Monday, 18 May 2015

Mexico Ruins...

One of the most advanced indigenous cultures of the ancient Americas,
the Mayans began as hunter gatherers and migrated into the Yacatan around 2500BC.
During the pre-classic period (500BC - 250AD) they appeared in Quintana Roo - it was this area that we visited ruins at Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam

The shear size and architectural fete was nothing short of extraordinary!
Considering they felt the "wheel" was sacred, therefore was not used for any constructions whatsoever…

The following photos are from the four ruin sites we visited:

Tulum…




Coba...

Our accommodation where we stayed overnight


This is a "Ball Court" - the object was to get a Rubber ball through the small hoop at the top of the wall, using only the hip to hit it.  This was not a game, however used for various decisions needing to be made, including political and sacrificial…



The "Watch Tower" at a cross road connecting various main cities...


Below was our "Mayan Limosine" a typical mode of transport...


Richard climbed to the top of this!


Iguanas come in various colours...


Chichen Itza

The ruins covered a huge area here.  We visited in the morning before it got too hot…


This pyramid is actually a second layer on top of an existing pyramid from an earlier era…


In the evening, we returned for a light and sound show, that was projected onto the above pyramid…





The below photo depicts the fact that most of the Mayan Ruins were brightly coloured structures - they used Jade, Dyes from Vegetation etc to achieve this…


Ek Balam

This is Richard climbing to the top…


The view from the top showed the area that Ek Balam covered…





More Musings from Michael...

As my girlfriend, Rebecca, and I sat on the back deck of Our Rose with Richard and Jennifer Robinson polishing off the last of the Tequila before our flight back to Miami, I looked out toward Isla Mujeres and the Gulf of Mexico we’d recently sailed across and saw a Japanese bride in an ample white wedding gown dangling from a parasail a few hundred feet above the water. We were at that moment anchored a few hundred yards off the beach in front of Cancun’s Intercontinental Hotel and, as such, had become accustomed to what constitutes a modern Mexican holiday in the minds of many.

And just what might the minds of many entail, you’re likely wondering?

Well…  a faux pirate ship with brightly colored lights, a disco ball, and a Mexican DJ blasting BeyoncĂ©’s Put a Ring on It; Jet skis as far as the eye can see; ponchos emblazoned with your favorite NFL team logo (and why not?); fire twirlers on the beach; swimming pools filled with 300 strangers who are too drunk and too lazy to walk all the way to the bathroom; and last but not least some pasty, pudgy, sunburned bachelorettes in bikinis and flip flops with giant sombreros on their heads driving motorized golf carts while taking selfies. All of which begs the question: are these are the types of cultural experiences Richard and Jennifer Robinson sold Kiwi house and home and sailed half way around the world to witness before they died? You’re damn right they are!

But there’s more to “Our Journey” than giant sombreros and parasailing Japanese brides? To whit…

The wind was blowing about 20 knots in the anchorage of Isla Mujeres when, around dusk, we all set off in dinghies for a local bar. (FYI: When not drinking on the water, sailors also enjoy drinking on land.) The holding ground in this Mexican “anchorage” (a term loosely applied here) was notoriously unpredictable so it came as no great surprise to the community of boaters who at that moment were either drinking on their boats or drinking at the waterside bar with other sailors, that several vessels out in the “anchorage” were no longer anchored at all. Unfortunately for Our Rose, the monohull just off our port bow was one of them.

Several dinghies arrived once local translators had deciphered Jen’s Kiwi-speak on the radio and in an effort I likened to Barack Obama trying to get anything passed through the U.S. Congress, various attempts were made to extricate Rejoice from its perpendicular resting place on the front of Our Rose. Meanwhile, the captain of Rejoice, an Orthodox Catholic Nova Scotian named Harold, a man who’d fathered seven children, lacked most of his teeth and, apparently, a razor, put his boat into gear and summarily wrapped Our Rose’s anchor chain around his prop. Richard Robinson or, as I affectionately refer to him, Captain Ron, flew into action and got into his scuba gear, descending into the darkened waters to suss out the situation. Moments later he came to the surface with the solution any Kiwi in his right mind would have arrived at: We’ve got to call in the All Blacks! We decided to go with the next best thing: Jennifer Robinson.

Moments later Jen proceeded to move Our Rose gently forward into the wind, thus creating some much needed slack in the anchor chain, which Captain Ron was then in the process of unwinding from the prop. Once this was accomplished the flotilla of dinghies that had come out to assist pushed Rejoice to starboard and she came free across our bow. Once order was restored Jen cranked up the 15-minute extended remix of “God Save New Zealand,” Captain Ron danced the Haka, and we all shared a bite of Jen’s signature Pavlova before settling down to watch Lord of the Rings one more time.

Caymans to Mexico...

Our trip from Cuba to Grand Cayman was only overnight,
however we had confused seas, aft of the beam which meant it felt like we were in a washing machine, for the first time Richard felt off…

Pleased to arrived in the Caymans,
was a shock to the system after 6 peaceful weeks in Cuba…
There are between 2 and 7 cruise ship here (just about every day)...


thousands of people, bars, restaurants, supermarkets that sell everything!..

We caught up with Bill & Gene (Out of the Bag) and hired a car and circumnavigated the island,
we can now say we've been to "Hell" and back…


Being back in a first world country meant to obtaining parts was as simple as a phone call via Skype,
We had been having problems with our water maker,
Spectra were fantastic, we received our part within 2 days from USA.
We had also been having problems with the generator, 
so with Richard spending a full day in a very cramped space, fixed both of these,
the cruising life would be somewhat constrained if you couldn't fix things yourself!

Richard gave Gene (Out of the Bag) an introduction to Scuba,


We also caught up with Sue & Brian (Sea Rose, who we first met in South Africa), 
Sue came for a dive with us, while Brian snorkelled above…


We checked out the Botanic Gardens…



The reason for coming to the Caymans was for the diving…
Richard dived walls, wrecks, reefs with names like "Kittywake, Aquarium, Eden Rock, Devils Grotto, Orange Canyon, Blackies Hole, No Name Wall, Pinnacle Reef" and many more
(I joined him for some of the dives)…

We went to "Stingray City" where there are literally hundreds of stingrays…


At one of the dive sites, we saw a huge turtle - about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide…


Bill and Gene (OOTB) were leaving for Jamaica, so we went to join them and Sue & Brian (Sea Rose) for ANZAC evening - far too many Bundabergs (Aussie Rum) was consumed…


We were thrilled when Michael & Rebecca flew in to join us,
Michael fit straight back in… and Rebecca found her favourite spot early on 
and took to Our Rose like a fish to water, easily relaxing…


Our trip from Caymans to Isla Mujares (Mexico) would take 4 nights, 
a whole new experience for Rebecca and Michael.  
We prepared Our Rose, adding extra safety lines along the sides of the boat and also across the back…


We had a very mixed bag of weather, from very calm to quite bumpy.
On my shift, there was a large pod of dolphins (dozens), so I woke the others up to experience this…


We arrived at Isla Mujares and were so happy that "Free Spirit" Belinda and Ken 
and also "Romone" Ron, Simone their 3 year old Kim and their beautiful dog "Skipper" were all there.

We cleared in (which took a few days in total) and enjoyed our first of many Margueritas…

Rebecca and I went to do some provisioning and somehow got lost at our favourite bar…
arriving back to Our Rose a bit later than expected...


I continue to love some of the street art we are seeing in the different countries…


and loved the paint job on this VW


Our first catch up night with Belinda and Ken was very memorable, 
with our evening beginning very civilised...


then leading to this…


then after many wines, out came the Tequila and the Cuban Cigars, ending with this...


The holding at the anchorage at Isla Mujares proved to be questionable, when a monohull dragged into Our Rose - this is much better explained by Michael, whose post I will add after this.

We had Free Spirit, Romone, Sundowner and Kas join us on Our Rose to go to snorkel the statues.
Dani (Sundowner) explains the day here:

We had a BBQ onboard when we arrived back at the anchorage 
and as it was Dani's birthday I made her a cake.  


It was a lovely day, 
with (Romone) Ron and his Dad Bernard (who only speaks German), singing to us…


We then sailed over to Cancun, for a couple of nights before Michael & Rebecca headed home…
Some of the homes…



 There was lots to look at…



Rebeccas favourite spot 


was sometimes shared…


We had a really lovely time with Rebecca and Michael and look forward to them joining us again soon