Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

We have had an extremely busy but relaxing week away from the city!! We went to this amazing place called Xcalak (said shkalak, x in Mayan sounds sh). It is a pretty isolated little fishing village with a few small eco-hotels on a marine park, mangroves and lagoon!! This is the hotel we stayed in, it is called Sin Duda Villas...the owners were amazing...we really loved staying there. All solar powered and as minimal impact as possible.

The snorkeling right in front of the hotel was great! We saw a moray eel among other amazing fishes and invertebrates.

There was seagrass everywhere and it looked to be in great shape! The corals were in better shape than anywhere else I have been snorkelling near Cancun. Although, like all corals in the Carribean, they are in pretty rough shape.

We also did some diving on an atoll 1.5 hours boat ride from the coast of Mexico. It is reputed to be the best diving on the entire MesoAmerican Barrier reef (2nd largest reef in the World). It is a marine park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the atoll is protected and they say by 2010 there will no fishing whatsoever on all of the atoll!! YAY!! Since it is protected and offshore, the corals were better and we also saw some large carnivorous fish (Jacks and Snappers), which are quite rare nowadays from overfishing. We also saw some AMAZING sponges, nurse sharks, a moray eel, courting trunkfish and lots of other really cool fish and corals!!! Some of them were as large as me!! Overall it was a great experience, and Diego and I really wanted to see it before it disappears. Here is a video Diego put together of our 3 dives out there so you can see it for yourself!

On our way to Xcalak, we stopped in this restaurant called El faisan y el venado (the pheasant and the deer) and had some traditional food from the southern region of the Yucatan. There was even a lovely mayan lady making real corn tortillas...from scratch not from prepared flour!!!

We are all getting ready for the big party tonight...lots of food, drink and presents!! It will be a blast!! Merry Christmas to everyone!! I hope you all have a wonderful celebration of family, friends and food!!

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