Our Mexican 10th Anniversary travel blog

Alli tries to snorkle

The Thing emerging from the depths...

Akumal Beach

Akumal Beach2

I'd ask my friends to come and see, an octopus's garden with me-The Beatles

I had read on Trip Advisor (there's that news van again) about a really cool place not too far south of Playa Del Carmen called Akumal Beach. It's a small bay protected by a large coral reef where green and loggerhead sea turtles and manta rays have been known to feed, swim and nest.

This late morning we walked a few blocks and jumped on a $6 "collectivo" for the 20 minute ride south. What's a collectivo you say? Collectivo's are hundreds of public minivan's that run north and south along the one main highway, all day, all night. It's much more affordable than private cabs or even using the bus. Hence it's the locals most preferred method of transport. We jumped into a completely full van and immediately asked ourselves what the heck we were doing? We were definitely the only English speaking people on the ride but it didn't matter one bit. The people here, in general, are so very nice. In my broken Spanish (thank you Rosetta Stone), I asked the driver to please drop us off at Akumal Beach. He did with a smile, and after clumsily paying the cheap fare we walked 10mins to the beach. A bunch of shops here rent snorkel equipment but I chose one that doubled as a beach bar. (that's called bundling back in the states!) We parked our butts on the beach with a bucket of 150 peso, ice cold cerveza's between us for another day of relaxation in this beautiful country.

I read all about how you can just swim out into this shallow bay and snorkel the beautiful coral reefs all you like. But I had NO IDEA how amazing this was about to be....

I waded out and put the flippers and mask on and turned around to wave to Alli. Then into the clear blue I went. Now, I am by no means an expert snorkeler but swimming through this clear & calm bay was really very easy. It's never more than 20 feet deep anywhere and visibility is tremendous. Near the shore it's all beautiful white sand and sea grass at the bottom. Further out, there are huge hunks of vibrant, colorful coral everywhere. I can count at least 10 different types and I'm kicking myself for not knowing much at all about coral! Brain coral and huge purple fan coral are visually striking with their colors just waving in the ocean. Coming around a little nook and, BAM! there is a group of 50 or more fish just hanging out in the gentle current. At first it's a little startling to see so many colorful fish, so close! They are the entire rainbow of colors right here. Some brilliant blues & purples, some flashing yellows and oranges, some striped black and white. Its like I'm looking at a fully stocked pet store aquarium right in front of my eyes! I try not to swim too close cause I had read about some morey eels hanging out around here as well. Further out into the bay, the coral gets more numerous yet shallower, daring me to continue further. I don't. I turn around and surface... Holy crap I'm like 500 yards from the shore! So I slowly start to work my way back through this incredible underwater landscape. Then it happens. I see a dark form moving through the water up ahead. It's definitely moving. What the heck? Through the haze comes a huge green sea turtle. I pop my head above water for just a second to share this with someone, anyone and there is NOBODY around, wow. I put my head back down and bagan to follow this gentle terrapin all around. I'm like 2 feet from this guy as he gracefully descends for bites of sea grass along the bottom, then surfaces for a bizarre audible barking gulp of air. Amazing. We swam together for quite a while. Diving, eating, & surfacing over and over again. This was a moment of true transcendence for me. Nothing at all mattered. It was just two bizarre looking creatures curiously watching each other moving up and down. The only sounds are my asthmatic breathing, his air gulping, and my muffled voice through a snorkel saying to myself RRolly RRap, Roly Rap, iss iss unbuuhhreeeavaburr!

Life is so wonderful and diverse. I'm getting the chills all over again just writing about this amazing experience today. We've DEFINITELY gotta come back here with our girls. H would totally freak out swimming around this natural aquarium here. I can't wait to share this with them.

Ok enough with the tortuga watching, I gotta go tell Alli about this asap! I turned back towards shore and there in front of me is a huuuuuuuge barracuda just hovering there. Holy crap! Um, okaaaaaaay I'm just gonna turn this way a little bit.... My heart raced as this guy turns his broadsides to me as I slowly swam around him. I had to keep a nervous watch over my shoulder as he disappeared into my wake. Holy crap man, that was scary as hell! I burst onto the beach and Alli says "Where have you been for like 5 hours"? I gladly tell her...

At the end of the day, I returned the snorkel gear and the bartender says, "Hey, did you see Pedro the friendly Barracuda out there?" I'm like "Hells yeah I did". Nice to know NOW that he's friendly, whew!

The only bummer to this day was we had forgotten the waterproof case for the video camera. I'm so very very sorry not to have the underwater footage of this day but you must trust me here, it was INCREDIBLE!. Come here and do this right now! You will never regret it.

(Insert 3 or 4 amazing green turtle, manta ray, fish and coral photos here)

Back at Playa Maya for a shower then it's dinner Out In The Streets again. We wish everyone we loved could be here with us right now! Okay, maybe not all at once but it still would be really cool to share this with all of you. Quick check of our email reveals NJ has gotten socked with 18 inches of snow today. Erik is stuck at our house too. Muuuuahahahahahahaha! Our spirits are both ON ELEVEN today, can you tell?

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |