Archive | January, 2012

Happy Birthday Nakita!

28 Jan

Friday the 27th was Nakitas 25th birthday so I joined them for a couple of birthday dives.  We headed to Punta Sur to dive the famous Devils Throat, then our second dive was at Cedar Pass.  The Devils Throat is an advanced dive due to the depth so Liz sat this one out but I will make sure she comes next time!  We all descended at the same time to hit our target, a small opening in a big head of coral.  We swam down to the entrance at 80 feet and we were greeted by a turtle hanging on the coral wall beside the opening to Devils Throat. We swam past him and worked our way through the cave, it was exciting to see the big blue exits at the end as we made our way to 135 feet!  Nitrogen narcosis set in as I suddenly realized I was having a hard time reading my gauges.  I stopped for a second to grasp the awesomeness of floating on the side of a giant wall while fish and coral surround me.  I looked down as far as I could see and even with amazing visibility everything just disappeared into the blue after 200 feet or so.  We ascended through another series of caves and swim troughs and I only managed to get lost once on our way out.  After finding everyone again we all began our final ascent under poring rain.  I could here the rain on the surface from 100 feet down.  While we were doing our safety stop the rain dotted the surface like a golf ball and it was very interesting to watch rain from the other side of the water.  We came out of the dive to the calmest water we had ever seen on the ocean, the surface was like glass and we could clearly see the bottom.  A cool end to a fantastic dive.  After our surface interval we went to one of our favourites, Cedar Pass.  We drifted along and found many awesome corals and a variety of animals including a nurse shark, a green moray, a midnight blue parrot fish, and more.  After we got back town we all went on a Cantina tour for some beers and botanas to celebrate Nakitas birthday.  We went to Flamboyanes and Las Brisus, we had never been to either before.  With a bucket of six beer plus food for 90-100 peso who could argue!  We will be returning soon!

A Hog Fish changing its colours.


Grey Angel


A huge Midnight Blue Parrot Fish with a Grey Angel in the background.


Giant Grouper.




Nakita filming a Nurse Shark under the coral edge.


The Nurse Shark swimming away.


Outside the Cantina. The name "Flamboyanes" is the name of a drink. It doesn't really translate well....


Random Kitty shot!

San Gervasio

26 Jan

We decided to check out some Mayan ruins on Wednesday, so we packed up and headed out to San Gervasio.  The entrance is in the middle of the island, then it is a few more kilometers to the site.  Dave and Wanita have never seen ruins before so they enjoyed it.  All the ruins are connected by old Mayan era roads so by the end of the trip we had walked a few kilometers around the site.  It was a warm day and the humidity of the jungle drove the temperature up more.  There were lizards and butterflies everywhere, and bright-colored birds flew around us.  Near the end of our walk I caught a glimpse what looked like a small clearing in the jungle.  I stepped off the beaten path to do some exploring, and I found what looked like a rocky swath through the jungle.  After following a nearly grown over iguana trail through 100 meters of jungle I emerged at a un-excavated ruin site!  There was  no access to it besides the bushwhacking I just did and it was completely undisturbed!  The structure of two buildings were still visibly intact through the trees, shrubs, and vines that have grown out of the ruins.  After exploring them I realized there was an opening to a cenote right under one of the buildings!  The place was full of iguanas and I was able to see my first jungle snake slither away into the cenotes waters.  I climbed the building that is located directly above cenote and I found a chamber in the middle that is collapsed over but was clearly connected to the cenote below.  There were still distinguishable features like  alters for offerings near this opening and stairs on the one side.  It looked like the ruin could have been one huge temple or two that were located on either side of the natural cenote entrance.  I stood there on top of the one building while I took in the scenery and the eerie feeling of untold history that accompanied the abandoned site, then returned to our group.  The whole experience leaves me wondering how many more of these sites lay in wait throughout the jungles of Mexico, covered in plants and holding untold secrets. We wrapped up or time at the ruins with a visit to the shops then drove back for a nice lunch back in town.  A great adventure!










Dave in a Cave.































Emerging onto the un-excavated ruins.


Daves First Caribbean Dive

25 Jan

Tuesday was a hot day and perfect for Daves first dive.  Liz, Dave, Nakita, Daryl, Monstro and I all met in the morning, picked up our air and headed to the Villablanca pier.  Monstro gave dave a refresher and made him perform a skill test prior to going in the water as it has been almost thirty years since Daves last dive. We swam around the familiar site, making sure to check all the usual hangouts for wildlife.  Dave was very lucky on his first dive and had the pleasure of witnessing countless species of fish including a lion fish and a puffer fish, two sting rays, a baby eagle ray, a few eels and much more!  It was a great dive and Dave is ready for more, next stop for him is a boat dive.


Monstro, Dave, Liz & Tim.


Lion Fish


Puffer Fish


Trumpet Fish




Wanitas Birthday

23 Jan

We celebrated Wanitas birthday yesterday by going to Punta Sur and then Primas for dinner.  It was Sunday so we had Punta Sur mostly to ourselves.  The South end of the island missed all the rain that day (our place was soaked when we returned) so we had a nice blue sky and hot temperatures for our trip.  We showed Wanita and Dave the watch tower, the ruins, the lighthouse, the lighthouse museum, the crocodile pit and the beach.  They also went on a boat tour of the Columbia lagoon and Wanita climbed the lighthouse.  We had a lucky day and seen more wildlife than we had ever seen before at Punts Sur, many crocodiles, iguanas, fish,and over a dozen species of birds!  After a nice day on the beach we had a good chat with family back in Stettler.  Rob, Andrea, Ash and Ember all said happy birthday to Wanita over video chat and we learned we were missing 30 below weather and weird temperature swings back home. We wrapped up the evening at Primas for some good food and a fancy dinner. 



Turtle nesting grounds.




Rosetta Spoonbills.





Wheres Waldo but with crocodiles. Can you find them all?







Baby Boat Billed Herons.


White Pelicans.





Diving Continued.

22 Jan

Today we say a happy birthday to Wanita!  We will be celebrating her birthday with a trip to Punta Sur and a nice dinner at Primas tonight.  It will be a nice wrap up to a week full of fun. 

Thursday the 19th , the day after our shore dive, we headed out to the west side for a relaxing day at the beach.  The waves were big and perfect for bogy boarding.  Hot weather and blue skys were the backdrop to our slice of paradise on the sand.  We played in the water and soaked up the sun, all of us returning with a darker shade of tan.  Later that day Liz, Daryl, Nakita and I went for a night dive.  It was our first night dive but it was at the same location as we dove the night before.  We entered the water off the Del-Mar pier as twilight settled around us.  The fish were all sleeping  along the rocks on the bottom and the creatures of the night had replaced their ever-present activity.  Bio-illumination glittered off our fins while calamari hovered around us like strange UFO’s and fluorescent color changing octopus lurked through the coral.  We found many puffer fish and eels as they were out hunting.  Lobsters, sea cucumbers and spiky sea urchins left their hiding places and were walking around like we could never witness in the day time.   We were down for an hour and surfaced out of the darkness at the Villablanca pier.  It was a great dive and an awesome experience!

The morning of Friday the 20th we woke early and headed down to the Caleta for a couple of boat dives.  We headed south on Wilberths boat and headed South to pick up a couple more divers.  The first dive was a series of swim-throughs on a massive coral wall.  The top of the reef was around 70 feet and the exits to the caves were around 90 feet.  We had a lot of fun and we found a lot of cool animals.  The second dive was more of a drift style dive due to the slightly increased current.  We flew over the corals and encountered many awesome sea creatures.  We were lucky enough to run into 3 large eagle rays (a first for Liz), and multiple turtles, along with the usual selection of amazing fish and coral!  Another great dive!

Dave and Wanita are getting settled and enjoying the weather.  We have been taking them to our favourite stores, restaurants and hangouts, and they have been out adventuring on their own as well.  It is nice to have family down here as it feels more like home.

Shore Dive

18 Jan

Here are some pics from our shore dive today.  We entered the water at the Del-Mar pier under sun and blue sky and one hour and six minutes later we surfaced at the Villablanca piers.  There was a lot of life on the reef and we were able to see a couple small rays, puffer fish, a lion fish, lobsters and many eels.  Dave and Wanita caught some rays on the Del-Mar pier while we dove, they were able to watch us suit up and disappear into the ocean.  It was a great dive and one we hope to repeat often due to its ease and low cost (we only have to pay for air).










Can you see the fish?






















Dos Mas Cantinas

17 Jan

The rain had cleared up sometime during Sunday night , and the hot morning sun brought hopes of good weather ahead.  After a nice home cooked breakfast and a Monday morning swim down by La Hatch we met up with Hugo, Nakita and Daryl for an afternoon cantina tour.  We tried two new cantinas, one even had a live band!  After a couple of hours of eating and drinking we had our friends come over to hang out.  Later we ended up at El Piques for some dinner.  Hugo is starting his own cantina right across the street  from La Hatch, we cannot wait to check it out when it opens sometime next week.







Tortuga Update

15 Jan

Tortugas love rain and we had more than I had ever seen before fall on the streets of San Miguel yesterday.  If you can imagine more rain falling in a 6 hour period than I have seen in Alberta in the last couple years then you are close to experiencing a rainy day here.  Our yard quickly filled with water in the low areas and the turtles soon came out to play.  Since it had been so dry here prior to SaturdayI had already rigged up a garden hose in a shallow flat dish for them to use.  I turned that on while they were out and presto; a full on turtle water park! They were running in the rain and swimming around in the dish and puddles, I.  They would drink from the hose and  clean their faces and necks in the water with their front legs.  The tortuga count has now increased!  We have now confirmed six adult turtles as well as more than 7 (uncountable) babies and a couple fresh turtle eggs. The rain cleared up overnight so this morning we chopped them up some fresh papaya and Wanita and Liz fed them a dish full. Here are the turtle pictures!

Welcome Dave and Wanita.

14 Jan

Dave and Wanita arrived late on Thursday night after a long day of travel.  We introduced them to pastor at Los Noples and then moved them into our house.  Friday we had an island orientation, showing Dave and Wanita where things are in this new place.  We found sometime to swim on the beach and drop by a couple of our favorite places like Prima for breakfast, Coconuts for afternoon cocktails and then El Moro for dinner.  It was a warm and humid day capped off by some amazing nighttime showers.  A great start to Dave and Wanitas month-long trip to Mexico!

P.S.  Here are some pics from the eagle ray dive on Thursday morning.

Sunset at the docks.


Boats in the darkness.





Checking out the cenote.













Diving the Barracuda site.









Thanks for the great dive Wilberth!










The Eagle Ray has Landed.

12 Jan

Today we say goodbye to Mandy and Scott and hello to Dave and Wanita.  We will miss Mandy and Scott and we look forward to their possible  return!  Our week was a lot of fun and food, followed up by good siestas.  Yesterday was their last full day and we made it a good one.  We started the day with a walk to lunch at the “Pez”, a fish taco place.  We drove to the piers behind La Hatch and went for a swim while free diving.  There was a lot of fish to see and the weather was perfect for a dip in the ocean.  After going by La Hatch and visiting Daryl and Nakitas place we ended up at El Moro for the goodbye dinner.  We ordered the seafood platter to share and dessert was the flaming Mayan coffees with butter pecan ice cream.  After experiencing the best seafood of my life (seriously), it is added to the list of best mole, best beans, best coffee and best restaurant we have eaten at period.  In the evening we watched a live band while looking out over the ocean at the Love Bar.  This morning we said goodbye at the airport and wished them a good journey home.  Thanks for coming down Mandy and Scott! 

This morning I took the opportunity to dive on the North side of the island.  There are fast currents and the dives are really deep so Liz thought she would sit it out until she had a couple more dives.  We met Wilberth at the harbour just after 9:00 am and loaded the boat.  I have never went North while I was on a boat before so it was very interesting to see all the new scenery.  We got a close up look at mammoth cruise ships and a 40 million dollar yacht (has its own helicopter).  We arrived at the sight named Barracuda and plunged into the blue.  The current was not too extreme today but it would have been futile to fight it.  We drifted along the reef  like small airplanes until we found some coral we could hide behind to avoid the current (like a wind break).  Once stationary at about 90 feet we waited in anticipation until we were greeted with 10-12 massive eagle rays.  The spotted behemoths flapped their fins like wings and  some swam together as if they were birds in formation.  They were curious creatures who would glide around  us and it seemed as if sometimes they were making eye contact with me.  It was an amazing reef many schools of fish and numberous corals.  the next dive was shallower but had a much stronger current and a very diverse reef.  Once we sunk away from the surface I could see the ocean floor rushing below us, we hovered above the sea floor as the current took us down the reefs edge.  This was not a protected area so Wilberth brought his spear gun for fishing, he almost got a couple but ultimately came up empty-handed.  I was able to catch my first glance of  a Splendid Toad fish, and other highlights included a baby nurse shark and a massive crab.  The day has been hot and humid with  blue sky, the visibility was great and the water was calm, today couldn’t have been a better day for diving.

$40 million, and no attached submarine! What a rip off!