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Monday, July 28, 2014

Cozumel Regatta

Have you ever watched those America's Cup races on television? They are split up by country and consist of each team racing a large boat or catamaran across a track. These boats have no engine and rely on the winds, the sails and good old elbow grease to take advantage of the conditions to accelerate and maintain speed, and change direction.

The boats look something like this:


One of our stops on our May cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. In preparation for our cruise, we searched through the various shore excursions available and we hummed and hawed over the Regatta. On the one hand, it was something neither of us had done, but the big factor for us was the accessibility aspect of it. Mike can transfer from his wheelchair and walk, but he's only ever had to do that on solid ground. Throw a big blue ocean into the mix and all bets are off!

We searched Youtube and looked for reviews and we decided to throw caution to the wind and book the excursion! What's the worst that could happen right?

On Cozumel day, we met with our Disney guide, who took the group down to the pier. We met up with our local guides who took our tickets and led us to the small steps down to the tender boat.

Mike handled the steps well, but then we had to place the wheelchair and Mike himself onto the tender boat. I boarded the boat first and accepted the wheelchair, which I firmly locked into place. It would do no good if the chair went for a swim off the coast of Mexico! Then, it was Mike's turn. He waited for a lull in the tide and slowly made his way onto the boat.

We took our seats and our little tender boat headed around the Disney Fantasy and out to sea. We had to travel to another Carnival boat, who was tendered a ways off. The passengers from that boat would join us on our Regatta.

After we picked up our fellow cruisers, we made our way to the America's Cup boats, currently moored on the open water. There were two boats for us to use and they used the non-existent rivalry between Canada and the US. :) We were assigned to the Canadian boat - True North IV.

These boats were actual boats used in past America's Cup races back in the 80s. Comparing the pictures, from more recent races to these, it's amazing how much has changed!

Normally, I worry a little bit. At the same time, I'm a realist and a thinker, so while I'm worrying, I'm thinking of ways to get out of the situation. I didn't realize the Regatta boats would be moored on the water. So, as we're approaching the boat, I'm seeing the waves and feeling the movement and I start thinking of how to safely get Mike across.

Our tender boat pulled up to the US boat first, so we were able to see the other passengers board their boat. This didn't make me feel any better, in fact, I felt a little more nervous.

We approached our boat and the rest of our tour boarded first. I went to double check the brakes on the wheelchair - it had to stay on the tender boat - and in the time it took me to to check it and turn around, Mike made it safely over to the boat!

After some introductions, we were ready to begin. We'd been given our assignments while on the tender boat. Mike and I were to be cheerleaders. There was no way I trusted myself to handle the ropes or anything of that nature! We found a spot to lean and hold onto the ropes, just on the side of the boat, and away we went!

I'm no sailor and I have no idea of the terms we used during the race... but at some points, we were moving! And, the boats would be level one minute and then as we had to turn, the boat tilted to the point where the tip to the stern was in the water.  If I had the guts, I could have reached over and touched the water!  Then, the boat would tilt again and if Mike and I didn't brace our feet on the mooring in the center, we'd have fallen across and into the water.

Speaking of water, in some places, it wasn't the nice light blue water.  Oh no, this was deep blue, almost black water. We were in open water!

After the race finished and we waited for our tender boat, there was a large splash off to the side of the boat. I didn't see what it was, but our captain remarked, "Wow, something big just came up there!"

This was my face because I wanted to see what it was and didn't.

So, who won? Canada did, of course!

This was an excursion of a lifetime. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we highly recommend it!

Unfortunately, no Flat Corgis on this trip, it was too unsafe for them. It would have been cool though!

Here's the YouTube video for the company:

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