Chillin’ on the Isle of Women

After four days at sea we were ready to just relax on Isla Mujeres for a few days, and as promised by Eric (the owner), the cost of sitting on the dock at El Milagro Marina was impossible to resist.Third Aye tied to El MilagroNot exactly a hard life! Moored in the stunning clear, blue, blue, blue water of the Caribbean Sea – our very own enormous saltwater swimming pool just off the side of the boat – a far cry from the tiny, rather stagnant looking salty pool, that was raved about, next door at El Paraiso. Taking our cue from Eric, Tadd and I would punctuate our days by jumping off the boat to refresh in the cool sea for a quick swim, followed by a rinse in the outdoor shower, and all washed down with a huge, ice cold Sol… mmmmm!

The first evening we borrowed the marina’s sea kayak and paddled across the bay for a little snorkeling. We didn’t manage to spot the Virgin Mary statue (turns out it’s only a few inches tall and wedged into some crevasse in the rocks), but there were all manner of brightly colored fish milling around… I was really impressed and the reds, blues, yellows, greens … the array of colors… then I remembered I was no longer in Key West.

A fair chunk of most days was spent in the pursuit of work… job hunting is a job in itself… jumping through the many hoops of the yacht brokers and crew-finder sites… filling in forms, uploading CVs, online interview questions… we drew the line at the personal videos, not convinced that we really need to get into that… but we could certainly do with some better headshots… to come.

South end of Isla MujeresBiking around the little town on the free loaner bikes from El Milagro, we explored a little… found a cheap local place for breakfast… found the supermarket and headed back along the promenade on the eastern shore of the island… you could really see the effects of past hurricanes… new homes built up amid the chunks of cement and rebar from a previous incarnation of the house.

That middle part is the LANDING STRIP!
That middle part is the LANDING STRIP!

On our first day in town we’d seen someone cycling down the landing strip… and we were informed that there’s no longer an airport on the island… so we thought it’d be fun to cruise down the lumpy tarmac… my arms outstretched like a plane… laughing and joking as we went… until I looked up and forward and…. Hang on a sec… I could swear that’s a plane ahead…. Lights… wings… oh crap!! Only then did we notice the guy on the other side of the runway, clad in camouflage and quite emphatically waving at us…. OOOPS!! We wouldn’t make that mistake again… guess they do still use the runway.

Baby TurtlesWe spent a cooler, overcast day checking out the south end of the island… at the Tortugranja… looking at huge tanks of water with a hundred or more baby turtles rather frantically trying to push and shove each other out of the way headed towards the light coming in from the doorway. It was not paradise in there for them… definitely a turtle eat turtle world… I mean it… we even saw a couple of them munching on the fin or tail of their brother or sister or cousin!! The farm gathers up the eggs from the beaches and incubates them in a protected environment until they hatch. Some are kept in the tanks until they’re bigger, while others are released into the sea.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWe also checked out he crappiest mansion ever… no wonder that guy didn’t get the girl!
But there were some spider monkeys in a cage to amuse us. And when we reached the southernmost point… we had a beer and cooled off before heading back on the bikes.

The food was great between cheap tamales and tacos and what we cooked on the boat… Tadd got a great deal on a big ol’ bag of conch. The cracked conch was good… the fritters will need a whole lot more work!!

Chillin' on the Isle of WomenDuring our stay, rainstorms came and went on the island, as we kept a close on Anna and Bill heading across the Atlantic. By the end of our week there we decided it was safe to keep heading south… but not before we did one last thing…