Monday, May 10th, 2010, Puerto Aventuras,
You can definitely tell
we have settled down because I have stopped writing my regular
updates! Our day to day life isn't nearly as exciting to
read or write about when we aren't out discovering new places
all the time. We are actually uncovering plenty of tidbits about our new home in Mexico, but, as shocking as
it still seems to us, we aren't cruising any more. Zialater.com was conceived and executed as a travel journal and
I just don't have that much material these days.
Our unexpected stay in
Puerto Aventuras has elicited many new and sometimes disturbing
thoughts popping unbidden into our heads. The reality is
that with the kids
settled down in school, it is highly unlikely that we will ever
return to homeschooling. In and of itself this isn't a
bad thing, but by extension, it also means that we won't
return to cruising anytime soon either. We did get a
chance to go back out cruising on Zia recently over the girls'
two-week spring break. It brought back floods of
wonderful memories and provoked some new realizations about our
The girls were released
school on Friday, March 26th. We had some friends visiting
from New Mexico that week so we weren't ready to sail away
immediately. We spent Saturday grocery shopping and moving
stuff back onto the boat. Sunday morning the wind was up
so we couldn't resist a quick kitesurfing session on the local
beach before moving the last of our stores onboard and finally
throwing off the dock lines around 1pm. Destination: To Be
The 3 to 4 knot
northerly current that runs along the Mexican Caribbean coast
and the 20 knot southeasterly breeze had us sailing fast towards
Cancun. (Perhaps all the junk we have removed from Zia
since moving into the condo also contributed to our lightening
speed.) Isla Mujeres, a little further north and east, was
a long sail, but since we knew it well enough to enter at night
and the girls really wanted to go back there, we decided to make
that our first stop. They have a favorite ice cream store
on the island that makes mint chocolate chip gelato.
Imagine sailing around and choosing your destinations based upon
the ice cream! I swear that is what they remember most
about the places we have visited. "Mom, remember that
place in Italy, where I got the scoop of stracciatella
(chocolate chip) with that huuuuuge chunk of chocolate in it?
That was so awesome!"
By mutual understanding
more than agreement, both Joe and I decided that the girls'
desires would be the priority on this trip. It was their
spring break and we wanted to be sure that they had a fantastic
time. Being back on Zia made us all happy. We easily
fell back into the routine of back-step showers, morning swims,
and lazy evenings with a book. Cassie and Juliana were
happy to take a break from the routine of school and just
"chillax." They eagerly agreed to hang on the boat while
Joe and I took advantage of 25 knot winds to kitesurf off the
northwest beach of Isla.
Although we had been granted
three hours, equipment failure brought us back to the boat much
sooner than that. It was great to dinghy into town with
the four of us, sit at a nice sidewalk restaurant for lunch,
stroll down to the gelato store for dessert, and meander through
the streets of the town afterwards. Just like the old
Isla Mujeres was as far
away as we got during our two week trip. The winds
mellowed out after the first couple of days and we were able to
get behind the reef in Puerto Morelos and hang on a mooring ball
for a couple of nights. Then we shot over to the north end
of Cozumel to try to find a decent anchorage. There aren't
any comprehensive charts for cruisers in the region but we knew
we could find someplace if we were careful. We anchored
half a mile from the beach north of Isla de Pasion.
large lagoon behind the island must host a flock of pink
flamingos because we were treated to the sight of them flying by
periodically. Joe and I got some kiting in - we launched
at the beach but had to stay out by the boat because the
easterly wind was too squirrelly close to shore. We did
get some great photos, though!
The only city on
Cozumel, San Miguel, was about an hour away. We decided to
head to town after a couple of nights at this remote anchorage for email and phone access and a night out.
Primarily a cruise ship town, San Miguel has lots of souvenir
shops and restaurants, some of them quite good. We
discovered Guido's and were hooked. We rented scooters and
toured the island one afternoon, stopping at some truly
spectacular beaches along the way.
The wind was supposed
to pick back up and the girls were happy to go back to the north
end of the island. We had seen some other kites flying a
little further south of where we anchored so we made that our
goal. The depths are pretty shallow and sand bars abound,
so we motored slowly towards the dozen kites that served as our
landmark. We arrived with enough time in the afternoon to
get in a short session. We met Adrian and Paco, two local
kite instructors who use this small island - not much more than
a sandbar - as their teaching base.
Cassie had been dying
to get back out kiting. She did a lot of body dragging and
practice flying the kite last year in the BVI but had not yet
gotten up on the board. We arranged a four hour lesson
with Paco and he had her up and riding in no time! It was
wonderful to watch her determination and success. Way to
Of the dozen other
people enjoying the kite spot, some were local kids practicing
their tricks for an upcoming competition, and others were
tourists taking advantage of the windy days. We met a
couple from Minnesota who were wrapping up a two week vacation
on the island. Turns out, he makes and sells his own
boards. Joe and I have been in serious need of a slightly
bigger board to ride on the light wind days. He had the
perfect one for us. We convinced him that he really didn't
want to carry it back in his luggage anyway. We are now are the
proud owners of a custom, cedar striped 145 kiteboard called
"The Naked Stripper." (naked because of the wood and
stripper because of the stripes)
During this time, we had been talking to our
friends Rich and Alli who were trying to get away from the dock
and come meet us. They were in the midst of a new paint
job on their motor yacht and their ETD suffered because those kinds of jobs always
take longer than you expect. Rich is a great kiter and
Alli is an advanced beginner so they were dying to come and
discover this great new place we had found. When they
finally got away, we wasted no time getting up to "Isla de
Paco," as we have dubbed our new favorite kiting spot.
wind was a little gusty for the pickier kiters among us (you
know who you are!) but we got plenty of good rides in anyway.
We spent the next four days hanging out and enjoying the beauty
of the island, kiting when we could, swimming, paddling and
partying. It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation in
our new backyard along the Riviera Maya.
Coming home to Puerto
Aventuras felt good. Boo was so excited to be off the boat
and back to her expanded territory around the condo that she
leapt five feet from the stern of the boat to the dock before we
had even tied up! Our reaction was a little more subtle.
Back to school is never fun, but the girls were excited to see
their friends. Joe and I were looking forward to Francois'
visit which he recounted in the previous update. So
clearly, our lives have been refocused with Puerto Aventuras
being our main anchor rather than Zia. She sits prettily
in our backyard, but no longer dominates our daily lives.
In fact, she sits sad and neglected, begging to go out and
continue to travel the seas.
As the reality of our
new situation has taken shape in our minds over the last three
months, we realize the right thing to do is to sell Zia.
We've been mulling this thought over for several months now and
as much as it pains us, it just makes sense. Zia is meant
to be sailing the world. As we sailed away from Puerto
Aventuras on our spring break adventure, I was overwhelmed by
the thought that this could be the last cruise together as a
family on Zia. I thought of all the wonderful, priceless
memories she has provided us over the last five years. We
want to give someone else the chance to experience their own
adventures on this amazing boat. She will always have a
place in our hearts, but her true home is out, cruising the
oceans and bringing joy and adventure to her lucky owners.
Anyone want to buy a boat? :)