Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I originally wanted to go to the Mayan ruins at Tulum while visiting Cozumel but decided against it due to the length of the trip required to do so. My understanding is that its a good 2 hr drive to and from the port. Even though I'm dying to visit Tulum--the ruins are right on the ocean and its supposed to be just gorgeous--four hours in a van sounded pretty horrible to even a diehard history seeker like myself. So instead, I booked the whole family for a dolphin swim! Again, we did this independently as it was not only significantly cheaper than going through the cruise line but booking direct also allowed Georgie to participate (through the cruise line you had to be a minimum of 8 yrs old I believe).

As it turned out, it was a really lucky decision to do something less time consuming. Our ship was nearly an hour late in docking and there's no way we would have had time to complete the Tulum trip.

Anyway, once we got off the ship we grabbed a cab and headed to Chankanaab Park about 10 mins away. The park is beautiful and at least on that day EMPTY. The water is a brilliant dark blue in this area--clear and warm. Then we got ready for our dolphin swim. It was FANTASTIC!!! Brett, Casey, Bobby and I all agree that this was the highlight of our trip! We were able to touch the dolphins, give a hug and kisss and then the highlights a dorsal tow and foot push.

For the dorsal tow they had us swim out about 40 feet and you held the dorsal fin of two dolphins and they swam you in. The foot push made us feel like we were part of a Sea World show! Again, one at a time, we swam out about 40 feet and then you had to wait with your legs floating behind you and your arms out to the side. Two dolphins swam up behind, finding the soles of our feet with their noses then pushed! We were instructed to lock our knees and put our arms straight up and the dolphins did the rest popping us up out of the water to about waist or so!!! So, so exciting!!! Because Casey is thin he popped up even more quickly than the rest of us and was out of the water to about his shins/ankles! Truly amazing.

We then had about 10 mins with the manatees to feed them lettuce and pet them. When I booked the excursion, I was told that Georgie would not be able to participate in the manatee swim but I just took her along with me and no one seemed to care. They're very peaceful and gentle creatures... like a giant sea cow. It was explained to us that they are endangered as they have no natural predators but have been overhunted by humans :-(

Anyway, after our dolphin swim we had a little lunch, watched a sea lion show --all in spanish because we were in Mexico-- then took a tour of the archeological exhibits they had there. It was quite interesting (to me anyway). When the tour guide learned that Brett studied spanish with plans of going to Spain next year he decided he would give him some practice by conducting the balance of the tour in spanish and then having Brett translate to the group in english. He was pretty impressed (as was the small tour group) with Brett's ability to do this very, very well. These are not your typical words and Brett was able to explain everything to us clearly. Yeah! I have proof that my educational dollars have not been completely wasted :-)

Casey getting some air on his foot push
Georgie giving and receiving kisses from the dolphins
More kisses
Even more kisses
Yet another kiss
Feeding the manatee
This was in the back near the archeological stuff. The kids thought they were dumb but for some reason these cutouts just cracked me up

The park had all kinds of really cool statuary. We were told they're all reproductions from historical sites throughout mexico.

Coming up next: the beautiful Isla Roatan

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