Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Safe Passage to Mexico

We bicycled into the charming town of Puerto Morales for some lunch on the beach.
We are tucked into El Cid Marina in Puerto Morales, Mexico. We left southern Belize on Tuesday 2/14 and enjoyed some lovely anchorages on our way north along the inner side of their long outer reef. Dave & Ellen on Cordelia and Jeff & Beverly on Tern accompanied us. Unfortunately Cordelia's transmission stopped working just as they entered our last anchorage before heading out to Mexico. They managed to sail back to Placencia over the next two days but we were all very sad to see them go. 
Tern and ourselves motored out of the reef entrance at 8 am the next morning 2/16 and did an overnight offshore up to Mexico. It was a clear starry night with a half moon. The seas were lumpy but we had good wind and mostly motor sailed. Scott and I alternate during the night keeping watch, usually 3 to 4 hour shifts. Tern fell behind us quickly as their cruising speed is slower - they planned a two night trip to Isla Mujeres.
Our plan was to make it all the way to Isla Mujeres in one night but as we approached Cozmel it was clear we wouldn't make it there before dark. In the past we've anchored off Cozmel but decided to press on for another hour or so and go to the El Cid Marina on the mainland. We came in there at 3 pm and checked into Mexico the next morning, using an agent provided by the Marina Although they charged $200, it seemed worthwhile to us. It was a long but easy procedure here in the Marina on our boat. First the agents came and explained everything to us and got our papers ready. Next two people from Immigration arrived. They took the longest with several needed forms to fill out. Meanwhile 6 men in fatigues and machine guns (one man was dressed for snorkeling and we're not sure whether he swam around the boat or not - we were busy and didn't notice) and a German Shepard came from Customs. Only 2 men and the dog came on board and went below to investigate. They only took about 5 minutes. The dog was amazing going up and down the steep ladder entrance! They were looking for drugs - only aspirin aboard our boat!
Then the woman from Agriculture came on board - a very big woman. She asked me to accompany her below and looked into cabinets and my frig. She confiscated the fresh veggies and fruits that were visible - but didn't find the ones I had tucked behind other items. One large plastic bag full was lost. Last was Health. They didn't even come on the boat. Just asked questions and had us fill out a form. The cost for the check in from Mexican authorities was $53. So $253 with the agent charge. It took about 1.5 hours. 
That night we went out to dinner with our good German friends Thomas and Uli to nearby Puerto Morales (they are the couple we visited on our trip to Germany two summers ago). They rented a car for a week and had just returned from a trip around the Yucatan. We may rent a car for a few days as well - only $25 per day. Great restaurants in Puerto Morales and lots of live music. It's possible to buy tickets for the buffets here at the very fancy resort, breakfast was amazing for only $6 per person! We can use their pools, exercise club etc. Yesterday we used the Marina bicycles to ride into town for lunch on the beach. 
Cordelia and ourselves had planned to fly to Havana and Trinidad and do our land travel followed by a cruise with our boats on the south coast. Now we're waiting to hear if they can fix their transmission and rejoin us up here. We're keeping our fingers crossed!
A close up

But before that we had to make our way up from Belize.
Here's a shot of Cordelia, our hoped for buddy boat, at
anchorage in Bannister Bogue.

Sunrise after an overnight passage - a wonderful sight!

And so is Marina El Cid at sunset as we look forward to a
peaceful night's sleep

Scott Free tied up at El Cid.

Uli, Heather, Thomas and Scott out for a celebratory dinner!
We enjoyed meeting a couple from Phoenix at the
restaurant for lunch.

Fishing boats tied up off the beach in Puerto Morales (behind
the protective reef).

The central plaza is quiet during the morning but bustling
in the evening.

The charming little church shares a small plaza with a coffee

We attended the last night of Carnaval. It was quite different
from others we've been too, but of course, this is a very
small town. There were rides of all kinds and lots of fried
food. Instead of a parade, that night was a stage show with
local dance troupes of all ages.
We went with Uli & Thomas and Claudio & Claudia from
Flying Fish, also from Germany. 

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