Tales of the Itinerant Sailor

Cruising 2009

Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor


Steven Jones  

The Earthquake

Once in the open ocean, the Bay of Honduras, we set a northerly course for Belize.  Of course, we are beset with noserly winds.  So, we motor sail past Punta Gorda, the usual check-in port for Belize.  But all is not bad.  Cindy catches a nice fish trolling off the stern.  But I can’t tell if it is an edible mackerel or a barracuda, which would be not edible this close to the reef.  We release it.

Arrive at Placencia about 2200 hours, drop anchor and settle in for the night.  This anchorage provides some protection from the northerlies, but not much protection from the trade winds. Now, Placencia is a nice, almost rustic small town on the coast of Belize.  It is popular with the younger hiking/backpacking set.  Many Europeans find this an attractive alternative from the expensive tourist attractions along the Belize reefs and nearby Mexico.  For me it means that the food is good and reasonably priced.

I respond to some disturbance during the night.  Once on deck, however, I see nothing amiss and return to my bunk for the night.   The next morning, with a better view of the anchorage, I relocate the boat closer to shore, off load the dinghy and we go into town.  Upon arrival I quickly surmised what must have been last night’s disturbance:  An earthquake. (This link has some pictures, but also annoying music.).  The dinghy dock is in shambles, there is water in the streets along the coast line, and many of the shops that should be open are closed.  All thoughts of topping off with fuel and water are quickly diminished.  I am now just looking for someplace to have lunch!

By late afternoon most services are been restored, except for fuel.  There are no fatalities and no extensive damage. However, we cut our visit short and on May 29th at the crack of dawn we are underway for points north.  I had not even checked in, as the aduana y migracion, were both closed because of the earthquake.  Their loss, I philosophized.   But I did miss not being able to enjoy Placencia.  Under normal circumstances it really is a nice, friendly, laid-back town.

I motor sail most of the way north.  I have several options.  I could stop at Belize City, Ambergris Cay (Belize), or Isla Cosumel (Mexico).  I am making good time, as the northward flowing Yucatan Current pushes us along at six knots and more.  Thus, I elect to keep going to Isla Mujeres, one of my favorite places in all of Mexico, where we arrive mid morning May 31—a two-day trek.

Initially, I anchor out.  But a quick dingy trip into the el Milagro Marina, where I had stayed before, convinces me to bring the Sirius II in to the marina for a week.  While here I have a part fabricated for the galley table.  We go to the beach, go to town, and participate in some of the Marina sponsored activities—fish bar-b-ques being  the most enjoyable.  And a lot of cerveza.

Isla Mujeres is a 30 minute ferry ride from the main land—Cancun.  We make several trips to the main land over the next several days before Cindy is scheduled to depart on May 6.  I then take a couple of days to load up on stores that most certainly will not be available at my next stop:  Cuba.

The Checkout The Cuban Procedures

Cruising 2009: Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor
Copyright © 2010 Steven Jones. All Rights Reserved.

Contact: siriusii@hotmail.com