Underwater fun in Isla Mujeres

Tuesday afternoon we relaxed by the pool before enjoying an early night on board.

GoodnightWednesday morning we were up ready to go diving just after eight. Sadly the dive boat was late again…..but we did manage to get underway by about nine…and we were pleased that there were only four divers on board too. We headed out towards Cancun’s hotel district and were looking for a buoy which marks one of the many deliberately-sunk wrecks along this coast. The seas were pretty big and the boat was crashing into the waves…..and one of the divers was struggling with seasickness…. Although at the right GPS co-ordinates we couldn’t find the mooring ball, and the conclusion was that it had been stolen overnight – apparently this is a frequent occurrence!

Anyway….moving on….and we came to another marker, quickly got ourselves ready and jumped into a very fast moving current. We submerged to the ocean floor (about 85 feet) and literally had to propel ourselves along the sandy bottom to get to the wreck as it was too hard to kick into the current. But we were rewarded for our efforts by the lovely sight of eagle rays floating along. We also saw a reasonable sized nurse shark and a sting ray lurking under the ship’s bow but they scooted off way too quickly for us to get photos. We thoroughly enjoyed this wreck dive until it was time to surface and back into that horrendous current again – with the safety stop on the fixed line being particularly challenging. Luckily the dive boat captain is pretty skilled and picked us up as we drifted along at speed after we all collectively decided to abandon the line because we couldn’t physically hold on to it!!!

Dive 1 Dive 2 Dive 3 Dive 4 Dive 5 Dive 6 Dive 7 Dive 8 Dive 9 Dive 10
Back on board we headed back into the national park for a shallow reef dive at around 30 feet. Was not a lot to see but we enjoyed it although even in the shallower waters the current was running quite strongly.

Reef dive 1 Reef dive 2 Reef dive 3 Reef dive 4 Reef dive 5 Reef dive 6 Reef dive 7
Wednesday afternoon having got ourselves cleaned up we chilled by the pool and had another early night.
Thursday morning and Happy St Patrick’s Day!

St Patricks Day

We had heard on the cruisers morning radio net that there was going to be a party at one of the bars near us so we wandered down town – principally to go to the bank and get drinking vouchers.

Heading downtown

Strolling around through the back doubles we kept getting encouraged to visit shops to buy things – many of the vendors here have the gift of the gab although we managed to avoid their collective charms.

Downtown 1 Downtown 2

We then came across a local bar playing loud Mexican music – so we took a seat outside and ordered a couple of beers. Well – this place has a cantina licence which requires them to serve food every time they serve a drink – and it’s free!!!

Mixing with the locals Local bar

So we ended up with chicken and nachos / followed by more chicken and nachos / followed by fried pastries filled with cheese….and finally had to ask for no more food!!! The barman didn’t speak English but had a translation package on his phone and I tried my best in Spanish – well it worked, we had a wonderful time, listened to some mariachi music on the juke box and I had to fend off the local old (slightly inebriated) guy who wanted me to dance with him LOL!   It was a really friendly place and a great way to spend a few hours….

Free foodWe then grabbed a cab back – you can pretty much go anywhere on the island for about 50 pesos if you don’t mind sharing – that’s £2.   It was time to join the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The bar was lovely and had great views out to the anchorage.

View out to the anchorageThe music started and the guitarist was from Middlesborough so his repertoire of Irish songs was pretty limited so it became more of a Beatles / 70s theme. But we had a great time – avoided the green drinks served by a very happy barman – and made friends with one of the local boat dogs. You can always tell island dogs by their long bodies and short legs!

Live music Island boat dog Barman

We bailed out late afternoon as we were diving again the following day so wandered back to the marina and had another early night.

Up early again Friday morning and we realise that we are the only ones on the dive boat – result!  William was going to be our leader and the first dive was a drift dive on the canyons. Well – it was definitely a fast drift dive – but we missed the canyons. He decided it was too tough to combat the current to go searching for the dive site so we just went with the flow….feeling like superman as we sped across the bottom in about 50 feet of water. There were a lot of different species around and we were lucky enough to see a large turtle and lots of trigger fish amongst many of the usual suspects – I just love the huge angelfish.

Drift dive 1 Drift dive 10 Drift dive 9 Drift dive 8 Drift dive 7 Drift dive 6 Drift dive 5 Drift dive 4 Drift dive 3 Drift dive 2

Back on the surface we headed over to the national park again for our second dive – on another man-made installation of a variety of shapes that have been sunk at about 30 feet. The coral was bright and beautiful and the fish were plentiful – with one of my all-time favourites, the giant puffer fish, putting in an appearance. There was also a pretty large barracuda and a huge black grouper that swam away quickly when he spotted us – reckon William’s signal about being hungry was correctly interpreted LOL.

Park dive 1 Park dive 2 Park dive 3 Park dive 4 Park dive 5 Park dive 6 Park dive 7 Park dive 8 Park dive 9 Park dive 10 Park dive 11 Park dive 12 Park dive 13 Park dive 14
All too soon we returned to the marina and had a lazy afternoon on board followed by catching up on the internet over a few beers in the evening.

This morning – Saturday – and we have decided to take the weekend off. So we’ve had a leisurely start to the day and Richard is now snorkelling under Morphie to clean her waterline while I’m blogging. We have definitely decided to haul out this summer in the Rio Dulce, Guatamala, rather than in Panama – although we haven’t yet finalised the arrangements.

So, as a result of that decision, we don’t need to move on so fast. Which is just as well – the wind is strengthening again on Sunday / Monday and there is no suitable passage window open to us for a while yet. So we’re going to make the most of it and enjoy more exploring and more diving. The marina’s dock master has also been very kind to us by allowing us to just top up our marina payment from the original daily rate to the monthly rate which is significantly cheaper – so we’re all set here for a couple more weeks. Definitely not complaining!  We love it here….

Bye for now