Thursday, July 03, 2008

Yucatan summer redux: The islands (part 1)

Dan and I returned to the Yucatan Peninsula in June, since we loved it so much back in February. I wanted to swim with the whale sharks, and this time we decided to stay for two weeks to explore more of the region. Our trip begin on Isla Mujeres, where we spotted a beagle during dinner on our first night!

Capuchino the beagle at La Lomita
Beagle wants to eat din-din too

I thought it was a good omen. We later met his people, and learned his name is Capuchino. A beagle in Yucatan!

Our three days on Isla Mujeres were lovely. We went snorkeling in a couple spots along El Farolito, biked the length of the island to Punta Sur, and visited the tortugranja, turtle hatchery. We also looked for conch shells on the beach and swam in Piscina del Rey, a coral-formed pool on the Carribean sea.

Piscina del Rey (King's Pool)
Piscina del Rey, or King's Pool

There was so much wildlife to see, even in this little spot. Fish in the water, chitins along the rocks, sea urchins, baby octupi, and a spiny lobster too.

We also ate lots of delicious food each day. But there was not enough time to try all the restaurants! We were reluctant to leave Isla Mujeres, but it was time for the next island, Isla Holbox. The turquoise sea and blue sky on the ferry ride back to Cancun were so beautiful.

Clouds over the Carribean
Clouds over the Carribean

From Cancun we took a bus to Chiquila, and from there another ferry to Isla Holbox. And that evening we saw another beagle! Two beagles in Yucatan!

Tux the beagle sleeping
Tux sleeping at Moguel store

I couldn't believe my luck. The next morning was the whale shark tour. We saw flying fish skipping along the surface of the water, dolphins jumping, a sea turtle coming up for air, and finally, the whale sharks.

Spots on the whale shark
Spots approach the boat

The not-so-hot photos do not convey their massive size...the largest species of fish on earth! But they are filter feeders, and very gentle. We saw a smaller juvenile and a larger adult...maybe 15 feet long?

Whale shark mouth
Filter feeding mouth

Dan and I swam with the whale shark twice, and it really was an incredible experience observing such an immense animal up-close. Afterwards, on the way back to Holbox we saw a huge manta ray.

Manta ray
Super-wide fin-span

We also did a tour of a couple of the small islands around Holbox, in hopes of seeing the flamingos on Isla Pajaros. But it turns out they have not been seen since spring, and probably moved to a new spot, which was was disappointing. But the trip included a stop on Punta Mosquito, where we collected shells and saw tern egg nests on the beach.

Carol and tern nest
Three wee little eggs

Mama tern tried to lead us away from the nest. Lots of pelicans too. Back on the boat, the sky filled with clouds, and the water was a wonderful shade of green...different from the Carribean, but still beautiful.

View from the boat
Cumulonimbus clouds signal rain

On Holbox we also biked along the beach, first going east, then west. It is very quiet and serene on the island...not many people, lots of sea birds, and so many shells along the shore.

Looking east on Holbox
Looking east

The waves are gentle, and the waters so shallow. The ridges of sand just seem to go on and on. I swam in the water every day...several times each day...

Sand ridges on Holbox
Sand ripples

Oh, but the bugs on the island! The mosquitos, especially after the rains. And sand flies and no-see-ums too...and all of them got me. I used five different kinds of insect repellent: Avon Skin-So-Soft, Cactus Juice, citronella, picaradin, and finally DEET. But I still got over 100 bites during our stay. No exaggeration. So I was not too disappointed when we left Holbox. The sunsets though, are incredible. The best one was on our last night on the island.

Sunset, last night in Holbox
Sunset, last night on Holbox

But we were ready for our next destination. Stay tuned!


jenny said...

Two beagles!!! How exciting! Hopefully we'll see some beagles when we go in a few weeks! Looks like you guys had a great trip! Beautiful photos! :)

snoopyjoanne said...

yes we will have to look for the beagle in holbox. and perhaps we'll be lucky enough to see a beagle in cozumel too! looks like a wonderful time and i can't wait for part 2! :)