Joys and Challenges of Staying in One Place
27 February 2016 | Puerto Isla Mujeres Marina, Mexico
Beth / hot days, cool evenings/ Mid 20's on average
We came back from Mexico City hoping that there would be a weather window soon, allowing us to head to Florida. It didn’t happen, although one was tantalizingly close – just not quite good enough for us to be comfortable. So we are now learning how to be content in staying still – with moderate success!
Isla Mujeres is a pretty little island only 8 km long and less than a km wide, lying just off the coast from Cancun, and not too far from Cozumel – and despite the busyness of El Centro, it is far removed from the hustle and bustle of both those larger centres. The name means Island of Women, and there are a number of theories about the origin. Perhaps the Spanish buccaneers kept their lovers here while they were off plundering and pillaging, or maybe it was named after clay figures of Maya goddesses found here.
This marina – Puerto Isla Mujeres - is situated just inside the lagoon so we can walk slowly to El Centro in 45 minutes, slowly to La Gloria (a neighbourhood to the south) in the opposite direction in 40 minutes, to the big grocery store – Chedraui – in 10 minutes. It is so unusual for us to be on a dock this long. And it is a bit of a strange dock to be on. This resort/marina is geared toward expensive sport fishing boats – most of them from Florida. There appear to be captains and fishing bosses attached to each boat, and local men round out the crew for fishing trips. Some of them stay here for a longer period of time while owners and their guests fly in for a few days or a week; others come from away for a few weeks and leave again for other ports. Two wide and sturdy docks are dedicated to these boats, with space reserved permanently for a couple of big and beautiful sailboats. Transient boats tie up at a very rickety wooden dock at the far end of the property. We think perhaps the newish owners (World Mark/ Wyndham) aren’t much interested in small sailboats because this dock is badly in need of resurfacing, the nearest wifi connection is barely accessible way down here, and the paved walkway ends at the last fishing boat dock.
But – we have access to the nice clean showers, the lovely pool and sitting area under the banyan tree, and a side tie up – so much easier for getting on and off the boat. For most of the time, the only other live aboard boat on our dock has been Agapé, from PEI. So we Maritimers have been enjoying the seclusion of the south end! A whole troop of security guards (at the entrance, at the docks, wandering the grounds) keeps an eye on all the comings and goings – not a person or dinghy enters by land or by sea without being documented in the books they are constantly making notes in. And Jim jokes about getting his hands on one of the books to see just what else is in there!
So what do we do with ourselves?
We still find joy in watching the iguanas sunning themselves on the path up to the pool, and the variety of birds that perch on the nearby posts. We regularly have brown pelicans and herring gulls, and were delighted to watch an osprey right beside the boat the other day.
One evening when we walked with other cruisers to the taco shop we found our way to Salina Grande (an inland salt water lake) that has a lovely sidewalk all around it, and is a good place to walk - away from the constant stream of golf carts, taxis and motor bikes. On our visit 4 years ago, we rented a golf cart and drove the whole length and width of the island, but we haven’t felt the desire to do that this time. Nor have we taken the dinghy to the nearby reef for snorkeling. I think we have been used to so much gorgeous snorkeling in Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras, that this reef just off the anchorage doesn’t compare.
The direction of the wind makes a huge difference in sea conditions on the beaches and along the seawalk on the east side. We waked to Playa Norte one day, thinking we would spend a couple of hours on the beach instead of at the pool. But oh boy – what a shock to people used to beaches with wide-open space! It was wall-to-wall people and lounge chairs 4 rows deep, so we looked at each other, turned tail and came back to the resort with the lovely pool. It’s amusing really – I would normally be the last person one could find at a pool if there was a sandy beach and salt water nearby, but that’s what happens here. It is a beautiful beach – but we liked the one we enjoyed at Tulum better!
While Elizabeth and David were here, we visited Zamas – a lovely spot on the west side with a view toward Cancun. A number of infinity pools and a sandy beach as well as a couple of dining areas make it a popular choice with visitors. And on the subject of eating out, we have enjoyed some recommendations from friends. We joined Tom and Michele for an excellent dinner at Limon – a high end but equally high quality restaurant in La Gloria, and followed Angela’s advice to try Lola Valentina’s for brunch. In fact, we have been there twice! The local cruisers say BoBo’s has the best fish and chips in town so we had to try that too – and yes the fish was perfect, but the chips are better at the little corner BBQ place near us. And Green Verde (also near us) is a delightful, tiny spot with food that is not only delicious but pretty and creative too.
I have been back and forth to the UTSTAL Medical Clinic in La Gloria to see what’s going on with my hip (it has been bothering me ever since Guatemala.) After an X-ray and a visit to an orthopedic specialist in Cancun, and recently a whole array of blood tests, it seems that I am merely getting older! The report is osteoarthritis, which can be controlled with anti-inflammatories. So, I am taking the little pills, swimming, eating well, walking as much as is comfortable and popping a Tylenol whenever I need a little more relief. And now I can highly recommend this clinic with Dr. Arturo, Dr. Xhanat, and the interpretive services of Kristine, although Doctora Xhanat speaks excellent English. They have all been so helpful, efficient and affordable, I could not ask for better medical attention. Jim, by the way is just tickety-boo, and has a smug little smile on his face now that I have joined him in the ranks of folks who must rely on a little medical help to keep fit and strong.
So – sometimes it works out just right to “Be” where we are, and it is not a bad thing at all to have a longer than planned stay in Isla Mujeres. But … we’d still like to go soon!