We’ve been warned about this place. The old wives tale is that once you sail to Isla Mujeres it is very hard to sail away. We heard 5 inauspicious tales of boats that recently tried to leave but ultimately returned for various reasons ranging from engine and gear failure to sheer melancholy as the distance grew wider. I kind of laughed it off as bar room talk but sure enough in the last week two more boats attempted to leave but both returned, one with engine trouble and the other encountered unpredicted rough conditions. Is this phenomena an Island Legend or something more? I suppose we’ll soon find out.

The weeks keep slipping by on this Women’s Island and this Thursday will mark 6 weeks since we sailed in. Given our current rate we’ll never leave…so we have stepped things up a notch. I woke up one morning and said with strong conviction “We should leave soon!”. Tate gleefully agreed and “plans” were made to ready Sundowner and get our tails down to the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

Since our 60lb Manson Boss is dug securely into the sand in this anchorage notoriously known for dragging we opted to haul 5 gallon jerry jugs back and forth from the fuel dock to fill our diesel tanks instead of moving the boat. Granted it’s a 15 minute roundtrip dinghy ride it’s still easier in our minds then upping anchor and proceeding through heavy marine traffic to a shallow and very busy fuel dock. This is what works for us and keeps the stress level down.

Keeping true to the “mystique” of this Island on the way to the grocery store for frozen food we stopped by the little used book shop in town. As far as we can tell it’s the only bookstore on the island and contains mostly used French, German and Spanish novels…many romance novels. In the small English section I was browsing for anything that would gain my attention and then I spotted it. On the top of the only other 4 obscure Mexico guide books was the holy grail. THE BOOK. The exact book that had been recommended to me by other cruisers. It was like fate put it right on top for me.

The instant I picked it up the shopkeeper looked at me with his bright and smiling face and as if from a scene out of the Neverending story winked and said, “for you the best price, half”. He was going to sell me this book for $5USD. New it is $26USD and on top of that you just can’t buy books like that here, well maybe with an ounce of luck you can. Happy with my new find full of great details for inland travel we proceeded to the store and then back to the boat.
Dani holding the guide book found at a used book store

We are here…Proceeding to the X which marks the Panama Canal (~Jan 2016)
Map in the book of Central America

Enacting the new “two productive activities per day” Rule on another day Tate jumped in the warm Mexican water to scrub the bottom of the boat and then changed our prop shaft zinc. Yep we are really making progress now…preparing the boat and our minds for the 360nm trip that awaits us.
Tate cleaning the bottom of the boat

Having finished our maximum work activities for the day we decided to take the rest of the day off and go snorkeling at the big rock just a ways off the boat.
Map of where we went snorkeling

Lots of local boats bring people here to swim.
Boats snorkeling out by the rocks and reefs

Armed with my cannon camera and my nifty little underwater bag off we went to invade the underworld.
Isla rock with all the fish
The Rock underneath the water

The water here is filled with Bluestriped Gruntfish, Sergeant Major fish and larger Doctorfish tangs.
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish

A “Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber” (#notkidding)
Seaslug on the ocean bottom
Colorful Reef Fish

Gray Angelfish
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish

These two Queen Angelfish seemed a pair and studies suggest this species mates for life. Notice the Yellowtail Damselfish.
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish

Stoplight Parrotfish
Colorful Reef Fish

A French Angelfish
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish
Colorful Reef Fish

I am truly going to miss this place. The environment and length of time here has allowed us to relax more than anything I can recall in my adult life. We needed Isla Mujeres. It was a beautiful stepping stone to a new life, one that will surely continue to amaze us. Let’s just hope the myth is just a myth and we can get outta here!