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Snorkeling, Lighthouses and Crocodiles

Christmas Eco-Tour in Cozumel


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Grandeur of the Seas and Pearl & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Tuesday 25 December 2007 - Christmas

Lighthouse like building on shore - it is really a hotel

Lighthouse like building on shore - it is really a hotel

The ship got in to Cozumel at 7 and we did indeed tie up at the dock nearer to town (Punta Langosta). There was another ship at the pier where we were last time.
From Punta Langosta to the International Pier and the Punta Ealetita Lighthouse

From Punta Langosta to the International Pier and the Punta Ealetita Lighthouse


I could also see something that looked like another lighthouse to the north and I could also see the ferry dock.
Ferry dock

Ferry dock


Later on NCL Majesty came in on the other side of the pier. A large private motor yacht named Laurel was already there.

In 1998 we came to Cozumel for the diving. We stayed a week. This is our second visit this month. Last time we just walked around town and revisited the places from 1998. But this time we do have an excursion. We were to meet for our tour at 8:20 on the pier, a Bob went up for breakfast, but I decided to drink my cranberry juice and eat some bread and butter for breakfast.

Bob got the two tours that we are taking today and tomorrow mixed up. He thought we were doing the sting rays today, but today is the Eco-jeep tour with snorkeling. He wore his swimsuit and didn't bring a camera. I took my underwater camera in addition to my regular camera
Ship photographers

Ship photographers


After we fought our way past the photo-op people at the gangways, we walked out along the pier
c100_1209.jpgBow of the Pearl and Jeep rental on the dock

Bow of the Pearl and Jeep rental on the dock

Bob walking out ahead of me - Trans Caribe ferry

Bob walking out ahead of me - Trans Caribe ferry

to where the tours were to start.
Meeting place for excursions

Meeting place for excursions


We found the Eco-tour guy and signed in and Bob showed his driver's license and got a Designated Driver wrist band.

Bob's designated driver wristband

Bob's designated driver wristband

Then we were directed around to the other side of the building to take an escalator up to the balcony level.
Escalator in the Shopping mall area at the end of the dock

Escalator in the Shopping mall area at the end of the dock

Walkway over the street

Walkway over the street


The old lighthouse is in the center of the shopping area near the pier.

Old lighthouse lighted by the sun

Old lighthouse lighted by the sun

I gather it is no longer active, as I can't see any light or structure in it and there is now a big building between it and the water.
Base of the lighthouse in the marketplace

Base of the lighthouse in the marketplace


I took photos from the second deck of the terminal building
827599594794917-Sr_Frogs_nex..la_Cozumel.jpgSr Frog's next to Carlos n' Charlies and the orange Barracuda hotel

Sr Frog's next to Carlos n' Charlies and the orange Barracuda hotel

Flag pole in the shape of a ship mast

Flag pole in the shape of a ship mast


After 8:20, the man who signed us in came and marched us over to the parking lot.
100_1070.jpgParking lot and License plate

Parking lot and License plate


He said we were to be 3 or 4 to a jeep. We were only two, so the only other twosome paired with us - a man and his son from NJ. The man said he didn't realize that it was a stick shift (with 6 forward gears) so he let Bob drive. The lead jeep had the radios tuned to his microphone so he could talk to all of us.

Radio in the jeep

Radio in the jeep

We were given instructions to stay together and not let the taxis into our group.

We came out of the parking lot and there was a sign which said "Disculpa Las Molestias" blocking the road,

Disculpe las Molestias

Disculpe las Molestias

but the guide got out of his jeep and moved it so we could pass.
3848836-Passing_by_in_a_taxi_Isla_Cozumel.jpgVilla Blanca hotel opposite where we did our diving in 1998

Villa Blanca hotel opposite where we did our diving in 1998


We drove out of the town (over many speed bumps),
Speed bump sign

Speed bump sign


and then out a fairly good highway past the lighthouse that replaced the old one

Punta Ealetita Lighthouse

Punta Ealetita Lighthouse

to the south to Reserva Ecologica Parque Punta Sur.
Jeep mirror

Jeep mirror

100_1092.jpgFollowing the lead jeep

Following the lead jeep


This is a turtle nesting area and a marine sanctuary which has salt water crocodiles and a lighthouse with a 'Navigation Museum'
Punta Celarain lighthouse

Punta Celarain lighthouse


and a VERY small Mayan building called El Caracol.

At this point, we entered an unpaved road which was reminiscent of the roads in Belize or Costa Rica. Lots of rocks and potholes. The last part of it was one way.
3914278-Local_person_Isla_Cozumel.jpgVisitor's Center

Visitor's Center


Flags on the reserve

Flags on the reserve


Do not remove any marine organism

Do not remove any marine organism


First we were to snorkel. When I carrying my cane I seem to elicit sympathy and help, and the guide was concerned that I would not be able to complete the snorkeling. But Bob assured him that I couldn't walk very well, but I swam like a fish. Everyone got snorkels and fins, and we swam out past three swim platforms to a little strip of reef.

I was struggling (unsuccessfully) with my underwater camera. I later found out that my inability to take any pictures was because the batteries were shot (I had loaded rechargeable batteries in it that morning, but they weren't up to the job), and I also had it set to rewind instead of to go forward.

Eventually I just gave up and swam along the reef and looked at fish. There were sergeant majors and blue tang, and one French angel, plus one of those puffer type black polka dot fish. Most of the coral was fan coral, but there was some fire coral and one huge brain coral at the end.

The guide was towing two of the smaller kids. There was a boat following us to rescue any who needed it. We came to the end of the reef and were to walk back along the beach, but the guide put me into the boat to motor back. There we could wash off, and we did have towels to dry with. There were bathrooms, and hammocks
Line of hammocks

Line of hammocks

and kind of shells to sit in under umbrellas. I put on the Mazatlan cover-up which my daughter gave me after I took off my dive skin. I was barefoot.
732412443838276-Punta_Celara..la_Cozumel.jpg Punta Celarain lighthouse

Punta Celarain lighthouse

Window in the lighthouse

Window in the lighthouse

We got back into the jeeps and went back to the lighthouse where I wandered around the Museo de la Navigation
Map of the Reserva Ecologica Parque Punta Sur

Map of the Reserva Ecologica Parque Punta Sur

Lighthouses of the Yucatan

Lighthouses of the Yucatan

100_1111.jpgLighthouses of Cozumel

Lighthouses of Cozumel

Lighthouse model in the museum

Lighthouse model in the museum


271835843838287-Other_side_o..la_Cozumel.jpgSign about the recreation of the lighthouse keeper's house

Sign about the recreation of the lighthouse keeper's house


100_1113.jpgLighthouse keeper's room

Lighthouse keeper's room


First lighthouses in North American (the US)

First lighthouses in North American (the US)

100_1123.jpgNavigation tools and Sailing ship model

Navigation tools and Sailing ship model

Never before nor since have such large sailing ships been constructed with such great capacity

Never before nor since have such large sailing ships been constructed with such great capacity

Log canoe

Log canoe


Model of El Caracol

Model of El Caracol


I did not climb the lighthouse although we could have done that.
People at the top of the lighthouse

People at the top of the lighthouse


At this point I also put my shoes back on.

Next we went to El Caracol which dated to 1200-1500 A.D.
El Caracol

El Caracol


The guide did some explanation about the Mayans. There was a plaque there in three languages - Spanish, Mayan and English.
3876641-Another_sign_Isla_Cozumel.jpgSigns in 3 languages

Signs in 3 languages

Showing perimeter fence

Showing perimeter fence

Then we walked across to the Zona de Cocodrilos (Sea Cuidadoso) [Crocodiles Zone/Be Careful].
Sign and observation tower

Sign and observation tower

large_100_1159.jpg
The guide whistled and a big croc came swimming over and posed for us. I asked how high a crocodile could jump. The guide said, that in water that shallow, probably not very high.
Crocodile - thinking about a jump?

Crocodile - thinking about a jump?

Boardwalk with people

Boardwalk with people

Crocodile Smile

Crocodile Smile


here was also a big tower you could climb to see other crocs down in the water.
802212343876614-People_on_th..la_Cozumel.jpgFrom the second level

From the second level


I also got a photo of a
Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Black vulture

Black vulture


plus a couple other birds.
271562133876625-possibly_a_w..la_Cozumel.jpg307657303876623-Black_Catbir..la_Cozumel.jpgLittle Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron


When we came in the building near there looked like it had a vulture nest on top, or at any rate there was a couple of vultures up there, one of which was holding his wings out. But the vultures had left by the time we came back.
100_1152.jpgBird is gone

Bird is gone


The guide asked me if I'd been to Mazatlan, and I said that I had not, that the shirt was a gift, but that I had been to Tikal. He was quite impressed with that.

We passed a caravan of two person jeeps on the way out and some kind of watering hole
Yes we are open

Yes we are open


Then we were back on the main highway again, with a 90 k/h speed limit.
90 km/hr sign

90 km/hr sign


We were able to actually go that fast. We passed Chankanaab park which is where most people go to snorkel,
Sign pointing to Chakanab

Sign pointing to Chakanab


and pretty soon were back in town again.

The guide hugged me at the end. As we were walking back to the ship, I saw a man with a big boa constrictor and another snake,
Boa Tamer with ship passengers

Boa Tamer with ship passengers


and a girl with a spider monkey.
Bathrooms and phones at the pier

Bathrooms and phones at the pier


We did not get back to the ship until well after two. After we got everything organized and washed out etc it was mostly too late for lunch, so we just skipped it.
Nativity Scene

Nativity Scene


For dinner I had the
Shrimp and crab parfait appetizer

Shrimp and crab parfait appetizer


and Bob had the
Mango, Cantaloupe broth Ginger Panna Cotta

Mango, Cantaloupe broth Ginger Panna Cotta


This was a kind of melon soup with some bits of mango in it with white thing in the middle. Bob said it tasted like cream cheese (probably sour cream). Then he had Oriental Chicken Soup, and I had Chilled Celery Root Vichyssoise. Mine was good. Then we both had the
"Traditional Roast Turkey" dinner - NOT

"Traditional Roast Turkey" dinner - NOT


which was awful.
Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce


The carrots, dressing and cranberry sauce were OK, and there's not many ways to screw up mashed potatoes, but the dark meat of the turkey was pink, and the white meat was heavily spiced so you could hardly taste the turkey. Bob was very disappointed - he really likes roast turkey

We both had the
Chocolate-orange Christmas Yule Log (made of mousse)

Chocolate-orange Christmas Yule Log (made of mousse)


which I liked, but Bob said he'd rather have had his usual - ice cream with chocolate sauce.

We got back to the room before the steward had a chance to turn down the beds because his supervisor called a meeting. We go back to Eastern Standard Time tonight, but remembering what happened to Elsie and Art, we checked the TV to see what the time at the next port was before we moved the clock forward.

Next: Grand Cayman

Posted by greatgrandmaR 21:05 Archived in Mexico Tagged museum lighthouse snorkeling sanctuary crocodiles jeep cozumel

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