Pez Maya Expedition
Trip Start Oct 09, 2007
9Trip End Dec 20, 2007
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Be careful of falling coconuts!! More people are killed from falling coconuts in the Caribbean than from all water accidents combined. Or at least that's what they're telling us here. :-)
Sorry for the delay in updating the travel pod, but we're only on the Internet on the weekends - so look for any new "news" then! We're in Tulum this weekend for the Turtle Festival to celebrate the yearly hatching of the sea turtles. Also, our food at camp is pretty basic and meat is rarely on the menu, so last night we thoroughly enjoyed an Argentinian grilled steak and an amazing bottle of wine in Tulum
Just about 10 days ago we arrived in Playa Del Carmen for our pick-up and drive to Tulum. Then about an hour south of Tulum - on a VERY bumpy road through the jungle and beach area -- to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere. Sian Ka'an is Mayan for "where the sky is born." The biosphere is very much like a huge oceanfront national park and what's not ocean is Mexican jungle complete with Toucans and pumas! We haven't seen either of those yet, but we seen many iguanas, geckos, ospreys, frigate birds, hermit crabs, and a big highlight of the trip so far - the release of 77 tiny baby Green Turtles (Tortuga Verde) into the ocean after they hatched from their nest!! What an amazing experience!
I can honestly say this is one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done in my life. And being the oldest at 44, I feel it's especially important to try harder and keep up with the "younger guys". We're up around 6:30 every morning for camp duties, then we prepare for the dives (everything here revolves around diving!). Monitoring the reef to bring back information on the number of fish and coral species and health of the area is what we're here to do. "Kitting up" involves taking your full tanks from the compressor room behind the camp to the common area, setting everything up, putting it on and carrying it down the beach to the boats
We're also taking classes every day on reef conservation, emergency first responder certification, and the types of life on the reef, so we're able to ID quite a bit even this early. After the dive, you must again pull yourself back onto the boat (hasn't anyone ever heard of a ladder??). Once back on the beach, the boat is anchored and you toss your gear overboard and jump in to swim it back to shore. Whew!!
But when everything's cleaned up and you're sharing a warm beer (remember we have NO refrigeration here) and talking about what you saw underwater, it's all just about worth it! :-) Now if my muscles would just stop aching and my mosquito bites stop itching, I'd be just fine!! :-))
Well, Lisa's description does pretty much paint the picture of life on a conservation base
Our huts are comprised of 3 bunk beds so 6 of us share one hut. We only sleep there - there are no facilities for bathing or bathroom use. For that, we head toward the main camp. Recall showers are out of a bucket - and they are the BEST showers! Who would have known that showering outside with a bucket of well water, overlooking the most beautiful beaches and sunsets I have ever seen, would be so great??
The diving is wonderful!! The hard part for me is that "pull yourself onto a boat post dive". I have black and blue marks all over, from my neck down to my knees!
Nights are pretty early for me and I find myself in bed around 930pm to awake at 6am..
There are so many amazing experiences. I wish I could just share them with you all! I am sure over the next few weeks you will hear enough about life in Pez-Maya!
Well, off to let some more turtles go free tonight!
Miss you all!