Saturday, August 1, 2015

Isla Mujeres: Day of Defeated Fears, Sorta

Our trip to Isla Mujeres started out very early. And by very early, I mean I got up at 2:40 AM, changed my clothes, did my hair, grabbed my backpack, and waited til our bus finally came at 3:15 AM.  Luckily, God is awesome, and provided a way for me to catch some sleep on the bus ride (as you may have heard me declare in previous posts, so far on this trip, sleeping on the bus has been impossible).  So, we had a full bus, but my companion (the person in the seat next to me) decided to sleep in the bus aisle (trust me, that's more comfortable than trying to sleep sitting up).  This meant that I now had TWO seats to sleep in (which had been my master plan in the beginning, until I realized that all of the seats in the bus would be full).  So I stretched out (well, more like turned on my side), snuggled up with the blanket I brought, and slept for the first three hours of the trip (holla!)  And since I'd already gotten about 5 hours of sleep before the trip, I was in pretty good shape sleeping wise.

So, I woke up about 6 AM to fog (I was surprised at how thick it was!) and a van full of sleeping people.  Since it was still dark-ish outside, I decided to pull out my computer and watch a movie (Here Comes the Boom).  And since I was hungry, I decided to pull out my breakfast (two juice boxes, a biscuit, and a chocolate bar).  Shortly after that, we stopped at a rest stop (where I had to pay 5 pesos to use the bathroom.  Which is way too common here), then continued on our way.  I literally had only ten minutes left of my movie when the bus pulled into a gravelly parking lot.  So I packed up my things (hiding my computer under the seat), got off the bus, and walked to the ferry area (where we were all welcomed to Cancun!).

Right side of the docks.

Left side of the docks.

After changing and sun-screening ourselves, we got to meet our crew and go on our different boats (there were two, seeing as we had 22ish people, one boat was not gonna do it).  The boast was small, but nice.  We had the seats lining edges of the boat (which meant lots of nice leg room).  AND, the crew had bought us DOUGHNUTS AND DRINKS!  *ahem*  I was super excited about that.  (Marcello is awesome.  He's the person who's been coordinating with Profe, and I finally got to meet him yesterday).

Us three girls being cute (Left to Right:  Becca, me, and Whitney)
Coke!  (For my sea sick stomach, was convenient).  That's the cooler that was right in front of my feet.
 Course, we had to wear life jackets on the boat - at least, on the way there we did.  We didn't on the way back.  Anyway, at some point between Cancun and the Isla Mujeres, these pictures got taken.

Because it's Mexico.  And you just gotta wear a sombrero!
 A fun thing we did on our trip over there was fish!  And I got to go fishing for the first time EVER.
Luckily, there were two experts on board (the crew and captain), who were very helpful.  And, because of them, I was able to catch two small silvery fishes.  (Bait fish for Barracudas).

Whitney was the one who caught the big one (aka the barracuda).  And at a later point I actually got to hold it (it was...gross.  And those teeth were sharp!  Profe was telling us horror stories before our snorkel about how he'd almost got a barracuda - while we'd been fishing - and that the bait fish had been torn to shreds.  You do NOT want to mess with barracudas.  Which is why you don't wear shiny things when you go snorkeling).

Whitney and the Barracuda
Anyway, after about 30 or 40 minutes, we arrived at the Isla Mujeres.  Or, el Centro of Isla Mujeres.  (Which I was very grateful for.  I was so ready and impatient to get off that boat.  By the end of the day though, I am proud to say that I was able to just enjoy it).

We were given about an hour to look around and shop for things.  (I bought a lovely shirt)  And, whilst doing that, I finally found Fabio, my one true love!  (Don't worry, it's an inside family joke).  I think we make a pretty cute couple, don't you?  :P

I have to say, time flew by pretty fast (also, fun fact:  You can walk from one side, to the other - of the shortest side - in seven minutes).  It was pretty fun time, I'd have to say.  Here's some more pics from that:

Flip flops I bought.  They were orginally 200 pesos, but I was like, I ain't payin that much for common flip flops!  So I looked at the seller and said, "100 pesos"  So he looked at his companion, back at me, then nodded.  #success  Twas my first time bargaining.
The docks.
Lovely Becca and the statue by the docks
Restaurant we waited at (for the group)  Also the restaurant you have to walk through to get off the dock.
After this, we got back on the boat and headed to the northern part of the island, where we weighed anchor close to shore. 

Snack we had on the way over.
We got our snorkeling gear (did you know dish soap keeps goggles from fogging up?), then jumped out of the boat.  (I was slightly scared, even though I knew I could touch.  Raquel was kind enough to lend me a hand down).  We waded to shore, only to wade back into the water, under the bridge, and to a small little alcove where we practiced snorkeling (this was my favorite snorkel.  Probably because there were a lot of things to see, and I could actually touch the bottom).  It took a little coaching from Whitney, but I finally got it!  It was so pretty.  There were tons of fishes.  And the sand was SO fine and white.

It was after that, that we got back on the boat to go snorkeling in deeper water at a National Park.  Here's the before pictures:     

Modified life jacket.  Turned into a floatie.
Shortly after that picture, we did a drift snorkel.  It was pretty cool.  I loved looking at all the little fishes and stuff (at one point, there was a whole swarm of them).  I also saw a barracuda (thankfully from a safe distance).  It was all right.  I didn't like the fins I was wearing, nor the strong current we were swimming in (as it was dragging me towards the reef and other places I did not want to go).  After a short time, we finally got back in the boat (for which I was very grateful).  I took some time to catch my breath and calm my poor nerves (it's not the things in the water I'm scared of, it's the water.  Well, the deep water in this case).  Some calming essential oils that I brought helped (kinda serendipitous that I had them.  I rarely use them, but today I was glad I had it on me).  And, everyone was so kind to remark on how well I'd done (my Profe remarked that I've come a long way.  From being afraid of getting in a cenote to actually snorkeling in the ocean.  As he would say I've come by "leaps and bounds).  Anyway, after that, we headed out towards Isla Mujeres and got out at a small little place where we could "swim" with a nursing shark.(more like get in the cage and touch it), as well as look at the turtle museum.  We had about an hour, I think.

So, we got off the boat, and first went into the restaurant to find our table.  It was way too loud though for my shaken self, so I walked back out and went to a somewhat alone place (okay, I'll admit it, my adrenaline had run out at that point - or something like that - and I got randomly super emotional).  When I was finally alone, I just sat down on the sand, pulled my knees up to my chest, and just cried.  (I had been so scared during that snorkel - the strong current, not being able to swim well with the fins.  Feeling absolutely helpless in the water.  Part of me was definitely upset because of how afraid I'd been, but part of me was just upset that I even had this problem - this fear of the ater.  To be honest, I hate the fact that I'm scared of the water.  Which is why I'm working on overcoming that fear).  Anyway, I'd only been there for a few minutes when Raquel and Olivia found me there, asked if I was okay, then invited me to go to the turtle house.  That's where I saw all of this:

These baby turtles were SO cute!!!

The seahorse next to the front door.

After that, we rejoined our group and ate some lunch (it was okay.  Wasn't the best food I've had.  But hey, food is food.  And, I will admit, that guacamole was AMAZING!!!) and the live music helped cheer me up some.

So funny.  The fork was in the food, and when I pulled it out, I was so amused out how tiny it was.

After lunch, we went in and swam with the shark!  Which more consisted of us climbing down a ladder, getting in the little fenced in area of the sea, and having the diver help us hold the shark (it was so plushy!  But not fluffy.  It was super cool to feel.  I've always loved nursing sharks.  They're one of my favs).

After that, we went to the last snorkel of the day - underwater garden.  It was pretty cool.  Nothing like I imagined though.  I almost didn't do it (I was more freaked out than I had been the first time.  Mainly because the first one had not exactly been my favorite), but then I decided I'd regret it if I didn't (plus, I don't let anxieties keep me from doing cool things.  #lifepolicy).  So I put on a life jacket, grabbed my snorkel gear (but not fins) and jumped in the water (I actually went all the way under.  Luckily I had a life jacket to bring me back up, But I did get a lovely mouthful of salt water though).

Marcello was super kind and stayed with me the whole time (which was good).  I'll admit, as I was swimming there in the ocean, there in my little floatie, I could help but think to myself.  "This is so crazy!!  I can't believe I'm actually doing this!!"  and also thinking, "I feel like I'm in one of those shark horror films, where all you see is the person in the floatie, with the legs, before they get attacked"  Luckily, I didn't get eaten.  And I got to see the cool little statues, and a car.  (All rusted over.  My last name's name sake!).  It was cool.

After that we got back into the boat, and headed back home (we stopped on the way there to jump in for another swim in the ocean.  I stayed in the boat this time).

The famous picture of someone taking a picture.  I can't believe Conner didn't tell me he was taking a picture of us!  Ah well, it was a pretty good shot, I guess, of me in my natural habitat.
End of the day selfie
Picture of the open ocean.

You can kind of see the city skyline in between the bars (It's hard to see in this picture)

I actually took a picture of my roommate looking out at the sea first, then was like, hey, I want a picture like that!  So she took it for me.

Then, we arrived home.  And Becca took my absolute favoritest picture of the day (admittedly, I asked her too because I though to myself, this would be such a cool shot!!)

After we got off the boat (snagged a soda on my way out.  Well, actually I didn't know we could, so I went back and asked for one.  Got a nice orange soda).  Then I went to go rinse off, changed, and then waited round for everyone else to change.  I got these pics of the doc while waiting:

After everyone was ready, we headed off!  (There were some leftover cookies that I totally snagged).  It was a very long bus ride home.  Started out with Jordan sitting next to me.  Then I fell asleep.  Next thing I knew Claire was sitting next to me.  I wake up and she's like, "Hi!" then explained the whole switching thing that'd happened while I'd been asleep.  Not very funny to read, but I was amused in the moment.

At some point we stopped at this 7/11 to fill up on gas.  (It was only an hour in to the ride back.  We all had to get out, though, because apparently it's illegal to fill up a van while people are in it).

Towards the end of the trip, I hopped up to the front (originally I was going to sit/lay in the isle because my back was killing me, but then there were two free seats because Profe's wife and kids were all in one seat watching a movie or something).  But that didn't last long, as Profe's wife returned to her seat.  But we had a super interesting conversation, which was nice.  Since I really didn't want to sleep at that point, the conversation kept me awake til we got home.

After we got home, I changed, fell into my bed, and slept.

It was a pretty good day, I'd say.

'Til Tomorrow.

R J Carr

PS Since I didn't do much today (today being Saturday, the day after this trip), I'm just gonna make this my blog post.  So, to sum up my day, I got up, watched a Harry Potter movie - the third one - fell asleep again, woke up, got dressed, ate lunch - baked potatoes, watched some Fresh Prince and Once Upon a Time (had a small little thunderstorm during that time), ate dinner, wrote my blog, and now I'm heading to bed.  Also, as a random note, I am feeling a little sore today (which makes sense.  My muscles were so spent that at the end of the third snorkel, I had a heck of a time getting myself up that ladder).