Archive | October, 2012

Learning to breathe underwater

31 Oct

We’ve had a relatively quiet few days, sitting in a classroom most of yesterday, doing the theory part of our PADI Openwater dive certificate.
We went out to the reef for our “confined” water skills test today (not so confined… there were manta rays swimming around us) – after an initial freakout from me all went well. Our instructor is quite good at holding my hand and calming me down. Kel took to it like… well… a fish to water.

We went on our first dive down to 12 meters and then out for another 12 meter dive this afternoon, practicing some skills again at the bottom like taking out our breathing regs and filling our masks with water. Saw a bit of cool stuff – a turtle, lots of fish, coral etc.

Tomorrow morning we go out for two more dives and then we’ll be certified divers…. who would have thought!

Kel wants to give the Blue Hole after we’re done and then we’ll head into Guatemala in a few days. The mosquitos and sand flies here are sending me absolutely INSANE (I’ve never been bitten more in my whole life), so I cant wait to get away from that! Other than that we’re loving Caye Caulker – off to have Lobster Burgers for dinner tonight!

Caye Caulker: Go Slow

29 Oct

We made it to Caye Caulker, a very small Island of the coast of Belize last night after a day of travel from Tulum. Sad to leave Mexico, but this place makes is hard to stay that way. The motto for Caye Caulker is “Go Slow” and everyone abides by the rule. There are no cars here, only golf carts, and you need to walk at about half the speed you normally do. The island is only about 800 meters wide and not very long at all. The place is basically part of the Caribbean, with rastas speaking Creole (English spoken with such an accent that you can’t understand a word) and the building painted bright pinks, greens and blues.

We checked into our hostel – Bella’s – a very chilled out and popular hostel and then made our way out to get some cash and grab some food. Unfortunately, as it was Sunday night, the ATM was out of money for the week only to be filled this morning, but luckily we managed to find a restaurant that takes card(turns out most places do here). We had an amazing dinner of fresh seafood at Rose’s, where you pick your own dinner at the front of the restaurant and they put it straight onto the BBQ. Doesn’t get much fresher, as the lobster were still live. Back at the hostel I chilled out while Kel went for a nighttime kayak with some others under the full moon.

This morning we spent wandering around and checking out the island and this afternoon we started our PADI dive certificate… now we have to do the boring reading part, so I would say its going to be a quiet night (but you never know!)

Tulum Ruins

28 Oct

Very cruisy morning followed by a visit to the Tulum ruins with an awesome Aussie chick we’ve met at the hostel (Lee – she reminds me heaps of Kirsten York). Amazing Mayan ruins right on the Caribbean sea – not the biggest ruins site that we’ve been to, but one of the most impressive because of the scenery. Couldn’t tell you a single fact about it because we didn’t get a guide, but it looked really, really pretty.

Tonight Kel’s teaching me some guitar (hopefully not a futile endeavor) and we’re heading out to celebrate our last night in Mexico. Tomorrow we head to Belize for week or two scuba-diving and sunshine.

Akumal

27 Oct

I lost Kel into the vortex of a hangover today, after (yet another) massive night of drinking last night with friends from home. It’s the worst he’s felt since he’s been here- I feel for him but am also glad he’s one step closer to my level. His main movements for the day were from the bed to the floor to the hammock (not to mention quite a few bowel movements, I’m told).

I went with a bunch of people from the hostel to a beach called Akumal, where I swam with turtles and little sting rays. Super pretty beach and a very chilled out afternoon. Kel’s going to do his dive certificate in Belize, so he didnt miss too much.

Tomorrow I think we’re going to head to the ruins and then make our way to Belize the day after that… though its a bit of a black hole for time here, so the chances are high that we end up staying for a few days. We decided to cancel our Carnaval accommodation in Brazil because of timing, so we have more breathing space for Central America, which I’m stoked about.

Mexico: Last stop Tulum

25 Oct

Super happy to be back in Mexico from Cuba, especially now we know that Cuba was hit by a hurricane the day we left. Loving Mexican food, beer and Tulum. Today we headed to a freshwater cenote with a bunch of people from our hostel, an awesome underground water cave with amazing colours, underwater stalactites and bats hanging from the roof.
After yet another lunch of tacos we headed down to the beach for a few hours of sunshine. Tonight we’re heading out with some friends from home – Shannon and Kris – who just yesterday got engaged in Puerto Escondido.
Think we’ll end up in Tulum for a few days – there’s a heap of lovely people staying at the hostel and quite a bit to do. Tossing up whether to stay n Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival or head down to Belize.  Tough decisions!

Cuba: The Rest

25 Oct

We spent three days as Fat Cats at an all inclusive resort in Varadero – eating and drinking far too much and not experiencing the culture of Cuba in any way. It was pretty disappointing and Kel and I spent a lot of it counting down the days until we could leave for Mexico (which we’re missing a lot). We left Varadero and made our way back to Havana, spending the afternoon wandering around old town and chilling out.

Today we flew back to Mexico (taking a very pimp all American car to the airport),flying into Cancun but leaving straight away for  Tulum. I have a feeling that we’ll get stuck here for a few days and then we’ll head down south to Belize for a week or two on Caya Caulker.

Loving being back in Mexico, with internet access, salt, chilli and lime!

Cuba: Day 6 and 7

25 Oct

Day 6 we left our new family in Trinidad, squeezing into a very, very old All-American Chevrolet and heading for Santa Clara to check out the Che Guevara museum / mausoleum.

Unfortunately in its old age and with four backpackers (and their packs) in the back, our old car couldnt make it up a big hill on the shortcut to Santa Clara. We ended up having to backtrack for an hour and go the long way around, changing taxi’s at one stage. The drive ended up taking a lot longer than expected and we were all knackered from the night before, so we ended up crashing out pretty early that night.

The next day we headed to the Che Guevara museum to fill ourselves with knowledge. The museum was worth seeing, but other that that there’s not a lot to do in Santa Clara, so we jumped in yet another taxi and made our way to Varadero, a very western, hotel focused area of Cuba.