The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 10: Isla Mujeres to Puerto Aventuras
Tuesday, 11 January 2000
A few days ago, I (Ben) was supposed to fly back to the states for some medical tests. Well, there was a foul up with Aero Mexico and they would not honor my Delta tickets (which Delta had assured us they would do). Yup, I could have bit the bullet and purchased new tickets, etc., but everything was kind of getting out of control and at the same time, the medication the local doctor had given me was beginning to be effective. So, I canceled the trip plans and we decided to continue the cruise. Since then, January 7, I have continued to get better and it has probably turned out for the best.
Yesterday at Isla Mujeres, January 10 at 0830, we checked into the cruisers net on VHF- 67, got the weather and bid all of our new friends good-bye. We checked out at the Port Captains office around 0915 and then set out on our southerly course. The wind was 10 knots or less out of the east. The seas were beautifully calm with only a 3 to 4 foot easterly swell and some light chop.
Our day was going to be kind of hurried because we had to make about 65 miles in 7 hours. Ordinarily that would not be a great feat, but there was a 2 knot coastal current running north impeding our progress. After slogging along for a couple of hours at 5 to 6 knots speed made good, we read in one of the cruising guides that close to shore, in depths of 40 to 60 feet, the current was much less. Sure enough, about 1/3 mile offshore, there was a distinct line of current no more than 20 feet wide. On one side, a light chop and 2 - 3 knots of current. On the other, flat calm and no current. Momma didn't raise no stupid kids. Already running late, we cruised the rest of the way to Puerto Aventuras as tight in toward shore as we felt was safe. But, we still didn't make Aventuras before dark.
Puerto Aventuras is a man-made harbor and marina that is reported to have the greatest number of slips of any marina in Mexico, 250. The guide book reported that the entrance to the harbor was only a about 25 yards wide with reef on one side and rocks on the other. It was recommended that first timers call the marina on VHF-79 and request a dinghy escort through the cut. Like I said, Momma - - -, so we did.
Right as rain, Marina Mars' Dock Master came out, met us and escorted us through. We've been to a bunch of marinas over the years, but this one takes the prize. We've never before been greeted or treated so well. Tips were even refused (can you imagine). This marina is exquisite with many restaurants both fine dining and otherwise. The daily rate for motor vessels, normally $1.50 per foot, was readily negotiated down to $0.85 per foot. Sail boats, however, pay a flat fee of only $16 per day, no matter what the length. Figure that.
We went out to dinner last night and the food was perfecto. Joan brought back a bit for Maggie and she thought it was great too. The dog has good taste.
This morning, with winds and seas calm, we plan to continue south to Bahia Ascension. It is reliably reported that this is the lobster habitat capital of Mexico. Also reported is that there is only a small settlement there and the Bahia has excellent all weather protection and great diving. Can't wait, but we're not sure if we can take another lobster disappointment.
Couldn't send this morning as there were obstructions in the marina blocking the satellite signal.-
Evening, January 11.
We started out from Puerto Aventuras. As I said, seas WERE calm. But within 10 miles, they were running about 6 or 7 feet, but not really very uncomfortable.
About then, Heide reported they lost an engine and in a few minutes, determined that a fan (sic) belt had broken. For reasons more technical that can be dealt with here, it would take Marv an hour or so to fix. But, the dead engine ran his stabilizers, so they rolled badly throughout the repair job. Marv said that the heat, smell and roll of the engine room did curious things to his equilibrium. I don't know, but I suspect there were curious things done to the engine room too.
Francesca went on ahead as we needed to make sure that one of us got inside the reef before dark.
In so doing, we ensured that we could get Heide through the reef after dark.
Marv got things fixed up in good time and Heide was only about 10 miles behind us by the time Francesca got to the reef break. Heide arrived just about ½ hour before sunset and by the time it got dark we were all hunkered down behind some islands in beautifully calm waters.
Here we are in the Lobster Capital of Mexico and its Dark. Tune in tomorrow to see if the nutty quintet find dinner.
Joan, Ben, Marge, Marv & Maggie