Cozumel July 2005

I never much considered the Caribbean for a vacation but my brother planned his wedding there, so this summer I had a reason to go.  Cozumel is ringed with the second largest reef in the world and is a big dive destination.  I got a drugstore single-use camera before leaving home, and was sure glad I did.

.  I think I took this one right off the rocks behind the hotel.

. One company down there has a fleet of 65' catamarans outfitted with dropdown stairs for snorkelling and bars stocked with unlimited free beers.  Ya go out and snorkel the reef, get back on and they give ya free beers while they move it to a different spot, then go snorkel some more, etc. They even had their own beach where they'd pull up and lunch was already waiting.  It was a fun day.

.  Fifty feet below I saw this sea turtle, and I got his picture

.  This beach is at a Mayan ruins on the mainland called Tulum.  It's on a 30' limestone cliff overlooking the ocean.  It was the midday heat, so the half-mile walk back to the road was real long.

.  They grow their lizards jumbo-sized around here.

.  Also on the mainland is this saltwater lagoon called Xel-Ha.  It's sort of a weird cross between an eco-park and Disneyland.  $30 all-inclusive entertainment day pass, huge parking lot filled with tourist buses, about a zillion people floating on inner tubes and whatnot, but it's an entirely natural lagoon with colorful fish throughout.  One side is Mayan ruins and modern thatched-roof buffets and tiki-bars, the other side is mostly jungle.  It has a travertine freshwater source at its headwaters and you can take a tram to a dropoff and float or swim back down into the lagoon.  We walked around it and found some neat spots to swim.

.  I know it looks like 6 Flags Hurricane Harbor, but this is really the natural river that feeds the lagoon, with a great 25-ft high launching point. I was snorkelling in here and found that by the surface was cool fresh water but underneath was warm saltwater.  Our tour guide, a Mexican who had a pretty good Elvis imitation, said that Yucatan has big crocodiles; I'm certain that they used to live here but with all these kids they probley would never get any peace and quiet.

.  Welcome to the jungle

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