This is the grave of Fermin Anonio Mundaca y Marecheaga who considered himself a pirate.
When visiting this grave I feel a deep sense of fascination for a couple of reasons. The first is that I had such a magical experience in Spain that visiting sites where Spaniards were active in their empire days makes history actually come alive. Here I am, here he *was supposed to be* and through different routes we have crossed paths in two different parts of the world missing each other by 185 years.
The second reason is that the phrase “Lo que tu eres, Yo fui. Lo que yo soy, Luego serás.” I have always been fascinated by this poem:
Remember me as you pass by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so you will be, Prepare for death and follow me.
It certainly conjures up something deep and really makes us reflect.
The third reason it is fascinating for me is that Mundaca is not even inside the tomb.
Fermin Anonio Mundaca y Marecheaga was born in October of the year 1825 in the village Bermeo of Santa Maria, Spain. After completing his studies he set out for the New World to make his fortune. He arrived on the shores of Isla in 1858 after acquiring his wealth selling captured Mayan slaves to Cuban plantations and some say pirating. Weather or not this is true, no one knows but Mundaca cultivated and enjoyed his reputation as a pirate.
Mundaca immediately set out building a large hacienda he named “Vista Alegre” (Happy View) which eventually covered over 40% of the island. There were areas for livestock, birds, vegetables gardens, fruit orchards and exotic plants that were brought from all over the world. A special garden called “The Rose of the Winds” was constructed which served as a sundial telling the time of the day by its shadows.
In 1862 Martiniana (Prisca) Gomez Pantoja was born. She was one of five sisters and it is been said that she was a willowy woman with green eyes, white skin bronzed by the Caribbean sun and long, straight hair. Called “La Triguena” (the brunette), many men fell in love with her including Mundaca. The arches above the gates were dedicated to her, naming them “The Entrance of the Triguena” and “The Pass of the Triguena” in hopes his wealth and power would win the local beauty 37 years younger then himself. His dedication was in vain, she married a man closer to her own age and as legend tells it, Fermin Mundaca slowly went insane and died, alone in Merida. His empty tomb still awaits him in the Isla Mujeres cemetery. Carved by his own hands are the skull and cross bones, in memory of his pirating days and the words meant for his love, “As you are, I was. As I am, you will be”.