Feramin Antonio Mundaca de Marechega

This self-proclaimed pirate from Bermeo of Saint Mary, Spain was born in 1825. During his adolescence he shipped off and became a slave trader in the Caribbean, selling Mayan slaves to Cuban plantation owners. The job was lucrative and he acquired great wealth. His voyages often brought him to the tiny island of Isla Mujeres The island of women. In 1858, when the British Royal Navy started to crack down on slave trading, he decided to stay there. He purchased forty percent of the island and built a small hacienda in the middle.

The island is just off the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is only seven kilometers long and 650 meters wide. The name derived from pirates, who often left their women there for safekeeping. Perfect for the fate that would befall Mandaca.

While building his hacienda and expanding his giant estate, he fell in love with a young Mayan girl named Martiniana Gomez Pantoja. She had deep green eyes like the surf and bronze skin that shined like the sun. He built her a beautiful garden with great stone arches where he carved her name, La Triguena, The Brunette above the apex. Between the arches he constructed a garden sundial, eight raised garden sections around a well in the shape of an octagon. When La Triguna shunned his advances and wed a local man her own age, Mandaca went insane.

He whiled his days planting flowers in his garden and wandering the beaches, stuffing stones in his pockets. The salt of discontent sunk in him with the knowledge of his impending fate. He carved himself a gravestone. He chiseled a Jolly Roger in the granite slab and then built himself a tomb in the cemetery. He wallowed the days in sorrow as La Triguena continued to ignore him while she built a family.

He left the island in 1880 and died later the same year in Merida, Mexico. His estate and grave growing old together, without.

The inscription on his empty grave reads,

Lo que tu eres, yo fui
lo que lo soy, luego seras

-As you are, I was - as I am, you will be

His garden crumbles and overgrows around the filled well of stones Mundaca combed from the beach. The sundial wades in the shadow of mangrove branches. His grave radiates the illusion of love.

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