Wreck and Shark in Cayo Costa

Maribel was forecasting a hot and sunny day. We left with our anorak under a cloudy sky heading west. We know how to deal family prediction in term of weather.


The wind was coming from the east, 15 knots, gusts around 18. Wind Maiden was surfing the waves. The sea had her gray blanket on,  giving us one of her many faces. The plan was to anchor on the west side of Cayo Costa, in the Gulf. The problem  was the very little protection and with the wind at 18, we were not sure about the comfort of the anchorage. Mid road, we changed our plan and decided to seek refuge in Pelican Bay.

The all crew was enjoying the ride besides a little bit of rain and the absence of sun. This was the perfect weather for the boat, good comfort, no stress and cruising at 6 kts.

Around 1 PM we arrived Cayo Costa and we motored our way to the south East side, a place we didn’t know. Neil and Maribel were guiding me in the shallow water and we finally dropped the hook in the middle of a small bay with 18 kts wind blowing from the East.

After working on the boat for a while we left to explore the east side of the island.



Our first destination was a wreck. I have no idea what happened to this boat (I will try to find out) but it is sad to see her laying down like a dead animal. Anchored next to the wreck there is an other boat, a big trimaran, maybe someone salvaging.



After spending a moment with these two boats we followed the line of mangrove to the south to find a small passage going inland. We of course took it. The “river” is not really big, but it is a complete different landscape: quiet, oppressive, with  the soft putrid smell of the mud, the tree invading the ocean, closing on us as we were making our way in. After reaching the end, we turned back, trying to not wake up the army of mosquitoes waiting to eat us.


We continued south. This part of the bay has no water. Neil had to raise the engine at the maximum and we were moving with less than 20 centimeters of water below us. Actually, in the middle of the bay, I decided to step out and walked on the soft sandy bottom. We took of course some funny pictures and Neil wanted to do the same.

While he was removing his shoes, I looked around, gray water and us standing in the middle of the bay. What a strange situation. Neil put one feet in the water and….



In the middle of the picture, right of the catamaran on the front, you can see the fin of the shark

I saw the fin, way to close for my own comfort.  I jumped back in the dinghy and Neil suddenly decided he did not want to swim anymore ! This was pure instinct. I guess our brain is wired to react to predator on this way. It happened the same a few years back in Virginia when mama bear and her baby went down from a tree a few meters from us.

We went back to the boat very excited by the experience (first shark fin we see). This is the magic of the place. If you take time to discover, mother nature will offer you one of her many gifts. Last week were manatees, dolphins and this week a shark hunting in the mangrove. When I am out sailing, I tried to make the minimal plan (only the necessary for our safety) and let the rest just happen !


We finished the bottle of rum with a good dinner and spend sometimes laying down on the deck, eyes lost in the stars, reviving the day, dreaming about the next one.

On the morning, we left Cayo Costa to get back to the marina. Again, the wind was just great, 15 kts going down to 8-10 around noon, offering us a great ride back home.


Around 1 PM we were back to Burnt Store. The harbor was busy with boat going in and out, enjoying this wonderful Sunday. Also, our dock was transformed by manatee into a “manatee restroom’. Not a nice surprise !



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