I have been very lucky in that my parents always believed in going just that little bit further to expose my sister and I to people, places, sights and experiences that not so many people get to enjoy.Thats why last June we found ourselves on a flight (www.bookingbuddy.com) to the caribbean coast of Mexico or the “Riviera Maya”
While Cancun might be a fun town for teens, my parents loath it (CanVegas to them) and we were quickly whisked away in a rental car www.easywayrentacar.com for a two hour drive South to a beautiful secluded spot called Tankah Bay where we had rented a villa through http://www.locogringo.com
My dad being British, the first thing we had to do was watch the opening game of the Soccer World Cup between Mexico and South Africa. This we did in a dirt floor Mexican bar in the nearby town of Tulum, us diplomatically draped in what Mexican colors we could find and munching delish eggs, tortillas, salsa and refried beans with a friendly and pumped local crowd smashing back Coronas at 9 a.m. It was a fairly dull game but the atmosphere in the bar was entirely electric and well worth getting up for.
We also managed to drag ourselves from the beach for a fun, spine rattling ATV ride through the jungle, to snorkel in the breathtaking freshwater limestone caves under the jungle called cenotes (http://www.cenotedosojos.com/) and to visit the fascinating and beautifully located Mayan ruins in Tulum and Coba
After a week in the house we set off on a sweaty and stressful 6 hour drive north to find the ferry for Isla Holbox, which, from June through September is one of the worlds best spots for an encounter with Whale Sharks, the worlds largest mammal. Bickering our way down pot holed back roads through slumbering villages, we tried to guestimate where we might be on account of the amusing Mexican lack of signposts and finally made the last ferry with moments to spare for the 20 minute crossing.
The island was funky as could be, only rutted sand streets, with no cars and low buildings painted in happy caribbean colors. A golf cart taxi took us to our perfect tropical beach hotel.
Dusty bars and street carts with sizzling grilled meats and home made ice cream dotted the sleepy town on a long white beach backed by marshes filled with pink, shrimp eating flamingos. I could have stayed there for months.
Next morning a boat (arranged by the hotel) picked us up from the beach and we roared out into the wild blue ocean which gradually became glassy and flat. With sea mist on the horizon and deep blue sky above and it was like being inside a huge blue egg. Suddenly we were surrounded by a posse of gigantic Manta rays. I had no idea they could be so huge, 16 feet across at least some of them and doing back flips out of the water like dolphins for our (and I guess their) amusement. Then we came upon a batch of 4 magnificent Whale Sharks around 18 – 20 ft. We were quickly over the side swimming two at a time with our guide around and alongside these amazing beings.
We were eventually heading back to port when we came across – Leviathan!!! A humungous whale shark 30 feet at least, slurping Krill in deliciously clear water. I was over the side in a twink and eye to vast implacable eye with this giant. He had gills like barn doors and as he passed I could not resist wickedly reaching out and hitching a ride on his towering dorsal fin. All my life I had dreamed of being this close to one of these beautiful creatures. I felt no fear as he swept me along like a feather; but it was just wonderfully chastening to feel so tiny and insignificant and to be in the presence of the might and magnificence of one of Gods such astonishing creations.
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