My Trip to Cozumel
One of the reasons visiting at this time, is the family from Mexico, that I scuba trained (the three great kids) is here on vacation, so we are going to meet up one day for sightseeing and then go on a dive together on another day. I had an isle seat in the exit row, so plenty of leg room, but I regretted not paying the extra for business class, as it was so uncomfortable. After flying through the night, 7 plus hours, landing in Houston Texas, and then a slightly delayed departure to Cozumel, I finally arrived tired but happy to be here. Left Oahu at 8:00pm Tuesday and arrived Cozumel 1pm Wednesday. It is not as long as it sounds due to time zone changes. As everyone lined up to go through passport inspection, their internet went down, so we all stood around waiting around 45 minutes for the system to come back up. Finally made it through as I was close to the front of the very long line. Picked up my luggage and headed out to get a ride. Flex Ride was one of the first that approached me and it was $8.00 for a ride to my hostel, Caribo Cozumel.. I was still a little early, check in time was still 40 minutes away, but I was met at the door by the host, Celeste, and she gave me a warm welcome and said my room was ready. It is at the top floor of the building. It has a little dining room, kitchen and bathroom. A private patio area outside the door. Asked her about moped rentals and she happily called a guy nearby and he brought one right to the hostel. I unpacked, grabbed my camera gear and took off riding through the streets and along the beach. I took a few pictures here and there, and then decided to get lunch at Burger King which was less then a mile from the hostel. It was away from the tourist area, so I ended up being the only non-local in the place. My Spanish is terrible, so it was hard to understand the girl at the counter. I was able to get my order in, but she gave me a 7up soda, when I was asking for ketchup. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that’s not what I wanted, but I did get the ketchup also. After I finished eating, I rode around through the streets some more and then went back to the hostel. I took a dip in their very tiny pool to cool off and then searched the internet some more for things that I want to go see. Jose sent me a couple pictures of their boat dive today, and I checked to see if we were going sightseeing tomorrow, (Thursday). Seems like that is still the plan.
Met up with Jose and his family at a restaurant next to their room. We headed out on the road and ended up at a beach club. The road in had iguanas and crocodiles crossing. The beach was nice and the water was very warm. I snorkeled around with the two boys, Jose (Pepe) and Eduardo (Lalo). Ate some lunch, had a shot with Jose Sr. and Pepe and drank a couple beers. After everyone was finished, we ended up playing beach volleyball the rest of the time. We left and headed back to their room. Ordered pizza and then after, I headed back to my room. My first dive is tomorrow. I watched a movie outside on my little patio and then went in, took a shower and laid down on the bed to watch the rest of the movie. Finally decided to call it a night but it took a while for me to fall asleep.
Headed out with my gear in front of me between my legs on the moped and headed out to the marina to find the scuba diving boat. A little bit of a walk from the parking to the marina, especially with a heavy gear bag. I wasn’t sure where the boat was and a couple guys kind of pointed me in the right direction. Rounded a corner and the boat captain saw me and yelled over. Nice boat. 2 story and moves right along. There were 5 other divers. My group was myself and a girl from Atlanta. The coral formations were much more exaggerated then Hawaii’s. I don’t think there were as many fish around as in Hawaii. I did see a fish called Splendid Toadfish which is found here. Very interesting fish that hides in openings in the coral. Also saw a big beautiful Lionfish and a very large Pufferfish. They fed us lunch while we moved to a second location. Second location was pretty good and was more of a drift dive then the first. When we surfaced after the dive was done, we were met with rough waves and pouring rain. It rained all the way back to the marina. I was soaked and of course I was going to get more soaked because I am on a moped. I went back to my room and changed, because I scheduled a Dolphin Experience at 3pm. At the experience, I was put into a group with two ladies and 4 obnoxious kids that did not listen to the mothers or the girl in charge. The dolphins were very cool and ended up with some great pictures. I found a nice dolphin statue in the shop afterwards, but I forgot to ask about the pictures they took. Later, Jose got a hold of me and let me know it was all set for Scuba Diving on Saturday. Relaxed and watched another movie outside before hitting the sack.
I met up with Lalo at the restaurant again. The others finally came over and we ate breakfast and then headed over to the Marina. It was just myself and the family on the boat which made it nice. I brought my underwater camera setup so I took a lot of pictures of everyone. After the dives were done, we went to another beach park and snorkeled and ate. We ordered a bunch of food and I paid for it since they had been o nice to let me hang with them. They rented a boat for Sunday to go to an island called Passion Island. I was scheduled for a dive that day but since I had dived two days in a row, a trip to a little island for the day sounded more fun, so I asked if it would be okay for me to join them and they said of course, love to have me. We got back to their room and I headed back to mine. Watched another movie outside, but after my shower and trying to finish the movie on the bed, I got really tired and hit the sack around 9:30pm.
Met up with the family at the restaurant again. We headed over to the marina and found the boat. It was a medium size boat with a cabin below. The captain informed Jose that they were doing work on a sewage pipe near the island, so it smelled bad. He suggested going to a place called Cielo Beach, also known as “Heaven”. We headed out and stopped along the way to snorkel out in the middle of the ocean. Everyone went in. As I was ready to get out, I signaled the Captain that I was going to climb up the ladder. He said okay but left the motor running. As I was going to climb up the ladder a waved pushed me sideways next to the prop and I think my bathing suit caught against the shift mechanism and the prop started turning, hitting my left thigh over and over. I started yelling “oww, oww oww and the Captain jumped up and turned the engine off and ran to the back. I climbed up the ladder expecting to see blood pouring out of my leg, but luckily it was not hitting my leg with the edge of the props. My suit was torn to shreds and my thigh was really bruised up and swelled up on the inside like a big melon. He was super scared and hoping I wouldn’t tell anyone cause he mumbled he would go to jail. It looked really bad but it actually didn’t hurt too much at all. Probably adrenalin and shock. Everyone got on board and were super scared and concerned, asking me every 5 minutes if I was okay. They wanted to know if I wanted to go back, and I said no, that I was okay. We headed on to “Heaven” and docked there in shallow water, along with a bunch of other boats. The place was basically chest deep with clear water and there were several medium sized manta rays swimming around, which was really cool. We hung around quite a while, ate snacks and then headed back to the marina. Normally I tip, but this guy was dangerous and I could have lost my leg as well as my life. The motor should have been turned off when people are trying to get on board. On the way back, we stopped at an Italian Restaurant for dinner. The food was very good. After dinner, they wanted to walk down the street thru town to get gelato. We walked quite a ways and my leg did start hurting about halfway down the street. Jose and Carla were very concerned and kept trying to get me to go to a doctor. I hate hospitals, but finally gave in and had it looked at. The doctor said it was okay and would be bruised up for about two weeks. The visit was 160 pesos which was like $10 dollars. We got back to their room and we all said our goodbyes, because I was taking the ferry Monday over to Yucatan. I had to keep the moped another day since I got back to the room after 6:30pm. I figured out what I was going to try and see, watched another movie, showered and hit the sack.
Woke up really early and took my time getting ready. I wanted to catch the 7am ferry, so I would have time to see the three places, I wanted to go to. I had to rent a car, so after I got off the ferry, I had to wait 20 minutes for them to open. Then the girl took forever filling out paperwork and said we also had to wait about 30 minute because the car was being cleaned. I didn’t end up heading out until around 9am, which cut into my plans. Headed down the rod and everyone was driving around 120 kilometers per hour, which is about 75 miles an hour. I got to the first stop, the Mayan Ruins, called Nohoch Mul Pyramid. It was a large area of ruins. As I walked in, a tour guy ask if I wanted a guide. I figured, sure, why not. I always like to help a guy earn a few dollars. It was a 1000 pesos for the long tour, or 500 for the short, so we did the long tour. 1000 pesos is about $60 dollars. He was very informative and we walked to several pyramids and other structures. I was sweating buckets though. It is very humid in Cozumel. I stayed there until around 12:30pm, and headed back down the road towards the Gran Cenote. It took about 45 minutes to get there, so I didn’t stop because I had to be back to catch the 3pm ferry back to Cozumel. I stopped at a Burger King at little further down the road and ate while I was driving back. The drop-off was away from the ferry, and when I arrived, I realized I had forgot to stop for guess, so the lady told me where the closest one was. I jammed over because it was getting close to 3pm. I had to catch a taxi back to the ferry and got there with 5 minutes to spare. After arriving back, I drove over to the dolphin place to check on the pictures. Luckily, they still had them, so I bought them all and they emailed a link to download them. I forgot to get gas in the moped, so I had to run out and do that before he picked it up at 5pm. I grabbed a couple snacks and sodas at the store on the way back to the room. I ended up getting back at 5:20pm, so the guy was going to come back at 8:30pm. I sat outside watching a movie again, and then he showed up for the moped. I went to bed a little early.
I woke up around 6am and started packing. Finished and went downstairs. It was still early so I left my luggage in the lobby and walked down the street a few blocks to the store for a soda. Sat outside the hostel for a while killing time. Finally the nice lady tht runs it offered to call a taxi for me, but she had problems with her phone. She got frustrated and went outside to the street and flagged one down for me. I got to the airport around 10:45am, which was early, and they started check-in at 11:00am. Starting getting texts that the flight was delayed 20 minutes, then 45 minutes, then an hour, and so on. Was supposed to leave at 2:05pm, but it is finally on the way and we will be leaving at 5:20pm. Its good that I don’t have a quick connection, because I would have missed it. I have a layover until Wednesday morning, so I will be staying at a hotel near the airport tonight.
The trip was fun and it was great spending time with my “Mexican Family”. The kids were calling me Theo Mike, which means Uncle Mike. Cozumel is beautiful, but very humid. The water at the shore was warmer than Hawaii. The people seemed very nice, and the diving was really good. I missed out on my Cenotes Dive because of the prop accident, so maybe another time I will go back.