Checking out in Cozumel

Monday morning and we did engine checks and generally just tidied up having had company the night before.  In the afternoon we headed to the infinity pool and had a few drinks….meeting a couple from British Columbia….who ended up coming to the beach bar with us before heading over to meet Morphie.   We drank too much, we laughed a lot and I hope they got back to their hotel room OK LOL.

Fun at the beach bar Fun at the beach bar 2

Tuesday morning and we were suffering some ill effects from the previous day’s excesses.   So we had a lazy time and eventually dragged ourselves out to do the laundry.  We disconnected the electricity and settled our marina bill as we were definitely leaving Wednesday for Cozumel.   We had planned to go out in the evening but neither of us felt like it so we just stayed put!

Wednesday morning we were up early – keen to get back out to sea.  By 9.15 we had slipped away from El Cid and headed out into the channel and the beautiful blue sea. 

Colour of the water

The wind was very fickle – we had 10 knots followed by 23+ knots followed by 12 knots and so on….so we got lots of practice of shaking out those reefs!!!         We thoroughly enjoyed our sail – we were going 6 knots most of the time but our speed over ground averaged out at around 3 knots due to the strong adverse current so our arrival was a bit later than anticipated.   Hmmm…might have to recalculate our next passage arrival / departure time!   But never mind we were settled on anchor by 4 o’clock.     

Fantastic sail

We decided not to go ashore and just settled in to watch the sun go down over our rather large neighbour before having an early night.   Yes the anchorage is rolly…but wasn’t that bad after dark.

Sun going down on our neighbour Beautiful colours of the night skyThursday morning and we were up early – had a lovely shower off the back of the transom – and got ourselves ready to go ashore.   We traversed the shoreline looking for a dinghy dock – the new docks near the ferry terminal looked positive but we got told that they were ‘dangerous’ as they were not finished yet….   We then went to the local pier but it was full of day tripper boats coming and going – they would certainly not be happy if we left dink there for any period of time as we would impede their access.   So we headed to the furthest one away which belongs to a local dive shop – I climbed up and went across the road to seek permission.  Well, the answer was no!  

Cozumel anchorage Cozumel waterfront 2

So I asked where to go and was told to pull the boat up the beach.   The shoreline is pretty rocky here so we went back towards Morphie and found a bit of sand that we could access so that’s what we did.   We were a bit concerned about locking dink to the balustrade but I saw that lots of local boats had tied their boats there so figured we’d get away with it.   What we did notice, however, was that no local boat had a propeller on – they clearly remove them to stop the boats being stolen – so fingers crossed that doesn’t happen to us!!!

Local boats pulled up onto the rocks Dink on the waterfront

First stop was breakfast and we found an Argentinian café that made its own bread and had a wonderful breakfast with Richard eating both our portions of raw spinach leaves that came with each dish.    He was feeling like Popeye by the time he finished LOL.   And we took the opportunity to catch up on the internet while we were there.

After breakfast we checked on dink and then walked along the waterfront to the Port Captain’s office, admiring the street art and the pretty birds that are plentiful on the shoreline.   Birds on the waterfront

The waterfront is pretty and the statues are good – we particularly liked the one of the divers and the reef – although a little bemused that a lot of them seem to have people standing on turtles.  Not sure what the significance of that is! 

Waterfront Art 1 Waterfront Art 2 Waterfront Art 3 Waterfront Art 4 Waterfront Art 5 Waterfront Art 6 Waterfront ARt 7

Oh yes and Richard was not impressed with the position of the transformers – that serve the street lighting – on the waterfront.

Transformer placement

The waterfront was pretty quiet and it all felt a bit strange as this was a four cruise ship day in Cozumel so where was everyone?!?  Perhaps they come out later.   But we enjoyed the walk, admired Morphie out in the anchorage, and watching the planes coming in pretty low over the sea and disappearing just across the top of the treeline before they descend to the airport.

Cozumel waterfront Morphie out in the anchorage

Plane coming in Plane disappearing over the trees

We found the Port Captain in his pretty impressive building and had to ask our questions about securing a Mexican Despacho / Zarpe in Spanish as they didn’t speak any English.   The weather window is looking good for a Monday morning departure so we wanted to find out what we needed to do and when we should do it.    They printed off the forms they want completed and told us which documents they would like a copy of from us on our return – we are due to go back at 9.00 am on Saturday morning.   So far so good!  

Port Captain building

We then popped into the local supermarket to have a look at what they sell – enough for me to get some fresh produce for our passage food so that will do…   Richard quite fancied the tinned cheese! 

Canned cheese

We walked back along the front and went into the main park where I posed with the Cozumel sign.   We then wandered through the main plaza and down the varying streets that traverse it and came across a lovely little church.

Main plaza Welcome to Cozumel Town park Empty streets Empty streets 2 Local church

There are lots of shops / restaurants / cafes / bars but still no people – and it is lunchtime by now.   The vendors are desperate for trade so it is a constant battle to fight them off although they did make us laugh with some of their comments to entice us into their premises.  One was ‘”Come into my shop, we sell the same crap as Walmart, only cheaper” LOL.    We didn’t play – just wandered – and we came across a bar that had a 2 for 1 offer on beers all day so sat on the pavement area for a little while having a couple of cold ones.   It is really hot and steamy here right now – definitely need to hydrate.

Walking back to dink we came across a couple of kids having fun in the water fountains and then collected dink (getting wet) before we motored back to Morphie.

Kids having fun in the Plaza

The anchorage is very rolly during the day as there are constant ferry / cruise ship / container ship movements not to mention all the day tripper / parasail / snorkelling / diving / booze cruise / pirate ships that are traversing the bay picking up and dropping off tourists, which is presumably where all the cruise ship passengers go during the day.   And speaking of cruise ships… here comes Mickey!  

Here comes Mickey

We had a dip to cool down and settled into the cockpit for the rest of the day.    Later on I prepared dinner and we were entertained by the show aboard the pirate ship as it went past us….so we did a few Arghhhs along with them.  The sun then went down and we enjoyed the colours of the sky…..   

Pirate show on the pirate ship Lovely sunset

We were about to retire for the night – and we had no lights on other than our anchor light – when we spotted a large pirogue, with five guys on board, drifting past us very slowly.  They were not fishing and they had no lights.   They then motored slowly ahead and returned for another mooch past using torches on their phones to have a look at us.    We kept watching them and made sure they knew we were up and awake – we switched lights on down below and I did a radio call to let other boats know that we had a suspicious boat circling us.    We also tested the horn and the strobe on the arch.    They came by closely for a third time….and eventually they decided to run back to shore.   All very disturbing – they were definitely up to no good…..

Friday we didn’t feel the need to go ashore as there really isn’t much to see or do.   Downside to that is we have no internet for the day.   We were very productive though – cleaning Morphie’s waterline which was in a terrible state – and then washed down all the topsides and the stainless steel.    Then we lazed around reading books for the rest of the day while making water and having a charge fest while the generator was on.   We also got all our documents ready for our Saturday morning appointment with the Port Captain.  

Later on, when we had finished our jobs, we picked up our anchor and moved closer to boats ahead of us as we felt vulnerable where we had anchored previously.    We waved goodbye to the cruise ships and watched the pirate ship go through again….playing the Essex girls anthem of “I will survive” LOL.    And there was another beautiful night sky.

Cruise ships leaving Goodnight CozumelAnother night sky from Cozumel

Saturday morning we were up early and headed into shore.  Pulled dink up to his beach position, secured the chain around the pillar, and walked down the boardwalk.   We arrived at the Port Captain’s office to find the door open but the shutters closed…..oh no….we know it is a Bank Holiday weekend (yes, even here in Mexico) please don’t say they’ve made us come back on a day they are not working.    Luckily a guy turned up and we got down to the process of checking out.  He was happy with our papers and we had to fill in another sheet….then we took a seat.  It took him about an hour to input all the information and then printed and stamped a number of different documents for us to take with us.   We then hailed a taxi – went to the airport – and visited immigration.   They seemed unsure what to do with us – but photocopied our papers – removed our visas and stamped our passports for the 39 April LOL.  Oh well…..I guess departing on the 2 May is OK then?!?   Delighted that the whole process – including cab rides – only cost 450 pesos (US $27) versus the $180 they wanted in Puerto Morelos.  That’s a lot of drinking tokens!

We then taxied back to a large out-of-town supermarket and stocked up – with Richard looking lovingly at the beer mountain – and was lovely to get some lovely crusty bread and fresh product.  Yum…….  

Corona mountain

We now have everything we need to leave.  We returned to Morphie and risked life and limb getting back on board with large swells lifting her up and down…..   We managed it – unpacked everything – and then came back ashore.  We have a few pesos left over to spend so we are planning to have an afternoon picking up internet in a bar plus some lunch ….   We do not plan on going ashore tomorrow – Sunday – we’ll chill, cook our passage food and generally do pre-passage maintenance checks.

We are definitely going to leave here on Monday morning for the 275 mile passage due south.  We have 10-15 knots (make that 20 knots LOL) forecast from a E/ESE direction so should be a good sail.  The current is going to be against us again so expect this to be a slow passage..…   We will be in touch once we have arrived, got legally checked in, and find some internet access.  

In the meantime, Happy May Day and bye for now.