Today’s stop was Cozumel. We booked a private snorkel tour with Cozumel H2O, by which we got a boat and a private guide to take us to 4 different reefs to snorkel. I am not a strong swimmer, and the guide was perfectly happy to tie a floatie around my waist and have me hold on to a life preserver that he towed around on the end of a string. Toby is much better than I am, so he swam around, keeping close-ish to the guide and I. Every so often in the deeper areas, the guide would free dive down to the bottom to look around and spot wildlife, which he would then point out to us.
The first place we stopped was a shallow reef, about 6 foot deep, which was covered with sand and sprinkled with sea stars. We didn’t stay too long there because, as the guide said, it’s kind of boring after the first 10-15 minutes. The next 3 areas were deeper–30-40 feet, and the final stop had, in addition to the 30-40 foot depth, the GIANT CLIFF INTO THE ABYSS where the shelf takes a 1500-foot dive. We snorkled around the edge of that without going over. It wasn’t the huge dive into nothingness that you can see in a lot of ocean photography because it was just blue to us. Still vaguel creepy, but as long as the guide was happily towing me around, I was fine with it.
Naturally I forgot to put sunblock on my legs because my legs never burn (they also never tan). But I also never spend 4 hours floating face down in water. I spent $15 at the cruise ship’s store for a bottle of Aloe Freeze Gel to soothe it. Ah well.
We saw starfish, lots of fish including barracuda and a nurse shark (harmless to humans–they have no teeth, feeding through suction, and if one was so supremely addled as to think you might be prey, the worst you’d get would be a hickey), and a sea turtle. Although since Toby and I both wear glasses, and were not wearing them in the water, we saw blurry movement and took pictures, which upon examination later proved to indeed be a shark and a sea turtle.
SPEAKING OF PICTURES….
Clicking on the image should get you to a bigger version (at least on the WordPress blog; I don’t know about any of the crossposts). Edit: Arg, it’s not linking th pictures properly, but if you right-click and choose “View Image” or whatever the equivalent is on your OS and browser you’ll see the larger version.
Sunrise over Cozumel this morning
The flotation ring that was my friend. Except when it bonked into my head. Those things are hard!
The guide diving and pointing out a school of fish to us. His other hand is holding the reel attached to the line he was towing me with.
Fishy frens. Fishy frens hopeful for food.
Another fishy fren
Toby, possibly getting fed up with me taking pictures of him.
There was a lot of this seaweed stuff floating around, looking very orange and contrasting with the blue water, so I kept trying to take pictures of it.
LOTS of fish. The ones with yellow and the black stripes are sergeant major fish.
Fish and seaweed.
And yet more fish!
Our guide, pointing out something-or-other of interest….
…probably this school of fish.
We’re at the fourth and final location, where a lot of scuba divers were poking about the bottom. I took a lot of pictures of the plumes of bubbles rising from them, because I thought it looked neat, like vents in the ocean floor.
THE ABYSS BECKONS. It did not look this dramatic in real life. This is Photoshop’s auto tone function making it more eerie.
TURTLE! It’s basically in the lower center of the left half of the picture. THe guide was showing us where it was. (He did not get closer than that: you are not allowed to harass the wildlife in this area, which is a national park.)
MOAR TURTLE (well, the same turtle). The guide is pointing at it with his right hand.
The edge of the shelf, vanishing into the abyss.
Our guide, on the way back.
Passing by parasailers.
These next pics are out of order because the WordPress uploader failed and I didn’t feel like cutting and pasting them to fit them into the right spot.
A ray, in the first place we snorkeled, with all the sea stars. It had a fishy fren, probably because it was gliding along the bottom and disturbing the sea floor.
Toby being harassed by a gang of fish. We were all being harassed at this point–it’s fairly obvious that people must feed them.
And for some reason only this final image ended up linking to the larger version. Oh well! Toby legs and fish.