We got off to a great start to our passage sailing down the Southwest Passage away from Key West and then with a course of around 250 degrees and Gloria helming diligently. Then I realised that we had a slight adverse Gulf Stream current which knocked a knot or more off our Speed Over Ground. This adverse current never disappeared…it just increased and decreased for the full passage. So we averaged about 80nm every 24 hours as opposed to 120-140nm for my normal long distance sailing. We had to use the motor when the current was stronger than our Speed Over Ground in the periods of light wind. As we closed in on the Mexican coast we witnessed a spectacular sunrise before sailing into the anchorage in the harbour on Isla Mujeres…four and a bit days after leaving Key West. Mexico is new to me…my 34th country on my sailing adventure and 75th country visited during all my foreign travel. Mexico is also the first country I have visited in Central America.
We stayed at anchor and remained on the boat for two nights over the weekend watching all the tourist activity from snorkelling to jet ski to motorboats to charter pleasure boats and ferries. We contacted the nearby Marina El Milagro and reserved a slip AND an agent to deal with the lengthy administrative process to clear the boat and crew into Mexico. In all I had four government personnel visiting me and the boat. The agent organised me and the whole process (including a delay when I thought I had lost the boat UK Registration document) and once the Port Captain was satisfied I was able to take down my yellow Q Flag which has to be flown prior to formal entry into a new country.
El Milagro Villas & Marina is quite the prettiest place I have moored the boat.
The serious travelling has now begun with a long and busy day trip to the Mayan ruins site, Chichén Itzá and included stops at the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid and a cenote…an underground cave in which the roof has collapsed leaving a deep fresh water pool. The Mayans believed these to be sacred places.