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Captain performs a anchor securing mission on a rough trip to Cayo...

Mexican Navy on DL - more paperwork

off they go!

Abandoned out in the middle of the ocean

Not much of a town but easy paperwork clearing out at Xcalak

Heading back out through the reef leaving Xcalak

We had hoped to stop at Tulum to visit the most spectacular Mayan Ruins on the east coast of the Yucatan but the entrance was only to be attempted in favourable conditions which we didn't have. It is a day time anchorage only so we had planned to stop for a few hours and then continue on to La Bahia de la Ascencion to anchor for the night. We could see the impressive El Castillo from the water and will try again to stop on the trip back.

We spent a lazy night anchored at Punta Allen, a small, remote fishing village in the Bahia de la Ascencion before continuing on to the Chinchorro Bank 80 miles to the south. It is one of only 4 true atolls in this hemisphere, with the other three found in Belize. It is a kidney shaped platform reef 26 miles long and 6 1/2 to 9 1/2 miles wide. An atoll is a coral ring rising perpendicularlyh from great depths eclosing a central deep basin lagoon. The little spot in the middle of the ocean brought to mind the old tv show Gilligan's Island.

In order to protect the reef the Mexican government formed the Chinchorro Bank Bioshphere Reserve in 1996. There is no fishing, conching, shell collecting etc permitted. I had planned to do some snorkelling but a huge,hungry looking Barracuda lingering just under our swim platform changed my mind.

It was very odd to be anchored in shallow water in the middle of the deep ocean and John sat up half the night on anchor watch. Our big, new anchor held beautifully but it was a bit unsettling way out there. Enough atolls for me!

We had some visitors while we were out there in the middle of nowhere. 6 members of the Mexican Navy tied up alongside and 4 boarded us. They were actually very polite and friendly. 5 of the 6 were just kids but they still had M-14s. The older fellow searched the boat quicky and became really friendly when he saw pictures of the kids, asking all about them, in Spanish of course. Of course it wouldn't be Mexico if they didn't fill out more paperwork and ask to see the previous paperwork.

We were behind schedule so we continued on the next morning to Xcalak (pron ish-ca-lak) to check out of the country. It was a tiny little town with a few run down buildings. The police station was an old building with the light from a police car on the roof. We were directed to the Capitania de Puerto, or Harbor Master's office. Jorge Ivan Avila Morales, the same guy who held the job 10 years ago when our cruising guide was written was still there. It was a breeze, not too much paperwork, all done on a typewriter (no computers here) and we were on our way to check into Belize.

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