Cozumel: Sailing the Seas

January 13, 2012 0
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This morning we set out on what google maps (probably unreliably) claimed was a 4.5 km trek to the meeting point for our sailing excursion. We’re not complete gluttons for punishment, so our first detour was into the supermarket for fresh breakfast donuts. We knew that we would pass the only branch of Starbucks around the halfway mark at Punta Langosta, but we weren’t quite prepared for the cruise crowds that had descended upon the place. Happily it wasn’t too hot for a change and we were quite comfortable sitting out in the shade with our respective caffeine and sugar hits, watching the crowds trundle past. Many Americans helpfully converse at a level that makes it easy to follow what’s going on from a distance. As everyone assumes you’re also passengers (no one actually _stays_ on the island obviously), we were privy to hearing all about the trials and tribulations of different people. From the couple who texted their friends who live in Mexico that morning only to find that they were in Florida (but we just came from there!) to the group discussing how it sucks to be married to a lawyer (they have support groups for divorcees of lawyers that go cruising together now?) whose motto was ‘be a lawyer, don’t marry one’.

We performed another cursory search for somewhere that might sell a basic beach towel that isn’t priced as if it’s diamond-encrusted. No such luck. However a little further south was a monster store which seemed to sell a bit of everything. No mosquito nets that we could find, but pretty much everything else you could think of from sleeping bags to trampolines. Armed with our new towels, we had just about enough time to race down to the beach club and meet our crew for the day.  We spent the next few hours out on a small catamaran with 3 crew and 20 passengers. We took a slow and steady route out around all the docked ferries while receiving advice and lectures about respecting the coral reefs and how to effectively snorkel. The most important instructions were on how to not be a pain to the crew who expect that if you claim you know how to snorkel already, then you won’t panic on hitting the water and suddenly remember that you don’t actually know how to swim either as you disappear beneath the waves… (true story apparently!).

 

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We first hit Paradise cove where we spent 30 minutes clustered around our dive master flag. There were plenty of fish to see, but limited elbow space in the water. After a short break we then went into the deeper Chankanaab reef.  We were already feeling chilly, and there was less to see here – especially with the many groups of divers below sending up bubble clouds. Initially it’s fun to burst a few of these expanding air bubbles as they ascend, but it doesn’t do much for visibility in the water. The biggest concern for me was the stinging sensation on various bits of exposed skin that started shortly after getting into the water. Brodie looked confused as I complained of being stung all over. He pondered my sanity for a moment. However the group of snorkellers just behind us knew what I was talking about. Minutes later Brodie was yelping and clutching his wrist too. Mini jelly fish were lurking in the water and stinging the unsuspecting snorkellers. The little gits were persistent and contributed greatly to a speedy departure back to the safety of the boat where fresh guacamole and strong margaritas were waiting for us. While we dutifully polished these off and drip-dried on the deck, the sail was hoisted and we took a roundabout route back to the dock. These trips all have to cater to the short schedules of the cruise ship passengers so they don’t go on for too long.  It was nice to relax out on the sea for a few hours without getting roasted by the sun too much.

Once the trip was over that left us with another long trek back for a fresh shower before our last meal on the island. Obviously it was back to Del Sur Argentina Empanadas for a last steak meal. Not quite as good as the first night, but still some wonderful food.  Hopefully not the last we would see on our Mexican trip. Next up – Tulum, of which I have only heard good things.

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