Day 9: A Big Surprise...fishies in the Sunset...and a Pirate...Arghhh!
Well, this was our official "last day" (boo hiss) here and we were obviously low on food in the house (since I didn't make breakfast yesterday, I sure don't have anything to make today) and we decided to go to a beach club that served breakfast.
We were up early, had our caffeine and did our Espanol out back in the Oasis Garden. I decided to start our laundry and packing. I wanted to get as much done today as I could so that we wouldn't be too rushed when we came home tonight.
After getting the last load of laundry in, Hija blessed us with her presence and was ready for food and a day of fun. I checked my list of "wanna-do's" and I decided that Sunset Restaurant and Bar sounded like a good choice for the day. I actually contacted them on their facebook and ask if there was a cover charge and they replied "no, and no minimum buy amount you just need to eat or drink here". I ask if they had breakfast and they said "yes at any time". Then of course, I ask if there was snorkeling there and they said there was. So I told them I was on my way!! And they said "We are waiting for you" :) We hopped in the hooptie and off we went.
When we pulled out, I noticed a plane in the sky. Funny thing is, I hadn't noticed one plane while we were here and now that we are about to be leaving, there's a plane in the sky. Boo hiss again!
As we are heading to Sunset along Rafael E Melgar (the main road along that side) I swear I have never noticed the area looking like it did. Sunset is located between the 2 piers (International) and (Punta Langosta) so it's real close to the cruise ships. The hubby reminded me that we docked there last time and walked the streets trying to find our tour, which I did remember, but maybe it's because we didn't go this far down? I don't know but this area is beautiful and looks like it's the "ritzy" area of Cozumel. Maybe because Grand Park Royal was located there and took up 15 blocks (just kidding, but it's huge and on both sides of the street) and then you have the beautiful water on the other side with the palms swaying in the wind. Or maybe I was just in the zone.
We ended up passing Sunset and I decided to drive down a bit to check it out and that's where I decided it was a really cool area. LOL Maybe it just looked so beautiful because there wasn't many people there. I'm not sure.
I just love all the buildings with the paintings on them! I actually took a lot of pictures of them during our stay.
I took a picture of Grand Park Royal as we passed by because I was interested in looking it up when we returned home and ooooweeee it's expensive!
So sad to see this...but yet it makes for an awesome vacation!
After listening to the moaning of mi familia's bellies, I practiced my U turn skills and headed back the other way. There was no passing up Sunset this time because I spotted their rolling advertisement on my side of the road.
Now Sunset doesn't seem to have an actual webpage...or at least I can't find one. They just have a facebook page, which is how I contacted them to ask about entrance, breakfast and snorkeling.
We were greeted as we walked in with an alcohol bath and was told to sit wherever we wanted. This place is 2 stories and we headed downstairs by the "beach" area.
They handed us the menus on a sunset. Now that's the sunset I had been hoping for while here. I just didn't realize I had to get it on a menu to see it.
They had a nice area for showers and rinsing off after snorkeling.
I didn't really wander off to take pictures of the area at this point. I just wanted food. We placed our order and they brought out chips and salsa. No fiery hot green stuff for me no thank you!
Our food came out super fast...like 8 minutes fast according to my time stamp. Now that's service! They even brought a basket of toast that was made out of Texas toast bread. We had a feast I tell ya! Deliciosa!
Ok, bellies were full and it was time to take a few pictures of the area.
Ok, that was good enough for me for right now. I couldn't wait to get the snorkel gear on and head out to the crystal clear refreshing water and explore what this place has to offer!
I told hija to get her mask and "Let's Go Tally Ho! Vámonos!"
I loved that they had the stairs to enter and exit the water. It made it easier on me although any steps into water meant they would be slippery once you hit the water but there was a handrail to hang onto.
Once in the water...hmmm, lots of rocks and sand. I wasn't seeing too much at this point.
The first fish of the day...a Surgeon fish and a Slippery Dick Wrasse all surrounded in a beautiful backdrop of....rock!
I pointed at the dock and said "Look Hija! There's a dock here for you to jump off of just like Buccano's!" She couldn't wait to get over there and give it a try. While she was getting out of the water and heading to the dock, I swam over to it to see if there was anything interesting to see under it. Usually when you have a dock, there's goodies hiding out under it and coral lined up and down the pillars to the dock. I would be disappointed this time around.
Remember the beautiful bright colored seaweed grass stuff from the Sky Reef that I mentioned I had never really noticed it being this color before when snorkeling? Well, I guess my mind wasn't playing tricks on me when I said that because there was some here and it wasn't bright green and blue like it was at Sky Reef. I knew there was a reason I hadn't really noticed it much in the past.
Hija made it to the dock and off she went...
I don't think it was the same as at Buccano's because it didn't last very long. She came back over to the steps and she was talking to her Padre. I told her to "Let's head out along the rocks and see what there is to see here" and off we went.
I started noticing these balls again. I think they are called reef balls, but I like to call them bio-balls. The reason behind that is that back in the 80's and I got my first saltwater tank, you had this huge plastic "box" that sat down below the aquarium and it was your filtration system. You put these "bio-balls" in it and they were pretty big in size, like larger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball. They were made of some type of plastic too. You would fill the system up with those and it filtered your water. They looked just like these balls with the holes in them...therefore, these are bio-balls to me!
Now we hadn't made it too incredibly far when, for some reason, I notice that Hija is no longer beside me. She's standing up in the water and when I came up, she says "Daddy wants us". Um, ok. Are you serious? What for??? We just got out here and had barely made it far at all. She says "I don't know, but he said get out" I honestly had no idea what was going on and of course my mind started going all different kinds of places. Did he go to pay for breakfast and his card was declined or something else go wrong? I just had no idea but at this point I was a little perturbed.
I finally made it back to the steps and ask what was going on. He said "I did something". Oh lordy what would YOU have possibly did? My heart sank. It was racing. I honestly could not come up with one thing that he could have "did". He's just looking at me and I couldn't read his face honestly. After being together for 18 years, this would be the first time I just couldn't tell. Hija had gotten out of the water way before me and was standing beside him and she had this "look" on her face as well and she was biting her nails. That's her nervous sign. She looked almost worried and like she was keeping something inside from me. I wouldn't be shocked if my face had turned many colors by now and I was probably shaking a little inside. Like don't do this to me! Not on our last day! WHAT IS GOING ON?????!!!!!
He paused for a moment that seemed like eternity then said "I know you have been really upset and down since you had such a bad day scuba diving and I want to make it up to you". Ummmmm.......ok. Then he proceeds to tell me "I booked us scuba diving!" I think my heart sank even more. I said "What are you trying to do? Give me another panic attack? I don't want to experience what I did last time and why would you do this to me? What do you mean you booked us scuba diving???" He said "I wanted to surprise you! I want you to have a do-over. I want it to be better this time" I'm sure I blankly starred at him for a few minutes while all these thoughts in my head were circling around. I knew that I had seen A LOT of divers doing Discover Scuba going in and out the entire time we had been here. I honestly didn't think much about it and had put that portion of my life behind me.
I tried to gather my composure before I spoke. I tried to come up with everything possible. He said the diving would be right here from the shore. I told him "the snorkeling so far is not looking that great. It's nothing but rock and sand and not many fish". I ask him why would he waste money on it if it wasn't that great and having the possibility that I might have another bad experience? He told me that he had spoke to them and told them what happened to me the other day and they said they would let us go for $30 each! Say what? Why so cheap? He said "I'm not sure. They ask if we were certified and I told them no just Sakari". Wait what? Sakari is not certified! He said "Well she completed her courses and got her Master PADI Seal" I told him "That's not certification!!" I then reminded him that we were flying out tomorrow and you can't dive within a certain amount of time prior to flying. He said he told them that and they ask what time we were leaving and he told them. They said it would be ok. I just really didn't know about this. I just really didn't! He said "It will be a shallow dive and from the beach so you will do just fine babe!"
I pouted for awhile. I argued for awhile. I thought "just maybe" and then went back to "no". He told me to just talk to them. When I did, I clarified that Sakari was NOT certified and my concerns. Then of course the price changed. But, they said they had a special going on and we would have to get online and schedule the dive and apply the coupon code to use it. The original price was $79 and with the discount, it ended up being $59. I guess not too bad but definitely not $30. It wouldn't actually let me book for today, so they told me to do it for tomorrow and they knew that it was for today.
The instructor that was taking everyone out said that he would have to call someone to come in to do our dive. He was completely booked (and you could tell because there wasn't a break in between all the dives he was doing with everyone there). We waited and waited and was told that the instructor they use as a fill in was coming from the mainland and it would be about 20 minutes. It was more like an hour but that was ok.
I decided to take a few pictures while we waited. I was trying really hard to calm my nerves.
There was a guy that came to talk to us and said he would get a key to the lockers so that we could put our things in it. After hauling everything up there, and locking the locker, the hubby forgot that he still had his hat on. He was bound and determined to not come home with that hat this vacation! When I tried to open the locker back up, it would not open. They tried and tried and it took forever to get the key to work. I was really hoping this wasn't an indication of what was to come from this day.
As we struggled with the lockers, I hear this sound....Ohhhhh, I know what that sound is now! It's the PAN MAN! I caught him as he was going by. Wow, he followed us all the way here just to annoy us? His legs must be really strong to come this far on a bike!
Oh gosh, this really was about to happen!
Things were getting real when I seen this all lined up...
Our instructor had arrived and it was time to get geared up. He explained that he lived on the mainland and had been called over and sorry it took so long. He told us that he used to work here at Sand Dollar and also a few other places and then went to work for the cruise ships doing their diving tours when they were here. Now he's just a fill-in since the cruise ships are no longer coming.
I stood back and just took pictures while mi familia geared up and tested their equipment. We had told him about my leg and not being able to walk with the tank on or get down the steps and he gladly had my equipment carried down for me. He was really nice and understanding. He had said he broke his leg in the same place with plates and screws and it took him years to heal.
We entered the water, I geared up, then it was time to go down and practice a few skills. See, it gave me time to get warmed up and I was good to go. We cleared our mask and removed our regulator.
Skills were a breeze and then off we went. Esposo was starring at me and kept giving me the "ok" symbol. Yes, I was "ok".
The instructor started with a little fun...blowing ring bubbles to impress us but little did he know that Sakari can do that too.
Moving along the rocky/sandy bottom and snapping pictures without a care in the world. I was doing good and my mind was on the diving.
Some Damsels and Grunts to start the dive with
Then a Four-eyed Butterfly fish entered the picture.
The Harlequin Bass: Now these little guys (or girls...which ever they decide to be because they are hermaphrodites until spawning and then decide what role to take on) are not really what I think of when I think of a "bass". These guys are small and usually only grow up to around 2-3 1/2" with a max of 4". I see them more in the aquarium stores than I do in the ocean.
I can say that this place had more anemone's in the area than I think I have ever seen before. They were just everywhere. After awhile, I just stopped taking pictures of them because they were all the same and just everywhere.
There's those bio-balls. They had some pretty big ones. I don't think these would fit in my aquarium.
Blue Head Wrasse and all it's little amigo's.
A Sea Cucumber...or as Sakari likes to call it "poop slug", which she's not too far off...they also call this the "Donkey Dung"
We came up to one of the bio-balls and decided to have a look inside. There's usually a bunch of Damsels inside but this one was taken over by mostly Snappers and Grunts with a lonely big Sergeant Major Damsel
Don't think Sakari wasn't armed with a camera either. She was snapping away.
Now there is one thing that I have noticed and learned this time around...Sakari has a very sharp eye. She's probably almost as good as the instructors we've had on finding and spotting things. She would see things that I never even seen. I have decided that from now on, I'm sticking close to her when we dive.
An Arrow Crab (or some call them Spider Crabs). They have such weird triangle shaped bodies with bright blue pincher claws. Interesting fact, they like to hang out with long toxic spined urchins for protection...and this is exactly what Sakari caught in this picture.
A few of her macro shots along the way of coral and anemones.
Isn't this simply gorgeous? The neon green coral, not the poop slug. Yep, I'm sticking with her next time. You all may get double pictures of everything next time around. LOL
Then I came up on another Flamingo Tongue Snail. No matter what I do, I just can't get a good picture of one.
But....guess who managed to get an excellent picture of it? I'm just gonna leave the water photography to her from now on. (She takes a photography class at her arts school...I can definitely see were she excels in this. Her teacher is always commenting on what great photography she does and has a good eye. She tells me "I'm a macro photographer" lol
Then we came across this DNA sculpture. I had no idea what it is, why it is or where it is. But it was pretty cool.
Then we came across this weird looking glass ball. The hubby thought it was a light and I thought it was a camera. It had all different kinds of wires (electric) in the area and I was sure someone was watching us. Sakari obviously found it interesting as well because she took a few pictures of it too.
So I just now tried to look up what this was and here is the information I found on it:
Cozumel electric reef webcam
Underwater webcam off the coast of Cozumel Island. Our friends at Living Sea Sculpture have finally installed their long awaited artistic electric reef, named Zoe, off the coast of Cozumel Island. Not only is the structure a beautiful piece of underwater artwork, it provides essential habitat for corals and other marine life.
Zoe is a Living Sea Sculpture by Colleen Flanigan. Over FOUR HUNDRED generous backers from Kickstarter and Razoo crowdfunding campaigns, as well as numerous private donors, and conservation leaders in Mexico supported this unique effort to restore corals in an area damaged by hurricanes, pollution, and other human activities. Fabricated in 2011 and installed in October of 2016 with a dedicated, talented international team, this 5m x 3m x2m welded steel matrix, inspired by DNA, is electrified to build an ongoing calciferous collaboration with corals and other marine organisms in Cozumel, Mexico.
The Living Sea Sculpture is installed fifty meters from shore in front of the Sand Dollar Sports Dive Shop and Sunset Restaurant, who generously provide power and Internet. This mineral accretion process, is a method for regenerating coral reefs. Zoe was invited to come to life in a unique coral restoration lab and underwater art museum, Musubo, a featured attraction of the annual Scuba Fest.
THE STORY OF ZOE: Zoe Anderson, an amazing young woman who lost her life at 24 in a tragic accident, which occurred when carbon monoxide from an improperly installed heater entered her home. The name Zoe is a Greek word meaning “life”, and Zoe lived life to the fullest, famous for her bright colors, generosity, laughter, and sparkle. Among her other passions, she was a neuroscientist, an artist, a photographer, and a diver. She loved the ocean, and was alarmed by the threats to its health.
After her death, her friends and family raised funds in her memory. One use of those funds was to commission the installation of the sculpture named Zoe in her honor. The Cozumel location is equipped with a tilt, pan, and zoom webcam which will allow us all to watch as life slowly returns to populate this remarkable underwater sculpture by artist Colleen Flanigan. This piece is the latest of Colleen’s coral restoration works. The form was inspired by the twisting DNA molecules that encode all known life, yet the sculpture is more than just a symbol of life, it is designed to actually become alive itself through an innovative method of electrolysis in the sea.