Here’s our trip report of day 2….sorry they are long, but I wanted to include as much detail as possible for our memories.
4/15 – We rise with the sun, as the sunrise shines right into our room. What a perfect start to our first full day in paradise! The weather is ideal for our trip to Isla Contoy!
We leave VLB before breakfast is served because we have to meet Captain Tony. Instead, we decide to grab a quick breakfast at Color de Verano…crepes for me, and bread (those Italians and their bread!!) and jam for Carlo. Yummy food, but a bit slow for us punctual northerners…we quickly pay and head to Captain Tony’s. We arrive to find out that Tony is still trying to get enough people together. He sends us off to explore some more, and gives us a new time to come back. Ah, so this is island time! We wander around and find more places we’ve read about. Lots of other yummy-looking breakfast locations to try in the future!
We return to Tony’s – and he has enough people! We’re just waiting for everyone to show up. Hurray! We will go today! Tony’s father brings chairs outside for me and Carlo. What a sweet man! Tony’s whole family is! We just sat down when Roundhouseeditor and her family walk by! We stopped them and chat for a few minutes. Yeah! Another newby from the board!
Finally! Everybody has arrived, and we get our gear and head for the boat! We have a wonderful group…a family of 4 from Pennsylvania, and another family of 4 from Merida. The family from Merida has 2 small children, Efraim and Katia, who are the same ages as ours. We feel a small sadness that our children are not along to play with Efraim and Katia. They would have lots of fun together!!
We all pile in and are ready for take off! The skies are cloudless, and the water is calm and clear. Carlo and I haven’t snorkeled since our honeymoon, and are really looking forward to it! We take off, and Tony’s boat cuts effortlessly through the water. Again, the colors of the water amaze us. The water is so clear that we can still see the bottom several miles from shore. Nothing like what we’re used to on the NE coast of the US, or the east coast of Italy where Carlo grew up. We are in our element. Gosh, why don’t we go boating more often! We love to be on the water!
We stop at a reef out in the middle of the ocean. It is a bit wavy and ‘mercury,’ as Tony says, because they are dredging for sand to take to Cancun to rebuild the beaches. I look at Carlo, who was raised on the sea to figure out what this ‘mercury’ means…he wants to know too – never heard of it. It took us a few minutes to realize what ‘mercury’ was…but we found out as soon as we jump in and take a look around…murky. Our new word for the trip! (Not at all making fun of Tony – he is a true gem – wonderfully sweet person. Carlo and I both speak languages other than our native one, and make plenty of boo-boos!! It’s just one of those things that came back again and again during our vacation!)
Anyhooo...it’s been a long time since we last snorkeled. I forgot how panicky I get when I get too close to the coral. I DO NOT want to get scratched, and end up with some horrible staph infection on my vacation!! (or ever for that matter!) So I’m a bit nervous in this area. Since it is so murky, and I am out of practice, a few times I find myself way too close for comfort to coral formations, or not able to find an easy way out. I see lots of coral, but not too many fish because I’m being nervous nelly!
Carlo, on the other hand, is off on his own seeing all kinds of things and having a great time. He and I finally meet up again, and he directs me toward a school of fish. I finally remind myself to RELAX and to stop CHOMPING on my snorkel!! Deep breaths – in – out – in – out. OK! I’ve composed myself, and I’m ready to find these fish and have fun in the water. I see some fish and start to enjoy myself...but it’s now time to head to Contoy.
Mario has fruit waiting for us on the boat. Perfect timing - I was getting hungry! After this quick snack, we soon see Isla Contoy. Lots and lots of birds…pelicans gliding by! Pristine, uninhabited paradise! Tony stops to take a few pics of us (see my user profile). Then we head to the dock. I am thrilled…this is even better than I imagined. What a postcard perfect location!
We explore for a few minutes, and then go back to the dock to snorkel some more. Carlo wants to hang out on the beach for a while, so I head out alone (after making him promise he’d keep an eye on me!). I am much more relaxed now, and see some amazing fish really close up. I turn around at one point, and I am facing about 12 BARRACUDA!! I experience a brief moment of panic, but quickly compose myself and enjoy seeing them so near. They don’t seem to even notice I’m there.
Lots more coral and fish…that seem to be putting on a show for me! I decide to head back to the beach to join Carlo. I get about 2/3 of the way back, and a HUGE manta ray swims not two feet beneath me!! COOL! This must be the ray everyone talks about! By the time I get to shore, the manta is swimming back and forth along the beach begging for scraps and attention like a puppy! I enjoy seeing the reactions of Katia and Efraim as they interact with the manta. I bet our kids would LOVE this!! We have to bring them!
It’s lunchtime!! I have been looking forward to this lunch for weeks because of all the raves I’ve read on the board! We each grab a plate and scoop up some beautiful guac, rice, and fish. YUUUMMMY!! This is one of the best meals of my life…and I do not usually like fish! In fact, I have often said that I hate fish! Lots of moaning and chewing going on at the table!! Not a lot of talking!! Need more guac and fish! OMG this is perfect! I LOVE THIS FISH!! Efraim Sr. tells us how to make it…we are giddy that we can try this at home! Although, we know it will not be nearly as good.
We finish gorging, and hang out on the beach for a while. The mantas make several return appearances. We chat with some Italians that arrive with a large daytrip group. As we’re talking, little tiny clear fish are nibbling on my toes. Although it tickles, I am secretly wondering if is their way of paying me back for consuming large quantities of their great-grandmother over there under the palapa! LOL!
It is time to leave Contoy. ) = We are sad to leave, as we had such a wonderful day. The trip back was a little bumpier. The waves and the wind have picked up a bit. All onboard are full and tired, so the ride back to Isla Mujeres is quiet. We enjoy the peace of being on the water with the hum of the motors behind us.
We arrive back safe and sound…say all of our goodbyes and head back to VLB. It’s been an eventful day, and we want to hang out at the pool, read and rest before dinner. The pool is deserted, so we jump right in, and float on rafts in the sun. This is the life!
After some lazing about at VLB, we head to El Veradero for dinner. How did anyone ever find this place?? We’re so glad they did! Ana makes a mean Mojito!! Carlo had garlic squid, and I ate the garlic shrimp. DELICIOUS!! And the flan! One of the best I’ve ever had! We chatted with the group of folks next to us – they were Germans who have lived in Cancun for over 20 years. They were a lot of fun.
Ana was our entertainment after the German group left.
We’re tired at this point, and quite tipsy, so we head back to VLB for some sleep! Another PERFECT day! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!!