Real, along with our buddy boats Enchantment, and Interlude. 

Winds have changed direction making for three miserable days at the West End…..It was so rough no one left their boats.

Last year we only spent a week at West End, so renting a car with Interlude and Enchantment we get to explore the many “nooks and crannies” on Roatan….If one needs grommets or thread, this is the place.

We did have a bit of trouble with the rental. The company graciously came and replaced the vehicle.

Up at the lookout looking North towards Crawfish Rock Point. What an incredible view….We've asked down at the resort if it is possible to come another day and have lunch...They say, absolutely so we will do this on our next adventure.  But for now I must sign off as the wifi is acting up again; so until next blog---"COMPANY IS HERE"  Adios  friends.....