Sailing on The Raiatea

by Lydia Linton Pontius (August 2012)

Looking for a great way to spend a day while on vacation? Or maybe you live in paradise but want to relax and have a day of pure pleasure. I have enjoyed sunset sails in the past, and there is no better setting than the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The white, sandy beaches and the deep green jungle contrast the Caribbean blue sea.

On this trip I had a group who wanted a "wow" moment. They wanted to be away from the crowds and to be dazzled. I worked with Captain Quickie and Amy to hammer out the details of a fabulous afternoon, drinks and menu. We felt we had all the details in place; now our fingers were crossed that the weather would comply.

We boarded the LARGEST catamaran in the Caribbean, The Raiatea, and Captain Quickie gave us a briefing and a little history about the boat we were on. The Raiatea was built to be a racing catamaran and circled the globe twice in round-the-world races. Because it is built for racing, it is not top heavy and is a much smoother sail.

While we headed out of Puerto Aventuras, snacks of fresh fruit and chips, homemade guacamole, and pico de gallo were served along with an open top-shelf bar. Heading south, it wasn't long before a small pod of dolphins decided to check us out and swam alongside for a short distance.

Later the lines dragging behind us had a tug, then another, and not long after that, a third. Indeed we caught three fish in a matter of minutes. Several of the young children, with the assistance from the crew, were thrilled to reel in the catches of the day.

As I said in the beginning, I have always enjoyed seeing the coast from the sea, but this was the first time I actually saw the Tulum ruins this way. For a moment I sat staring at the coastline with the ruins growing out of the top of the cliffs and found myself wondering what the Spaniards must have thought when they first laid eyes on this. And I wished I could witness the ruins in full color like they did.

Once we got anchored the group broke into smaller groups and snorkeling gear was dispersed. While most of the people headed off to snorkel the reef, the rest relaxed on deck and enjoyed the smells wafting from the grill. Hogfish, prepared a typical Maya way (wrapped in banana leaves), skirt steaks, onions, peppers and lobster tails made our mouths water. Others of us chose not to snorkel but instead just dove off the back of the boat and swam to cool off.

Once the snorkelers returned everyone feasted. They washed it down with an assortment of drinks from an open bar and Captain Quickie also served some amazing Mexican wines. Who knew there was such a thing? Satiated and anxious to get to the ruins, everyone was taken ashore by water taxi. Our guide and transportation were waiting to take us the short distance to the entrance where we received our private tour of Tulum ruins.

I would say we accomplished our mission of providing a memorable day!

Captain Quickie's Catamaran off Tulum

Hotel Akumal Caribe