Thursday, February 9, 2017

Mangrove Tour and Another Cenote in San Crisanto

A collection of photos from our last two weeks...

The malecon (boardwalk) in Progreso is where you can enjoy many restaurants, the beach, and people watching.When a cruise ship is in port, there are vendors with kiosks selling everything from shells to massages.

A picture of our rental with the gates open...

On our visit to the Dzibilchaltun ruins and the cenote there, our guide told us that Merida's Costco has a cenote in it. Say what? We had been into Costco a couple of times (pinot grigio at $7 a bottle!) and I'm pretty sure I would have seen a cenote. It turns out that Juan's otherwise excellent English needed a bit of work on prepositions. The cenote is not in it, but outside of it. And here it is. When they were constructing the store which opened in 2015, they uncovered this cenote and made every effort to preserve it. It is landscaped and terraced, but you can't get down to it.

Beautiful clear water...

Now this is a bag of taco chips...Jim is actually hidden by it!

And this was a rather strange find...if I had taken the time to read the flavours, I definitely would not have bought it. I saw Limon and thought "yum." Tuna and lemon? Heck tasted terrible. And tuna in Spanish is atun, so I'm not really sure what this means. It went down the sink.

This is a typical trip from the grocery store. All fruits and vegetables must be soaked in disinfectant for 15 minutes. Let's just say we're not taking any chances with getting sick.

This is our afternoon entertainment...the kiteboarding school is a few houses down, so we have a front row seat every afternoon. We've got our favourite kiteboarders now identified by the colour of their kites..."White guy is out! Green/blue guy is flying." It makes up for the fact that we don't have a TV with any interesting English channels. For some reason you can watch Dance Moms or Bones at any time of day.

I try to get out early in the morning for a walk along the beach. The sky is always different. It's great when it's overcast and I make it home before the sun and heat break through.

Some mornings, I walk to town on the beach and walk home on the street. There are some lovely homes and some that have clearly been abandoned for some time.

I love these pretty Coke bottles. As we noticed in Africa, many of the locals love their Coke.

We also don't have a washer or dryer. There are many laundry places that wash your clothes, line dry them and have them back to you neatly folded by the end of the day. You pay by the kilogram and it's pretty cheap...less than $1 Cdn per kg. On the way back from the laundry, we often check this one area to see if there are any flamingos.

Our laundry is in the next town of Chicxulub, which got its name from the crater that was formed by a large (about 10 km in diameter) meteorite which struck the earth about a bazillion years ago wiping out the dinosaurs. I thought this poster was cute...

We were downtown on Sunday morning for breakfast and noticed many streets blocked off. We were trying to figure out what was going on when these guys appeared. it!

Look at these magnificent homes right on the malecon that have been abandoned. They may have been deserted after Hurricane Isidore, a category 4 hurricane, which unexpectedly struck the Yucatan in 2002. It was headed for Galveston, Texas when it took an unpredicted turn and spent a day hovering over the Yucatan causing huge amounts of damage.

These houses sit directly on the beach and are side by side. Sad...

And look who has arrived! We were pretty excited when Jim's sister, Joanne, took us up on our invitation to visit. Joanne is currently going through chemo treatments so we were pretty amazed at her bravery and stamina to come here on her own. Cheers!

Looking forward to a great week together...

A lovely sunset one evening...

And it's been hot...

My walk down to the pier turned up a couple of boats full of pelicans, hitching a ride to nowhere.

I walked by this building and the lighting caught my eye. I really liked how this turned out.

These tasty morsels are meringues and there are several vendors on the beach who sell them. I was sitting on the malecon with Joanne when I saw one guy walk by. I'm sure she wondered where I was sprinting to! Once she tasted them that night, they went on her list of things to have again while she is here.

We were trying to think of day trips to do with Joanne that wouldn't be too taxing, but would give us a chance to explore a little. We read about a mangrove tour in San Crisanto about an hour away. That seemed like a good thing to try. We arrived at the tour office...let's hope there aren't too many of these around.

We followed our tour guide in the car...

Beautiful scenery...

At the dock, we headed over to one of the boats...

The water is so clear that every tree is reflected in it. With machetes, the local fishermen have carved out miles of trails through the mangrove forests, connecting crystal clear cenotes. Only one cenote is open to the public so far.

Machito spoke very good English. He taught himself by watching English TV shows, reading and practising. I so admire the ability to pick up a language like that. He pointed out different birds and trees, and the many fish in the water. The water was relatively low when we went through.

It was so peaceful. I cannot imagine how much work has gone into this.

He explained the different mangroves to us. These are red ones and at certain times the water in the lagoon will be completely red. That would be something to see!

One person in the boat is facing the others so it was necessary to forewarn them to duck their head when these low trees crossed the canal. He paddled us 1.2 km until we arrived at the cenote.

The cenote was very small, but I'm not one to pass a cenote up. I'm going to try to visit several of these while we're here.

These big fish are tarpon, normally a salt water fish. With Hurricane Isidore hitting this area in 2002, these fish were swept inland and ended up in the cenote. They've since adapted to fresh water and are slowly growing in numbers. Uh...we're going to get in the water with them?

Yup! They weren't interested in us. The little tiny fish, however, were the nibbling kind. One bit me on the back and it was like a bee sting. I tried to keep moving after that.

Atta girl, Joanne. Coming in...

Such a fun experience...where we were, you couldn't touch the ground, but you didn't have to swim far to be able to stand.

Machito said "sit on the rope." I pictured myself doing a header, but Joanne got herself balanced.

Standing here...

That black hole in the top left was a sinkhole. Machito said it's too small for a person to explore, but the tarpon go from one cenote to another underground.

This raft under the water was actually part of the roof which got blown into the cenote during the hurricane. It is so water logged that it can't be lifted.

We were the only ones there for a short time, before a family from Colorado arrived. Machito said sometimes the cenote is too full when you get five boats there at the same time. He paddled us under this tree with an iguana resting on it.

These are termite mounds...we saw a lot of those in Africa.

Sometimes the water seemed like it had cellophane on it...

It was a lovely, peaceful experience. The restaurant we thought we were going to wasn't open so Machito led us to this one. Once again we followed him on his bike as he slowly meandered along. He waved goodbye and we went in. Mexicans each lunch around 2:00 pm so we were the only ones there. We didn't speak much Spanish and they didn't speak English but we all managed.

"If you drink, don't drive." There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.


Jim and I ordered a lemonade which was made was delicious. Just the perfect amount of tart and sweet.

Jim ordered a plate of mixed ceviche, which is raw seafood pickled in lime juice. The plate was huge! The shrimp were good, but I passed on the squid and mussels.

Joanne and I had originally ordered shrimp, but he didn't have any large shrimp so we switched to fish instead. You order it by the kilo. We really didn't know what we were ordering and when this appeared, we laughed. So unique...I think they remove sections before popping it in oil? It was delicious.

And then he brought a huge mound of tortillas, and a plate of onions, tomatoes and limes. Fish tacos!

We headed back...the drive along the coast was very pretty and there are huge developments and houses being built. A very upscale area...


Joanne made us laugh that evening. She was cold and didn't believe that it was 30 degrees. Next thing she appeared with her winter jacket on.

It was a great day.

Every day ends with me going out to feed "our" dog. She lives outside our gate and the caretaker feeds her some kibble in the morning and gives her water. She might be pregnant again. I've taken to bringing her a treat each evening. She won't let me near her, but doesn't run away anymore when I go outside the gate. If only we could feed all the stray dogs...

We're not sure what's in store for the next couple of days, but we'll find a new place to explore with Joanne.

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