Leg 3 Installment 2
4/14/03 Layday, San Andres, Colombia
Dennis, our taxi driver, took us on a tour of the island. He said tourism is really suffering, and that's their only business since they ran the drug dealers out. There's some subsistence farming, but not enough land to grow for export. The island is now supposedly very safe, but we spied Colombian soldiers guarding the beach every couple of miles. San Andres belonged to England until England gave it to Colombia. The San Andreans told us they'd much rather be independent. They said being Colombian is a bad connotation for tourism, and the only time Colombia bothers with them is at election time. The main town reminds us of a small Daytona Beach. It's a resort town atmosphere with lots of eye candy for Fred & Don, a few hotels and restaurants, and lots of tee shirts. The native housing is comparatively nice--concrete walls and metal roofs. The setting is spectacular; the natives' homes set on top of the hill overlooking the multi-hued Caribbean and clear cloudless skies. I'd never leave home! But, alas, we left San Andreas heading for Honduras.
4/15/03 At sea
The Caribbean was kind to us--beautiful flat seas, calm cool winds, and a full moon. PERFECT!!
4/16/03 At sea--still perfect
4/17/03 Guanaja, Honduras 16* 27.64N 85* 50.90W 446nm 56 3/4 hr.
We arrived at the pretty anchorage in Guanaja about 3 PM in time to read the water and navigate around the reefs. It was a holiday week, and there was lots of holiday small boat activity in the harbor. A beach club with beautiful white sand, a pretty pink clubhouse, and an outlying reef was buzzing with people. We sat comfortably at anchor and enjoyed the climate and scenery. I swam around the boat and discovered a 20' line of floats stuck on our forward port stabilizer. We'd apparently towed them 446 miles from San Andres.
4/18/03 Guanaja to Roatan, Honduras 16* 21.44 N 86* 26.33 W 42nm 5 3/4hr
We leisurely cruised to Roatan. We'd heard of Roatan as a cruisers' destination; but it's the last place we would recommend!! Check in to Roatan was $200 per boat, the "best" marina had rats, noisy "music", thousands of pine needles dropping on the boat, thieves, no security, and it was a $30 roundtrip taxi ride to get into town, 10 min, away. Dockage was $56+.30/kwh for electricity + .10/gal for water.
4/19/03 At sea
We left Roatan in the afternoon sun to navigate through the reefs. The seas and wind picked up at night, but the ride wasn't too bad to Belize.
We navigated through the Eastern Channel of the Belize reef and tried to anchor off the 1st little island. We were all tired and thought we'd rest before exploring some cays for snorkeling and scenery. Our winch refused to work--even hammering on it didn't help. We tried our secondary anchor, a Danforth, but it wouldn't hold in the soft sand and grass. We had no choice but to slog on to someplace with a marina. Once back outside the reef, the wind picked up to 20+ kts, and the Caribbean turned mean. At least in daylight we could anticipate the rolls. Our stabilizers were wonderful, and the ride, though uncomfortable, wasn't terrible. We've certainly been in worse conditions. Nevertheless, it was a long 2 days. The seas subsided as we entered the Gulf Stream, and the current pushed us to 10 1/2 kts at 1800 rpm! Wow!
4/21/03 Isla Mujeres 21* 14.05N 86* 44.26W 329nm 48 1/2hr.
We decided to bypass Cozumel and make it to the Cancun area before dark. The Puerto Isla Mujeres Marina was a welcome sight, and Annie and Playpen settled down and cooled off side by side. Dockage is $ , expensive by west coast standards, but we have plenty of electricity and water to clean inside and out and run AC; and the marina grounds have the biggest, slowest iguanas we've ever seen.
4/22/03 Lay Day Isla Mujeres--Happy Earth Day
Maintenance day--Fred took the winch motor apart and cleaned the brushes. The winch now works beautifully. Too bad we couldn't do that in Belize. I did laundry and cleaned inside while Roger, a local hired hand, pretended to clean outside. He got most of the salt and pine needles off, but it was far from a Pedro (from Costa Rica) job. We toured the touristy little town in the afternoon. The ferry comes to Isla Mujeres from Cancun, 2 miles away. It's still holiday time; so lots of locals came to Mujeres for the beach.
4/23/03 Lay Day Isla Mujeres
We took the ferry into Cancun and shopped. Ann & I were the only customers in the huge artisan market. Fred got us involved in a free-lunch (there is no such thing, right?) deal if we listened to a hotel presentation at the Hyatt. Silly us--but then that's a whole other story. When we refused to tell our income we were told to leave and "don't eat." The presenters were arrogant and rude. We saw the Hotel Zone with its row of fancy beachfront hotels, but we didn't see many foreign tourists. Mexican law states that all waterfront is for the public and must be easily accessible. We saw lots of locals coming from the hotel beaches. As on the Pacific side, the Mexicans are friendly, always smiling, very helpful people (except at the Hyatt). We stopped at a sidewalk café to ask for a quiet place for lunch as the traffic noise was bad. A waiter from the cafe guided us on a 5 min. walk across the busy road to a wonderful restaurant on a side street. Where else would a waiter from 1 restaurant take you another one? Back on our dock we chatted with the sportfishermen and inquired about weather. It looks like we're "stuck" here until the weekend when the front passes and winds subside. We'll call Weatherman Walt for advice.
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