Archive | December, 2011

Fiesta de Disfraces

30 Dec

Yesterday ended with a cold winters night and a bleak out look of more to come; I mean in Canada anyway….  In Cozumel we have been having amazing weather and nights hotter than most of the Canadian summer days.  Yesterday ended with a nice clear night and a fiesta at a friend’s place.  It was a party at Matts and Anitas place where many people gathered to celebrate Anitas birthday.  The twist was that it was a costume party with a pot luck!  We picked up a liter of fresh made guacamole with tortilla chips  and a couple of rasta hats. Daryl, Nakita, Liz and I went as Bob Marley and the Wailers. We had a great time meeting new people and making new friends.  The night turned awesome when the pinata was unleashed and costumed kids shattered multiple broom sticks while swinging dangerously close to onlookers heads. 

This morning we finally started moving into our new place.  The first trip was early this morning which included the cats.  The cats have explored the house and seem to be settling in.  The enjoy all the room, and love hanging out on the enclosed balcony.  We started unpacking, the gas guy came and the guy from the rental place came to see how things were.  The house is coming together now and we are already enjoying the perks of this new place. 

You know we be from Jamaica man!

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

New Digs and New Dives!

29 Dec

We finished or final PADI tests, signed the final papers and set up the internet and the cable for our new house on Tuesday.  Today we get the keys! This afternoon will be the big move consiting of one car load of stuff and one car load of kitties.  We have had intermittent internet this week at the apartment (more off than on) so we cant wait to move in to the new place. The kitties will love all the room and we love that tonight we will be sleeping on a super soft king size bed!  My back rejoices!

Wednesday was a diving day! We went out with Wilberth for another round of dives.  We dove Palancar Caves and San Clamente which are both amazing sites.  The sky was blue and the ocean was calling our name as we idled out of the Caleta harbor.  We started with Palancar Caves which is another of the 4 palancar sites.  It is a wall dive with many caverns and swim throughs.  When we arrived we descended to 95  feet under and where lucky enough to be greeted by a reef shark!  It was amazing to watch it glide through the water searching the reef wall for a tasty fish to eat (Daryl has pictures on his Facebook page).  We spent the rest of our time under swimming through and around the giant  multicolored coral heads and searching for wild life.  The reef was alive with the flashy colors of all the different tropical fish and we even found a sea turtle.

The second dive was a shallower dive ranging from 30-40 feet under.  We all stayed under for over an hour and were able to find some amazing creatures.  This reef was not a big as the last but it did hold much more life.  As we left the boat and headed for the ocean floor a shadowy figure emerged from the distance.  It was a massive barracuda, the biggest we had ever seen!  It checked us out for a while then headed on its way, staying long enough for Nakita to get some good shots of it.  We drifted with the current along the reef while keeping our eyes peeled for anything special.  Along the reef there were southern stingrays, giant grouper as big as person, massive parrot fish almost as big as the grouper, a porcupine fish, all sorts of trigger fish, angle fish, trunk fish, filefish, parrot fish,etc.  Too many to name them all!  Near the end of the dive a huge 6-7 foot long green moray eel emerged from the corals and swam a few feet under us.  We ended the dive by moving off the corals into the nearby sea grass.  We searched for some time and we were finally rewarded with a seahorse!  These are super rare to spot but we were lucky enough to find one hiding in the grass.  People can accumulate dozens of dives before they have the rare opportunity to see a reef shark or a seahorse.  I guess we have been lucky!  I am glad we know people who are experienced divers and know where the good stuff is!  Thanks Nakita, Daryl and Wilberth!  As we floated back into the Caleta harbor we were lucky enough to see giant orange iguanas sunning in the midafternoon heat, sitting on the rocks near the entrance.  A perfect end to a great dive! 

Liz and I rocking out at the bottom!

 

This is a Queen Triggerfish.

 
 

Grey Angelfish.

 
 

Filefish.

 
 

Big schools of Jack and Grunt fish are everywhere.

 

Say hello to my little friend!

 

Were still rocking!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Boating fun!

 

Liz, Wilberth and I.

 

That is how you drive a boat!

 
 

This rare orange iguana and his harem guard the entrance to Caleta harbor.

Pool Day

27 Dec

Since it was technically boxing day in Canada yesterday we though it was our duty to relax and represent the holiday for all Canadians.  Nakita, Daryl, Liz and I spent the day relaxing poolside and working on tanning our overly white Canadian complexions.  We are still trying to get a decent tan but it seems like our Canadian DNA prevents that from happening!  Maybe one day we won’t stand out like a beacon in a sea of locals? I think that will take a lot more work (lounging poolside).  As the day went on Nakita and Daryl prepared a home cooked meal for us (the first one since we left Canada) which was amazing.  Thanks for the great day of relaxing at your house and the great food!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas on the Beach!

26 Dec

Christmas for us was not a traditional holiday but it was one to remember.  It started like a usual Christmas morning  filled with mimosas,  Xmas chocolate and chatting with family.  After that the tradition stopped as we stepped out into the 34 degree weather and headed out to see some friends.  We loaded up the car with goodies and drove down the highway towards the beach on the East side of the island.  Once there the cool ocean breeze and the salt spray knocked down the air temperature by a few degrees but it was still a perfect day for a swim in the warm water of the Caribbean.  We met many friends and acquaintances  as this side of the island is popular with the locals for its nice beaches.  There were groups of people everywhere celebrating Christmas with picnics of great food and coolers full of good drinks.  After hanging out with Ruy and his friends we found Monstro and his family/friends down the beach.  After a round of hellos we hit the water for some body surfing.  The waves were perfect and we had a lot of fun as waves taller than us sweep us up and deposited us on the beach.  We sampled some local cuisine thanks to Monstro and friends.  Some tasty chicken, fish sandwiches, corn fungus pasta (tastes better than it sounds) were all local favourites that we got to try.  Soon the sun was setting and the sky was a bright christmas red, we packed up and headed back to town for a nice Christmas dinner.  We had heard that the old Primas location downtown had reopened with some of the old staff from Primas.  We ended the night with a nice Christmas dinner of filet minion flown in from Texas and seafood lasagna fished from the local waters. Possibly the best Christmas ever!

To the Beach!

Cruising on the Harley.

 

Celebrating a birthday, cake in the face style!

Trunk fish skeleton.

Hopefully the tide doesn't come in!

Body surfing!

Monstro going for the big breakers!

Go Monstro!

Feliz Navidad!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas everyone!

PADI #2 & #3

24 Dec

We have finished our second and third day of PADI training.  We spent a few hours in the water each day practising skills and doing tests.  The work was hard but the scenery was beautiful so I could not complain.  We seen plenty of cool rays, a starfish, a huge puffer fish and more.  We are now done with the water part of are certification and we just have a couple more written exams to finish up next week.  We have learned a lot and we cannot wait to use our new-found skills on some more of the reefs around here.

Yesterday after swimming we had a busy day.  Daryl moved out of the apartment into his new place.  We helped him moved some stuff and went for a grand tour of the new place.  After that we helped out Ricky because he was getting ready to go to Mexico City for Christmas.  During this time we were searching all over for a good internet connection so that we could video phone our family for Christmas.  The internet at our apartment was down, we couldn’t get a good wireless signal at Hugo’s, Daryls house doesn’t have a hookup yet, the internet cafes we knew were closed, even Starbucks wi-fi wouldn’t work for us!  Rickys wi-fi hadn’t worked all day but that night we were able to find enough signal to talk to my parents at Chantel and Pauls place.  We are super glad the internet is back  at our apartment today so we don’t have to do that again! 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A beautiful day for diving!

 

To the Beach!

 
 
 

Daryl and Nakitas new casa!

 

Daryl and Nakitas new address: 799 25 FROG.

 

PADI Day #1

23 Dec

Day one of our PADI certification has wrapped up.  It was a fun day full of learning and adventuring.  We learned how to assemble and disassemble our equipment properly, as well as set up and enter for a shore dive.  Once in the water we did skill tests and a few short dives.  We were still able to see many species of fish and coral, even though we were concentrating on our diving skills. We were diving on a busy reef that was close to the shore, it was a small but colourful reef and it was cool to look up 35 feet and see all the boats and snorkelers.  That area of the island is known for its seahorse habitat so I hope we see one while diving there the next couple of days! We are naturals in the water and we both feel very confident with our dive skills and are looking forward to completing the next two days of the course.  It is exciting to think about all the cool dives we will be able to do once we are certified!  I am really looking forward to diving on shipwrecks (one of my life goals), drift diving in the Northern current with the giant eagle rays, and cenote diving with the crocodiles!

We spend the rest of the day relaxing because diving really tires you out.  In the evening Daryl and Nakita called us to give us the good news that they had found a house that suited their needs and they were able to rent it right away!  We all went out for dinner at a great burger place downtown and then went over to see their house.  It is a nice place in a nice neighbourhood, right next to Hugos restaurant and a quick walk from the beach.  It has the privacy they wanted and the facilities to handle their visiting family and friends.  Good for you guys!  We can’t wait for the house-warming parties!  Liz and I had to call it an early night so we could read our PADI books and prepare for the next day of instruction.  Right before bed we were able to video chat with Rob, Andrea, Dave, Wantita, Ash and Ember.  We were glad to see them and talk with them and we look forward to chatting with them again on Christmas!  If anyone wants to video chat with us we can do it for free if you have a Facebook account or an Apple device.  Just message us and we will find some time to do it.

Perfect day for a dive.

 
 

Casa Tortuga

22 Dec

YAY! We found a new place to live and we are set to move in on the 29th of December to the Casa Tortuga!  It was an amazing deal for a big house in a nice neighbourhood.  We just signed the contract and put up the rent so we cannot wait to move in and post pictures of the place!  In between house hunting and taking our cats to the vet for their check up and shots, we have been hanging out with our friends and trying new restaurants.  A couple days ago we went with Daryl, Nakita, Chris and Tati to a place called Las Nopales (The Cactus).  This restaurant is now one of my favourite places.  They are well known for their cheese and cheese related dishes as well as their cactus dishes.  They use a mild and and super stringy Mayan Oaxaca cheese on everything and it is just amazing!  I sampled the Queso Fundito and a few Pastor tacos con queso with the Nopales cactus on both.  I was so full or I would have ordered more!  After dinner we found the room for a nice ice cream treat at a place Daryl recommended.  In Mexico they have unique flavours of ice cream (like BBQ sauce) as well as the classics.  I had some liquor flavoured ice creams with pistachio, and Liz had some kiwi and strawberry sherbet (it is not actually sherbet but similar). For all 6 of us to get large bowls of ice cream it was 72 peso (5.60 CAD) total, take that Marble Slab and Baskin Robbins! Yesterday Daryl and Nakitas friend Jakeem(not shure of the spelling) took us out to his favourite cantina El Pescado or “The Fish”. This cantina is like a bar but it had almost a family restaurant feel to it.  It has an open concept with 30 foot high ceilings and skylights.  As you order rounds of drinks (25 peso each) the food comes out for free! It is like Mexican tapas, only with way better food than I have experienced in any tapas place.  There was everything from basic dishes to exotic ones but they we all seafood related.  We had around 13 different dishes while we drank away the afternoon.  The ones that stand out were, prawn soup, conch salad, flautas, the different vegetarian dishes, caviche, and a full fried fish!   We were plenty full of good food and beer when we left so we socialized the day away at our apartment.  Today we head out with Jakeem to get PADI certified.  We will be diving for the next three days straight and after we will be certified for our Christmas present to ourselves.

Kitty trying to escape her carrier.

 
 

The Vet's Puppy.

 

Cheers!

 

Nakita loves the local queso!

 

Merry Bill-mas!

 

House/Scooter Hunting

20 Dec

It has been rainy but hot the last couple of days on the island.  We have been having fun and socializing in between hunting for a new place to live and a new mode of transportation.  We want to buy a used scooter as it will pay for itself with fuel mileage and savings on wear and tear on our car.  We are looking for a new place because they owners plan to jack up the rate for weekly renters to 400 USD-500 USD a week!  Even though our rent stays at 4800 peso  (370 CAD) a month we don’t want our friends to have to pay that.  Besides you can get a giant house with a pool near the beach for 1600-2000 a month.  We are looking for a house to rent so we can have people stay with us.  We looked all day at scooters and houses yesterday and we will look at more today.  There is one house that stands out from yesterday.  It is a fully furnished, 2 level, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath house that is way bigger than our place in Edmonton and way closer to the beach than our current apartment.  It has secured parking, a kitchen larger than our whole apartment is now, a master bedroom that is even larger than that kitchen, a bathroom in every bedroom, a second floor balcony, a yard for the cats, etc, etc.  If we can’t find anything better we will be taking it and moving in at the end of the month.  With Christmas approaching fast, followed by New Years, and us moving out it should be a busy week ahead!

 

Hanging out at the Money Bar (It should be named the Old Cougar & Sleazy Jiggalo Bar)

 

Shopping for motos.

Diving Paradise.

18 Dec

 

 

Another great day in paradise has passed us by.  Yesterday we were up early and down to the docks by 9 am.  We met our new friend Wilberth and he suited us up for the dive ahead.  We had a 20 min boat ride out to the world-famous Palancar dive site. The waves were big enough to provide a fun ride full of salt spray, good thing it was a sunny day!  Since it was our first time diving in a while we decided to dive on the Palancar Gardens, which is not as deep as some of the other Palancar sites.  We fell into the abyss of the ocean and floated with the current down to the gardens of coral.  The water was amazingly clear and warm (80 degrees F) and we could see a multitude of colors and textures covering the giant reef shelves.  We followed our dive master through numerous coral caves bursting with colour and past amazing animal life we have never seen.  We were able to see a small sea turtle, some giant grouper, a massive trunk fish, the biggest lobster I have ever seen and many more types of fish that were new to me.  The first dive lasted 45 minutes and I reached a maximum depth of 95 feet, fairly impressive for our first time diving on Cozumel.  We hit the beach and had a quick lunch of various fruits while we waited for our 1 hour interval to be over.  After feeding the fish with our left over papaya, we all got back on the boat and headed for the next dive site Cedar Pass.  This dive was not as deep, and was a whole different experience.  We drift dove with the current along a large plateau of corrals.  The animal life here was much more abundant and we were able to see the biggest sea turtle I have ever seen!  The pictures don’t do it justice, but it was twice as big as the turtle we seen at Punta Sur with Chantel and Paul!  There was a giant green moray eel with a body as thick as my leg, a nudibranch, a pipe fish, a cool tube like jelly fish, a sting ray,a few barracuda, grey and black nurse sharks, a massive grandpa parrot fish, giant angle fish bigger than a trucks steering wheel, schools of new species of fish I have never seen before, more lobsters, crabs, topless mermaids, etc.  It was unbelievable!  After 45 min at 55 feet of depth Liz was running out of air so I headed back to the surface with her.  Everyone else surfaced over the next 15 minutes and we swapped excited stories about what we had seen.  We headed back to the apartment and soon Tati and Chris (Daryl and Nakitas German friends) were calling us to hangout.  We had a good time socializing and swapping stories but soon it was time for El Moro.  After another great meal we considered calling a taxi but we waddled home instead. 

P.S.  Mandy and her boyfriend Scott will be joining us from Jan 5th to Jan 12th (the same day Dave arrives for a month) which will be super fun.  We are probably leaving this apartment at the end of this month so we can move into a house, so hopefully we have settled in by then and have a room ready for them!  We are looking forward to more good times with more friends!!

Diving pics provided by Daryl and Nakita (superstarphotos.ca)