Within an hour, I flew through customs, grabbed my bag off the conveyor, exchanged some dough at the airport, hoped the bus to Cancun centro and was on the bus to Chiquila, where I catch the ferry to Isla Holbox. A quiet Tuesday in September at Cancun International indeed.
The ride to Chiquila would be about two hours, but along the way, regional riders are picked up and dropped off at various small towns and pueblos. Once off the old Merida road, turning north at Nuevo Xcan, the road narrows, reminiscent of the old Hwy. 307 along the coast. Supposedly two lanes, but if a half-meter seperates cars passing in opposite directions, it might be a stretch. The encroaching jungle challenges the road here on this stretch for dominance, the road a simple fracture, a tiny vein through a sea of green.
Three quarters of the way to our destination, the bustling town of Kantunilkin welcomes us with an archway over the road. Five minutes later, when you stop in town, feel free to get out and use the public restroom, or get a bottle of water, have a smoke, or get a hot taco at one of two "taquerias", as the driver fills out his necessary paperwork. The stop here in town is usually about 15 minutes. The bus is clean and air-conditioned, BUT there is no restroom, unlike most of the ADO buses that run along the coast.
Heading north from Kantunilkin, the road work begins, and dozers are actively widening the road, tearing away the jungle, and my mind wanders back a couple of decades to when I first saw this south of Cancun. This particular day, the only thing slowing them down was the torrential rain and howling wind, it was black as night as we headed towards the Yucatans north coast.
With lights on in mid-afternoon, and visibility negligible, we reached Chiquila, a sleepy fishing town and the door to Holbox. Rounding the circular statue of dancing dolphins around a small pool, the bus came to a stop. No sooner had we disembarked and gathered our belongings, the short walk down the pier took a dozen of us to the waiting ferry. These are the same couple of ferries that years ago made the crossing from Playa to Cozumel, now relegated to the much calmer Chiquila-Holbox route.
Away we went, the water stirred up and muddy from the storm, mixed with it's natural green color, we nearly reached our destination when, thud, the shallow and narrow mud channel close to Holbox, got the best of our Captain. The prop had found a home buried in the silty brown bottom in two feet of water, yup, still pouring, and at a stand still. Within clear site of Holbox's small pier, and mangrove choked southern coastline, before any of us had a worry, and most of us had cleared our tentaive laughter, the Captain cleverly thrusted his way out of his predicament and we were back on our way, quickly coming to a smooth landing at the pier.
Most of the passengers chose to walk across the island to the beach side as the storm cleared for a moment, some took advantage of the golf cart taxis. The walk in fact across the island is only about ten minutes, I chose to wait it out, I saw more rain coming, and did it come hard. Nearly an hours worth, the sand streets filled with several inches of water quickly as I sat under a small palapa waiting it out with a couple of local fishermen.................(to be continued)