Friends in paradise

After the whale sharks, we went once more in search of a Belize flag, in vane, and packed up, paid up and said goodbye to El Milagro Marina.

At helm

We sailed out from Isla Mujeres at sunset and headed south through the night, past the insane lights of Cancun and into some more frustrating currents, not to mention the added fun of tiny fishing boats without lights to dodge – at the last minute they’d grab a torch and shine us in the face to get us to miss them. Not much fun, especially after Artie the autohelm pooped out on us during the night!
By the time I woke in the morning to relieve Tadd from his watch, we were already sailing right offshore… and I mean right offshore… only maybe less than a quarter of a mile, past the beaches of the north end of Cozumel.
It’s totally crazy how deep the water is just off the island – it really is just smack bank in the middle of the depths of the Caribbean Sea.After much discussion we finally picked a spot to anchor, knowing that it would be a bit of a challenge as it was rock covered in a little bit of sand. Just for confirmation we did our due diligence and called into the port captain… but he was not interested in chatting with us, so we went with our instincts and picked an anchorage.

We’d planned to do some diving on the island… but ended up only snorkeling on the anchors… but we did get them solidly in there.

Our time on the island was mostly spent catching up on the internet… searching for a replacement for Artie and hanging out with Teri, John, Jaime and Tyler – can you say margarita???

Cozumel sailing
As ever, Tadd and I don’t have a lot we can offer in thanks to all the generous people who’ve been helping us out along the way… but we do have to boat and, obviously, we do LOVE to sail…. So, especially in light of the fact that John and James had just done a sailing course (with the crazy, shouting instructor!) back home, the least we could do was to take them all out sailing.Now, our little dinghy already offers a rather soggy ride with just Tadd and I and a jerry can of water… so adding 4 more people… wasn’t going to happen. So, having seen all the local tour boats just pull up to the ferry dock, we though what the…

Ferry dock in Cozumel

As you can imagine the officials were not having any of it…. Waving us off…. No can’t come in…. well, until, that is money was mentioned. It worked out damn cheap. They had to pay the price of a ferry ticket (we think) which was a whopping $1… and bob’s your uncle… all the courtesy in the world… they helped us tie up… help us head off… and when we got back from a couple of hours of fantastic sailing (gusting to 18kts and running at a top speed of over 7kts with the current) the guy came running over to grab our lines – I thought he was going to be a new guy rushing to tell us we couldn’t be there!

After a couple of evenings with everyone, and some other friends of Tammie and Dad – Jan and Leo… we came over early and cleared out Terri & John’s kitchen, fridge and drinking water supply and saw them off.

The rest of the day was just preparing to leave (oh and getting my shoes stolen from the cooler in the dinghy…. Was that the drunken fishermen spiting us for not tipping them for their useless drunken dinghy security on the beach??)…

Cozumel Steaks

and a huge steak for dinner (we did save the other one for later!!)So just as the last few bars of salsa were fading into the breeze of the pre-dawn morning from the nearby disco… we upped anchor around 4 am and set sail back towards the Mayan town of Tulum.