Upon arrival, we signed up for an all day adventure with three historic stops. Our first stop in the ninety-eight degree heat, was a visit to the Mayan Ruins in Tulum high atop a mound overlooking the turquoise sea. That tour was akin to a religious experience for me. We were inspired as we perspired and listened to the native tour guide who sounded like a preacher backslapping congregants and prefacing every sentence with, "my friend."
If visiting the ruins was an epiphany for me, then our next stop, swimming in a cenote` felt like being baptized in holy water. Cenotes are a phenomena our guide informed us, natural fresh water wells considered to be gifts from the ancient Gods. The Yucatan Peninsula, the only area of Mexico where cenote`s exist, is composed of limestone rock which has eroded over time creating numerous caves and cenote`s as big as ponds. These natural wells were the only potable water source for the early inhabitants, thus they were considered holy grounds. Holy or not, there was no way I was going to sacrifice my dignity and take the plunge off a cliff fifteen up. I did not join the line of people atop the ridge waiting to dive. I did dog paddle.
Our next stop was at a banana plantation where we swam in a blue lagoon that rivaled the one in the movie by the same name. I floated in the salt water, completely relaxed until my husband shouted, "Here I come!" I watched in horror as he and his buddy rescued a woman who had swum beyond the boundary and was being slammed against a wall of coral and tugged by the current out to sea. They encouraged her to kick her feet and SWIM! But they did most of the work. When they arrived on shore exhausted, she laughed and said, "I can't wait to tell my husband about my wonderful adventure." The guys were not the least bit amused. She didn't even thank them.
Our adventure continued the next day at a national park. We spent a handful of quarters in the gumball machines which dispensed a fistful of fish food. We tossed pellets to the turtles and to colorful tropical fish. When it was time for the snorkel trip, we were issued life vests. My friend and I wanted the orange heavy duty, I-don't-care-if-I-do-look-like-a-dork vests, while our husbands opted for the lightweight, barely-there life saving devices. We were handed snorkel masks and instructed to spit into and smear our saliva on the glass. Ewww! My nerves were on edge. Being on a small watercraft in the middle of the deep ocean wasn't my idea of fun and relaxation.
"We swam away from the group, and in a flash we were surrounded by an entire school of fish," my husband reported.
"Aww, that's nothing, we swam with a barracuda!" I bragged.
"Yeah, well these fish kept getting closer and closer; we were eye to eye with them. They were as big as us. Tuna-sized. They nudged us. We swam like hell back to the boat."
Oh, how I am yearning for a beach.