S/V Stolen Child Sailing Log

Logbook for the sailing vessel Stolen Child and her crew, Patrick and Nancy.

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Name: Patrick

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Claire, Ben and the Girls



Thursday, July 3, Claire, Ben, Kara and Abbi arrived in Cancun. Nancy and I met them at the airport and then took a bus to the ferry terminal, ferry to Isla Mujeres, and two taxis (6 people plus luggage for 4 people) to the hotel Claire and Ben had reserved, the Hotel Cristalmar. We ate dinner at the hotel, then Nancy and I went back to the boat as it was getting late and the travelers were tired.

First thing in the morning, Nancy and I hopped in the dinghy and met Claire and crew at the Cristalmar for breakfast. After breakfast we put Kara and Abbi in the dinghy and took them back to the boat for some snorkeling. Claire and Ben came to the boat later in the day. This was the first time the girls had ever snorkeled, so I wanted them to get used to the mask and fins right around the boat and in the marina pool before I took them out to the reef. They both did pretty well for the first time.

I took them snorkeling right around the boat three or four times over about 3 days and they practiced with the mask and fins in the pool quite a few times. Finally I felt they were ready to venture out to the reef. There is reef all up and down the coast of Isla Mujeres and beyond, but there is a pretty good section right outside the cut into the harbor. There is a pretty strong current in most places, but this particular spot lies in an eddy and the current is much less. There is a mooring ball you can tie the dinghy to and if you get out there before 9:30 or so in the morning you beat the tour boats and have the mooring ball and the reef all to yourself. I had taken the boys to this spot with Tom in his panga and they had really enjoyed it. When we got out there in the dinghy, I could tell the girls were a little nervous, but they were still willing to give it a try. They were truly amazed at the number and variety of reef fish swimming all around them. I don't know the names of all the different fish we saw, but there were some really large, brightly colored parrot fish, several different varieties of angel fish, groupers, hog fish, and tons of small brightly-colored fish of various descriptions.

There is a "dolphin discovery" in Isla Mujeres where you can swim with dolphins and Claire, Ben, Kara, Abbi and Nancy all went to it on Tuesday. I sat that one out and relaxed on the boat. Nancy took them to Tulum one day and the girls really enjoyed the ruins and the beach. Ben is an avid photographer and he had a good time shooting pictures of the ruins.

One logistical problem we had during their visit was that the Cristalmar is located south of the marina and on the other side of the lagoon. The marina is a pretty good hike from downtown Isla Mujeres so the Cristalmar is well out of hiking distance. The original plan was for Claire and Ben to rent a golf cart for the week. I was amazed when Ben found out that a golf cart rental is around $50 a day. You can rent a car in Cancun with unlimited mileage for $15 a day. Tom, the marina manager, graciously let Claire and Ben use his golf cart several times and that, along with a couple of judicious one-day rentals, worked out pretty well. In order to repay Tom for his kindness, Ben offered to fix a meal one evening at the marina, to which everyone at the marina readily agreed. Ben fixed jerk chicken with a really awesome grilled fruit sauce and grilled potatoes. I whipped up some guacamole. Susan (S/V Genesis) fixed some really good crab meat cheese balls. Tiffany (S/V Daydream) made some flan and a boat pie (I'll explain boat pie in another post). It was a very good meal and a great time was had by all.

Tom, his fiance Elizabeth, her son Francisco, LA, Susan and I had all gone up to Isla Contoy the previous week in Tom's panga and had a great time. Tom suggested we go again while Claire, Ben and the girls were here and so we did. The boat ride up to Contoy was uneventful and it only takes about an hour by panga. When we arrived at Contoy, Susan and Ben went off to take pictures, Tom and LA went off in the panga to do some fishing around Isla Blanca (a few miles from Contoy) and the rest of us hit the beach. Claire had never been snorkeling before, so she borrowed Nancy's gear and I took her out from the beach to where there are some coral heads and interesting fish to see. We saw a rather large spotted eagle ray that was really neat and a large, bright orange star fish, along with various reef fish. After I took Claire back, the girls wanted to go, so I took first Kara and then Abbi out, figuring that one at a time would be easier to keep track of than both at once. When I got back from taking Abbi out, Nancy was ready to go, so I went out with her. Kara and Abbi had a great time playing on the beach with Francisco for the rest of the time we were there. The trip back was a little more eventful. An isolated thunderstorm had blown through south of Contoy so the water was a little more choppy, and since we were now heading into the chop, we caught a lot of spray and everyone stayed pretty wet and salty on the trip back. We also caught the tail end of the rain associated with the thunderstorm, but it was hard to tell the difference between rain from above and spray from over the side. It will make for good, adventuresome story-telling back in Kansas for the girls, though.

The trip to Contoy was the last full day of their visit, so Nancy and I met them all at the ferry dock at 7:30 the next morning and saw them off on the journey back to Kansas. It was a good visit and I think a fine time was had by all. Now to get the boat cleaned up.

P.S. Susan has some good info and pictures of this trip on her website, www.wyattsailing.com. Look on the Travel Log page.

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