Wednesday, June 5, 2013

La Amada Marina

Promotional photo for La Amada Marina
Last Friday, before all the rain started, Nan and I drafted Felix, the Mexican sailor who is looking after another sailboat here at El Milagro Marina, to motor with us over to La Amada Marina for a fuel fill-up and holding tank pump-out. We had thought we would be able to pump out at Puerto Isla Mujeres/Villa Vera here on the island, but their pump-out service has been out of commission for a few weeks and the stink in the boat from the holding tank was so bad that we couldn't wait.

La Amada is located on the mainland due west of Isla Mujeres's bay entrance, only about three miles or forty-five minutes of slow motoring away. It is the only public marina located anywhere near Cancun, but it is at least three miles north of the Puerto Juarez ferry terminals and a little north of the Punta Sam car ferry terminal--not exactly walking distance to downtown Cancun or the Hotel Zone.

We threw off Whispering Jesse's dock lines and motored out at about 2:00 in the afternoon. I was pleased to see that the repair to the drive chain's connecting plates, which was completed shortly after our arrival, was working well. (The mechanic did show up finally but not until the next day, and then two hours later than scheduled.) The wind and waves were favorable, and we soon picked up the entrance channel's buoys leading into the marina. I radioed that we were requesting a pump-out but didn't get an intelligible response after multiple tries. It wasn't until we were treading water in front of the marina office that a woman came out and pointed across at slip 88. We floated a little longer waiting for a dock worker to ride his bike around to meet us and then motored slowly into the slip. Thanks to Felix's native Spanish, we were able to make it known that we wanted a pump-out of our agua negra. After the holding tank was empty, I went down and flushed many gallons of sea water through the head, until the fluid coming out through the suction hose was completely clear. Next, we motored back to the marina office, where the diesel pumps were located, tied up and topped off the fuel tank. The price was in pesos per liter, which is a complicated conversion, but it worked out to just under $200 USD total. Along with the $45 USD pump-out fee, it was an expensive but worthwhile trip. The stink was gone, the fuel tank was full, and the engine tested perfectly.

Aside from the available amenities at La Amada Marina, there is not much to promote it. In addition to its isolation from almost everything on the mainland, it is not an attractive place, despite how it looks in the promotional photo above. The foliage in the photo is long gone. The marina is nothing but stark concrete piers surrounded by stark concrete walls, and all of it is reflecting intense heat. It might be a good, protected place to keep a boat, but it would be a terrible, depressing place to stay on a boat, even for an overnight. Maybe we'll check out Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun but north of Playa del Carmen, for our next trip over to the mainland.

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