• Steven Hopkinson

A journey of 1,000 nautical miles...



A journey of 1,000 nautical mile begins with a single point of sail. We’ve still got a couple hundred nautical miles to cover before we make it to the Bay Islands of Honduras -- but the other night on the leg from the gorgeous atoll of Caya Norte to Xcalak, the final stop in Mexico -- we crossed the 1,000 nautical mile threshold. Not bad for a couple kids from New York City.


It’s not circumnavigating the globe, but it’s not an insignificant distance either ... and the differences between Ponce Inlet, where we started our journey aboard City Dogs to Xcalak, where we crossed the 1,000 mile marker couldn’t be more pronounced.


Ponce Inlet was a chill, hazy Florida community full of wizened retirees wheeling around on golf carts, most of whom seemed to live there only when they chose to -- full of high-rise condominiums, air-conditioned luxury vehicles and bored cops with nothing better to do than pull over anyone with the gall to exceed the 35 MPH speed-limit.


Xcalak was like nothing else we’ve ever seen in Mexico -- it resembled a deserted one-horse town from a Sergio Leone movie brought back to unnatural life -- pressed reluctantly into service as a cruising destination and tourist spot. It’s a desolate sleepy little fishing village with no pretensions, like something time forgot.

We were at least glad to have some spotty, intermittent internet service (gotta love Internet Gratuito) and to see streetlights for the first time in literally days, but the breaking reef that was such a stressful pain to navigate through did little to quell the crashing swells that rocked our boat incessantly all night long. Seems like the main action for a Saturday night in Xcalak were speed-racing scooters up and down the main drag and blasting off dubious fireworks over the sea. Kind of an improvement on the watered-down Jimmy Buffett impersonators and leathery skinned retirees clogging the sandy bars of Ponce Inlet.


After six straight days of waking up at daylight and sailing until almost sunset, going from Isla Mujeres to Hut Point to Bahia de la Espiritu Santo to Caya Norte to Xcalak to Caye Caulker in Belize we’re both ready for a break -- even if it’s only one day of soaking up the sun and pretending we’re just turistas on vacation like everyone else here.


Even the doggos need a rest. They might look like they’re sleeping all the time while we’re underway, but it’s clear that they’re just as tired as us when we finally drop anchor and get them ashore. They collapse like puppets with their strings cut after doing their business. If you look closely in the picture above, you'll see Andrea towing a kayaker back to shore with our dinghy. He cried out for help as I was snapping pics on the deck and we did our best to assist him.


But as sailors we’re slaves to the weather, bound to follow the current, the wind and favorable seas -- to minimize our time in rough conditions while maximizing our exposure to good winds -- so our stay in Cay Caulker might just last another day before we head farther south as we prepare for the final big push across the Western Caribbean to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Ideally we’d like to rest more but we can always do that once we’re safe and sound tied up at Parrot Tree Marina in Roatan.



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