Well, the time had come for this expat to experience one of the joys of living on the island of Cozumel, sunset sailing. Now, although I’d heard many good things about the pastime since I’d moved here, I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to it for quite a while to be perfectly honest. After all, there is an awful lot to do here just on dry land. However, I had no excuse since several friends who share May as their birthday month had decided to celebrate together in style and I was one of the lucky folks invited to tag along. So, with the excitement of a kid at Christmas, I packed my bag, fed the dogs, and headed out to see for myself what everyone has been talking about. And, yes, it was yet another good decision.
As I stood outside the house waiting for my ride I anxiously looked at the sky to see if it was getting too cloudy for photos. But, there was still a lot of blue up there, which helped me to relax about that part and within minutes I was riding shotgun in a jeep heading north. Once we got to the marina I started taking some pics of the people who’d be joining us. I was happy to recognize quite a few and have to admit I’m a bit amazed at just how many folks I’m getting to know already. This is especially surprising since I’m actually quite shy and a bit awkward when it comes to social gatherings. But, that’s okay. The folks here are very friendly and easy going, which has helped me to feel welcome at all the events I’ve attended so far in spite of my perceived handicap.
It looked like there would be about twenty people in the group, including some vacationers, and we all just stood around the dock for a little while chatting while the crew got everything ready to go. That worked out great for me since it gave me the time to click away in between being introduced to those I didn’t yet know. It was a very relaxed setting, but, within minutes, we started to board the sailboat, everyone picked out their spots, and we began to head out into open water. Now, for the purpose of my blog, I asked a friend for some details about the boat and crew and she was nice enough to fill me in. Cozumel Sailing is the name of the business (cozumelsailing.com) and the sailboat we were on is called the Tucan, which is owned by Dan and Karen Libbert out of Missouri. Now I don’t know anything about boats, but it was big enough to handle all of us easily and had a nice deck area out in front, cushioned seating in the main section, and a bathroom down below. In other words, all the comforts of home. It was time to just sit and relax.
Juan is the captain of the Tucan (you can see him on the left) and there was an additional crew of three more gentlemen who were all quite nice and, after tying off all the ropes, they saw to our drink needs within just a few minutes. I got my Pepsi, settled in, and started to look around for some photo possibilities and I didn’t have to wait long. Almost as soon as we pulled out of the marina I could see a few lovely hotels that were a bit further north from us standing tall with a backdrop of some impressive clouds. I focused, took the shot, and settled back down again. Since we just started it was still full daylight, the breeze was blowing, and I could smell the salt in the air. It was looking to be a good experience.
In just a little while it became clear that we were not alone. I noticed a couple of kids windsurfing and moved over to the other side of the boat to see them more clearly. I’d never realized before just how fast they could go and marveled at their confidence. But, one finally went down and we watched him struggle with the weight of the sail for a few moments. Not to worry, he leaned backwards, tugged a few times, got upright and immediately took off again. In a moment he was gone.
Next I started to focus on the other boats we came across while sailing along. The first was a Mexican military boat and, I have to admit, it did look intimidating from where I sat. And, the captain was even nice enough to wave a friendly hello, but that was one of the shots I just couldn’t get. Next we passed a couple of guys in an old glass bottom boat who were out doing some fishing. They didn’t hang around long, however, and a few of us speculated on the reason for their rapid departure. But, no matter, that was when I saw a cruise ship heading northwest away from the island. Now, the clouds had thickened, which made the sky darker in that direction. Still, I like the shot since it shows just how small even something that big can look when using nature as a backdrop. Here is where I should point out that while I’m busily pointing my camera everywhere I can, others are talking, laughing, and having a few drinks. It seemed like a good idea to join in and I had the chance to get to know a few folks I’d never met before. We chatted for a while and then the crew set out some snacks for everyone. And they had some great choices. There were pinwheels (very tasty) and chicken wings, guacamole, chips and salsa and they were all followed by cheesecake that one of the passengers had brought along to help celebrate the birthday folk. And, almost as soon as we were finished, the sky started to get colorful and I quickly went for my camera.
Now let me mention that this is when my enthusiasm and my motor skills got completely out of synch. As I’d mentioned before, the boat was rolling, and, in addition to that, some of the surfaces were a bit slippery and I wasn’t compensating well in my haste. After all, sunsets are brief. So, within just a few moments I managed to smack into one of the crew, grabbed the boat’s steering wheel while lurching sideways, and then sat down way harder than I’d have ever wanted to almost directly in someone’s lap. No harm done, other than to my pride, but the passengers and crew did start to either give me a hand, offer suggestions, or just plain got out of my way. Still, the sky was lovely. Although, if we were to get picky, it could be said that there isn’t an actual sunset shot unless you count the tiny orange dot in the middle of the photo just above on the left. The cloud banks made for great colors, but hid the sun well. But, I didn’t mind because the changing colors and formations made for their own beauty, not to mention there was fun in trying to balance on a rocking boat while chatting and taking photos that were still recognizable.
Then, while busily clicking away, a couple of friends mentioned that I should turn around. When I looked where they were pointing I saw a full moon still hanging low over the island. And, once again due to my enthusiasm, people helped me down and around to where I could get a clear shot. I have nice friends. Once on the other side I was able to take what would be the final shot of the evening. Then the camera was put away and I just sat and watched the shoreline fly past, marveling at how good life can be. Now, while writing this, I can only hope the birthday folks (especially you, NH) enjoyed their evening as much as I did. Many happy returns and thanks much for including me in your celebrations. Salud!
p.s. I don’t intend to promote, and never receive compensation, but I do like to share good experiences.