Leaving Isla Mujeres

So we are finally leaving Isla Mujeres and Mexico behind heading slowly home towards Sweden. We are aiming for a quick provisioning stop in Bermuda and then maybe the Azores.

You can follow us on this link where you also can send us messages. It is free to message and free for us to answer. share.garmin.com/svchibidarra

We are also included in the OCC fleet who crosses together and you can see t he whole fleet including us on this link: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/rally/occ-atlantic-fleet/


Mexico – Finally stuck from Corona

So we are finally officially stuck in Mexico since all the borders of the countries we intended to travel to has closed. We wanted to leave for Cuba and Bahamas on Tuesday the 24th of March but are now stuck here for a while till we know how the worlds is gonna react further on.

Mexico and Isla Mujeres is a pretty good place to be stuck. It is fairly cheap with food and after you are checked in we can stay for a long time for free at least. The only problem is that if you stay more then 10 days in mexico you will have to temporarily import your boat in to Mexico which sounds okay but can be quite a mess. The check in process here is the worst so far in any country but it was mostly waiting for people and standing in line so not to bad. When we started out with the T.I.P. it got worse. You have to travel in to Cancun on the ferry to visit a office there and they want all sorts of different papers on the boat. So far so good we thought. We made copies of everything we knew about and happily presented them to to girl at the desk. We even brought Michelle from Pili Aloha to help with the translation since she speaks Spanish. So we did not have all that we needed from our check in with the port captain. Somehow the forgot to give us some papers. And she was not to happy about our boat registration either. So we got instructed that if we go make another copy and write a letter and sign it that this were in fact our registration on the boat she could accept it.

So we were of to a nearby hotel where we made our first copies an hour earlier but this time we needed a computer as well to write the letter. But the manager was really helpful and let us use an extra computer they had in a storage room. So far so good. Another Swedish boat were also in Cancun this day trying to Finish their TIP and they also got a complaint on their registration even though he had the original one from the government. But he had to get another one where the engine number was on as well. It worked out fine for him and he got his tip and could enjoy himself in Cancun for the day. This was however a bit unlucky for us. Because the lady behind the desk now had seen how a Swedish registration could look like she forced us to get the same paper and come back another day. She also showed us which papers we were missing from our check in. So we just had to get back to Isla Mujeres and try another day. But at least we got some epoxy from the Chandlery. Lucky us, we thought.

So back on Isla Mujeres we went to the port captain and said that we never got all the papers in the check in but of course that was not to popular but after some nice arguing, or maybe more like pleeing, we got 2 copies that we did not have but we were still missing stuff. We then went home and ordered another registration from the Swedish cruising association and payed some more fees to them as well. We then booked a new appointment for the next week in Cancun. When the new week arrived after some well earned rest after quite a wet Friday Isla Iujeres and Mexico started to catch up with the rest of the world on Corona restrictions. I got a fever on monday quite bad for maybe 24 hours and then pretty much okay. So for respect of everyone we decided to self isolate so i called and changed my appointment with the tip and we started hanging out on the boat with only ourselves and some boat work as company. When we were feeling better Isla Mujeres were in full lock down and it got harder and harder to get in to Cancun as well so we newer made a new appointment and never got the tip. Hopefully they will let it slide when we check out.

So now we were in full on lockdown on Isla Mujeres, actually the lockdown was harder on Isla Mujeres since the municipality tried to implement tougher rules earlier on then the rest of Mexico. So we settled in for at least a month of Corona lockdown. Pretty much the only thing we are allowed to do is go shopping in town. Not even at the good supermarket and only one person from each boat at a time. So we spent the days chilling out doing some boatwork, trying to make more and more strange food stuff. For example we now make sourdough bread, made our own schiracha sauce, fermented a lot of veggies and even built a drying box for curating our own meat.

Even though now we are technically not allowed to meet with other cruisers of course we had some smaller get together´s with some other cruisers. We had a few really nice dinners and cigar smoking nights with Maik from Seefalke a very nice German guy. And we have had several nice game nights with Pili Aloha who also have helped us a lot with everything you could think of. From receiving packages to translating into spanish.

We have not been the most effective when it comes to boatwork but we got some stuff done. Anders and me tried to finish our Kiteboard but the epoxy we got in Cancun did not cure properly. It took over a week for it to be hard enough so that project got put on hold for the time being.

After being stuck on the island for over a month Boats started to get fairly dry since there still is no alcohol sales on the island. Shaula a Italian boat in the anchorage were leaving soon and they managed to source 3 cases of beer from Cancun when they where provisioning for their departure. But on their way back to the boat the unimaginable happened. Their Dinghy de-laminated and the beers went down to the bottom of the sea. They where more concentrated on saving the outboard and themselves than the beer, strange people. They were leaving soon and was unable to retrieve the sunken treasure. Long story short after several attempts by a lot of different boats Chibidarra and Maik on Seefalke made a late attempt and lucky as we were we successfully managed to retrieve to whole treasure. But in some strange way only 31 of the 72 to beers made to the next day. Strange how those things work out. You can read the whole story on Maik’s website, https://sailingistruth.com/2020/04/27/island-of-tears-and-treasure/

Mexico and the start of a Pandemic

On our third attempt we managed to check out of Honduras. the next morning we departed towards Mexico. The route along the coast is know to have a lot of current we estimated to progressively pick up more speed the closer to our destination we got. with that in mind we attempted to arrive early Monday morning to be able to anchor and make the check in during the morning.

The sail started out on the easy and slow side. With the wind slightly against us we sailed under full sail. That is when we caught the first fish of the trip. A decent size Mahi-Mahi that was dressed and put in the fridge. The very next day at lunch time our luck struck again. This time the fish was pulled up and went straight in to the kitchen to become a extremely fresh lunch.

After a couple of days we intercepted the current. Our speed started to increase. When we approach Isla Mujeres we measured 9 knots over ground at a wind speed of 9 knots. The only problem with this high speed, were that we arrived six hours earlier than we previously planned. we anchored on the leeward side off the island just after midnight (red anchor). At the time we thought we anchored in front of a nice beach. In the morning we realised the the beach only contained one grain of sand (being a solid rock edge of the peninsular that is).

During the morning we relocated in to the main anchorage on the inside of the peninsular. We decided to attempt to check in to Mexico. At the dinghy dock we got accompanied by Maik on Zeefalke ( https://sailingistruth.com/ ) who also had arrived during the weekend. On one hand this attempt went really fast on the other hand we didn’t accomplish anything. We’d accidentally arrived to Mexico during a public holiday and we had to wait for another day to start the check in progress. during the mean time we were free to explore the island. We saw streets packed with people and fully stocked stores.

The next morning Pili Aloha that we met on Roatan arrived. Since Michelle speaks Spanish we planned to wait for them to anchor and get ready, before we asked them to join us for the check in. But since COVID-19 is all around the rumours said that we had to hurry up before they closed their borders. Turned out this was just a rumour. Steve and Michelle on Pili Aloha had been to Mexico before and explained that it was going to be a long procedure to check in. They didn’t waste any time to join us in our mission to check in. In the Eastern Caribbean we usually just handed over our passports to Captain. He then went to customs and immigration and that were usually the only thing we needed to do. One could say that it was a bit more cruiser-friendly over there. We spent the majority of the day in different offices waiting for different stamps, payments and paperwork. But we also had a coughing doctor checking our temperatures. But it turned out that the port captain was in a meeting during the afternoon, and couldn’t stamp our papers until tomorrow morning. we saw that as an success and had some champagne at Pili Aloha. We agreed to meet them later for beers at Skulls Landing which with a fast internet and cheap drinks is the main cruisers nest on this island.

Since we didn’t planned to stay for more then a week in Mexico we tried to make the most of our time. Between our anchor spot and Skulls Landing we found something that we hadn’t seen in quite a while, a Swedish vessel. We stopped by and introduced ourselves and told them that what we were up to. They decided to join us and later convinced us to continue our night out in town.
The next day it was time for picking up the papers at the Port Captain and start our grocery shopping. since we heard that Cuba didn’t have the best supply and that Bahamas is expensive we started to stock up as much as we possible could here in Mexico. It was at this point the COVID-19 outbreak started to get real. We started to see photos of empty shelves back in Europe but in our little world in Mexico everything was like normal. Well a bit more Corona merch than you usually would see but life was still normal.
Steve and Michelle from Pili Aloha wanted to show us the island. We therefore rented a big golf cart and took a trip around the entire Island.We started out by making our way to the south side of the island.

On the south most end of the island we started to notice some changes due to COVID-19 here as well. the government had started to close down tourist attractions. Since the walking trail at south end counts as one they simply had closed it with a note asking people to not visit.

We stopped on our way back north and asked for directions for the underwater museum. We realised that it wasn’t accessible from the shore. We did however notice that the tourist attractions were getting cheaper. Apparently they’ve seen a drop in tourism on the Island.

Golf cart get together

We stopped for lunch at nice beach club with good food and nice pool facilities we even tried out the sea for awhile. One could easily say that we spoiled our selves this day.

On our way back we took advantage of the golf cart and continued our shopping. and by now we started to see some signs in the store saying we weren’t allowed to buy more than a serten amount of some articles. We mostly bought heavy stuff like beer and cans. Before we returned the car we did an extra shopping round. This time also stocking up with beer and other heavy stuff.

Later that afternoon they announced on the radio that they were about to stop selling alcohol in stores. So naturally we had to go and stock up. We noticed that others also started to do this. Because they were all out of our favourite beer brand.

Well you have to kind of read between the lines.

By now we kind of realised that this COVID-19 shenanigans were going to affect us here as well. Both Cuba and Bahamas had started to close their borders and we felt obligated to sit back and wait for the situation to be less hectic.

So here we are stuck in Mexico for now.

Over and out Anders

Utila.. stop before go

So after we were denied checking out of Honduras in Roatan we decided to sail east to the next bay island Utila. To at least get a little bit less nautical miles to Mexico and to check out from there on Monday. We were expecting perfect weather conditions according to windfinder. But sadly there where no wind and we motored pretty much all the way.

Where we are at 🙂

On our way there we caught a tuna and I started to make some sushi just as we arrived in the anchorage and the boys when to the bar to get a Wi-Fi password and a new weather report. It was still ok to go to Mexico.

Yummy homemade sushi

So on Monday morning at 9.00 we were ready standing outside the immigations office ready to leave. We knocked on the immigration office door but there where no one there. So we asked the port captain and he said that he should be in after 10. So we decided to go for a walk and explore the island a little. A little after 10 we were back at the office still no one there, we meet a local he said that the guy that works there is not very reliable and comes and goes a little like he pleases. He also told us that the woman he replaced just left yesterday and that it could take days before the guy showes up. After standing there a while a police officer comes by and says that the immigration guy been there and that we have missed him but that he would be back after 12. So we went back to the boat and waited. At around 1 we were once again outside the office. We waited for half an hour before deeming it a lost cause to check out and thereby staying until the the next weather window.

So what to do on Utila, it’s famous for its diving on the second largest barrier reef. So the whole island is filled with dive places hostels and dive shops. We were so surprised about being almost old incomparasing to the travellers usually we are the youngest when traveling among cruisers.

We decided not to dive but to snorkel instead not in the mood to pull out all the gear and having done some dives in Roatan. We also took a day walking around the south part of the island finding a bat cave on the way. We also tried to find this smuggler plane from Colombia that had crashed there in 2009, but we didn’t find it and when we got internet again we read that it had been removed.

We ended up staying on utila for 12 days and it rained so much. When we first got there we had like four sunny days but the rest was crap. So we ended up not doing so much exploring. We tried the nightlife a couple of times and meet some really cool people both locals and backpackers. One local introduced us to the utila song. it’s hilarious and the fact that we had trouble leaving. I put the YouTube link below.

The utila song

The local that introduced us to the song had been on vacation and ended up staying. He had now lived there for 7 years…. Amazing 🙂

The backpackers we meet introduced us to baleladas it’s a stuffed tortilla and it is super cheap. We played like 40 limpiar for one of the more expensive once which is like less than 2 dollars and they were yummy too. So we went back to get more another night.

We knew that the weather usually change in 5 to 7 days intervals around this time of year so when we had stayed a week we saw that we had a good weather window once more ahead. So the plan was to leave on Friday morning, on Wednesday night a familiar boat enters the bay it’s Jack and Susie from Roatan. So we went over to their boat after they had anchored and spent some time talking and catching up with gossip. They were planning to go to Rio dulce Guatemala also on Friday. They didnt want to take thier dingy down fo one day so we offered our services and took them around on our dingy along with Pat and Dave whom they sailed with. It was really nice to see some familiar faces. They also told us that we would probably run into Michelle and Steve in Isla mujeres Mexico.

So on Friday we waved them once again farewell as they left west while we went up North… next stop Mexico.

Roatan – once again

So we were once again back in Roatan after a nice couple of weeks hanging out in Guanaja. We came back with the plan to just visit our friends in french harbor for a couple of days and stocking up on food before continuing on towards Utila, the last of the Bay Islands. So we arrived on Thursday and met up with everyone at the palapa bar for a couple of days and then waited for some nice weather to go sailing. But with no good weather window for quite some time we got stuck in Roatan for more then a week extra instead. But it is nice here and we spent the days building our new kitesurfing board. It is finally starting to look like a proper board now and we are just missing some epoxy to be able to finish it. But we have to wait until Mexico for that. W managed to do some boatwork and also celebrated Steve’s, from the vessel Pili Aloha, birthday. And Hanna got to cuddle with a monkey as well.

So during our time in Roatan we were still unaffected and pretty much unaware of the Corona crisis spreading in the world. As time was flying we decided to sail straight to Mexico and skip Utila since we were running out of time and were supposed to pick up a crew member in Cuba later on.

We found a nice weather window and booked a taxi to go check out on Saturday morning so we could leave on Sunday or early Monday morning. But things did not really work out as planned. A bit hangover we got to the taxi and Felix drove us to the immigration office. The immigration officer looked a bit confused and starting to make phone calls. We waited for a while not understanding what the problem was since we do not speak that much Spanish. But after he hangs up the phone he just states ”you cant leave, nobody is allowed to leave the island because of the weather”. So we tried a little bit but it was not his decision, he called the port captain and he decides those things. Damn not a good day today. But at least we can go shopping so we told Felix the cabdriver to go to Ace hardware instead. Not really understanding why we where not going to the Port Captain as we should, Felix does not speak English. So arriving at the hardware store our luck continues, closed on saturdays, damn it. But at least the supermarket was open and we could buy some food. Not the most fun day we had in a while.

So back in the anchorage we had 2 options wait until Monday and check out then and hope the weather window is long enough, or sail over to utila and check out there early Monday morning and be off. We did not want to pay more taxi rides in Roatan so we decided to sail to Utila on Sunday and just check out an leave from there, and that is a story for another time.


Graham’s place and more

On our earlier visit to Graham’s Place / Josh Cay we had noticed that the WiFi is accessible from the anchorage. With that in mind we anchored as close as possible to get the best possible signal. Our main purpose with our stay was to kite surf but we do like to be connected to the outside world as well.

Sundowner at the boat

I had earlier on, been challenge to jump the reef bridge on the other side of the island. Because of that I felt obligated to set daily goals for my personal progress. I did ask the others for daily goals as well but I didn´t really get any answers the first couple of days. Me and Captain quickly passed pop and small jumps in the first couple of days. Hanna on the other end made big progress on her riding as well but she wouldn´t tell us about her daily goals but instead keep them a secret until she achieved them.

Our surf camp
Me (Anders)
Me again

Next up for me and Captain were the jump transition and boy did we send it. The feeling you get when accidentally pull the kite a bit too hard, and it responds by pulling you straight up in the air a lot higher than you originally planned. Makes you feel totally powerless and out of control. After a few tries we got the feeling for it and more times than not we worked with the kite and successfully landed our new tricks. After a few days of saltwater drinking, body part stretching and annoying non-see-ums (small flying insects that has long lasting itchy bites) the wind calmed down and we went for some other adventures.

One hand happy ride
Paradise like view from the hammock
The always broken kite
Our own part of the beach

Savanna Bight is a village that is situated in the north east on Guanaja and it was only a short dinghy ride for us to get there. We had been told that it wasn’t any roads on Guanaja but in Savanna Bight we found a very nice concrete road. We decided to follow it for a while. It became quite obvious to us that the locals in general lived either close to the sea or in connection to The Road. As far as traffic goes it was easily one of the least trafficked roads in the Caribbean but along the 5 km stretch we walked there where not one but two police controls. We wonder of the main road and up to a place called Black Rock. It was a nice adventures walk down a sandy road mostly in shade of the tall trees. when we got back to Savanna Bight we restocked on some of the missing food items like meat, eggs and milk.

High speed melted ice cream

When the weather forecast told us about weak winds we decided to once more move Chibidarra back to El Bight and do some hiking based from there. The first day we did a surprisingly short hike up to a natural pool. We hadn’t really worked up our sweat enough to jump in but we felt the water for a bit.

Back at the dinghy we all agreed that it were to small of a walk and decided to take a walk along the coast line. It was mostly a nice path with some planks in the muddy areas. We got accompanied by a couple of playful dogs that jumped around us until we returned to the same place again. Satisfied with our small walk of the day we returned and prepared for our longer walk the next day.

One of our playful guides

We started in the late morning and with the help of an old GPS track we set of up in to the forest and up the slippery slopes of Guanaja. Our plan were to cross the island over the highest peak and down the other side. From there to go up to a waterfall and then back again.

One of the lower peaks

The path to the top of the island were in a forest with a lot of sharp grass that gave us small paper cut like wounds on the shin. some times the path disappeared and we had to rely on the GPS to guide us back to the track. With out to much trouble we reached the summit and could enjoy the view.

Enjoying the fresh breeze

The opposing side of the mountain were different it was less greenery and a lot steeper. We quickly descended to the other side had a small pause under a closed bar before we once again set of in to the forest this time on a bit more challenging path along a stream. When the path finally ended we found ourselfes in a small waterfall.

The walk back across the island weren’t as fun as the first time and we were all quite exhausted. I thought that the descend was going to be the same relaxing feeling as the previous one but i wasn’t the grass was now making the cuts from before feel even worse and the walk unpleasant in shorts. When we finally got back we decided to eat out and walked the extra 127 stair steps up to the mountain side resturant.

The next day we’d planned to once more go back to Graham’s to do some more kiteing and head back to Roatan the following day. Well the plan changed and instead we slowly packed the boat and took a quick shopping trip to Bonacca. this meant that I luckily never got the chance to jump the small bridge on Graham’s and didn’t hurt myself trying either. The sail back to Roatan were alot more comfortable then the rough one in the other direction. Me and Hanna had a bit of a Wild life experience, when our fishing gear suddenly jumped. We saw that the bait was being  hunted by the biggest fish we’ve seen. but since we didn’t really wanted a 50kg fish fight with broken reels and stuff we decided to just play with it and try to identify the breed before it disapeared from us. We later learned that it probably was a Cobian and is good to eat.

Over and out Anders

Racing to Guanaja. Honduras

So the wind forecast said it was now time to sail east, from Roatan to Guanaja. On this sail we would be accompanied by two boats, both German flagged. We knew the wind would be a little bit stronger then we prefer and that there would be some rain. So it ended up being a hard sail in shitty weather but on the bright side we ended up in second place in the race.

Guanaja is a really unique island there are almost no roads and most people live in the capital Bonacca  on a small island close to mainland Guanaja. So everyone travels by boat and to get to the other side of the island there is a channel right through the island.

So our first day in Guanaja was Anders birthday so he got to decide on how we should spend our day. We started of exploring some channels close to the anchorage and a cool dive resort. Dunbar rock located really on some rocks but only for guest so we could not get in. We then went on in a quest for Wi-Fi so Anders could get in touch with everyone at home.

We found Wi-Fi and beers after walking all 186 steps to Me casa too. Its a small restaurant and bar located on a hill. When we got there, we got accompanied by some hummingbirds that flew really close, one even scratched Anders. We really enjoyed me casa too, it’s location, it’s employees and their vibe in general. We were just sad to see that there was no other guests.

When we got back we cooked up a birthday dinner for Anders. The next day we sailed up to Graham’s place were we had heard was a good kite boarding spot. We had read that Graham the owner of the resort was really friendly to cruisers but we never expected this kind of generosity. We could use the whole island with no restrictions and if we needed anything we should just ask. It was so nice to not feel like an intruder and to be able to use the resort beach for launching our kites.

We decided to only stay one night because some strong westerly winds were heading our way. So after spending a day kiting we went back to El Bight the following day to hopefully get some more protection.

Owe on Sv Tara had told us that the food shipments comes in on Wednesdays so it was time to do some fresh produce shopping, and some shipment had been delayed, so we were right on time. Me and Andreas went to Bonacca to do the shopping. The town is really cool and I wish we had a drone so we could see it from the air. From the water it’s just packed with houses most of them half way out into the ocean on stilts. We parked the dingy next to the fuel dock and went for a stroll. There are a couple of main streets and a lot of small streets connecting them. Often we didn’t know if it was somebody’s yard or if it was a street. It’s was amazing and small. After looking around and buying some food we went back to the boat. I was so curious about the channel even tough the wind made it hard for us to travel on the other side. But I convinced Andreas to do some channel exploring on the way home.

After we got back to the boat and unloaded the Veggies. Me and Andreas set off on a small hike. We had read that there were some hikes starting at El Bight but the roads and paths shown on our maps did not exist. We ended up in some lady’s front yard but she was nice to give us some directions. We had missed the left turn after the big blue house were the trail goes up a hill. We followed some blue dots that took us of the path to the right and ended up on a renovation site, were all the dots then disappeared. After trying to find a way forward we went back just to end up at the same fence but on the other side.

We followed the trail up to a water reservoir before going back down. We stoped by Mi Casa Too on the way home and the owner gave us some tips for future hikes.

The next morning we went back to Graham’s for more kit surfing.

Over and out Hanna