Time to Dive (Again)

Another full day in Acapulco and another day out on the water. Can you blame us? We are in Acapulco after all. What we did on the water varied depending on what each of us picked from the optional excursion Contiki offered. We were to select from kayaking, snorkeling or diving. As I won this trip because of my fear of the ocean, and I concurred that goal via scuba diving, it was only fitting that I dove. I was originally the only one who selected this option, which kind of bummed me out but Stefani decided after sometime to join in on the fun. What I didn’t know is that regardless of which optional you selected, we were all together for the entire day.

This optional was set up with Acapulco Scuba Center and they provided us with everything we’d need. In total, 15 tour mates opted in this adventure (minus 2 who was unable to join due to the bus-virus); 4 were suppose to kayak (1 opted out once on the boat), 8 snorkeled and I scuba dove solo because poor Stef was one of the 2 who got to bug. It was quite the group and there was plenty of laughs!

We boarded the boat and relaxed a little as our guides prepped all the equipment, including fitting me with a very tight and snug wet suit. It took us nearly 45-60 minutes to actually locate a location to start our water adventure because of the amount of jellyfishes in the water. We attempted 4 different locations around Isla Roquette and each location we went too had so many jellyfishes on the surface it almost looks like the night sky. These jellyfish were about the size of a dollar (if even that big) and although not poisonous, they do pack a punch. At this point, I especially was a bit on the hot side because I’m still wearing the wetsuit (halfway) and was getting bummed that they were going to cancel the dive. Luckily after launching the kayakers and relocating the boat, it was time to get into the water.

To enter the water, we use the giant leap method, which I actually practiced and landed perfectly. Unfortunately, I forgot about my red filter on my GoPro and I turned the entire video red. Lesson learned. On this dive, I was joined by my dive master and another straggler, who was just learning to dive. It was quite frustrating diving with someone who was just learning, but in reality I became in a daze when underwater. It was fun searching for all the creatures, though if it wasn’t for my dive master I probably wouldn’t have seen half of them. The water was a bite muggy but I learned this was pretty typical for this time of year because of the temperature. In total I saw: blowfishes, stingrays, starfish, a sea-horse, a frog fish, eels and various other types of tropical fishes. We surfaced once during our dive because of the other man I was diving with, but in total we were underwater for about an hour. Click for pictures- Can you spot the animals?

Once back on board, I found out that a few of my tour mates became bait for the jellyfish. I felt really bad and they told me they couldn’t really see the fishes because of the clarity of the water. Regardless, everyone appeared to have a wonderful time. We left our dive spot and started to venture around the island in search of the kayakers. We were unable to locate them right away and so we headed out towards the open waters, and their right in front of us were BLUE WHALES. OMGOSH, could this day be any more wonderful. BLUE WHALES. I didn’t bring my big DSLR camera (lesson learned) but I was able to capture a little bit of the whales jumping out of water. We all were in complete excitement. We even saw a wild sea turtle, who kept embracing our presence by peaking its head above the surface. I think in total, we relaxed on the boat staring into the ocean watching the whales for nearly 20 minutes before the captain decided it was time to find the kayakers.

We located them and once they re-boarded the boat and asked us where we were, we headed back to land to continue with our last and final day in Acapulco. As we got back to our hotel fairly early and while some people hit the pool, I took a little nap/transferred photos onto my computer. This didn’t last too long and I was up and ready for dinner. I actually don’t remember what happened for dinner on this night but I do remember the crew gathering for a hotel party. Our tour guide called us “boring” because many of us chose to go to bed vs. heading out on the town. A few of the decided to, but I was very happy with going to bed. Tomorrow was another fun day on the bus heading to a small mining town.  Stay tuned.

 

Releasing baby turtles

Staying up until 2:30/3 AM was probably not the smartest idea in the world when you had a full day packed with outdoors/wildlife activities planned. This optional wasn’t a very popular one, but when Ish told us what we’d actually be doing, 4 of us jumped at the opportunity. It was the Stiffs, myself and Aimee.

The morning started with us girls getting into an unmarked white van with our tour guide in the drivers seat. His name was Roger Doger. I wasn’t sure at this point what to expect but it’s Mexico so I just went with the flow. He drove us towards south Acapulco to a popular location known as Barra Vieja for a motorboat ride along Laguna de Tres Palos. This particular freshwater lagoon is a very common location for many different exotic species of tropical birds and is a sanctuary for the variety of wildlife. The boat ride lead us south through the lagoon for a good hour where we enjoy the opportunity to try our hand at bird watching, the most popular bird was the white heron. Poor Steph had a difficult time, but was able to spot a few beautiful birds by the end of the ride.

Throughout this boat ride, Roger Doger was explaining much about the wildlife in this particular location using his very own hand drawn images. It’s a compilation of the specific birds that he’s seen in the region. Quite impressive of a tour guide. It shows the passion he has for 1) what he does, and 2) for his city. I was able to capture many of the species of birds we saw and I wish I could name them, but due to the late night, I was struggling to give my full attention.

Once we reached the end of the lagoon, we entered into this small mangrove tunnel that lead us to a open water filled with water lilies and lily pads. I was at a loss for words. I felt like I was in the scene from the Notebook. When I looked towards the captain, he had his hand in the water. At this point I was questioning what he was doing until he lifted a lily onto the boat and proceeded to manipulate the stem. In less than 30 seconds, the stem became part of a lily necklace. I was quite impressed. We continued our way back to shore and the entire ride back the four of us girls were talking about how we could spend our whole day with the fresh breeze in our hair.

We left the lagoon and headed towards part 2 of the optional: Campamento Tortuguero. Campamento Tortuguero is a conservation and protection camp for marine turtles located in Barra Vieja on a stretch of beach known as Playa Larga. This conservatory is ran by a local biologist/environmentalist, who spends his time rescuing, releasing and educating others regarding the three different turtle species located along the Guerrero coast line, include the endangered Tortuga Golfina . By doing this, he has increased the survival rate of these turtles from 1% to 5%, which is a huge increasing for these creatures. Campamento Tortuguero is a hands on conservatory, meaning after a little education regarding turtles, you are able to hold and release your own adoptive Golfina sea turtle into the ocean. What I learned from our 15 minute introductory lesson was how the sex of the turtle is based on the location and temperature within the nest. Males on top, females on the bottom. 

Turtles are probably one of my most favorite animals and given this opportunity to hold something for fragile and endangered was more than words could say. Sea turtles are so tiny and they just rest in your hand flapping their little fins. Talk about adorable. I named my turtles, Hercules and Merida (if you watch disney movies you’d understand). Steph gave her’s redneck names (I can’t remember specifically what she named them) and the other Stef named her’s Michelangelo and Raphael. This was diffidently the highlight of the trip thus far.

At this point, all four of us are beginning to fade, and although we technically had one last stop to a botanical gardens (after our quick stop lunch), our tour guide accidentally started to head back to the hotel. None of us complained and we were happy to end our tour after the turtles. I don’t think you could really top adopting and releasing turtles. Instead, Amy and Steph took a nap and Stef and I headed down to the pool to meet up with some of the other tour mates. It was quite the afternoon of lounging around and drinking beers/margaritas in the sun.

My day didn’t end here. Tonight was another exclusive Backstage Pass inclusion offered by Contiki. We had the opportunity to board a party boat for a sunset cruise around the Acapulco Bay and Isla Roquette. The party cruise lasted about 90 minutes and while some of us were enjoying the complimentary beverages, others were struggling/recovering from last nights extravaganza. I luckily wasn’t battling a hangover like others so I was able to enjoy some free beverages, however because I chose to opt in the scuba diving optional the next day, I was on a drinking time restriction. It didn’t take away from the experience and I really do love boating on the water especially at sunset.

Once the cruise ended and we hopped back onto the bus, we headed towards a local restaurant for our dinner. By this time, there were about 3-4 tour mates who started not feeling good and they chose to head back to the hotel verse coming out to dinner. We are 5 days into this tour and we’re dropping like flies. One by one, people have been beaten and bruised from this bus-curse of a sickness and I feel horrible for those who’ve missed out on tonights meal.

Ish told us about this place and how they have fabulously delicious chicken, steak and pork items including quesadillas and tacos. During dinner, I enjoyed another yummy Mexican traditional beverage, Horchata. Horchata is a rice-based milky style drink that is a combination of sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. And pretty darn delicious. It didn’t help that the restaurant over looked the coast line with the sunsetting behind the hills. For dinner I enjoyed delicious steak tacos with an order of guacamole (my all time favorite).

Once dinner ended, we made our way back to the hotel and quite frankly I don’t actually remember what we did. I think I called it an early night. I couldn’t drink and everyone was just trying to recover. I’m pretty excited though because I thought my last time diving for a while would have been in Cancun, but I am going diving in the morning! Yay for surprises (sort-of). Can’t wait for another day out on the water for another scuba diving adventure.