The last few days have been spent hanging out in Isla Mujeres. Our crew from the Florida to Mexico crossing left on Tuesday to head to mainland and explore some Mayan ruins. Kyle and I decided to stay put and enjoy a few days of relaxing. Well, some small boat projects and relaxing 😉
The marina where we are docked is rather nice. The entire place is built and decorated with mosaic tiles. The showers, which are also completely laid out in mosaic tiles, are outside and have a large rain type shower head. The water gets hot and I love the roof being open to the sky. While I shower the palm trees above my head sway back and forth, and when I shower at night, I can see the moon. Kyle and I have been going swimming at sunset, or shortly after, off the beach. There are two cement tables covered in colorful tiles a few yards out into the water. The other night we brought some wine, a tray of nuts, raisins, cheese, and crackers, and waded out into the water to sit at the tables. There we watched the sunset and eventually as it got dark, went for a swim. It was romantic and quite lovely. I found myself watching the sunset, Kyle sitting next to me, our lower bodies submerged in the ocean water, the sky clear above us, and feeling incredibly grateful. I then started laughing at myself as I realized I was then feeling grateful for the wave of gratitude that came over me. It was a special evening.
The days sort of blur together here. The other boats next to us on the dock all had only planned to be here for a week. The one next to us has been here for 6 weeks, the one across from us a year, and the one to our left a couple months. I can see why. The level of relaxtation, easy going-ness, and simplicity at this little marina is something unique. On top of that, all the employees are so friendly, seem to like their jobs, and have a commradere that is wonderful to watch. So anyway, that being said, I told Kyle we better get out of here before we don’t leave.
Yesterday afternoon after a slow morning on the boat, we walked down to the ferry dock. There, with hundreds of tourists, we waited in line for the ferry to take us over to mainland Cancun. Once we arrived in Cancun, after saying “no gracias” innumerous times to taxi drivers, we found a marine supply store. We needed a new bulb for our gasoline hose for the outboard, and they had one in stock.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around Cancun looking for various things we needed for the boat: some small rope, new clips for our snorkels, a bolt, a yoga mat. It was an adventure to say the least. In running these errands, we quickly left the tourist area behind, and found ourselves at the local hardware store, a department store, and a local fishing store. I enjoy errands like these because I feel like I get a more authentic experience of the place we are visiting. Staying on the tourist stretch seems to be a bit of an artificial experience of what the locals are actually living. During the two hours we traveled around looking for things, I only saw locals. The people in Cancun were very friendly. Each store employee took their time to work with us through the language gap, and we laughed and figured it out together. I speak some Spanish- but the problem I have is how quickly the locals speak. I can’t keep up! We were having a difficult time trying to explain that we needed a clip for our snorkel and when the employee finally figured out what we were trying to say, he cheered and laughed and showed us where they were.
Around 4pm we finished our errands but still had an hour or so until we needed to meet our new crew at the bus station. We ducked into a local bar and had a beer while we waited. The experience at the bar was hilarious. This again, was not a touristy bar. And they had this huge screen playing music off of Youtube. So you have to picture this- a bar in a neighborhood in Cancun. Kyle and I are the only Americans in the bar. There are zero children in this bar. It is mostly men who look like they just got off work. And on this huge screen they start blasting “Baby Shark”. If you don’t know that song, good for you, if you do… Baby shark doo doo doo doo.. Baby shark doo doo doo doo.. baby shark. (You’re welcome 😉 ) The music was SO loud. Kyle and I have decibel readers on our phones so that when using tools and doing various things in the shop we can know how loud things are. Kyle pulls out his phone and we were reading 101 decibels.. anything over 90 decibels for more than 15 minutes can damage your ears. So needless to say, the music was too loud. But it was hilarious. The whole thing made us giggle and we had a great time.
We made our way to the bus station and found a spot to sit outside while we waited for our new crew to arrive: Mason and Zoie. Mason and I went to middle school and high school together. We were acquaintances and had some of the same friends, but weren’t particularly close. A couple months ago I posted on my Instagram looking for crew, and he responded. So after a few Zoom calls, emails, and messages back and forth, Mason and his girlfriend, Zoie, decided to join us in Isla.
Once they arrived at the bus station, we took a taxi to the ferry dock and hopped on the next ferry back to Isla. The ferry ride was incredibly windy, and we had a great time standing on the top deck, trying to stand up against the wind. After we walked back to the marina, we introduced Mason and Zoie to Safi. I showed them their cabin, where to unpack their stuff, and some of the basics of the boat, but decided to leave the knitty gritty for the following morning. Kyle and I made kabobs for dinner on our little cockpit grill. They turned out great and we all sat around in the cabin eating terriyaki veggie kabobs with rice while getting to know each other a bit more. After dinner we went swimming off the beach at the marina and took outdoor showers. It was a lovely first evening with our new crew.
The following day consisted of errands, boat projects, grocery shopping, meeting with Custom and Immigration to check out of Mexico, and relaxing in the evening. The evening and day together made it very clear that we were all going to get along great and have a wonderful time. Mason and Zoie are both very easy going. They don’t know anything about sailing, and have never been sailing before, but they are relaxed, excited, and eager to learn. Which for me and Kyle, is all that matters.
The original plan had been to sail from Isla Mujeres to a small island called Santanilla before heading south to San Andres, Colombia. However, a front from up north was coming in, and it was becoming clear to Kyle and I that this plan would not work out. We could have totally made it work, but it would have been rough conditions and not a great introduction to sailing. So thus, we had to come up with a new plan. That’s just part of the game in sailing. You go where the weather says to go. You try to plan in order to come up with a direction to head, but part of being a good Captain, in my opinion, is having the willingness to say “this isn’t going to work”- regardless of who it may disappoint or what the implications may be. Kyle is good at this, and he made the final decision that San Andres was not the right choice for the crew and so we spent an afternoon coming up with alternatives. Roatan, Honduras is closer, a better heading for the wind and wave conditions, and equally as cool to explore as San Andres. On top of that, none of us have ever been there. So just like that, we decided to head to a new country all together! We were all excited about this plan, and made the decision to leave on Sunday morning at first light.
Isla Mujeres was a great time, and we enjoyed our stay at the marina, but I was feeling ready to move on, and went to bed on Saturday night feeling all the same feelings I felt before leaving Florida, but this time not as strong. I felt calmer, but also nervous. I felt excited, but also trepidatious. Ready and prepared, but not without the small voice in my head saying things like, “but are you really ready?” I have come to know this voice intimately. It seems to always be there, just lingering, waiting for a moment that I feel a little vulnerable. I used to try to ignore the voice, but now I allow myself to listen to it. I take the thoughts into consideration, I weigh all my options, and I then move forward with confidence, which quiets the voice. I wonder why we have these voices in our heads. I know not everyone has it, but I also know many people do. When you make a decision to do something big, something different, something scary. You feel good about the decision and are all ready to move forward, and then all these “what ifs” start popping up. Kyle tells me that’s the definition of “cold feet”. I don’t know what it is. But I do know that if I gave in to this inner doubt, I wouldn’t have accomplished half the things I have accomplished in this life. So this is just a little reminder that you don’t have to live your life by the doubtful voice in your head. You can break free, and live the life you have always desired. I know this because I have to do it everyday. It’s a conscious choice to live the way we do. And it’s not easy, but based on where I am sitting right this moment, I can promise it’s worth it.
Speaking of where I am sitting right this moment, it’s not Isla Mujeres, and it’s not Roatan. It’s this unexpected space in between that has turned out to be a magical few days. But for now, I’ll leave you with some photos from our time in Isla, and i’ll write more later. Thanks for reading. -D