Sailing to Puerto Aventuras

We were reluctant to leave Puerto Morelos after just one day, but we were just beginning our trip south, and we were worried (yeah, that word again) about reaching our destination in time to fly home for the birth of our second grandchild, our daughter Megan’s first child. Mom had promised her that we would be home, and while travels, and getaways can fit in whenever, there’s not a whole lot you can do to arrange a baby’s arrival. So, with baby in the back of our minds and the winds and weather still in our favor, we set sails and headed south. We had choices; we could cross the stream again and scoot over to Cozumel, or we could bypass that island to save a couple of days, hug the reefs along the coast to stay out of the Gulf Stream, and attempt the narrow entrance into Puerto Aventuras, a luxury marina not far to our south. We chose to hug the coast. A call on the VHF around noon confirmed that a spot was available for us. We found the marina’s entrance, a stone breakwater-lined cut barely a hundred feet wide, not the one you see to the left, but a small cut to the north leading into their basin.

Overview of Puerto Aventuras
Overview of Puerto Aventuras

We couldn’t have hoped for a nicer marina or for nicer people to help us. The staff walked us into the basin, guided us to our spot around the corner from these sport fishers, and saw to it that we were securely tied before leaving us for the night. Everything you could possibly desire was within easy walking distance. The next morning when checking in I asked the harbor master if there was a pharmacy close by. “Why?” he said. I told him my wife was having a hard time with her stomach, and she had black spots on her tongue. He raised his eyes in shock, and said “You are heading south from here and sailing to areas where there are no doctors, no hospitals, no help. Black tongues are not normal. You need to have her see a doctor. We have one here, and I will have him come to your boat”. Total shock! Who in our world remembers house calls? Within fifteen minutes, the doctor was on our boat; he examined Joy, took a medical history, ran some tests, and quickly told us the spots were nothing more than the result of taking Pepto Bismal for several days, nothing to worry about. His diagnosis, a very bad case of Montezuma’s Revenge, or an intestinal virus in medical terms. After a shot, several prescriptions, and best wishes for a safe journey, he was on his way. If any one can remember when was the last time they received that kind of help in the good ole USA, they will have a better memory than me. Third world my butt.
We left Puerto Aventuras once Joy could stand on her own again, and after filling our fuel tanks at $2.00 per gallon, less than half what we paid in Florida. Life is good! We barely had time to enjoy all this beautiful location had to offer. We will return to P.A.when we head back north, and we will stay longer, hopefully leaving Montezuma to his own devices somewhere else.
Docking at Puerto Aventuras
Docking at Puerto Aventuras

Our next destination, Bahia de Ascension about 70 miles to the south, made for a pretty full day. We would arrive late in the day with the sun in our eyes, but the entrance through the reefs was more than a mile wide with the reefs clearly visible to the north and south. Off to the left you can see the water breaking over the reefs to our south, and even though the water looks shallow, we had about 40 feet below the keel. We made great time and arrived with plenty of light to help us find a sandy spot to drop the hook, and we were certain we were secure for the night. We took bearings on the lighthouse behind us, an island to our north and a light in the distance. We were good, or so we thought, until the wind piped up to about 28 knots, at 1 AM of course, and the anchor drag alarm went off. (That would have been Joy waking me up) I rushed on deck, saw that we were surely dragging, beam on to the wind. Now that’s not a good sign, and the bearings were all wrong. Oh boy. Think, and think fast. I started the engine, and headed straight upwind for the reef. Joy was not a happy camper, nor was I. With adrenaline rushing, and heart pumping, we moved the boat as close to the reef as we dared. We kept hunting until were sure the anchor was holding. I stayed awake watching and wishing the anchor to hold. It did – until the next night, about the same time, when we repeated the drill all over again. More wind, but less adrenaline this time. Practice makes perfect, right?
Entrance to Bahia Ascenscion
Entrance to Bahia Ascenscion

Lighthouse at Bahia Ascenscion
Lighthouse at Bahia Ascenscion

The next morning we sailed out between the reefs to resume our journey, but the wind was howling right out of the south, on the nose. The waves were big, really big, and Joy would have no part of it. Oh, I forgot to mention we tried it the day before too, only the wind was wilder, and the waves were bigger. Wishful thinking on my part. Well, we were both about fed up with draggin in the middle of the night, so we sailed 7 miles inland and tucked ourselves up behind Culebra Cay below, a real secure spot, no waves, or not as big waves, and we were secure. Wrong again. In spite of backing the anchor down until the anchor rode was bar tight with no skipping, we still dragged. Oh yeah, right about 1 AM, and right about 25 knots -maybe more. You could almost set your watch by it. But this time I knew we had about 10 miles of room, so no big deal. We reset in the morning, and I was beginning to rethink my Yucatan anchoring strategy. We were using 100 feet of chain, and we had tried two different anchors, a really big Bruce and a Hi Tensile Danforth, both bigger than recommended, but both had dragged.
Anchored Behind Culebra Cay
Anchored Behind Culebra Cay

Off to the Atolls … or … Sail back HOME