Preparing for Caribbean adventure

January 2, 2007  
Topics: Mexico

Originally written for

A couple of weeks ago we went for realizing our dream to sail the islands in the Caribbean Sea. We headed for the ports (marinas) on the coast of Yucatan Peninsula in the South of Mexico, in order to search for a boat, which would give us a free ride to the islands.

We were lucky. The first day when arriving at the island Isla Mujeres (the island is near Cancun) we met Stuart from England – the owner of an orange trimaran (boat with 3 hulls). Stuart wanted to go to the Caribbean Islands, and was searching for a crew. BINGO! Without long discussions he invited us to be his crew, even though we know nothing about sailing. Moreover, Stuart allowed us to live inside the boat right away, until the day we are heading towards the Caribbean Islands.

We will start sailing in one week. There is a preliminary plan to visit Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and British Virgin Islands (B.V.I.). We are not sure about the further route, as in B.V.I. we suppose to meet the second owner of the boat – David.

The name of the orange trimaran is Aransas (“lost soul” – American indian name). Originally it was owned by an American millionaire, who died in a crash when flying his private plane. Since this accident 3 years ago, the trimaran was standing in the water and it was not in use. This and the rough sailing from Texas to Isla Mujeres are the reasons, why Aransas still needs a lot of minor fixes.

We agreed to volunteer fixing Stuart’s boat, so we ended up staying 2 weeks in a dockyard, where Aransas was lifted up.

The dockyard had about 10 boats under repair and a lot of men working even during national holidays. Besides, there is a young couple – Tom from US and Megan from Canada, who are building their own catamaran from the scratch. They got married 5 years ago and decided to build a ship for living on it. Sailing the oceans and having their own family onboard – that is their big dream. Although they planned to finish the boat a year ago or so, they are still working on it. It is the 4th year now and there are probably another 2 years to go. Tom’s and Megan’s catamaran will be about 60 feet long, which is enough to fit in a family with several kids. The boat will have separate compartments for the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms and other elements of an ordinary house.

Living in a boat is a completely new world we are discovering, where people talk about the length of different boats and by this judge how comfortable they are. Important is how stylish boats are equipped. A fancy interior is at least as important as the length. Whenever somebody docks on a harbour, they start chating with other boat owners, have a drink or two in a classy bar, and dine together in expensive restaurants. Making social connections leads very often to friendship, ending up in working rather on another than the own boat. Everybody helps everyone in getting their boats fixed for the next sailing adventure.

There is also a type of boat owners, who dedicate their lifes to sailing, living on the boat for 30 or more years. This kind of sailors look usually very alternative, and seeminly do not pay as much attention to an expensive lifestyle as those going for a sail once in a while. For those alternative sailors freedom is the most important, the freedom to go everywhere and not being attached to a certain place. I guess Tom and Megan will be that kind of sailors once their boat is finished 😉

Meanwhile we every day get to know more about boats and sailing. On board of our trimaran, we learn new words, which are for identifying different items on the boat. We learn about the functionality of the boat, are taught to read the navigating instruments, and the importance of repairing boats in a cautious manner to avoid leaking and – well, sinking. Stuart – a real captain, used to navigate even big cruise liners – is a good teacher to us.

Now we look different to boats passing by, ourselves guessing the length and discovering our own curiousness about the interior of catamarans, boats, trimarans, and whatever we find around us. We feel happy watching a whole bunch of tourists, having a day’s cruise on a huge catamaran, sitting out there dressed only with swimming suits, and roar with laughter singing to the newest pop-songs. It is a real joy watching especially middle-aged woman dancing in their bikinis like crazy on the wobbling boat.

We feel respect especially towards fishing boats, with men on board who all seem to have an inflated chests. We can imagine them diving to the depth of the sea without being provided oxygen from out of a bottle bound to their backs. Only by looking at them we can see the hard work they are doing…

Meanwhile we are making final touches to trimaran Aransas and looking forward to our adventure through Caribbean Islands.