rowanf: (Diver Rowan)

Ixchel-sunrise.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
On Saturday morning we visited the Cliffs of Dawn at dawn. We were run off from actually getting out to the point by a guard (the attraction doesn't open until 10am) but we sat amongst the statues in the park and watched the sun come up.

This picture (more views on flickr) is a statue of Ixchel on Isla Mujeres near the park where the ruins of her temple stand on the southernmost point of the island. It is the most eastern point of Mexico and hence the first place the dawn touches.

In Mayan times women came to the Island which was entirely sacred to Ixchel. She was midwife and bringer of fertility. There are round pools at the base of the cliffs where the women bathed to be granted fertility and also to give birth. She is triple aspected with the midwife being the old woman. Her maiden aspect is often shown with a rabbit. I imagine this modern statue is in her sovereign mother form.

The plaque at her feet says:
Ixchel
Fue la principal diosa Maya
Diosa del arcoiris, del agua de la fertilidad, de la abundancia, de la luna, del amor y de la medicina.

Which I make as:
Ixchel
She was the main Mayan Goddess
Goddess of the rainbow, of the water of fertility, of wealth, of the moon, of love and medicine.

I left offerings at Chacmool to open the way and offering for Ixchel with a prayer for abundance in my life's work.

After sunrise we made one last pass along the beaches and then ate breakfast and caught a boat to the mainland and a van to the airport. The airport was quite entertaining and I was sorry they wouldn't leave me a wheelchair so I could explore. I did get a t-shirt & hat from Margaritaville Cancun. LOL But there were an amazing array of product demo people on stilts, in giant heads and wearing grass skirts that occasionally passed in the distance that I would have liked to have seen closer.

I'm home, pretty bushed, need to catch up on my metadata class... so I probably won't be online much. But wow, that was an amazing vacation.
rowanf: (Diver Rowan)

Isla-marina.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
Kurt went off at o'dark thirty this morning to catch a ferry to the mainland to go off with a group to do a cenote dive. I had begged off that even before I hurt myself because it means carrying all your gear up and down a flight of stairs. So I had the day to myself. I slept in and didn't go to breakfast until 8:30! Shocking, isn't it. :)

After breakfast I had been intending to work on my metadata class but the beautiful day beckoned and I jumped in the golf cart and took off for town. I parked and wandered about looking at t-shirts and such. My beloved carpet bag from Costa Rica's zipper had given up the ghost so I bought a new, very colourful, bag with Maya patterns in the weave that says Isla Mujeres. It is wool, which may drive me nuts. But it was too pretty and I bought it anyway.

I stopped by the Carey Dive Center and thanked Gil and Berto for their great care of me during the week. Since I missed the night dive I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye.

I went back to the hotel and had lunch and then my 75 min massage after lunch. They had brought a masseuse over from one of the other hotels and she was great. I can walk pretty normally now and I had hoped to get a dive in with the hotel dive master (talked to him this morning) but he had a snorkel group at 3pm and then I hit my 24 hours before air travel barrier. Oh well. Who knew that this old lady would be back underwater anyway. I count my blessings. :)

I took Helen, of the Birmingham couple I previously mentioned, over to the bead ladies. Have I mentioned the bead ladies? There is a women's co-op where you can buy island style beadwork direct from the makers and the money goes to pay school fees for the kids. I went by there yesterday and did a fair bit of shopping. Nothing new for me today, but Helen got a necklace for her mother-in-law's birthday.

Tomorrow after lunch we head home, so I don't know that there will be any further Isla posts. It has been really lovely. I had never done an all-inclusive resort before and I am really impressed with the level of service and the genuine friendliness of the staff. Isla Mujeres is a lovely island with a small town feel despite being right across the bay from Cancun and all the craziness of the "Mexican riviera". I'd love to come back someday.
rowanf: (pink hair)

Balconyview9-22.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
I wished for un-sore and vigorous in the morning, but I didn't get it. I have a cramp in my piriformis muscle. I'm definitely beter than last night but it hurts to walk. A 20 minute boat ride (and in the bay the boat hits the swells, boom, boom, boom) and then a deep reef dive is not on my agenda anymore. *sigh*

I feel bad for making Kurt go off on his own, but that is what we can for, the diving. Evidently last night's night dive was amazing, with lots of wildlife - rays, eels, fish, a sleeping shark and lots of turtles. I think today they are going to Punta Negra. At least there are enough divers hanging around that I think even without me there are six on the boat. And having a divemaster for a buddy is kinda fun too. They have all kinds of tricks to show you (e.g. snap you fingers near a brain coral and it will pull its polyps in).

I am going to be good and watch some metadata videos and work on my class. Or maybe sleep a bit more first. This getting up early to get onto the bay before the wind picks up and there is so much competition for sites is wearing on me.
rowanf: (pirate - SPANC)

Musa-vw-Rowan.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
So yesterday we were talking to some other couples at the resort and they were going to go out with the hotel divemaster to some local sites in the morning. So at about 9am we presented ourselves to the divemaster with our vouchers and by about 10:15 we were on the water. This boat is much smaller than the Carey Dive Center boat and the captain was very good. The divemaster is a young man from Chicago (today was his 28th birthday) named, I think, Ivan. He is a bit of a goofball but also a serious diving guide.

We went first to MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) and swam around the sculptures. Compared to the photos we've seen from Gwen & Jeff's visits, I think the coral and algae are taking over fast. The sculptures are amazing and the idea that they will someday be a reef of their own is way cool. Kurt wore the GoPro camera today and didn't get pix of the sculptures very much for some reason. Maybe we'll manage to go back.

After MUSA we neaded over to a section of Manchones and drived the reef looking at amazing schools of brightly coloured fish. There are a fair few pix on Flickr.

Because we had left our gear at Carey, we used loaner gear from the hotel. Oh man, I missed my fins! The loaners were just slip-ons and fairly flexible compared to my serious diver fins. My hips are killing me! We had a night dive schedule with Carey tonight but I begged off and Kurt went alone. I just don't think my body is up to all this. Too bad, night dives can be awesome fun. But we have a fairly strenuous dive scheduled with Carey for tomorrow and I think it was the better part of valor to go to bed early instead. Kurt is having a blast and it is definitely fun to watch someone fulfilling a lifelong dream. He says he has wanted to dive since his first Jacques Cousteau special at like age 8.

Anyway, I'm going to get some sleep and hopefully be all un-sore and vigorous in the morning.
rowanf: (pink hair)

Swim-up-bar-samples.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
So yesterday we did tool around town and stop in a few shops. I got a black and pink hibiscus coverup (made from a sarong) sewn for me on the fly but an enterprising shopkeeper with a sewing machine.

After we headed back to the hotel we finally hit the swim up bar - I have wanted to be at a swim up bar for years. Bucket list item checked off. We had a drink that was basically rum and diet coke but with a splash of triple sec and kahlua. And then Kurt had a very multicolor drinked called "sky" that looked like a sunset (and was probably way to sweet for me). We met the nice couple from Birmingham, England we had chatted with the night before and decided to have dinner together. Evidently the original plan had been to serve dinner by the pool and have an "aqua show" but the thunderstorms made them move dinner inside. Thus we were invited in the middle of dinner to go out by the pool to see the show. And they cleared our places and had to make us dinner all over again. But we had a fun visit anyway.

Then off to bed fairly early as we had an 8:30 dive. Kurt finished his last qualifying dive and off we went (yes, I was let back in the water) on a wild reef dive with Gil leading Kurt and I through arches in the coral. I wore the gopro, so I hope to have underwater pix of him diving soon. We came back, grabbed a quick lunch and I had a 90 minute hot stone massage.

Now I'm just chilling and working on pictures. I may try to get into WoW just to see if they'll cut me off for being in a foreign country like they did when I was in Europe.
rowanf: (South Park wasted)

Isla-beach9-23.jpg
Originally uploaded by rowanf.
I spent the week after the anniversary party recovery and working on my metadata class and packing for a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico with Kurt. We are staying in the hotel that Gwen and Jeff really like and it is quite spectacular. Gwen also sent us to Carey Scuba in town and their owner/dive master has taken Kurt through his water dives. He did the first one yesterday and today is doing open water. I got benched because I went on a dive yesterday with another of the shop's dive masters and I got a pretty bad mask squeeze (when you go down without equalizing your mas a vacuum forms against your face and breaks blood vessels). It can be really bad if you get too much pressure on your eyes. I didn't, but he thinks I'd risk it if I went in today. :( But Kurt will finish his open water certification this morning and we'll be good to go. The reef was really full of life and a nice dive. I look forward to doing it again (and I really wish I had an underwater camera)! So, I didn't manage pictures but my favorite fish looks like this - it really is neon blue.

So I guess once Kurt is done diving, we'll wander around town a bit and tool around the island. (We rented a golf cart which is a standard mode of island transportion.) The hotel has a swim up bar in the afternoon (they open different bars and restaurants with different times of day) and there is some kind of show tonight. (The first night we were here was karaoke. I did Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Kurt and I did an amazing duet of Angel of the Morning. But most of the songs were by Britney Spears so we weren't able to do more. *giggles*)

Anyway, having fun in paradise. :)

May 2015

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