Log: Updated November 27, 2007
Sorry for the long pause since our last update, but we have actually been a little bit boring here on Isla. Sharon was in California for a couple of weeks, and then Tracy did some traveling; but otherwise, life has been pretty quiet and uneventful.
Fortunately, all of that is changing, first with special holiday treats, and now our busy preparations for the next leg of our journey! See the updated Routes page for details on our next passage!
Halloween Fun and Fiestas on Isla Mujeres
All was not completely boring on Isla, however...Tracy's Halloween night at our friend Steve's Casa Sirena was a frightful delight--who is THAT in the Jester's suit?? (Hint: that's Steve the cow on the right.)
We also enjoyed a birthday/going away fiesta at Sancocho's restaurant with our friend Adrian and his Mom, Lana. Adrian is returning to his native Australia after teaching SCUBA for a year here on Isla. We just couldn't help enjoying Adrian's sombrero--good pick, Lana!
Halloween Treats in California
Another thing we have had, once again, are some incredible feasts! One was in California with Sharon's family, for Halloween. Although Tracy had to stay behind on Isla with Gellie and Jasmine, that did not stop us from sharing the Watkins tradition of a "Thanksgiving" turducken. This year's variation was to have the turducken shipped to Sharon's Dad's home for Halloween.
Sharon's brother Justin flew down from Santa Cruz with his two children, Kai and Ana. What's a visit to Grandpa's without a game of "This Little Piggy?"
Brother Robert and wife Donna drove up from San Diego, dodging wildfires raging in Southern California at the time. And Sharon's best friend Susan flew down from Washington state.
What a treat to see them all!
Dad's wife CJ was, as always, the most gracious hostess, and made the whole crowd of seven visitors feel comfortable and welcome in their home.
Justin even thought to bring a T-shirt to remind everyone of Landfall's last home port in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The turducken had to share the stage with the pumpkins, though--quite the carving contest! Ana won the award for most adorable pumpkin,
Kai won the award for scariest,
and guess who made the pirate pumpkin? (Thanks, Susan!)
Thanksgiving Week on Isla Mujeres
Our very special holiday treat came in the form of a visit from our longtime friends the Bowmans from Southern California. Many of you may remember this family from our wedding in San Diego. Dan and Tracy first met in Panama in the early eighties, and have been close friends since. Shortly after Dan arrived in Panama, he returned to the states to marry his lovely wife Teri, who can always light up a room with her smile. Even with the geographic distance between them, they all manage to get together at least once a year for a hunting/camping trip or a holiday visit.
Arriving in Isla Mujeres with Dan and Teri were their two sons, Patrick (P-BO), almost 16, and Mathew (Mat-E-Mat), 13, along with a special guest appearance from Teri’s mom, Marti Gerardi.
Tracy took the ferry over to meet the Bowman’s plane in Cancun on the Monday before Thanksgiving. In true Bowman style, they had taken the red-eye out of LA on Sunday night, so that they would bright-eyed and ready to explore on arrival Monday morning. Welcome aboard, boys!
Dan had arrived back in Los Angeles only 10 hours before his Cancun flight, after a 2 ½ day trek from Germany. So after checking into their rental house, they were ready to head out for an exciting first day on the town!
Ok, really, all they wanted to do was settle in, relax, enjoy the incredible Caribbean Sea view from their rental house, and go to bed early! So Monday night we feasted on take-out pollo al carbon (whole grilled chicken) from one of our favorite spots. You can smell this grill from about half a mile away, and it tastes as good as it smells. And the great thing is, like many of the local spots, it's inexpensive; you can pick up a whole grilled chicken with rice, beans, slaw and tortillas for a grand total of $7. Three chickens later, all were sated, and nobody had any trouble sleeping that first night!
On Tuesday, we borrowed a pair of bicycles from the marina to add to our two, and the boys did a pedal tour of the island. It took substantially longer than our regular tour, as stops were made at several spots of interest around the town, especially those places that offered cold drinks for the two old guys. The usual ribbing was in full force as Tracy had to out-run one of the many golf carts on his bike, to determine who would pay for the refreshments at the next stop.
That afternoon, Tracy and the Bowman boys took the dinghy and met the rest of the gang at North Beach for some swimming and beach time.
Gellie was in heaven, with sand to dig in, and people to shake all over…
Later that night, we all went out for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Sancocho’s (aka “Dollar Tacos”). After some light shopping, we ended the night at one of our favorite haunts, “Cool,” for Rosemary and Eberhardt's homemade ice cream.
Wednesday was largely a re-do of the previous day’s explorations, except we rented a pair of golf carts and invited the ladies along. However, as soon as we got started on the tour it began to rain, so we pulled into a tienda in one of the local neighborhoods called La Gloria, where we visited with the owner and enjoyed a cool treat. In the north end part of town are all of the restaurants and shops you would expect in a tourist town. But in the regular neighborhoods where the locals live, tourists are rare. So instead of the usual tourist treatment, the folks are interested in you and excited about telling you about themselves.
This neighborhood holds special interest for the former Army Officers...(they came, they saw and they conquered)
The first main stop was the Turtle Farm, where they raise turtle eggs and release them back into the wild. We have visited there and written about it before, but each time we go back we seem to learn and see more.
Later we stopped at the Mayan ruin at the south end of the island. Going up the hills on the south end, Teri and Marti both commented that they were grateful for the golf carts, and glad they had not taken the bicycle tour the day before!
After the tour, we retired to Landfall, where Sharon had prepared snacks and her signature margaritas for the adults. Dan and Tracy fired up the grill and made a great dinner of chicken breast and pork, complemented by...rice and beans! Of course, we all walked into town to Cool for our ice cream fix after dinner.
Fishing for a Thanksgiving Feast
Thursday was the best treat of all. Tracy, Dan and the boys met our friend Chel at 8 AM for a day of fishing. Chel owns a charter fishing boat operating out of our first marina, and took the guys out at a deeply discounted rate. The boat passed right by Landfall at her new marina on the way out---Have a great time, guys!
Four large barracuda were hooked, but the boys were only able to land two of the beasts on the boat. The first fish broke the line, and the third monster shook the hook free in the midst of a spectacular flying display of his size and strength. Patrick got a good laugh as Mathew cranked on the reel for 10 minutes and finally said that he was getting tired. The laugh was on Patrick when, on the last fish, after an equal struggle, he made the same report after about the same amount of time! The truth be told, Dan and Tracy would both have been worn out after landing either of these strong fish.
Here they come, back into port; I wonder if they caught anything? I hope so, because we're all relying on them for our feast tonight!
Back at the marina, the local cruising community had begun to gather for a giant cook-out and Thanksgiving potluck dinner. Our fish went from the hook to the grill in a little more than an hour. The dinner was truly a feast and the fish, grilled in garlic, lime juice and butter, was magnificent. After we had all stuffed ourselves and the Bowman’s had gotten to meet all of our cruising friends, you guessed it: we walked back into town for a final ice cream treat! We have created a monster! LOL!
Friday morning, we met for breakfast at the Bowman’s beachfront rental and said our sad farewells. The Bowman's left for the ferry dock and the plane home, exhausted and full of stories. We all agreed to meet again at the same time next year. A new tradition is born!
Time for Moving On
As for us, we immediately got busy getting Landfall ready for our next adventure. After almost six months, we have survived hurricane season on Isla Mujeres and are ready to head for our next port of call, Bocas del Toro, Panama. We plan to depart on Saturday, December 1 and expect to be at sea for 10-12 days. Maybe a bit longer, depending on how much we enjoy the two planned rest stops. We will also, for the first time, have crew aboard for the passage.
Stephan, hailing from Port Townsend, Washington, arrived on Isla on a boat that had sailed from Kemah, Texas (coincidentally one of Tracy's previous home ports). He decided that the passage from Kemah was far enough for him on that particular boat. But he still wanted to sail...so...would he like to continue on with us to Panama? Absolutely, yes!
So, it's getting time to drop the lines and head out again, to see what lies beyond the rainbow...