The crossing from Cienfuegos, Cuba, to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, took us 3 and a half days and was a fairly straightforward and non-eventful passage. Since our trip from the BVI’s to Cuba, James and I are a lot more comfortable doing longer passages just the two of us as it’s easy to fall into a rhythm after the first day.


We made landfall at Isla Mujeres, part of the Quintana Roo region of the Yucatan Peninsular. It’s a lovely little island which has seen none of the horrendous chain store, skyscraper, hotel conglomerate development of Cancun, which is a mere 20 minutes away by high speed ferry. Instead, the island is touristy but relaxed, with a great deal of charm and character.


The customs clearing in procedure is somewhat laughable here. It takes a number of days and a number of different visits to get us officially stamped. These include the ‘health check’ at the local hospital where a morbidly obese and decidedly grumpy man makes us fill in a form including such questions as: ‘Have any of the mice or rats on board the vessel died from plague recently?’ Later, we are informed that the sanitation officers need to visit the boat to give us the all-clear. This should be no problem except for the fact that we are at anchor and need to dinghy them over and the outboard breaks just as we push off from shore. Needless to say, they were happy to just sign our papers and send us away.


We spend a portion of the first few days catching up on communications back home as we haven’t touched the internet since late March. The usual issues that we have with getting online (e.g. finding a bar or café with wifi that is willing to let us hang out there for several hours without costing us a fortune) are somewhat easier here as Isla Mujeres is quite a travellers’ haven and we set up camp at a nearby hostel where we can get all our internet admin done while indulging in some good people-watching, cheap beer and tasty nachos.


Then there is the anchorage community that we discovered, mostly world cruisers, all with more experience than us and great stories and advice to share. We dig ourselves into a nice little nook amongst them and soon have regular evening plans and some great friends from it all. Our plans were to have a few days in Isla Mujeres, then to push on down the Yucatan coast, towards the atolls and reefs of Belize, the Bay Islands of Honduras and then onward, eventually, to Panama. But, the days tick by and we still don’t move. Well, we’ve been on the go for the last 7 months and decide that a proper stop is just what we need.