Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Holbox Island - The Day I Almost Swam With Whale Sharks

Right there on the top of my Mexico Bucket List is - swim with whale sharks. And wouldn't you know it, we were down there right when the whale shark season was starting (June-September). I couldn't pass that up. So all three of us jumped into our rental car early in the morning and headed North from Playa del Carmen to an island on the tip of the peninsula called Holbox (pronounced Holbosh) where it was said to be the hot spot. It was a good 4 hour drive because of all the tiny towns with massive speed bumps, carts, children and dogs in the street not allowing for any movement faster than 20 mph.

When we arrived around 1:00 pm. We jumped onto the ferry and started talking to all the locals to get the scoop. Well, the scoop was we were too late for any tours. Apparently the tours head out at 7 am and by now the water was too choppy. That's just wrong. That and they said the BEST BEST time to be there would be in July. WHAT? Ugh someone needs to tell all those tour groups in Cancun they need to get some facts straight. They also added salt to the cut by saying "oh yes, you can see swarms of whale sharks, dolphins, manatee, flying stingray and flamingos." I'm telling you, I pictured a crazy aquatic zoo with tiny humans swimming in their mist. Looks like I'm heading back for a short weekend trip someday.

Disappointed and determined to make the best of our long journey we rented what I call a "go cart" and hoofed it around the island to check out as much as we could. The beaches were empty and the hotel zone was absolutely quiet. Perfect place to disconnect from the world completely. Once Andrea saw the stretch of endless beach she had to jump off the cart and touch the water. The sand was like pudding between your toes. We then parked and walked across the stretch of water to a sand bar in the middle of the ocean (where all the flamingo rest).

Tired and needing fuel we went to a recommended restaurant that specialized in sea food and ceviche. Javier's meal was so good! He had a tall class of shrimp soup, a side of crackers and afterwards a plate of ceviche tacos. Mmmm.

Before catching the ferry back to the main land, we bought home made ice cream and parked our cart on the beach to watch the sun set. Beside us, local fishermen got high while gutting their day's catch. Oh island life.

Edit: To see my second attempt to swim with whale sharks, see this post


Kyle said...

Ahhhh, you couldn't stay the night and go the next morning?!

Christy said...

No, not really. Our timeline was pretty tight and my sister was on a strict budget, so paying another $100 for a hotel room wasn't really doable. We totally thought about it. That and they said we'd be boating for hours (with my motion sickness) looking for sharks b/c it was still pretty early in the season. Boo!