The eastern coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico
We've been anchored at Isla Mujeres for almost 3 weeks now. After a year exploring Central America, returning to Mexico feels like home. There's just something special about the country -- a friendly, warm, family feeling that I haven't experienced anywhere else.
Crayola box colors charm here in Isla
The hustle-bustle of Cancun feels miles away (seen in the distance)
Here on Isla Mujeres, there is a large Catholic church in the center of town, just like in every other village in Latin America. But there is also a lighted community basketball court next to the church, where locals play well in the night every evening. We've felt completely safe here. In the evening, children and families are out and about. We're told the crime rate is very low here, and I believe it.
Local youth Alex gamely took on the old man for a rumble in the paint. The skipper made me proud, and gave young Alex a run for his money!
We attended a semi-professional baseball game here on Isla Mujeres with Tom and Rose of Sojourn. Of course, beisbol has been "berry berry good" to Mexico. The locals love it almost as much as soccer.
Watching a game here is much more low key than back at the Big A in SoCal. For instance, check out the beer vendor station above. It's not quite as spiffy and fancy as at Angel Stadium. But take a look at the price for a beer: $12 pesos. That's about a buck. What do they cost now at a professional game in the states? About 6 bucks? Things are different down here. :-)
When the game got slow, I made a new friend. Little Carlos was
there supporting his uncle, who played shortstop.
We've also done some snorkeling here on the island. Along with the crystal clear water, fish and coral, I was stunned and a bit freaked out by this sight:
That's right. A literal armada of 10-20 barracudas, which sat menacingly in the water next to the reef. I'd dove with barracudas before, but never so many in one spot. As soon as I saw them, I did the underwater equivalent of humming "la la la la, dum dum, de dum" and non-chalantly swam away, as gently yet quickly as possible, so as to not raise their ire.
Chris shows his handsome derriere while doing some work in the anchor locker
There are several marinas here at Isla Mujeres, but we economy cruisers have stayed in the anchorage the whole time...which has been fine, except our anchor has drug a couple of times. During one middle-of-the-night 30 knot squall, we drug 120 feet! Drama, drama.
We've ridden our bikes all over the 3 mile island.
Rose and Chris along one of the beautiful paved beach paths
There are actually two little lakes in the center of the small island.
This sweet little bridge crosses one of them.
Pristine beach, water and rock
There are three large Catholic churches on the island, and Rose and I explored every one.
Chris and Tom talk politics outside one of the Catholic churches while Rose and I explored inside
OK, sorry -- this was just bizarre. This 7 foot tall doll (presumably the Virgin Mary?!?!?!?) was prominently displayed at the front altar at one of the churches. It's like some Marie Osmond doll you might buy on QVC run amok. I like my humble little Virgin of Guadalupe you usually see. This lady -- on her wedding day, perhaps? I don't know who she is. :-/
Interesting rock formation
Chris rests on the main drag
I'm trying hard to blend in with the locals. How'm I doin'? (LOL)
Chris animatedly tells a story to Rose
Of course, tourism is the main business here. Above, a local advertises a "K-Mart Blue Light Special."
This young family sells their wares each evening at the town square. For me, this photo and these faces epitomize the warm heart that is Mexico. The father is up in the states working, and sends most of the money home.
You can buy a Homer Simpson marionette here. I was tempted...
Clouds and sun
Yet another strange and beautiful cloud formation, above.
Note the streaking, white clouds above the puffy ones.
Close up of the strange, streaking white clouds. These aren't in any of my cloud books...
As much as we enjoy exploring nature during our travels, in the end it's all about the new friends we're meeting along the way.
Rick, Chris and Tom share stories and make plans for the next voyage...
We've met some great musicians on the island, resulting in some rousing jam sessions. Chris and I also performed and jammed at Bahia Tortuga with "Melakai "Joe," below left in the photo above.
Swift Current and Serendipity arrived at the island this past week. A reunion was in order!
El Salvador Cruiser's Reunion: back row left to right: Rick and Rosanna of Tension Reliever; Howard and Lynn of Swift Current; front row right: Hugh and Annie of Serendipity.
All of us met back in El Salvador at the Cruiser's Rally -- a year ago, on another ocean, and thousands of miles away. We've been through alot. And we'll be friends forever. The brotherhood of the sea, and all that crap. ;-)
OK, so the siren call of the U.S. of A. is calling. Frankly, I think we're insane to leave this place and return to the Craziest Country on the Planet, but I'm not the decision maker here. I follow my skipper, and he's going north, with or without me. As I tell him: "Wither though goest." So north we go.
Our plan is to sail to Key West in the next week, when we have a weather window.
Hasta Luego, Mexico and Central America. You. Are. Beautiful.