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Sailing with Tradewinds
everybody sing along

"The weather started getting rough
the tiny ship was tossed
if it wasn't for the courage of the fearless crew
Tradewinds would be lost."

05/21/2012 | TJ
only persons over 55 know the words and the music!!!
05/23/2012 | Cindy
Fantastic stories. I want to go to all the little villages you described so well. What happened to the dinghy? Must have missed that one! Miss you both bunches!
Puerto Aventuras again

We left Xcalak at 07:30 traveling 78 nm to the Bahia de Espiritu Santo in seas that were quite reasonable for a change. We did have a couple light showers that actually cooled it down a little, gave Tradewinds a rinse and presented us with an awesome rainbow. We got there after 10 hrs to throw anchor in a depth of 15 ft. The winds, at that time, were very light & coming from the east. When we woke the next morning, we had clocked around & were pointing to the northwest. We wanted to make Puerto Aventuras (74 nm) before dark & were on our way by 6:30. The morning was beautiful. We had calm seas, but we were going straight into the wind again. There were some thunder heads in the distance that looked as if we would have spotty showers like the day before. Well ------------- those thunder heads became solid & we were in for another rough ride. 6 long hrs of being beat up by the sea later; we made it to Puerto Aventuras. The good thing with the storm was, along with the current pushing us north, it gave us a good easterly wind to fill our jib. Arriving here on a rainy Sunday is not the best timing in the world. When calling the marina on channel 16, no one answered. No one! The book says it is monitored 24/7, but no. Channel 79 was quiet also. So ------- we were on our own as far as getting into the marina. This entrance is very narrow with break-walls on either side. Fernando lined her up & went for it. It was definitely a bit scary as the waves tried to broach us. But keeping it at full throttle, he pulled it off and snaked our way in without hitting anything. YEA! There were a couple guys on shore who caught our lines for us & we were safely tucked back into the spot we had left a week & ½ earlier. It is so nice not to be rocking back & forth & we have A/C once more. We will stay here for a while to investigate what we did not find the last time, but without the tender we will explore on bikes. Maybe do a cenote (well) dive.

outa here!
Nancy & Fernando

Friday 18th
When we leave here, our choice is to turn left (north) or right (south). After many discussions, we have decided to turn left. There is a lot to see here in Mexico & we will eventually head back to Isla Mujeres to hang out at El Milagro & do some diving with the Whale Sharks. Without a dinghy, we are quite limited as to what we will be able to do, so hanging at a marina will be the easiest. After spending some time there, we will be heading home. We have wedding plans to make & do not want to put it off too much longer.
We won't have internet for a couple days so I wanted write this today. Tomorrow's weather looks as if we can get underway. It's supposed to be 8 knots from the east as we go northeast. We are finding contradicting forecasts on different websites. Our plan is to just take an average & hope that's what happens. So - we will probably make it back to Bahia de Ascension the 1st night & then back to Puerto Aventuras the 2nd day, where we will have internet again. If we do not leave here tomorrow, we will post again. Until then ..............................

05/21/2012 | jane
I must have missed an installment - wha hoppen to da dinghy?
Happy you are safe and taking care of each other!
05/25/2012 | Sue
I was reading post of 5/18 and saw the part about a wedding. COOL Nanct congrats to both of you. /Can't wait to see you when you get back.

Xcalak (ish-ka-laack) is a sleepy little place tucked in under the radar almost at the end of the eastern side of Mexico. What a place! Most people walk or have bicycles. There are no paved roads. We have been told there are only 300 people who live here. The 3 restaurants that they do have, we think trade which days to be open. There's only 1 open on Sunday afternoon with 1 person working because of the soccer games on tv. It's kinda like stepping back in time. How about 40 yrs ago. There are no stores, groceries or otherwise, just little corner stores that sell small items. We asked a woman at the 1 restaurant how they get their food. She explained there are cars from other villages that come by daily with different things for sale or someone goes to the big city (Chetumal) & brings things back.
The young people running the dive shop/hotel are really cool. They are all ecologically minded, crazy about diving & from all over the world. Reminds me of a cute hippy hobbit. Everyone here is as helpful as can be & always smiling. Why wouldn't they be smiling? They have found something that most of the world doesn't know exists. We can see escaping to a place like this. There is no pretentiousness, no rude people thinking they are better than the next, just down to Earth lovely people.
Code enforcement would have a heyday here. The bare wires hanging with light bulbs at the end, the outside bathrooms & commodes that you cannot flush the paper down (have to put it in the trash next to the commode), no windows - just jalousies made of wood. There is so much that is so simple. How did we get to be such a want, want, want society? The only thing that really matters is what you want in your heart - which, of course is LOVE. To Love one another - whomever we are - is the answer.


We limped the dingy to shore & got a room at The Flying Cloud Hotel next to this cute little dive shop (XTC Dive Center). They have 5 rooms renting from 40, 50 or $60 a night. We were up & walking by 4:30 to catch the bus that leaves at 5. We went to Chetumal to find a dinghy & something for the termites. The ride itself, we knew, was going to be an experience. The first ½ hr wasn't bad and then he turned onto a dirt road that was only the width of the bus. The palm fronds were slapping both sides cleaning the windows. The potholes!!!! OMG! The driver would get the bus up the 3rd gear then slam on the brakes back to 1st. This lasted for about an hour. There were some really cool little resorts & villages along the way where we were picking up people. We traveled north to Majahual then west. It took 4 hours to get to Chetumal. Along the way the scenery never bored you, between the speed bumps (topes) & check point Charlie with armed guards who boarded the bus & looked around, we were entertained. At one of the stops some locals came aboard selling sandwiches & tamales. There was a Mayan ruin right there on the side of the road. Who knows what significance it has??
We arrived in Chetumal at 9:00. The air-conditioning on the bus was so cold - how cold was it? - it was so cold, we walked around a few blocks not knowing where we were going just so we could warm up. Ha! Starving, looking for breakfast, we flagged down a taxi who took us to 1 of the markets for real Mexican food. YUMMIE! We each had a huge tamale & sopes. The market is so typical. Selling meat in the open air, beautiful fruit & vegetables everywhere, all kinds of clothing & hats & serapes' & shoes & purses ----- you get the idea. Amazing place.
We had asked our taxi driver, Juan Carlos, to come back & be our chauffeur for the day. He actually came back! He went home to pick up his mother so she could ride around with these crazy gringos. He was probably only around 20 yrs old? Really nice people. So - off we were to find a dinghy. Went to the nautical store, Wallmart, Sams & then out to the 'free zone.' This is an area between Mexico & Belize. Not part of either Country, just a chunk of land with duty free stores on it. Well - check point Charlie border guards would not let us cross because we did not have our tourist papers. After a little pleading, Fernando slipped him a $20 and he went right to stamping, we were allowed to go in. They love their stamps. Unfortunately we did not find 1. When we were coming out we had to go through check point Jim. (Charlies brother) Luckily we had flipped Charlie the $20., we told Jim, Charlie said we were ok & he let us come back into Mexico from (the Free-Zone)a land that was neither Mexico or Belize...... you figure it out? I guess they share the $20. Actually the Free-Zone wasn't all that free, it cost us $20.
Exhausted from driving around the Capital of the State of Quintana Roo, we asked Juan Carlos & mom to take us to the bus station. After 3 hrs of schlepping us everywhere, the price was a whopping 380 pesos!!! That's only $32.00 US. Of course we tipped him very well & mom seemed very happy.
What a wonderful day so far. We did get the termite stuff & now we will just have to go to plan B about the dingy. We were able to pick up some incredible fruit to bring back. The pineapple (pina) is in season now & it is so sweet & juicy. YUMMIE! They are only in May & June, so we are here at the right time.
The ride back to Xcalak was the first paragraph in reverse. Ha! We made it back by 8:30, walked back to XTC dive shop/hotel & crashed.
What a great adventure!

Killer Bees

Killer Bees?
We've all heard about them, right? Well, little did we know!!!
It's Tuesday morning & we are preparing to go to land & get a hotel room for the next 2 or 3 nights so we can take care of some things. The neighbor, who pulled in yesterday, was on his way over when we saw a bee downstairs & promptly killed it. When we greeted Bob, he then started telling us about a swarm of bees that made his boat their home. While he was telling us this, I noticed there were more & more bees flying around us. With towel in hand & Fernando donning the fly swatter, we commenced battle. In the meantime a panga (local boat) was coming out. I flagged them down & explained we had abejas. (bees) He said he would go tell someone & off he went back to shore. A few minutes later he & his wife showed up with a canister & spray to hose down the bees. We were lucky the queen had not set up home yet. But! Her sister had on the other boat. The hive was as big as the engine on his dingy! Big! So, off they went to the other sailboat to get the wicked bee of the south. The Owner of the boat stayed with us (chicken) with his friends killing off the bees that had made it into their salon. After what seemed to be at least 3 hours (ha!), the Mexican rescue team of husband & wife left.
Now you say, "What? Were they killer bees"? I don't know. I just thought it made for a good story headline. They looked like honey bees to both Fernando & I, but there was a lot of killing going on.

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Sailing with Tradewinds
Who: Commander Fernando & First Mate Nancy
Port: Key West, Florida
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