Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hostel Playa in Playa Del Carmen

I'm now back in Minnesota.. although at my Mom's in Minnetonka where I'd left my vehicle. I plan to stay here awhile so I don't have to go up then come right down again for my dear old mom's 93rd birthday on March 20.... I suppose getting by a couple 3 more weeks without turning the heat on in my attic apartment is also partly why. After all prior to jumping ship.. I was not planning to return to Minnesota until later in March or even early April.

Now...about the hostel I stayed at in Playa Del Carmen. I just looked online for a hostel in Playa while in Punta Allen. There were about 5 other options with even lower base prices like $10 US for a bed in a dorm room. I chose a hostel that had a base price of $13 as it had some stars on trip advisor..3 out of 5 I think it was. I think it was the first one listed going lower to higher price that had any rating stars. A nice enough place located just 3 blocks from the ADO bus station with direct runs to the Cancun Aerupuerto and just 5 to the beach. A big grocery store was just across the street. I did notice a few no-see-ums and skeeters but not to bad. As usual in a hostel an interesting clientele and lots of smokers at this one I thought? Good WiFi, a basic breakfast and bedding included.

I ended up not finding a flight before 2/26 without paying a much higher fare? This meant a stay of 3 nights. Days earlier there were some but I guess they sold out?
Some photos follow.

My bunk and a view from the room. There was one other guy from the US in the room the first night, a couple from Australia the second night and 4 German dudes the last.
The place has numerous other dorm and private rooms so generally there were about 15 people in the common area at times?

There was a rooftop seating area which I never checked out. You can see the Walmart has come to the Maya Riviera : ( wow this city has changed since 20 years ago. Nice hot shower .. Too hot really I never thought adding cold water to the heated shower water made since?.. Unless it's about adequate hot water for heavy shower use...which was not the case that I could see.

5th Avenue which is pedestrian only services the beach front lodging and restaurant businesses. This place was so much more pleasant 20 years ago. For my tastes anyway.

The core area of the beach scene...between the 2 ferry docks out to Cozumel.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meeting nice people

Yeah .. Maybe I've ranted about the negative vibe that finally came to a head concerning crewing for the captain. Time to post about the positive feelings I experienced once I'd said my piece and made the decision to go my separate way.
Actually I've already described that feeling of being dropped on the dock and my walk up the beach.
I wanted to blog how grateful I feel to have met Norma sitting in her VW Westfalia Van. I've thought about getting a VW camper van and going on adventures like her and regularly check online for used Westies. How cool to meet a solo traveler of a similar age who'd driven from B.C. Canada to Punta Allen less than 50 steps from getting out of the dinghy! Sure I was relieved of concerns of catching a ride north but she was really fun and interesting to talk to. This we did quite a bit the following 60th birthday.
... Then as I was walking about looking for a place that might except credit cards I ran into Rose and Ross a cool young couple from England. As it turned out the place they were staying was perhaps one of only two businesses in Punta Allen that took credit cards.? I stopped looking so don't really know but with no mobile coverage or phone or power I'm sure it's a rarity in this end of the road town. Next thing you know I was wondering who I might be catching a ride with? Rose and Ross were heading up to Playa Del Carmen in a couple days so I caught a ride.
I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with these lovely travelers! Thanks so much!

Norma, Rose and Ross in Punta Allen. A brief stop in the Tulum area where Rose and Ross had stayed earlier

Monday, February 24, 2014


As I write this recap, I'm still in Playa Del Carmen another couple nights.

This was the second winter in a row of seeking volunteer crew positions and while quite different experiences neither ended up being the kind of thing a sane person would volunteer for. Certainly I've gained new insights and perspectives on spending an extended amount of time living on a sailboat of a size I'd likely end up getting to live aboard for my near future. One thing that keeps me interested despite the negative aspects is what I hear time and again from various other people cruising and living aboard.... "Don't base what you decide on being volunteer crew, it's a whole other world and far better experience when you're on your own boat". No doubt.
Anyway I chose the captain seeking crew to help sail from the Florida Keys to Rio Dulce Guatemala. At the time I had emailed interest but passed on another boat heading from North Carolina to Puerto Rica. That was a larger boat of maybe 45 feet and was sounding like there might be 4 or even 5 aboard. However, that boat was sharing all costs including fuel and country entry fees for the boat. More people would have been more fun I think.
Looking back as the days and weeks passed waiting in Marathon, Florida for a weather window suitable to the captain I got the impression he was timid and wanted a very calm, benign crossing of the Gulf Stream. I was fine with that as cautious is better than reckless. When we finally did leave after 5 weeks and had the issue with the rudder I quickly took to the notion we'd be towed back to Marathon and repairs would take who knows how much longer. I even got to the point of being relieved I might be heading home as hanging with the captain was not pleasant. Only my desire to check out Rio Dulce kept me onboard.
I don't really like to slam people while blogging or in general but considering his attitude, impatience and arrogance toward so many people we encountered leaves me quite certain I'm being very much referred to negatively to folks he meets and even those I've previously spent time with. So.. my feeling is the captain is the biggest asshole I've ever met!
The situation that finally had me decide to jump ship began with another problem with the rudder as we were heading south in the Bahia De La Ascension Friday, 2/21. It was not the kind of thing you want to set sail with before it's repaired. I admit I was wondering what sort of delay this might cause or if the captain would choose to 'go for it' and repair it once in Guatemala? After finding the frayed cable situation and tightening things as best we could we motored across the bay about 5 miles north to anchor on the inside of the Punta that gives Punta Allen it's name. We hoisted the dinghy over the side with a halyard. The captain got in the dinghy and moved around until he was at the stern. I was stowing the long line we'd used to tie the dinghy on the bow. I moved to stand at the outboard motor mount on the sailboat looking for a line to tie on to lower it down. At the instant I spotted the perfect length line laying in a stern storage area I heard the captain tell me.... "Just untie the green and white mooring line from the stern rail, tie it to the outboard and lower it down". Now that in and of itself is not a problem..what was a problem is that it was said in a manner I'd become quite accustomed to over the previous way too many weeks. It was said as if he was talking to a brainless moron who couldn't do anything without slow drawn out descriptions of the simplest tasks? Needless to say with my recent thoughts about the duration of repair delays concerning the rudder I'd had my fill and as if to include the many other similar comments I'd let slide to keep the peace over the weeks I said... "Fvck you (his name), Ive had about enough of your belittling, condescending comments!" He answered sarcastically with "Well if you don't like it you can get off the boat in Belize!" To which I answered "I can get off the boat here in Punta Allen!" ..with a smile on my face and a feeling of tremendous relief! He had a kind of shocked look but in no way would he back down and ask if I'd please help him sail to Belize. He barked get your gear and let's go... By then I'd lowered the outboard down to the dinghy doing a loop pass as the line had a loop tied on the end.. All the other times we'd lowered the outboard to the dinghy (as is only logical) we didn't undo the safety line until the motor was secured to the dinghy transom...this time the captain angrily tugged the line out of my hands upset I'd not tied a bowline but rather had done a loop pass through. He then struggled to get the outboard set on the transom with no security line attached? Yep...he was a bit stressed : ) I was feeling awesome!
I took a while to pack but by using the insulated shopping bag they handed out to everyone in Marathon (which I had intended to leave with him) I got it done pretty fast. I grabbed a large plastic bag that I had from having laundry done. It was choppy and I knew how wet the front of the dinghy is in even the smallest waves. I was able to put that bag over my duffel and protect the shopping bag as well. It was over a mile to the village from where we'd anchored. He pulled up to the first of 3 docks on the beach and stood up holding on.. I got out with my 3 parcels and asked if he wanted me to tie it up.. the usual routine. He said simply "No". I tossed the bowline into the dinghy and told him "I sincerely wish you the best of luck on the rest of your travels". He did answer back.."You too" and off he went. I was being sincere as I knew he would need luck and as much as he's a jerk I do wish him well. I'd bet my name was cursed over the next few hours and days..
There I was with 40 pesos, the equivalent of about $3 US dollars in a small end of the road village not knowing but hoping I'd find a place to stay and eat and secure a ride north that took credit cards... My luck proved to be awesome as I mentioned in a previous post.... Jumped ship in Punta Allen

Now I want to add an oddity between the captain and I on our crossing of the Yucatan Channel.. I did a post on the Yucatan Channel back when we were at the Marina Paraiso in Isla Mujeres. I still shake my head on the way it played out...
I'd learned the captain had no interest in me even trying to have an interest in the navigation.. So much for the aspect of volunteering to learn. I'd already surmised captain was no teacher. I've got plenty to learn but I'm no novice when it comes to sailing or even navigation with technology like chart plotters as I had to pretty much take over that aspect on my volunteer gig last year. With captain this year, I learned to sit back and just do my shift and not question anything.
We had done our sailing south about 50 miles, which was actually the only pure sailing we did on the crossing. As usual we had a waypoint set to the south and worked generally to keep on the course-line using the appropriate compass heading.. The wind had changed for the final 1/3rd of the heading south so we'd been sailing more SSW.. Still not experiencing any noticeable 3 to 4 knot northerly current the Yucatan Channel is known for. Once to the point 50 miles south we finally were to head west. This was during the captains 3 hour shift.. When it was my turn he showed me his new waypoint and the course-line heading due west...apparently 270 degrees true. I immediately said we can't follow a due west course line as we cross a 3-4 knot current running at perpendicular, it won't work. I said the whole reason to head south 50 miles was so we could then head accross due west and between that and the current carrying us north we reach the other side of the channel in the vicinity of Isla Mujeres. I had, a few days before asked Rick the Canadian back on the forbidden island about kind of heading SW when crossing rather than that heading 50 miles south first. He answered in a slow moving sailboat it's more efficient to sail south first and then make the crossing as fast as you can heading straight west. Power yachts might choose to do more of an angle crossing...ferrying across a current as is common on the river when whitewater paddling. Anyway, back to my discussion with the captain.. As I continued, I said we need to quit the waypoint and course line as it would only distract us and be untenable once we get into the real current. I mentioned if he wanted to set a waypoint for our actual destination to use the course line as a reference of our progress between our sail/motoring west and the current carrying us north...I was interrupted with "ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER IS I'M THE CAPTAIN AND YOU ARE THE CREW AND YOU DO AS YOU'RE TOLD...!!" .!? .. I sat in silence trying to understand how he could be so ignorant on the situation or so closed minded as to immediately stop hearing anything I was trying to say? Could he simply not handle being wrong about something? I was the peon after all and he'd already decided I didn't know a thing about...basically anything by the way he'd comment. Soon my shift was over and I spent 3 hours trying to sleep and wondering if he'd notice at some point during his shift that maintaining his course line was not going to work once we got into the current.
When it was my turn at the helm again he said keep it on a compass heading of 255. Kind of south of west. I noticed right off his set waypoint and course line were gone.. I asked if 255 magnetic was true 270? ...he answered just keep it at 255. During my shift I tried to read on the chart plotter where it showed degrees true and it looked to me that true 270 was more like magnetic 262 at our location so I took the liberty to compromise and head roughly between 255 and 262. I decided I would not comment on the discontinued use of his previous westerly waypoint. When it was his shift again I mentioned I'd been heading at about 258... He just said ok.. After his shift and another of mine it had become the next day. What happened next was just bizaar. Suddenly he started trying to tell me that thanks to my insisting on heading on a magnetic heading of 270 rather than 255 which he claimed was true west we were going to miss the island, Isla Mujeres. I asked to see the chart plotter zoomed out but was forbidden as he went on and on? I told him I never said we should head magnetic 270 but true 270 which we pretty much had been. He ignored me and muttered about having to make some adjustments?? in the hopes we might still make the island. I had in my mind us being located up north of the island and having a real tough time heading south against a 3.5 knot current which is our motoring cruising speed more or less.. I added comments like well you can try angling such as you'd have had to do if trying to stay on a westerly course line in the current.. He only said.. "You've really screwed this crossing up and it's just not working out having you as might have to get off the boat in Isla Mujeres." Still wondering what had gone wrong and how we could have gotten so far my mind??. I answered "fine!" Despite my real desire to check out Rio Dulce a subtle feeling of relief was flowing into me. On my next turn at helm I could finally see the island Isla Mujeres on the chart plotter and we are actually approaching the south end not hopelessly too far to the north. I should also mention according to the cruising guide most people shoot for the north end as the town and harbor or just inside on that end. It gives waypoints and compass headings to sail around the end into the harbor. It's referenced to as the northern approach. It gave only a few paragraphs of description with no headings or way points for the southern approach? In my mind I'd always assumed we'd go around the north end? I said "I thought we had missed the island". He blatantly claimed we would have had he not made some adjustments.?? I was in disbelief and insulted that he'd even attempt such a claim...he truly feels I am an idiot I guess to fall for such BS.. Or is it just his insane limiting inability to come clean on being mistaken? Anyway I was already planning my jumping ship reading in the cruising guide about the ferry service to Puerto Jurarez from Isla Mujeres and figured bus service from there to Cancun Airport would be a snap. Suddenly captain says we need to talk which leads to this odd thing where we list what bothers us about each other and then says if I still want to I can crew the rest of the way. I say sure why not and the week in Isla Mujeres at the marina was kind of nice especially meeting the folks on the Endeavor 40 center cockpit.. Rich and Margaret....also bound for Rio Dulce.
I can't wait to talk to my sailing friends back home about this bizaar story.
I'd be home now if I'd jumped ship then.. I really can't think of any thing in that extra time I am glad to have experienced... Oh well. I'm heading back to Minnesota soon.

Sunrise on the Yucatan Channel crossing...just before I was yelled at for causing us to 'miss the island!'.... Hahaha

Punta Allen Fishing Club

This was the place I stayed 2 days after running into Rose and Ross from England. I also ended up catching a ride to Playa Del Carmen with them on Sunday. I'm not sure how many places take credit cards in Punta Allen but this might have been only 1 of 2. Phones are only via radio or satellite and Internet is only via a satellite. Electricity is via a community generator which runs roughly late morning until about noon and again from 5 pm until midnight or so. Of course some businesses and I suppose private homes have their own generating capability?
Where I stayed was really quite nice and the food was really good! I stayed 2 nights and had 2 breakfasts and dinners plus a small load of laundry which came to US $240. So not a cheap scenario though if you have pesos there are certainly plenty of very affordable cabana or camping options. Norma was only paying about 15 pesos a day to camp on the beach with access to the Banjo. That's like a dollar? I was just feeling really lucky to find a comfy place that also served food and took credit cards. They are truly focused on the whole light tackle salt water fishing thing. The owner Pascale a friendly woman from France said it was rare they would have someone stay there who had not come for the fishing. With only 4 rooms each with it's own bath I was lucky as one had just become vacant the day I needed it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Punta Allen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Of course one of the things I hoped to find out was where Jeff and Susan from Grand Marais, Minnesota have their place here in a Punta Allen? I asked around a bit but never did meet anyone who knew them? It's so different since the one time I was here with ex Jennifer checking out the kayak touring thing Jim and Margy, also from up in NE Minnesota, were trying to get going. I did not recognize anything. There is so much more going on in Punta Allen than the almost 20 years since I was here....yet it's still a pretty cool place. Heading north sadly the rest of the Maya Riviera is completely nuts with development compared to 20 years ago...IMHO

Jumped Ship in Punta Allen !

I've jumped ship in Punta Allen. Actually as I'm finally writing this it's Sunday the 23rd and I'm at a hostel in Playa Del Carmen with my flight booked February 26th.
...Back to the the jumping ship. As was the plan we left where we'd been anchored a couple days after breakfast on Friday, February 21st to head (motor) on the inside of the reef to Casa Blanca fishing lodge on the south side of Bahia De La Ascension. From what it looked like in the cruising guide to me...the 12' deep channel was closer to and just inside the reef which was not the route captain chose to take. I'd learned long ago to keep my mouth shut anytime I was in question about a decision he'd made. Add to this we were hearing new more frequent clanking of the chain inside the wheel binnacle. As we were simply motoring slow and watching the depth sounder which was basically already shallower than 12'.. Suddenly it's keel in the sand and captain turns.. seeking unknown deeper water and goes a bit more before running aground briefly again. At this point he's been doing some hard ruddering this way and that.. Shortly after deciding its a no go and doing an about face the rudder won't turn at a certain point in the direction needed so it's around the other way only to find a similar limit at a certain point. In other words we can't get the boat pointed back to where we had been anchored. He calls out for tools and the compass is removed. ...With a large screw driver I monitor the way too loose chain and keep it from climbing up the underside of the wheel sprocket so it doesn't jam and we are back anchored close to where we'd just left about 2 hours earlier. Initially captain is confident the cables just loosened and simply needs to be retightened. In that process it is discovered the cable, where it's fused to the chain on the port side is frayed which had caused new slack. We tighten it and the loose strands of cable don't fit through the hole at the bottom. The rudder kind of works with maybe trouble in hard ruddering to port. Attempts to cut the strands fail due to dull bolt cutters. It's decided we head across to Punta Allen to see if there might be a place to get 20' of 1/4" stainless steal cable. I say it's doubtful but you never know since it's been almost 20 years when I was there. We anchor on the west side of the 'Punta'. We put the dinghy in and in the process of getting a line to lower the outboard down it happens. First of course the captain is in his anxious impatient mode. He's in the dinghy and after putting the long line used to tie the dinghy on the bow away I move to the stearn. I look around the stern to find a short line to lower the outboard with and am just about to reach down a grab a loose line I see just the right length. Then I hear it.. Basically more of the same B.S. I have grown quite accustom to letting his verbal onslaught of derogatory comments slide by and kept my mouth shut with my desire to tough it out to Rio Dulce Guatemala. This time it's... 'Juuust uuunfasten the... green and white mooring line and tie it onto the outboard and lower it down' in a tone to imply I'm a hopeless idiot? I think due to just how I was feeling and now the new rudder thing I was tired of letting his insulting comments slide. I use the F work and tell him what he is..a rarity for me as I am not much for fowl language. This is followed by well if you don't want to crew anymore you can get off the boat in Belize... To which I answer 'I can get off the boat in Punta Allen'. This kind of startles him but he's too proud to show concern of loosing his crew especially with the new rudder issue to contend with. It's an odd feeling I have.. A feeling off relief even with the fact I've only 40 pesos on me ($3 US) and am not certain any place in a Punta Allen accepts credit cards? . He waits in the dinghy as I quickly pack with feelings of contented peace mingling with the adventure of being dropped off at an end of the road village with $3 . We don't talk as we make our way around the point in the dinghy...I get quite wet as he fails to make any effort to reduce waves in my face. I brought a plastic bag to put my duffle in expecting to get wet. He stops at a dock and not sure what he plans to due I step off with my gear and ask if I should tie off the dinghy. He simply says no. I tell him 'I sincerely wish him the best of luck.' He says you too, and off he goes.
I grab my 3 parcels and find the dock is short of the beach so hop off in water a foot deep and walk up the beach. I notice a VW EuroVan Westfalia with British Columbia plates and say "hola" to the lady inside. Suddenly I loose all concern of jumping ship. Norma is a really cool gypsy lady who's been on the road over 4 months having begun her travels in BC, Canada. I find out she's heading north soon enough and now I need only to find a place to sleep and eat that takes credit cards. She didn't know of any but points out a likely place called Fishermen's Bar and Restaurant .. I walk over and find out they don't. It's the 10 year old son who is the translator who tells me the big hotel a kilometer out of town takes credit cards but he doesn't know of any other place? As I'm walking back to the VW van to talk more with Norma I run into a nice couple from England, Rose and Ross. I ask them about my credit card issue and what do you know..yes the little fishing resort 'Punta Allen Fishing Club' that they are staying at accepts credit cards. I walk with them and book a room. I also find out they are leaving in 2 days and I have another ride option all the way to Playa Del Carmen. In the course of 20 minutes of being dumped at the dock my concerns are gone and I feel my luck simply could not have played out any better. I also get a feeling the luck may not be so kind for the captain? Call it a karma thing? I may never find out as I doubt he would ever reply to an email ? I find myself completely free of guilt for jumping ship. I take the nicest hot shower in a very long time then turn it to cool for a while to cool off. I'm surprised they have WiFi via satellite and I can access spotty slow Internet. There is no mobile coverage in Punta Allen and electricity is locally generated. After a nice diner I go to my nice comfy room. Oddly I have trouble sleeping probably because it's the first time since December 4th there is no subtle motion of a boat?
I start the next day with a really nice breakfast then go walking around the village to see if I can find anything familiar from nearly 20 years ago? Nope.. It's a nice little end of the road town but there is way way more tourism going on than the mid 1990's. There are all kinds of fishing lodges. The village is world renowned for its light tackle salt water fishing for Tarpon, Snook, Bonefish, Permit and more... I stop at Norma's van mentioning it's my 60th birthday and she wants to take me out for coffee which ends up as lemonade followed by coffee at her van. Nicest Birthday since my 50th which I spent in Thailand. sounds like I'll be returning to a lot of snow back in Duluth. Though I plan to visit my dear old mom in Minneapolis a while as her 93rd Birthday is in March.

The dock... Norma's Westfalia Van

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bahia De La Ascension

Well it's kind of windy but I feel plenty of sailors would reef as needed and continue on? Or maybe not. Anyway I finished one book and started another. We started our day with a visit from Mexican authorities of some kind as captain was in the middle of cooking scrabbled eggs with spam chunks in them. About 5 or 6 guys on a gray work boat pulled near. It said Marina with some letters and numbers after on the bow. (I learned later after I'd jumped ship that it was Mexican Navy. There is a Navy post in Punta Allen). A couple of them were pretty young...trainees? They requested our entry paperwork and the TIP was probably in the ziplock bag the captained handed off to them. The wind had picked as yesterday turned to evening and it was quite choppy. After the authorities were satisfied we finished breakfast and moved the boat to the other side of the island. It has proven to be a bit calmer than the other side. With luck the wind won't switch NE and increase.
I spent most of today out in the cockpit reading. A few dolphins happened by. They seemed so much happier than the trained dolphins back at the Marina Puerto Adventuras. There were also several boats with fishermen.. Guided fly fishing and light tackle fishing for bonefish and I suppose other kinds is popular here. I mentioned there was a world class bone fishing resort in this bay on the south end I thought from what I'd heard when I kayaked here nearly 20 years ago. The captain found mention of it in a cruising guide so now we are moving to there via a route on the inside of the reef tomorrow. We will spend our last night anchored at the resort and probably go ashore hoping for a dinner and wifi? I saw a small helicopter heading there from the north this morning and saw it heading back just at sunset.
It will be nice to see a new place to anchor...though I dread dealing with putting the dinghy in the water then back on the bow deck before setting out sometime Saturday for our overnighter 65 NM sail to Xcalak. Saturday the 22nd is my birthday.. We will set out just before dark and arrive to Xcalak the next morning to enter the reef pass at daylight.
OK I wrote this the day before and decided to post it even though things changed. We did set out as planned but it was getting shallow as captain, in my opinion had not gone out nearly far enough toward the reef, the diagram/Map in the cruising guide clearly indicated the route with mainly 12 feet depth was along the inside of the reef not way in toward the islands where we were. I would have shared my opinion but had learned not to bother. Anyway the rudder had been clanging in the wheel binnacle way more than usual. At some point the wheel would not even function in one direction and we'd have to turn a circle then it would lock in the other direction. As we struggled back toward our previous anchoring spot we had removed the compass to access the sprocket and chain. The chain was way too slack and we used a screw driver to keep it from binding on the sprocket while turning the rudder to stay on course. Once anchored we spent about 2 hours working on it discovering that the cable had frayed on the port side just at the connection point to the bottom of wheel chain. All that could be done was to tighten the cable up but now the splayed strands of cable hindered passing up and down through a hole at the binnacle bottom. He asked if I thought we could find 1/4" stainless steal cable in Punta Allen to which I said I was there nearly 20 years ago and haven't got a clue. We set across the 5 or 6 miles to anchor on the inside of the Punta. ... Continued in next post in titled 'Jumped Ship'

My final sunset and sunrise on the the Bahia De La Ascension.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Marina Puerto Adventuras

As I'm writing this we sit at anchor behind an island in the Bahia De La Ascension. I kayaked here years ago out of Punta Allen when Jim and Margy who lived summers up the Gunflint Trail were trying to get an adventure travel business going and my ex and I had recently started Cascade Kayaks and were going to offer kayak trips down here. I've also just been told by captain we are going to be stuck here as a front from Texas is coming down and we'll have 4 to 5 foot waves here.. . So it looks like 3 days anchored here rationing our water supply before he wants to continue. Once we do continue we are only going about 20 NM to the other bay of this 'Sian Kian Biosphere Preserve'. Then an over nighter of over 70 miles I guess to the check out town 'Xcalak' I think it is....and we will be in desperate need of water by then. Xcalak has a treacherous reef which needs fairly calm seas to enter the narrow pass. I guess if it's too rough we are allowed to write a letter (at the time we are there unable to enter) and present it to the Belizean customs and immigration in San Pedro.
.....We left the mooring at Puerto Morelos just before sunrise. I was not sure what to expect other than it was a marina so we would be able to get off the boat unlike our short time at Puerto Morelos. It was a short day, only about 28 NM. We arrived about 2 pm. As it turned out it was an odd place. The dredged lagoons that made up the marina were surrounded by condos...the marina office was closed Sundays. We motored around the lagoons as we attempted to contact the marina on VHF 16 with no success. Eventually we just tied up to a wall...where we stayed the 2 days we were there. I took a shower and went in search of an outlet and wifi. I found the captain eating at a buffet at the Dolphin Discovery, Manatee Snack Bar. It was the final 40 minutes and cost about $18 US. I decided to join the captain though really wish I'd checked out one of the other 7 restaurants at the 'complex'. Even worse I joined him for breakfast at the same place again ignoring about 3 other places open for breakfast. I mentioned going to another place but I think he was hoping this place would have an all you can eat breakfast buffet. It did fact offering breakfast was only because they were here anyway preparing for the daily 11 am to 4 pm buffet.
OK....back to the evening of our first day here. After eating too much to get my $18's worth at the buffett the captain returned to the boat and I continued on my quest for wifi and a power outlet. I sat at the bar at Haa Hoo's Mexican restaurant with a talkative woman originally from Canada but now living near by but not in 'the complex'. I was able to charge my iPhone and iPad while using their wifi. My quest focused on contacting my Facebook friend Julia who lives in Playa Del Carmen, referred to locally as 'Playa'. The Canadian lady let me try using her phone as my iPhone with the global SIM card was not working for me. Her phone ended up being out of minutes but she snagged another local patron and I tried that phone but some recorded message in Spanish made that also unsuccessful. I had earlier sent a message on Facebook and Julia had replied recommended I add a 1 to her number and it worked. We did meet the next day in Playa for lunch. It was about a 10 minute taxi ride. We connected on Facebook because we both advocate for a Natural Law Resource Based Economy. We didn't really talk about 'The Zeitgeist Movement' that much. Anyway it was fun to meet in person.
...Back to 'complex'. This theme park condo marina complex is not really focusing on the marina. The cost was only $20 per day and the dock water was brackish only for rinsing. You had to buy drinking water. The had power pedestals but we were not at a normal marina spot so no power at our boat, nor reachable wifi. Transients are rare here most of the boats are either wealthy locals. Many of the boats cater to the 'adventure' seeking tourist. Lots if fishing charter boats though most of them will also do the snorkel tour and there were parasailing boats and 3 large passenger sailing catamarans that loaded up with 20 or more people each to go do whatever.? At the time we were here we were the only transient and the sailboat we had been next to in Isla Mujeres pulled in on our second day.
In an older cruising guide the captain had there were some shallower marina areas like 5 feet. Those have been phased out in favor of dolphin enclosures. There are about 6 separate but interconnected pens with pathways around them. All day long paying customers referred to as 'swimmers' are with the dolphins and trainers being pulled along and what not. They must have at least a dozen dolphins...or more. They have a captive breeding program as I saw at least one baby dolphin. One enclosure is next to the Manatee Snack Bar and on the other side of the Snack Bar is a pool with sea lions and another with Manatee. Again the seals do tricks and paying customers can pet them, hold the hoop they jump through and pose for photos. There were at least 3 sea lions but only 2 in the pool at the same time. You could hear at least one other inside an area with pens. Even the captive manatee of which I saw 4 including a baby were petted and fed by paying customers. Lettuce and fruit were hand fed to them at first by customers but more seriously by the trainers once the customers had left. get the picture.
...We left the Marina at 3 am for the longer day to Sian Kian to make sure we arrived in daylight but had good sailing often over 6 knots and got here by 2 pm.

Arriving to Marina Puerto Adventuras

Some typical marina spots... Mediterranean Style .. & the wall we tied up too.

A couple dolphins pulling a 'swimmer' customer across the enclosure. Dolphins Discovery gift shop overlooking the Manatee enclosure.

A trainer with another customer assisting the sea lion with it's tricks for food.

Manatees in their enclosure being fed lettuce and fruit.

Sunrise on our way to our next anchorage and the island we anchored behind in Bahia De La Ascension

The end of the island we are anchored by on the day we arrived. Sunrise on day one of the supposed 3 additional days we are to stay here waiting for calmer weather? And it's not even noon yet as I write this.