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 Beyoncé’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.