Our passage from Grand Cayman to Isla Mujeres, Mexico began with a group effort to hand line Elizabeth Jean out of her marina slip in the face of twenty knot winds that were pinning her in. Once out of the marina and across the reef that fringes North Sound we made swift progress with winds at our back. At dawn on our third day out, the Caribbean Current which feeds the Gulf Stream, the ocean’s river, began sweeping Elizabeth Jean towards the Yucatan Channel and away from our Mexico destination. An hour before sunset we dropped anchor in Bahia Mujeres after learning a new respect for the currents that will play a major role in the next leg of our travels.
Isla Mujeres lies just south of the Yucatan Channel separating Cuba and Mexico. The above figure shows how the Caribbean Current, which feeds into the Gulf Stream, directly intersected our path from Grand Cayman to Isla Mujeres Mexico.
This screen shot from Elizabeth Jean’s chart plotter shows the current’s effect as we approached Isla Mujeres (covered with waypoint notations and green AIS vessel marks. Not obvious from the chart’s scale is how far out of our way we were swept and the fight needed to get back on track.
After fighting our way to Isla’s southern point we proceeded up the island’s west side and into the large Northwest anchorage seen in the picture’s upper left hand corner.
Satellite imagery of the currents.