Saturday, July 10, 2010

Interlude: Off the bikes around Cancún, including Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbóx (May 24- June 6, 2010)

Once in Cancún, we spent a few days staying with our extremely helpful and gracious couchsurfing host, Rodrigo. Then, on our way to visit nearby Isla Mujeres, accompanied by our friend Steph, we encountered an amazing roadside fish vendor in Puerto Juarez. It was to become our favorite place to eat...
Fresh-caught pargo, or red snapper.

A few minutes later, they're sizzling away...

...and ready to eat, with fresh veggies, salsa, and an endless supply of corn tortillas.

On the Isla Mujeres ferry with Steph, a friend from Jersey. No, not New Jersey.

Sunset on the beach, with placid Caribbean waters.

The Volk brothers cooling off in crystal clear turquoise water at Playa Norte

Sea-faring pedal trike

Our evening hang-out spot on the malecon (seaside walkway)

The madness of the Cancún hotel zone rises in the distance, as seen from the southern end of Isla Mujeres

Fashion misfit, happy to be protected from the strong UV rays

Punta Sur, where we spotted sea turtles feeding in the late afternoon.  About a week later, this was to be the site of a near-death snorkeling incident (Jeff)...

Magnificent frigate birds soared right by us, buzzing our heads, as we relaxed on the rocks and enjoyed the breeze:

At Punta Sur, we were treated to a sunset with spendid and colorful skies

Sea urchins scour the sub-aquatic surfaces

Sculptures amidst the natural seaside vegetation

No, we didn't have Long Wang for lunch

After Isla Mujeres, we headed north by bus to Isla Holbox.

Here's our stealth camp, about a 2 mile walk down the beach from town. Just us, birds, and dusk armies of voracious mosquitoes.

Bird tracks in the sand (heron)

A heron stalks the shallow waters

This iguana lives in the hollow wall of an unfinished building.

Pelicans perched on posts near the playa

pelican and cormorant

...there were raptors (above)... and a gaggle of cormorants (below):


...more dazzling landscapes on Holbox...

Jason breaking camp at sunrise just before leaving the island

We made our way from Isla Holbox back to Isla Mujeres, but not before stopping once again for a roadside fish-fry.  This giant red snapper cost us 100 pesos, or about $8 US,  prepared and served with veggies, salsa, limes, and tortillas, of course.

A shot of our stealth campsite on Isla Mujeres, used for a total of 7 days over two trips

In and around Garrafón Park, at the southern end of Isla Mujeres, is some amazing snorkeling.  There we saw huge rainbow parrotfish, rays, barracuda, and schools of various Caribbean fish species. 

Unfortunately, the currents were a little strong on this day (June 5), and variable, and Jeff got caught in a rip tide in late afternoon.  Heading towards open sea, and without a life jacket, he opted to swim for the rocks at the point of the island.  Barely arriving there, he was caught in a series of giant waves, spun upside down and around underwater, and thrashed against the cliffs numerous times, cliffs composed of knife-sharp volcanic rock.  He ended up with a sorry assortment of injuries, a heap of pain, and VERY lucky to be alive:

moments after emerging from the water

Jeff's right nipple, 1/8 of an inch from being torn off completely

He was able to count 60 minor injuries: cuts, abrasions, gouges, and scrapes on both hands, both arms, both legs, and chest; there was also deep bruising on both upper thighs.  Unfortunately, he also received blunt trauma on both knees, thereby bruising both kneecaps and compromising some mobility for the next month...


Daniela said...

Hey Jeff - I was just there in January - Holbox and Isla Mujeres. Nice to see the beautiful water again. I hope you're healing from your run-in with the rocks...

Luis Arriola said...

Hope Jeff got better from the wounds, also hope you spend a nice time depite the bad moment. Isla mujeres tours are great for activties like snorkeling and visiting some nice locations there.