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Chichén Itzá - Cozumel   12-13 April

We flew on the next morning to Cozumel, just 40 minutes away. Cozumel is an island off the east coast of Mexico which, thanks to Jacques Cousteau, is famous for its excellent clear waters and abundant marine life.  The only reason for visiting this tourist-infested island with countless huge cruise ships spitting out their occupants onto the streets and into the jewelry shops of San Miguel was that Flemming wanted  to go on a dive. We also needed to refuel.

After booking into the Hotel Flamingo (where we had a direct phone line from our room), we went in search of a dive shop.  But we had only gone a few yards before the rain started to bucket down.  Our emergency raincoats weren't up to dealing with that amount of water so we ducked into the nearest watering hole which happened to be the Hard Rock Café.  I almost forgot we were supposed to be in Mexico until they brought our nachos and guacamole which I have to admit were the best we'd tasted in the country.

We made it to the dive shop after lunch just as the sun came out again.  I joined Flemming on the diving trip as they also welcomed snorkellers.   This time I wasn't the only snorkeller.  I had a pleasant, rather giggly, young American woman for company.  They took us to several spots that varied in depth.  We saw several sharks below us in the deeper water and, in shallower water I swam in time with a sting ray for several minutes.  The corals were nothing to write home about, although I did see a lot of fan corals for the first time. The water was indeed crystal clear, but it was much colder than I had been used to in the South Pacific and I could have done with a wetsuit.  Flemming was very pleased with his dive.   He saw several sharks, barracudas and turtles and was diving through several tunnels.  I'm really jealous about the turtles as I have yet to see one.

The next day we hired a VW beetle and toured the island. All the snorkelling and diving is done from the west coast as that is the calm side of the island. We stopped off at a beach club a few miles south of San Miguel and were horrified to see a whole army of beginner snorkellers heading for the sea. While they were in the water, another army was being briefed on shore. Other armies of snorkellers were jumping off huge catamarans. Yuk, yuk.... We decided to time our brief snorkel between the troops. As I had feared, it wasn't very brilliant. We moved on to the east of the island which, thanks to waves and strong currents, makes it less attractive to tourists.  We actually found a pleasantly uncrowded beach (Chen Rio) with an even distribution of Mexicans and gringos, and where there was one good restaurant. On the way back to San Miguel, we stopped at the old Mayan ruins of San Gervasio. Apparently few of the cruise boat crowds make it to there.

Back at the hotel, we worked on the next two logbook pages and Flemming was up until late in the night to complete them and prepare some important e-mails.  But when the time came to upload the web pages, the telephone line was dead!  I'm grateful he didn't wake me up in his frustration.  It still didn't work when we awoke the next morning so we phoned down to reception to complain.  We were told that we would have to wait until the manager arrived at 9 a.m. in order to get our line back.  The manager would have closed it since it was our last night and the receptionist didn't have the key to the manager's office.  In the end, the helpful man managed to fix the problem about 15 minutes before the manager arrived. As a result of all this trouble, we were about an hour late leaving for the airport.

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On final for runway 11 in Cozumel. Notice the two cruise ships in the harbour - often there are five!!

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In Mexico they still make these cute little beetles
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When snorkelling at the good spots on the west coast, it is like Paris during the rush hour.
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The rougher east coast is much nicer as few of the cruise boat crowds go there
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Corona country! On the east coast we found this lovely spot called Chen Rio.
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We found few tourists at the archeological site of San Gervasio
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