Mexico: Tales from the Wet Side

I considered writing a day-by-day blog series about the Mexico vacation, but when I look back at last year’s Aruba series, it was pretty much “today, I sat on a beach and read.” And the London travelogue was me complaining about being sick.

Instead, you get (much-delayed) lists about our amigo to the south. First up … things involving water.

Legend:
The not-so-great*                           Things that were awesome

 

Strong currents. I hadn’t gone diving in about 5 years before this trip and I was really looking forward to it. Then I got in the water for a drift dive. Ignore what the link says about not using as much air. I had trouble staying at the same depth as everyone else – I needed more or less weight – so I kept playing with the buoyancy control vest. This used up a lot more air than it should have. Plus I was probably nervous about the first dive back and the current was stronger than I expected so I was breathing more. Then I misread my gauge (my mask was foggy, too) and the 500 lb mark was really the 0 lb mark. I now know what a really low tank breathes like since I came up with about 100-200 lbs. It freaked me out a bit, so I skipped the second dive, which Penny tells me didn’t have as strong of a current. Figures.

I dove again. Okay, I was freaked out by nearly running out of air, but I do love diving and I got to do it again. I now need to find other people to go somewhere over the winter for a weekend dive trip. On the Mexican dive, I got to see turtles and lots of coral. That was cool, but …

The turtles and the coral. To observe a turtle meant stopping to watch one. Remember that current I mentioned? When the divemaster spotted a turtle, he pointed at the sand. Everyone turned toward the turtle and dug into the sand to avoid being pulled along by the current. Yeah, being pulled along was exactly what we were trying to do only seconds before. And it wasn’t easy to get a grip in the sand. So I ended up fighting the current to stay where I was and bumped into some coral. I left Mexico with awesome rashes on my thighs and right hand. They looked like burn scars.

I’m not that allergic to coral. Thank goodness I only ended up with pretty bad rashes on my thighs and a hand. If I’d been really allergic, the amount of air in my tank wouldn’t have mattered as anaphylaxis set it.

New pair of fins. Now on my shopping list thanks to a fin strap breaking while snorkeling and finally being fed up with the feeling the fins were slipping off. And before the trip I found a local dive shop owned by someone my dad used to teach. I bought a nice mesh bag there and the connection to my family means I’ll be back for the fins. Anyone who wants to join me under the sea should check them out for training.

Whale sharks are awesome. Sure, it took about 2 hours to find the sharks. Sure, the boat ride was bumpy and spine jolting. Sure, we all got drenched during the boat ride, especially Mike. Sure, I got a wicked sunburn where I didn’t apply lotion properly. Sure, there was the fin strap issue and a snorkel issue to boot (always check the gasket before trying to breathe underwater, people). Sure, the CD Penny and Mike bought with pictures from the adventure was lame. BUT … I got to swim with whale sharks!

As you might guess from the name, they’re big: about 7 meters in length (that’s 22 feet or so for us U.S. people).  They’re brownish with white polka dots. We were close enough we could have touched them. In fact, I thought Mike was going to grab one’s dorsal fin to stabilize himself for a better picture. Of course, we weren’t supposed to – the risk of passing germs and such on to the sharks. I’ve never been that close to something that big with no glass or bars between us. I’d do it again. No, the whale shark pictures in the blog are not from my trip. They may not even be from Mexico (but they are of whale sharks).

*For the record, I had a good time despite the frowny face icons. Some things just could have been better.

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