Monday, January 26, 2009

Cozumel, Beautiful clear water

Gin clear water lets us easily see out anchor and chain 15' underwater on a white sand bottom.  Underwater visability is 100'-200' and with over 200 species of fish there is plenty to see.

We spent 3 days in Cozumel.  Even though the water was some of the best we have ever seen and snorkeling daily can be had right from the boat, it wasn't a very comfortable place for us to stay for very long.  There was no real dingy landing so you had to either beach it (the waves for cooperating) or tie up to some dock and hope you don't get in trouble or get run over by a ferry boat.  In addition there was no protected anchorage, it's just an open roadsted, so we had a few sleepless nights.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mayan Ruins


We had a busy week with Dave's Mom and Don.  We spent a few days on Isla Mujeras, rented a golf cart and drove around the island and sampled the local Margaritas, excellent.  From there we had a great sail to the mainland port of Puerto Morelas.  We tied the boat up at a Marina and headed out for a road trip.  

First we went to the Ruins at Ek Balam.  The main Acroplis is huge at 105 feet tall and 525 feet wide with a large gallery atop.  We were able to climb up to the top, a bit scary.  This ruin was just opened in 2000.  It wasn't until just a few years after that one of the upper walls of the gallery collapsed exposing another galley full of sculptures and frescoes in absolutly perfect condition.  An Amazing site!

We headed to the town of Vallodolid and stayed the night in a great hacienda.  Had a lovely dinner and a good night sleep with HOT showers in the morning.  What a treat.  The following day we went to a church and convent that was constructed in the 1500's.  The Templo de San Bernandino has some recently uncovered 16th century frescoes.  The Convento de Sisal has a Cenote (sinkhole),  with a walled dome over it. Divers have found hundreds of ancient artifacts in the sinkhole. 

Then on to the famous ruins of Chichen Itza, a very well restored Mayan site.  the most impressive structure being the ball field, where one does NOT want to lose the game!  The acoustics are amazing one can talk at a normal conversational voice at one end and be heard at the other end 444 feet away.  We testing this out and it worked (even with 100 tourists in the middle!)


Friday, January 23, 2009

Squid that jumped aboard the boat

This unlucky squid jumped on the boat by accident.  We found him just after breakfast on the back swim step.  Since we just ate we gifted the fresh squid to a neighboring boat who had calamari for breakfast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Underway for Puerto Morelos


We are sailing toward Cozumel today with my mom and Don onboard.  They will be visiting for the week and it should be a blast.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back in "Cruiser" mode

Wow!  We just counted the days and we've been in Mexico eight days already!  Ah the joys of not wearing a watch nor having a calendar on the wall!

At the word “cruise” is defined: “to sail about on a pleasure trip” and a "cruiser" by my definition is a person living and traveling aboard a smallish boat and on a budget.  It also describes a unhurried lifestyle without a particular destination or time line.

The island of "Isla Mujeres" in a nice change from the fast pace of America and the prices sure are nice too.  The exchange rate is nearly fourteen MXN (pesos) to the US dollar which is considerably higher than my last visit in 2005/2006 when it was around eleven to one.  Think two margaritas for $50MXN ($3.50USD) and three tacos with rice, beans chips and salsa for $30MXN (2.20USD).  Not too bad to have a nice sit down dinner with a ocean view for under six US dollars.

The island is about three miles long and one to three blocks wide with the main town on the North end so everything is within easy walking distance.  A pedestrian street runs the length of the town and is lined with restaurants of all descriptions.  A modern and well stocked grocery store offers convenience and a local Mercado (Market) offers plenty of choices of fresh fruits veggies, meats and fresh tortillas.  Primary transportation after walking is scooters or golf carts and a few cars.

We are making lots of friends within the cruising community and gaining intel on the best places to visit as we make our way south to Belize in February.  We are very excited to explore the amazing offshore reefs and look for ship wrecks and treasure from Spanish galleons.

Yesterday we took three other cruising couples with us on a snorkel expedition and sailed Pacficia a few miles North of Isla Mujeres to find a nice reef to swim on.  It was an international outing with s/v Epsilon Michel & Josee (Canada & France), s/v Xenos Julie & Slater (Ireland & USA), and s/v Pandura Uli & Maureen (Switzerland & Australia).

Friday, January 02, 2009

Anchored in Mexico

After our 55 hour passage we have arrived safely at Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

Universal Time New Years Celebration

New Years Eve day we are on passage from the Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  We anticipate the 300 nautical mile voyage will take two to two and half days depending on the strength and direction of the Gulf Stream current and the cooperation of the wind.  We carefully chose our weather window to avoid strong easterly winds that can make the Gulf Stream crossing dangerous.  So far the wind is so light that we are mostly motoring, although we do have the sails up as we head South across the Gulf Steam toward the Cuban coast.  Once about fifteen miles from the Cuban coast we hope to pick up a counter current that will give us a boost toward Mexico.

Since we are currently on passage a midnight local time New Years toast didn't make sense.  So we decided on a "Universal Coordinated Time" UTC New Years toast at a more convenient time close to local sunset.  So we rang in the new year as we watched the sunset in it's New Years/Five o' clock somewhere fashion and a nice bottle of Champagne.   The weather was perfect for a Green Flash phenomena and so a nice bright green flash served to ring in our new year.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

David & Kathy
s/v Pacifica
23*45'N 83*39'W  00:56UTC 1/1/2009

PS Fishing is awesome with fresh grilled Mahi Mahi  for lunch, Little Tunny sushi appetizers and Cero Mackerel pasta for dinner.


Good fishing

Kathy shows off a nice "Little Tunny" that was lightly seared in sesame oil.  This is in the Tuna family and very tasty.  We have yet to find the scientific name beyond "Little Tunny".

Dave holds up a little "Mahi Mahi" or "Dolphin" or in Mexico a "Dorado".

We caught these fish on edge of the Gulf Stream.   The Mahi Mahi hit the lure as I was letting out the line.

Dry Tortugas National Park


Marquesas Key Cuban refugee boat found abandon on beach

The USA has a wet foot/dry foot policy regarding Cuban refugees.  Basically , if  Homeland  Security catches  the refugees before they touch land then they get deported.  If they  are  caught on land they get processed  in to the USA as political refugees.  This home made boat we found on Marquesas Key about 17mi West of Key West probably delivered it's occupants to American soil successfully.  We discovered the boat beached in a cove on the Marquesas Key, FL USA it looked to have been there a few weeks.  The boat was ingenious in it's construction using a metal hull, a truck motor, home made propeller and added flotation around the edges.  Inside the boat were clothes, empty water bottles and fuel jugs were visible.