August 3 – Isla Mujeres

Posted Posted in Adventure, North America, Scuba

Eric made plans for a helicopter trip for himself, Sterling, and Wolcott so they could see the aggregation from the air. Alex, Nathalie and I went out with the sharks because there’s room only for three people in the helicopter, and the price was well over my threshold. So the three of us had the boat and the sharks completely to ourselves since we wouldn’t have to cycle in and out of the water three snorkelers at a time. We spent the entire day (five hours) in the water, coming out only for snacks and water.

A and N, with Isla Mujeres in the background

Whale shark nose


August 2 – Isla Mujeres

Posted Posted in Adventure, North America, Scuba

Another early morning with our daily routine: sunscreen, cameras, dive skins, and off to the boat. The conditions are still amazing. Not the smooth water from yesterday but so much better than most. Often this trip gets three out of five days worth of whale sharks and already we’ve had three days of hundreds upon hundreds of sharks.

More Snorkeling
Sterling, Wolcott and I were the first snorkelers in the water, and the effect of the low morning light, slightly-cloudy conditions, and egg-filled water was a spooky, cloudy water with only ten feet of visibility. Sharks emerged from the darkness with no warning, making my heart jump the first few sightings. After a while the eye begins to make adjustments for large shadows and I could recognize the approach of a shark before it arrived. They kept coming, though. The pod was densely packed today and many of the whales fed about 4-6 feet underwater. More than once I was surprised by a bump on my fin when a shark snuck in from behind and swam directly underneath me.


July 30: NYC to Isla Mujeres

Posted Posted in Adventure, North America, Sightseeing

NYC to Cancun
This adventure, courtesy of my dive buddy Eric Cheng and his insatiable wanderlust, knocks a big check off my bucket list: whale sharks. He emailed a few months ago to say he was planning a charter with a small group and I immediately signed up. Bonus that it was so easy to get to – Cancun is a quick, direct flight from JFK.

That flight was interesting, first because of the two Snookie-like girls in the row in front of me who were thrilled to go to Cancun. They took endless photos of each other in their plane seats, expressed their plans “Ohmigod we are TOTALLY going shopping!” and then wooped enthusiastically when the plane landed. I assumed many bars would be danced on that weekend. In addition to the Snookies, there was an American man named Juan who complimented me before the flight, “Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Julia Roberts?”, then passed me his business card with a note during the flight. And then – all through Mexican customs – peppered me with questions that I tried to evade. The most jaw-dropping question? When I told him I was meeting friends on an island he asked, “Oooohhh… an island. Do you have a sugar daddy?”

* Pause while my jaw drops with disgust and revulsion. *

In what part of the world is that not an offensive question? Ick. And off I ran with my taxi driver Luis, who was sweet and informative and didn’t ask offensive sugar daddy questions at all.

I arrived at the Isla Mujeres ferry mere minutes before it departed Cancun. Thirty minutes later I was on the island and in a taxi to our hotel, Playa de la Media Luna. I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting by the pool, reading my book and listening to the waves break on the shore a few yards away.