Dream Away Update 23-May-2006


We are at anchor in the harbor in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We actually set the anchor yesterday the 22nd of May around 0730 in the morning. We had a fairly uneventful trip, and a very fast one. The crew at this time is made up of Myself, Kitty, Nicola and Noel, from the UK, and our friend Al from Clear Lake Shores, Texas.

We left Tortugal marina on the Rio Dulce the morning of the 18th of May around 1000. We motored down the Rio and the Golfete to the far end where we anchored in a small bay, called Gringo Bay. It is named Gringo Bay because most of the property around the bay is owned by gringos. We stopped at this bay to have dinner at Jennifer's house. She was one of the first to buy property on Gringo Bay and she has a large piece of property, over ten acres. She also is the only full time resident there. She has been there over 17 years and it shows. Her garden is beautiful. Not only many beautiful tropical plants, but many fruits. She also has a pond where she raises fresh water fish, and another pond where she raises fresh water lobster. We had a wonderful dinner with wine and dessert. We reluctantly left her house and went back to the boat.

The next morning, the 19th of May we weighed anchor and headed down the Rio Dulce gorge. I am sure that no matter how many times that we will go up or down that gorge, we will be amazed at the beauty. We arrived at Livingston around 0900 and got the boat anchored. We got the dinghy into the water and headed into the dock. We did the check out of Guatemala with customs, port captain and finally immigration. Between the port captain and immigration, we stopped and had lunch. It was a little early, so we actually all had a typical Guatemalan breakfast. After we all got our passports stamped, we headed back to the boat. We had to pick up the dinghy and secure it for an off shore passage.

We motored out of Livingston and crossed the bar around 1230, and got under way for Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The weather was predicted to be from the northeast the first day, and there after be from the east or southeast. We left Guatemala and motored around Cabo Tres Puntos. Our route was using the inside channel through Belize until we got to Belize City. Once we got to the south end of the inside channel we were able to turn to the north, but the course had us at such an angle to the wind that we were able to motor sail, but not sail. We motor sailed all through the night, and early the next morning, May 20th, we went out through the reef at English Channel into the Caribbean Sea. Once we went out here we were able to turn more north and actually able to sail. We also were in the lee of the Turneffe Islands so it was a pretty smooth sail.

The remainder of the 20th was just sailing north with a bit of east in the course. We alternated between sailing and motor sailing as the wind changed. The promised wind from the east had not materialized so we had to do what we could based on the conditions presented to us. The night of the 20th and the morning of the 21st, had us sailing into Mexican waters. We were sailing between the Mexican mainland and Chinchorro bank. This bank is actually an atoll, and is the only atoll in Mexican waters on either coast. The remainder of the 21st we sailed north heading for the island of Cozumel. The wind played games with us all day. It was supposed to come from the east or southeast, but this did not happen. For a period of about two hours, we actually had wind from the north west. To be fair to the weather and, NOAA, they are predicting weather off shore, not local events. We were sailing up the coast, so are heavily influenced by the weather on the mainland. Anyway we spent a lot of time with sails up, sails down, trimming, sailing, motor sailing and doing some sailing.

As we approached Cozumel we knew that we were in for a great ride as the current can get up to over 3 knots! The bad news is that we have to turn northeast to get around Punta Cancun. The wind had not changed to the east or southeast so we would be heading northeast into a wind that was just east of northeast and wind against current. It came as we predicted. What a ride between Cozumel and the mainland. We were motor sailing with only the main and the mizzen and averaging around 7.3 knots. When we got around the lee of Cozumel we had the worst part of the trip. We were able to keep up the main and mizzen, but it was a really bad chop, and the wind was blowing 22 knots.

This went on for about two hours, and then the wind started coming more out of the east and we were able to turn to the north. I unrolled some of the jib to get some wind pressure at the front of the boat, as the auto pilot was really straining to keep us on course. When I unrolled the jib we really started moving. We were averaging 9.2 knots! Of course at that time I decided to shut off the engine, and that slowed us down to 7.2 knots. What a great sail. We were now in a position to head up the coast at this rate and into the Bahia de Isla Mujeres. We came up the west side of Isla Mujeres. We got into the harbor and had the anchor down around 0730 on the morning of the 22nd.

We got settled in. I dove the anchor to make sure that it was set. We had a wonderful breakfast including blueberry muffins. We all had a shower and then headed into town to start the clearance procedures. I went to the health department with all of the required documentation and got that settled. I met the remainder of the crew at the immigration department. We got our passports stamped and than had to go to the local bank to pay the immigration fees. While the crew went to the bank, I went to the Port captain's office to start that paper work. I got that started, but to complete that phase a fee had to be payed at a bank located in Cancun. I met the crew at a local restaraunt, La Negrita, and we had a great lunch. The crew went back to Dream Away, and I got on the ferry to Cancun. I went over to Cancun, got to the bank, waited in line for about an hour, paid the fee and headed back to Isla Mujeres. I arrived at the ferry dock around 1700 and walked down the beach to where Dream Away was anchored. The crew spotted me and came over in the dinghy to get me off of the beach.

We all had a couple of adult beverages, a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and we were all in bed around 1930. We all had a great night sleep, because we were all pretty tired after the last night on passage.

The next day, the 23rd, we went into town and I completed the check in procedures with the Port Captain. We turned in laundry and went to an Internet cafe to down load email. No major problems, so we are kicking back and enjoying Isla Mujeres. I will be on the Internet looking for work, and doing a few boat projects, but mostly enjoying the last of our cruising lifestyle for the future.

Please stay in touch, and I will send out another update when we get back to Texas.



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