We met Emmitt in Hatchett Bay, Eleuthera in Alice Town. This is a very small community roughly halfway down the Eleuthera island. Emmitt was a man of all trades. He had the cruiser dinghy dock which brought everyone ashore at his home, restaurant, and store. He also had washer and dryers and you could rent a car from him. He was an entrepreneur taking care of cruisers who sought shelter in the protected Hatchett Bay anchorage. Emmitt met you like he had know you forever. One of our first visit to shore he sat down with us and we shared stories about life and travels. He loves the island of Eleuthera and told us everywhere to visit and what to see. He was excited to share this island he loved with us. Then he shared his music. We actually had heard Emmitt in another cruiser video, but meeting him made this experience with his music mean even more. This stop was our first experience of seeing how the small communities without tourist traffic lived. The importance of the "mail boat" that brings all the goods to the community for survival and how as cruisers we needed to be mindful of what we took from the local stores. Emmitt provided us with our first conch of the Bahamas. This was definitely one of our top experiences in the Bahamas and especially Eleuthera.
My absolutely favorite stop in the Bahamas was Black Point in the Exumas. The water is stunningly beautiful along the Exumas which makes the anchorages just spectacular. This little community found a special place in our hearts. We had been told before we got here to try Momma's bread and all I can is that I have not tasted anything like it before or since. It is special. The coconut bread has grated coconut that Momma grates herself. The first time we saw her she was sitting on her porch grating coconut for her bread. Black Point is a gem that is worth the trip no matter how you get to this isolated island.
When we bought our first loaves of bread, Momma welcomed us into her home and showed us her kitchen where the magic of her bread happens. She was so proud and enjoyed sharing her home and how she makes her bread with us and I am sure with many other cruisers who pass through Black Point. I miss her and the bread and the people of Black Point. Don't pass this special place.
Mr. Pinder who I do not have a picture of deserves an honorable mention. During our time in Spanish Wells we saw a lot of the Pinder name. I shared more about the name and how the island was inhabited in the video below. The Pinders create a lot of stories and mystic around Spanish Wells. We wondered into Mr. Pinder's hardware store and somehow he lured us into his back office to talk about his life, travels, and how he was creating a map of Spanish Wells and who owned all the houses. He loves the island and the people. I wish I had his picture and had recorded all his stories. So if in Spanish Wells go to the hardware store and see if Mr. Pinder is there or even still alive and sit hear a story or two.
We knew the weekend of our anniversary was bringing some good weather, so plans were in the works to make the trip across toward Cozumel to El Cielo. Thankfully, Dee did engine checks several days in advance because we quickly found out we had some port engine issues and the raw water pump was the culprit. On Friday, he made the run on his motorcycle up to Cancun to pick up a new pump. Again, thankful we found a pump, so quickly in Mexico. He was back and and had the pump in by the end of the day and we were ready to head out early Saturday morning.
It's Go Time
Happy Anniversary to Us! We decided to celebrate 33 years of marriage by taking a trip over to Cozumel and El Cielo to see what we have read is one of them most beautiful places to dive and snorkel. It did not disappoint!
We left Puerto Aventuras early and headed across on a smooth day on the water. We hardly noticed crossing the Yucatán Current. I believe the only boat we saw was the Mexican Navy or Marina out patrolling the waters. As we came into the El Cielo we did not see a tremendous amount of boats, yet. One thing we did learn is that the weekend might not be the best time go across. Most were dive boats, but one other boat was anchored. We crossed the reef and headed into about 6 feet of water in a beautiful sandbar to anchor Journey for the day.
After a swim around the boat because who could resist this beautiful water, we dropped Shelby and headed first to the isolated beach. It was beautiful to walk along a beach that is on the leeward side without Sargassum to ruin the beaches and create that foul smell. I am not sure which view is better the one toward the beach from the boat or the one from the beach toward Journey. The beach was pristine and the waters a stunning blue. While on the beach we began to see boats coming in closer to the beach along the sandbars. People were standing in the water having a beer, so we headed over that way to hang out and swim around with some rays and fish attracted to the boats coming into the area.
Snorkeling the Reef
Now it was time to snorkel which is one of the main reasons we are here. So out toward the reef we head catching a glimpse of a turtle swimming by. The water is so clear you can see the Bottom in 20 to 40 feet. It was beautiful snorkeling in this crystal clear blue water and seeing some bigger fish and a few we had never seen before. There really are no words to describe just how beautiful this place is. Very special and one I will not forget, but I certainly hope to make a return trip.
Flying Chicken Hawk
Dee flew his drone named Chicken Hawk so we could share this magical place. We have some great video footage, so don't miss out on the video when I finally get it published. Yes, I need a GoPro. Mine died at the Dry Tortugas. This is the best we can do for this trip. Finally, we have to say goodbye to this very special place. but we have plans for the next time when we hope to spend the night and find the starfish! And we have now learned where the starfish are! For now, Good Bye Cozumel and El Cielo until next time.
The video below has a sneak peek of El Cielo and the marina where Journey is located. Time to plan a visit to Mexico!
Dee and I are so fortunate to have a marina spot here in Puerto Aventuras which is the most protected spot for tropical storms and hurricane on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. We are confident there will not be a hurricane, but of course by the time anyone watches the video Hurricane season will be over and we will know for sure. This community is perfect spot where Journey is safe when we fly back and forth to the states and a spot where we can explore the rest of the country from and still have a great tropical setting. Let me start by sharing some information about this great community.
Puerto Aventuras is a small town on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, which is located 15 km from Playa del Carmen and 80 km from the Cancun International Airport. Puerto Aventuras can be divided into two parts. The first part is located far from the sea, where the local population mainly lives. The village has all the infrastructure: schools, kindergartens, a supermarket, small private stores, a market to name a few
.The second part is a private residence on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, which is the most unique and popular place for both recreation and living along the entire coast of the Riviera Maya. The uniqueness of this place consists in the natural landscape and developed infrastructure. If you look at the map, you will notice that most of the village is natural water channels and lagoons. Thanks to this, the creators of Puerto Aventuras have made a kind of paradise for life and relaxation.
Puerto Aventuras has several large marinas for boats and yachts, a dolphinarium, golf course, tennis courts, a large number of bars, coffee shops and restaurants, stores, hotels, private condominiums, and houses. There is a supermarket 250 meters from the exit of the residence, where you can buy everything you need.
The village of Puerto Aventuras is very popular between native residents, almost 50% of the population are Mexicans. The rest of the residents are citizens of the USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, and other European and Latin American countries.
In the early 1980s, a small area of jungle was cleared and a staff housing unit built across the highway from Puerto Aventuras, a new resort community in the Riviera Maya. The clearing quickly grew into a small village or poblado with little more than an elementary school, some stores, and a church. By 1995, 2,000 employees and their families were living in the poblado that had many needs, among them education. This grew into the birth of Friends of Pa who provide educational need for adults and children in the poblado. So much more can be found about this community online as it continues to grow and have needs. Today the population is around 23,000 with most living in the poblano across the highway.
After returning from our trip from Ek Balam we wanted to return the favor to Tony and Annette by taking them out on a trip aboard Journey. It was a beautiful day but the seas were rolling just a little. We went to a local spot called Arrecife INAH. We were soon surrounded by other chartered boats, but we enjoyed swimming with the fish and rays on the little reef and Tony and Dee had an encounter with a sea turtle. He was curious and actually bit Tony’s snorkel mask. On the way back we scored a Mahi Mahi or Dorado as the locals call this fish.
We felt is was a joint effort to reel this one in with the winds picking up and the seas working against us. Even the pelican thought he should be part of enjoying the bounty and he did. Dee and I took our portion to Lattitudes it was awesome!
Easter Morning arrives and Dee and I walk out onto the rocks to watch the sunrise over the water. It was beautiful easter morning. We are thankful for all God has given us and allowed us to experience over the last few years. We enjoyed Easter Dinner with Tony and Annette and the beautiful view from their condo.
We woke one morning to the smoothest seas we had seen in awhile and decided to explore in Shelby. We headed North toward Paamul. Reefs are located all along the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and Paamul is only a 3 miles run for us. Paamul has a deserted bay called Yan-Ten bay which we found a few charter boats using this day as well since the waters were calm. The water was so clear and calm we could see the bottom. We checked out several spots that we return to often. On the way back, Dee caught a small bonita that we gave back to the sea.
As we returned to the marina, I spotted a starfish who visits the area around Journey often. The water does have to be still and clear to spot him most times and our first spotted ray drive by. Almost every day we see a large stingray visit the marina, as the day came to a close Sea Hag from North Carolina arrived to a spot just in front of us. Fishing was on their mind as the dorado are running!
While sitting on the deck of Journey we met a man and his family Tizman. He asked about our boat and we let his family take some pictures on board. He later brought his mom back who made us some authentic Kibbeh which is a Lebanese dish and his son and I enjoyed getting to know each other better.
Although, we bought the Moto about a month ago, she is finally street legal. After Dee made 4 trips to Playa Del Carmen and I went twice we finally have success in registering the bike and getting a plato. WE named the bike Metallika and we are now ready for some adventures. To thank Tony and Annette for all the help and tris to Playa, we went to the restaurant at Paamul. A beautiful spot but we forgot pictures even of the meal - Well until we were done. We shared a large grouper.
The next smooth morning, we decided to explore south of Puerto Aventuras on Shelby. We weren’t sure looking at maps and the reef until we saw a catamaran head in the south end of Xpu-Ha at a spot called playa Zuri. A deep channel in between the rocks and the reef. We enjoyed snorkeling here and seeing some different underwater views but not quite as beautiful as Paamul underwater but beautiful above.
We end the month of April spotting our first Osprey on the sailboat behind us. We are having a blast with so much more to come…..
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