Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | July 29, 2011

Baby, Let’s Cruise Away From Here: Entry # 6

This was our favourite towel animal!

Today’s towel animal: An orangutan, hanging from our ceiling!

Well, I’ve got one more sea day ahead of me before I’m back on terra firma for the long haul.  I plan to take my Gravol in a full dose this evening and throughout the day so I don’t have to miss any of the fun activities this sea day.

Today, of course, was not a sea day, though I did spend much of my morning on or in the sea.  We pulled into port just before seven in the morning.  After a light breakfast, DW and I made our way to shore for our snorkeling and sailing adventure.  Two of our guides (both named Luis) met us at the pier, and then we bussed through Costa Maya to our catamaran. Much of the island was devastated by Hurricane Dean a few years ago, and evidence of its destructive power is still branded on the area, though they are slowly starting to rebuild.  Palm trees have been replanted where the old used to grow, though you can see how the old trees were razed by the storm.

Sadly, our catamaran’s jib tore the week prior to this, so our boat was powered by engine rather than wind.  Still, our crew took us out on the water and gave us our gear, as well as introduced themselves.  There was Luis squared (Tequila Luis and Cerveza Luis) el Capitan, Candyman, and Orlando (who Candyman joked taught Michael Phelps to swim).  DW kindly stuck with me in the beginner group, and Cerveza Luis took us out to the reef.  He had his work cut out for him for sure, as he ended up towing around the lady who didn’t like how her life jacket rode up and so lay on a floater instead.*  I hope she tipped well.

A day of sail and snorkel.

I was a bit nervous (read: very nervous) getting out for my first snorkel.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage the breathing tube, but I was able to handle it fairly well in no time.  I won’t say I’m a pro – I got too many mouthfuls of salt water for that.  The mouthpiece was a little big and I had a bit of a time keeping my lips sealed closed over it.  But I managed for the most part  and didn’t inhale any salt water, and any I did end up tasting was worth it for the experience.

The reef is absolutely beautiful, an underwater floaty garden.  You aren’t supposed to touch any of it, as it is very fragile and takes a long time to regenerate, and I could definitely tell that some of the plants were delicate.  I particularly liked one that sort of looks like a woven leaf, gently waving in the current.  There were lots of fish swimming around, and we even saw a small sting ray.  Fortunately, I wasn’t in the advanced group – they saw a really big one and I would have totally been freaked out.  We also got to hold a sea star.

Our guides on the Mayan Wind.

Once back on the boat, I got to use a very interesting boat toilet, an experience in itself, as you had to flip switches and hand pump to get it to flush.  After that, we were allowed to have drinks on the boat, so DW and I (and a few others on our tour) cracked open a Sol, a Mexican beer.  Then DW looked at her watch and it was 11:15 in the morning.  Nice.**

A short bus ride back and then we were back on the pier, where we did a little shopping after dropping our stuff back in our stateroom.  I bought a cute dress and even had to do some negotiating.  I don’t know if I really got a deal or not; she said it was $45 but she’d give it to me for $38, and I ended up paying $30.***  Also discovering I’m not fond of bargaining.  I don’t like thinking I’ve been ripped off, but I also don’t like thinking I ripped someone else off either. I like it better when prices are prices.  Still, I have a cute summer dress that I can wear in Yellowknife… in several months.

DW and I weren’t huge on the shopping thing, so we went to a bar for Margaritas and nachos.  The nachos were disappointing, as they were covered in fake cheese. Of course, I had to eat a lot of them because my Margarita was very, very large and I needed to be able to walk back to our ship. We had an early send off time; even though the last tour came in a little late, we lifted anchor at about 3 o’clock.  One of our sister ships was also at the dock, so the captains blew their horns back and forth for a while to say goodbye as we pulled away from the pier. Of course, I also left a little something behind in Mexico, completely by accident.  While trying to wrestle my sea tangled hair into a clip, it fell down, down, down, bounced of the boat, bounced off of the pier, and into the ocean.  Luckily, it didn’t take someone’s eye out on its journey, as DW pointed out.  I’m considering it an offering to the sea gods for calm waters tomorrow.

It was extremely hot on the deck while we waited to pull away, but I decided to tough it out and try to get some colour.  Once we were out a little ways, the breeze was nice (and a quick dip in the pool didn’t hurt either), so I was able to lay out reading and just listening to music for about two hours, which surprised me.  I was pretty diligent with the sunscreen application so I’m not sure just how much I actually tanned, but it was still nice sitting out in the sun.

After a shower to rinse off the salt water and sunscreen once again, DW and I got dressed up for our formal dinner.  Our company was a little more lively this time round; we sat with Nancy and Dan (though Nancy was more chatty than Dan) and Esther, who came from Switzerland.  Conversation was pleasant, and the food was delicious.  I started with a fruit salad with sambuca dressing, followed by a butternut squash and shallot soup.  My entree was mahi mahi with rice and beans, but it was dessert that really took the cake.  I had Master Chef Rudi’s Premiere, which was a chocolate mousse in a white chocolate shell, but that shell was shaped as a tiny chef’s hat that even said “Rudi” on it.  I didn’t bring my camera, so unfortunately can’t post a picture, but it was almost too adorable to eat. Of course, it was too delicious not to eat.

Neither DW nor I was really interested in tonight’s shows, so after our nightly ritual of laying on the deck to watch the stars a while, we went inside to shop.  I wanted to take my pretty dress and sparkly shoes out for a stroll, and I also needed to buy a new pair of sunglasses.  Mine fell off one too many times and the frame split, dropping a lens and making them beyond salvation.  Of course, I am now the proud owner of a cute pair of aviators, so it all works out.  They’ll be great for all the lying around I will likely end up doing while we’re on our sea day.

Tomorrow’s adventure:  getting through a sea day which could be as rough as the previous one (see note about hair clip).  Notable resident of cruises: us, apparently – we were stopped on the stairs by someone who’d heard how far we’d travelled from.  Drink of the day: Sexy Citrus Cosmopolitan.  (I might actually have to try that one… Surprised I’ve been posting them but not sampling them all?  Me too.)

Until the next post!

*This still makes me angry when I think about it.  Put on your f***ing lifejacket and suck it up or stay in the boat.  Don’t ask someone to tow you around.  People like that lady are why American tourists get a bad rep.

**Beers before noon, woo!

***Another lesson learned – not colour fast.  I have some new pink clothes.  Whoops!

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