FROM THE LOG # 13
February 16 to March 2, 2003
(Click on a photo for a larger version)
We spent a week at Isla Mujeres. One day we took the Express Ferry to the mainland and visited the city of Cancun. After two months in Cuba it felt strange to be surrounded by shops filled with goods. Most of the American retail chains are represented: Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penny etc. Isla Mujeres has a relaxed atmosphere, especially in the evenings when the day tourists have returned to the mainland, but Cancun is crowded with hotels and traffic.
Even more touristy is, however, the
island of Cozumel, which is visited by the cruise liners. There
may be 5 or 6 of them at the same time, carrying a total of 15.000
passengers! We decided not to go there.
We heard about
several sailing cruisers that had not been friendly received
by the authorities at Cozumel.
After several days at "The Isla" we had visitors from Finland, joining us for a week of sailing south along the "Riviera Maya", as the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula is called in the brochures.
We anchored behind the reefs at both Puerto Morelos and Punta Maroma (better known among cruisers as Hut Point). Puerto Morelos is a cute quiet little town with all basic services, but at Hut Point there is only a restaurant at the beach, catering and providing entertainment for day tourists that arrive by bus. The anchorage at Puerto Morelos has better protection and better holding, but we did not have any problems at Hut Point either after diving and setting the anchor by hand. During several days in Puerto Morelos we were the only visiting boat.
One day we sailed south with the intention to enter the marina at Puerto Aventura, but the entrance was impassable because of strong southeasterly wind and swell. The seas were breaking heavily at the entrance and we were forbidden by the port captain (on VHF) to enter. Not that we would have attempted anyway. As there is no other sheltered anchorage within reasonable distance to the south there was no other choice than to return to Puerto Morelos. Having made a trip of 45 miles we were back where we had started 9 hours earlier.
The next day we hired a taxi for a day trip to the old Mayan site of Tulum, about 90 kilometers to the south. This beautiful site by the sea was one of the most important seaports of the Maya and is now the most spectacular Mayan ruin on the east coast of Yucatan. Tulum is the only known fortified settlement found along the coast. It is dated A.D. 1200 - 1450 making it a Post Classic site. The peak of Mayan construction was during the Classic Period A.D. 250 - 900.