Exploring Isla Mujeres

Tuesday morning we strolled down towards the ferry terminals….we wanted to catch the older / slower one as it took us into the right port in Cancun.   We got our tickets – only £5 return each – and drank coffee while we waited.  

Our ferry ride 1

We climbed across a very rickety metal ladder with ‘Mind the Gap’ resounding in my head before we cast off – into a very rough sea – and we occupied ourselves by watching the Mexican news on the ferry’s tv.   We struggled to translate exactly what was going on – but the coverage of Trump had a rolling ‘latest news’ banner calling him a Nazi.   Hmmm….seems like he’s upset the Mexicans pretty badly!

Watching TV on the ferry

We arrived at our destination and walked to the government office clutching all our stamped and signed papers.  The lady was very accommodating but couldn’t issue our temporary import permit as we hadn’t come armed with Morphie’s inboard engine number!   Damn…..   Neither of us had picked up on this “very important” requirement so we’ll have to come back another day.

So we walked back to the ferry terminal feeling a bit dejected – and of course the heavens opened and we got very wet!   We sat – admiring Captain Hook’s pirate ship – and waited for our return trip.  Was another bumpy ride and, this time, the sea was coming in through the window seals as we bashed into the wind and waves.

Captain Hook's pirate ship

Arriving back on Isla Mujeres we were greeted by more torrential rain….   An enterprising chap crossed the road from his shop and was selling ‘pack a macs’ so we bought one each and wandered downtown trying not to get too wet crossing the flooded roads.   

Pack-a-mac selfieFloods

We had a nice time looking at all the little shops, boutiques and restaurants that fill this end of town nestled alongside the fishing village.   There was an eclectic mix of items for sale – not sure of the significance of the wrestling masks!   After a late lunch / early dinner we wandered back to the marina where we had an early night.Making friends Fishing village Wrestling masks

Wednesday morning – armed with the ‘very important’ numbers this time – we went on the ferry with it all feeling a bit like ground hog day LOL.  Yay – this time we got our permit issued which is valid for ten years….    Mission accomplished we headed straight back to Morphie to get on with the rubbing down / varnishing of the eyebrows.   While Richard was applying the varnish I started cleaning the stainless. 

Eventually by late afternoon we were done and we had a quick bob in the pool to cool off before going on board Island Sol – our neighbour – for sundowners.  

Marina pool

We had a good look around their boat and then they came on to Morphie so that they could see the differences between their older Island Packet and our newer one.    We had a lovely evening – with Charlie particularly enjoying the Goslings Dark & Stormy – while Sarah tried out our Cuban beer.    Having been cruising in this area for a few years they were full of useful information for us about Panama / Guatemala etc.   And they told us about the lightning season in Panama – with violent thunderstorms a daily occurrence during the rainy season (April to October).    We are planning to be in the San Blas islands at that time – these islands are notoriously tricky with poor charts and extensive reefs so you need to use eyeball navigation.   Hmmm…..so the rainy / lightning season means we may have to sit out rainstorms and thunderstorms for days on end…..waiting to be struck as we will potentially be the tallest point for miles around.   Gulp….we may need to rethink our plans!

Thursday morning – we rubbed down, varnished and carried on with the stainless cleaning.   In the afternoon we got ourselves cleaned up and headed out – and walked to another marina down the road where we had been told there was a chandlery.   Well we couldn’t find it – anyway, we ended up in the Verde Bar & Restaurant and had a very late lunch, early dinner.   Was absolutely lovely!   Wandering back we stopped in another bar and had a beer sitting on the swings.  

We had final pontoonies in the marina – served by Daniel – and got chatting to other cruisers many of whom had cruised extensively between here and Panama.   And, yes, the lightning season was confirmed and they all declared they wouldn’t frequent that area during this period.  Oh dear….

Marina bar Daniel

Friday morning – and, yes, you guessed it…..repeat….    Richard applied the final coat of varnish to the eyebrows and went around identifying other ‘keepers’ that we needed to do.   I got dink down and went around the hull cleaning the stainless under the rail….   Yay – job done!!!  

We had a lazy afternoon bobbing in the pool – talking through our options – and ended up having another early night after a moody sunset.   The wind seems like it is finally calming down – but still coming from the south which means there is no chance of us moving on just yet – so we decided to stay put for another week.

Marina pool 2 Good night

Saturday morning and we were up early and had breakfast in the marina.  Wow – huge!!!  Amazing value at only £8…..    


We then popped into the dive shop and booked a couple of dives for Monday afternoon.   We meandered into town and hired a golf buggy for 24 hours and took ourselves off on a tour around the island.   Ready for the offOut in the cart

We had a lovely time – including finding a local dressed as a Mayan near the ruins – and stopped and started all over the place to take in the views…..   From little village scenes to fancy cliff-top villas – from zip lining to crashing waves….to iguanas…..  And even some Banksie style wall art.  Stunning place!    

Beach 1 Beach 2 Exploring 1 Exploring 2 Exploring 3 Exploring 5 Exploring 7 Exploring 8 Exploring 9 Exploring 10 Exploring 11 Exploring 12 Exploring 13Exploring 6

Driving back from the far end of the island my hat blew off – so we stopped and I went to pick it up – and I ran back across the road.  Not a good idea in flip flops.   So….of course…..I got my feet tangled and flew through the air landing face down across the road and high curb.  Richard was not impressed – and other people were stopping to check I was OK while I tried to scrape myself up off the floor!   I cleaned myself up – thankful that I didn’t tear my clothes – and was only bleeding from some gravel scrapes on my elbow.    Oh well….no harm done…apart from my brand new RNLI hat which got damaged in the process of being retrieved!

We headed back into town and had a couple of beers in a small roadside bar before heading off to the beach.   This was full of day trippers – and we had a lovely late lunch in a little Mexican restaurant – while people watching.   We had now circumnavigated the whole island and we headed back to Morphie – planning to rest up before heading out again for the evening.   Well we rested up and ended up staying put!

Beach 3Beach 4

Bar on the beach

Sunday morning we were up early – said hello to the pelican that likes to sit on the mooring post -and headed out to the big supermarket – time to stock up on Mexican beer and fresh meat.   


Back to Morphie, we unloaded our provisions, and then went to return the buggy.   We had about an hour to kill so we drove around the town again – watching the tourists streaming off the ferries – before we returned it having topped up with drinking vouchers at the bank.    Back to the marina we got ourselves into our swimmers and headed down the road to the Soggy Peso.   This is a happening place on a Sunday and we enjoyed a plate of ribs while chatting to some people we shared a table with.   Was a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

Soggy Peso

Back to the pool for a little while then we got cleaned up and met Charlie and Sarah.  We got a taxi to a restaurant they wanted to try – and we had a lovely meal – before returning to the marina for final pontoonies.  Was a great evening with new friends.

Monday morning and Richard worked on the keepers while I started blogging.  Just after lunch we headed to the dock to await the dive boat – due to leave at one o’clock.    So we sat waiting…and waiting….and waiting….and finally the boat arrived at two.    We got ourselves quickly geared up and left – with just us and two dive masters on board.  Perfect!   We haven’t dived for a while so today we were going into the national park to do two shallow dives – one on the statue installation and the other on a reef.   We headed out and were amazed by how many boats were out there – but our dive leader William was very skilful working our route to keep us away from the crowds of divers and snorkelers.    We did the maximum time – 45 minutes – and returned to the boat.  Thoroughly enjoyed seeing the statues – interesting place – but didn’t have the same impact as the one in Grenada.   Maybe it was the less serious nature of some of the installation?? 

Statue park 1 Statue park 5 Statue park 6 Statue park 7 Statue park 3 Statue park 9 Statue park 2

Statue park 4Back on board the guys quickly dismantled our equipment and set us up again for the next dive – while we sat back and enjoyed the valet experience LOL.   Moving only a couple of miles away, and still within the national park, we did our backward rolls into the water and quickly descended to a very good looking reef with lots of life – including a little turtle munching on the soft corals.   A lovely dive – with a few more statues – and again we did the maximum 45 minutes before returning to the boat.

Reef dive Reef dive 2 Reef dive 3 Reef dive 4 Reef dive 6 Reef dive 9 Reef dive 5 Reef dive 7 Reef dive 8

Back to the dock and we sped through the cut, admiring the large house on the end, back into the marina where the guys helped us clean all our gear and took it away for storage so that we don’t have to carry it around…..   Great service!   We returned to Morphie, showered and then headed to the bar for a couple before turning in as we were both quite tired.

Heading back on the dive boat Nice house on cut through to marina

This morning – Tuesday – and Richard has dropped off laundry and organised more diving for tomorrow morning while I’m sitting down below blogging…..    We are intending to relax for the rest of the day.

Oh yes….  We are seriously considering hauling out in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala, rather than in Panama this season.    We can then visit the San Blas islands in the dry season (non-lightning season!) in December on our way to the Panama Canal in January 2017.  But lots more research to do yet….  Will keep you posted.

Bye for now