Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

About Us

Until his retirement, Bill Was a Landscape Architect for the National Park Service and Pat was a Physical Therapist.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

MOBETAH has been sold.

On April 26, 2013, our beloved home and sailboat, MOBETAH was sold to a deserving young couple from Alabama, and now Texas.  We hope that she will provide as much enjoyment for them as we have experienced over the past 21 years. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Home to Palm Coast and our "new" life.

The rest of April was spent having fun in Isla Mujeres.  We rented a golf cart to tour the island, went snorkeling to see the underwater statue garden, did a lot of eating out at yummy Mexican eateries,  shopped at the big new grocery store (Chedraui) for boat provisions, and spent time in the new pool at the marina.  We were also there to watch the boats in the St. Petersburg, FL to Isla Mujeres race arrive.  Each boat had a GPS locator, so we could keep track of their position and progress in the race.

We checked out of Mexico on May 5 and headed off for the Gulf of Mexico.  We had hoped to have a nice, comfortable sail to Florida, however, the weather was "too" good, and we ended up with almost no wind or waves.  It made for a safe, but boring three day motor to Key West.  The best part of the trip was being out on the night of the "Super Moon,"  when the full moon was closer to earth than in a long time.  It was really a bright night--we could see almost as well as in daylight.  And the interesting part was that the night before and the night after were just regular full moons.

We arrived in Key West on May 8, checked in with Customs, did a little sightseeing, and listened to Michael McLoud at Schooner Wharf.  We expected to spend a few days in Key West, but there was a predicted weather front in a few days, so we opted to keep going north.  We stopped in Marathon for fuel, and jumped right back in the Gulf Stream heading up the east coast of Florida.  We kept possible stopping points in mind, but were making such good time and the good weather was holding out, so that we went all the way up to Palm Beach inlet before coming in to the IntraCoastal Waterway.  We motored up the ICW and arrived at the Palm Coast Marina on May 15.  From there, we walked the two blocks to our new condo and retrieved the car.

After several weeks of cleaning out, varnishing inside and out, and general maintenance, Mobetah is now tied in a slip at Marina Cove, the condos next to ours.  (We don't have docks.)  She is now up for sale with the Palm Coast Boat Brokerage. 

It is with some melancholy that we watch the Fall parade of boats heading south on the ICW past our condo towards warmer cruising grounds.  But we are ready for our new life as "dirt dwellers," and will forever have all our wonderful memories of the years we spent on Mobetah -- all the wonderful people we met and the exciting places we got to go.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Merida and Chichen-Itza

After the crowds from Semana Santa diminished, we decided to join Rodney and Katrina for a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula.  Two taxi rides and a ferry ride took us to the bus station in Cancun.  Mexico has a very nice bus system.  We rode one of their higher class buses on the four hour ride west to the city of Merida, which is the capital of Yucatan and is noted for it's architecture and sculptures.  We spent two nights there while touring the old buildings and squares of the city.
Our bus to tour Merida

Old home on "Millionaire's Road"

Another old home

Example of sculpture found throughout the city

Large cathedral on town square

Interior of the cathedral

From Merida, we took another bus west to the town of Piste, which is located right outside the Mayan ruins of Chichen-Itza.  The next morning, we met our guide at 8 AM, so as to miss the big crowds from the tour buses that arrive later in the morning.  Chichen-Itza is one of the most popular tourist sites in Mexico. Our very knowledgeable guide was a young Mayan man who grew up in the town of Piste.  The largest pyramid is one of the new seven wonders of the world.
More Ruins

Rene tells us about the Kukulkan Pyramid

Some other large ruins at Chichen-Itza

Locals selling in the park
One of the things we found different in these ruins as compared to others we have visited is that they allow the local Mayans to set up merchant stalls in the park to sell their wares to the tourists.  Since we got there early, they were still setting up, so did not bother us much.  They disassemble the stalls every night and take everything back to town, often on bicycles. 

The main road into the park

There are always many souvenier shops in the towns also.  This one by our hotel caught our eye.

The morning after we toured the ruins, we stood on the road outside the hotel and caught a second class bus to Cancun.  These always give one a better understanding of the day to day lives of the local Mexican people, since they go through all the little towns, and are a primary form of transportation for the residents.  It makes for a slow, but interesting ride.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Heading "HOME"

On March 21, we finally untied the lines from Monkey Bay Marina in the Rio Dulce and headed Mobetah out of Guatemala.  We spent two night at La Laguna, formerly Texan Bay, from where we took a launcha to Livingston to clear out of the country and indulge in the Garafuna specialty, a seafood soup called Tapado.  The next morning we headed out of the river and across the bar, followed by Angelina.  It turns out, we went a day too soon, as we ended up motoring into a NE wind and waves on the way to Belize.  We spent a few days in Belize visiting with Art and Renie on Jewell, doing some shopping for Belizean items, and anchoring at Colson Cays for snorkeling.  Pat, Rodney and Katrina found seven conch, which Bill cleaned, since he still couldn't get in the water.  Katrina later treated us to conch fritters and cracked conch.

Gathering Conch

Bill cleaning conch

We had two wonderful days of sailing north in near perfect conditions, until we arrived south of Cozumel, Mexico at dusk.  The wind then shifted more northerly, creating "washing machine" waves, so it was a rather uncomfortable night.  Thankfully, we had the current with us, so were able to get to Isla Mujeres by the next afternoon.  We tied up in a slip at Marina Paraiso and turned on the A/C and cable TV!

Marina Paraiso has been bought by a new owner, who is making some much needed changes.  There is a beautiful, new infinity pool, new palapa bar, a restaurant, and repaired docks with new pilings.  There is also a new grocery, Chadraui, in town, so one no longer has to take the ferry to Cancun for decent grocery shopping.
Marina Paraiso

One of the resident Iguanas

We were at the marina for Easter week or Semana Santa, which is an important week in the Central American Countries.  The Good Friday procession went down the street in front of our marina.  They set up stations of the cross at various points along the main road on the island and walk to the main square in front of the biggest church, where they inact the crucifiction and burial of Christ. Along the way, they stop at the stations for readings and singing.

One of the Stations of the Cross

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tour of Semuc Champey

The morning after our arrival in Lanquin, we signed up for a “complete” tour of the Semuc Champey area. The four of us were joined by four young back packers, from Israel, Germany and Washington, DC. Our tour guide, Carlos, was a young Mayan man, who was very personable and spoke four languages–his native Q’eqchi, Spanish, English, and some Hebrew. (There are a lot of backpackers from Israel in Central America.).
Carlos ready to lead us into cave
We boarded another pick-up truck, with Pat and Katrina again inside, and Bill and Rodney in back with the younger folks. After another bumpy, hilly ride of about 10 miles, we arrived at the Cahabon River. Our first activity was to be a tour of the K’Anba cave. (Which we soon learned was not the Lanquin caves that are part of the park system.) Carlos had picked some achiote pods, which make a bright orange dye and spice, which he used to paint our faces. The only question he asked was if we could swim. He gave each hiker a thin, long candle taper. As we descended into the cave, the candles were the only light available. The cave tour consists of wading through water or, in several places, swimming in water over your heads while trying to hold a candle aloft. Then there were several rope ladders with thin metal rungs used to climb up rock walls. About 100 yards into the pitch black cave, Bill slipped on the rung of a ladder and cut his leg below the knee. The next ladder required going through a very narrow opening, which Bill did not feel comfortable doing. So we opted to turn around and go back to the cave entrance. It is good that there were two of us, as one of our candles went out, and had to be re-lit by the other. When the rest of the group came out of the cave, they said it had become more difficult as they went on. At one time, they had to jump through a hole in the rocks into a waterfall and down into a pool, where the guide was there to pull them up and re-light their candles.  We were all just glad to have survived the "adventure."  (This trip certainly showed us that there may be a difference between an adventure and an ordeal!")

Enter the cave AT YOUR OWN RISK

Ready to enter the cave

On the way down into the cave
 Bill’s wound was bleeding quite a bit, but there were no first-aid supplies available, so he tried to keep it covered with frequent changes of toilet paper! When we finally returned to our hotel later in the afternoon, the girl from Israel dressed it with first-aid supplies she carried in her backpack.

After the cave tour, we were able to relax as we tubed down the river for about a mile. We had to hike back to the starting point, where we crossed a bridge over to the Park entrance to Semuc Champey, which is a natural monument in a valley with steep walls surrounded by a tropical forest. There is a 300 meter long limestone bridge at the bottom, above which are several natural stepped pools of turquoise colored spring water. Our hotel had packed lunches for us, so we stopped to eat at the visitors’ center.

Pat and Rodney relax on the river
 The next activity was to be a hike up to an overlook high above the pools. It consisted of very steep steps going almost straight up, and when we saw the sign stating it was very “dificile,” we four “older” folks decided to forego this part of the tour. We walked straight on in to the pools, where we spent the time wading and swimming while waiting on the rest of our group. We were glad we made this decision, as everyone who came down the hill said it was very difficult. Katrina did send her camera up with one of the backpackers, so we could get pictures looking down at the pools. After spending time enjoying the pools, we walked back out to the bridge and boarded the truck for the ride back to the hotel.

Semuc Champey from observation platform

Swimming holes

The valley of Semuc Champey
 The next morning , we boarded a shuttle going west to the town of Coban. This trip required only about fifteen miles on a gravel road, much better maintained than the others we had been on, and then the rest of the way was on paved roads! We had to transfer to a bus about half way to the Rio, but even though it was a nine hour trip, we were certainly more comfortable than on the direct route we had taken to get to Lanquin.