Cruising Back to Florida via Isla Mujeres

After all the sailing we’ve done this year, I’ve got to say that the single biggest factor affecting our travels was the weather. Not the rain or sun; they really didn’t matter, but wind is all important, as is our ability to access accurate weather forecasting for our planned cruising areas. Every time we sail and use our Max Sea Navigation program with weather and performance modules embedded, our forecasting gets better and better. It is never absolutely perfect, but for this trip, both south and northbound, the predictions were almost right on the money. I watched for the best times to move, and only on that one day when we sailed from PA to PM did the heavy winds build sooner than I anticipated. By this point in time, I’d already emailed crew back in Florida giving them two possible days to fly down to Mexico to meet us to bring the boat across the big pond (Gulf of Mexico). Would those forecasts hold true? 

The Lima Docks
Name this Marina

Do any of you recognize this marina? These are the Lima Docks at Isla Mujeres. Not quite the same as when the big fleet fills the docks for Regata del Sol al Sol. There was only one other boat besides us at the dock when we pulled in to buy fuel and to deal with the clearance formalities. I chose to clear in here knowing that I could count on Senor Enrique Lima to pave the way over any problems that might arise. All went very smoothly as we expected. Senor Lima welcomed us to stay at his docks for our week there, but we had already decided that the wave action here coupled with the Med mooring arrangement would make getting on and off the boat impossible for Joy. We planned to motor up into the lagoon and dock at Puerto Isla Mujeres Yacht Club. HH-PIM1

We’ve noticed in our travels that lots of sailors seem to be very timid about entering places where the charts say you can’t go. All our charts for the canal and lagoon at the southern end of Isla Mujeres harbor show depths decreasing to less than 3 or 4 feet, but that’s just not true. There’s more than 10 feet in most places. Sometimes we ask around, and sometimes we just nose in someplace to see whether we can make it. As long as you go slow, the worst that will happen is a little bump, sometimes a thump if it’s rocky. Of course, if the weather’s dicey, we never take chances; losing the boat in the hopes of entering an unknown harbor is never worth the risk. 

Peace
Peace

 What we can say about Isla Mujeres in the slow season? It’s heavenly. Here we are having lunch at the Bally Hoo restaurant, right at the end of the Lima docks, and we’re the only diners in the place. Did it matter? Only to the extent that we received the best service, the best fresh fish, plus everybody there knew us, all this combining to make our time here together beyond compare. Just one day and we never wanted to leave. We have so many friends in Isla Mujeres that we feel right at home when we’re there. The street vendors know us; the golf cart companies know us (we bargain hard for the best price); even the mayor knows us, at least by sight. We hold one family in particular close to our hearts – Claudia and her children have sailed with us in the Regata des Amigos for three years now, and every year we return to her street booth to find a piece of handmade jewelry for Joy. A special lady, a special friend.

Deep sea fishing boats, some having seen better days.
Deep sea fishing boats, some having seen better days.
Long Distance Cruiser Taking a Break
Long Distance Cruiser Taking a Break

We took a dinghy tour of Isla Mujeres harbor to see life on the island as you can only see it from the water. Like any small island, Isla Mujeres is closely tied to the water, and much of daily life is dependent on it. Fishing, diving, transportation, tourism, and recreation of many other sorts all depend on the water. So, I’m going to add a few photos with brief comments to allow you to take part in this little trip. 

Ferry boats moored to the mangroves
Ferry boats moored to the mangroves
Small fishing boats home for the day
Small fishing boats home for the day

"Papillion" from Tierra Verde, FL
“Papillion” from Tierra Verde, FL
Building a boat in your backyard
Building a boat in your backyard

Relax at Puerto Isla Mujeres