Thursday, July 24, 2008
Okay! So here's my Cozumel recap. We arrived at the Occidental Grand Cozumel, and the atmosphere was just amazing. It was so lush and green everywhere. There were large iguanas left and right, which was so foreign to me! The main check-in desk was at the front of the resort, but they loaded us up on a sort of extended golf cart thing and drove us around the entire grounds to the VIP check-in at the back of the resort. Not sure how we garnered that status, but I wasn't complaining. So the process was really simple, and they handed us champagne to welcome us to the resort. Our building was directly across from that, so that was convenient. It was also right next to the relaxation pool, which leads to the beach. So we really did get prime location. We checked out our rooms, which were nice, and then headed to the beach immediately! It was just gorgeous. The water was so clear and the sand was just perfect. It wasn't crowded at all, which was a definite plus. On our second day there we took advantage of the free snorkeling gear and checked out the marine life near the shore. It was so neat to see what lived down there! We were hooked, so we decided to take a snorkel boat tour which takes you out to three different reefs, varying from 20 - 120 foot depth. That was a blast. We got to see sea turtles, eels, starfish, jellyfish, and a million other fish that we had never seen before. The colors were so vibrant. From the moment we got in the water, there was this school of large gray fish that decided to escort us. It was really funny. They just swam next to us and all around us the entire time. They were very friendly. :) The next day we decided to attempt parasailing. That was interesting, to say the least! They put us in harnesses, and we stood up on the deck of the boat. They hooked our harnesses to straps that were connected to a long blue bar. There was a rope connected to a wench on the front side, and then it was connected to a huge parachute on the backside. They threw out the parachute and let out the wench, and there we went! We just started sailing higher and higher. It was amazing. You just felt like you were floating in the sky and there was nothing but beautiful blue water as far as the eye could see. The next day we decided to take out the snorkeling gear again and swim out further away from the shore, on our own. Little did we know what was in store for us. I was swimming along and spotted a complete conch shell on the ocean floor. I got Cary (brother-in-law) to come over and he dove down and retrieved it for me. I started bringing it back to shore to keep, and then noticed there was still something inside. I was like, "Oh, cool! Maybe it's some sort of urchin." So I looked a little closer and dipped it in the water a couple of times to see if I could get the creature to come out. I called Cary over to check it out and about that time I saw a tentacle shoot out. I kinda froze. Then the rest of the baby octopus started to emerge and I shrieked and threw the shell to Cary! Haha. He held it up and sure enough the octopus came completely out and dropped back into the water. That was freaky!! So I laughed it off and decided to do some more snorkeling. Cary, Jeremiah, and I headed out towards deeper water and came across a huge barracuda. It was a little ways away from us, so I didn't feel too scared. But, Cary thought it would be neat to give it a closer look, so he swam over and was basically hovering above it while it was maybe 15 feet down in the water. Jer and I just kept our distance and watched to see what would happen. All of a sudden it turned vertical and basically shot straight up at Cary. It was definitely charging him. He freaked, of course, and tried to swim away from it as quickly as possible. It stopped before it touched him and swam off. We knew that was dangerous, but all had a good laugh after we surfaced, just thinking about Cary's face and frantic flailing. I figured that was enough excitement for me, so I asked Jer if we could head back. He agreed and we started the long trek back to the shore. My goggles were starting to fog up by then anyways. After we had gone a short distance, Jer stopped me and pointed out another barracuda. this one was not facing us, but it was fairly close so we could see just how long and big he was. It had taken me a few seconds to find it in the water b/c of my foggy goggles, and when my eyes finally focused on it, I turned to Jer to be like, "Holy crap!" Well, in the meantime, the barracuda noticed we were there and unbeknownst to me, starting charging at my face. I had my head turned to Jer and saw the look on his face and his attempts to move, so I quickly turned my head backs toward the barracuda just in time to see it staring me in the face. I've never been more scared in my life. I freaked out and started swimming away as fast as I could. We swam for a little bit and resurfaced and I basically told Jer that I wanted to get out of the water ASAP. So we planned on making a bee-line for the shore and wouldn't stop for anything. He swam in front of me, but since he had flippers on, I held back just a little bit so I wouldn't get kicked in the face. You won't believe what happened next...as I was swimming a little ways behind him, I noticed a presence right in front of me and just stopped suddenly. There was an enormous sting ray swimming within inches of me. I've seriously never seen one this big. Fortunately it ignored me and just swam right on by. It's amazing to me that it managed to swim right in-between me and Jer. An inch or two either way and one of us would've touched him. So I let him pass and I lunged forward to try and grab Jer's flipper. By the time we got above water and took our snorkels out and I explained what happened, the ray was long gone. It was just amazing. The next day four of us went out on a Catamaran and that was a neat experience too. The rest of the time, we pretty much just hung out on the beach! Not too shabby of a vacation if you ask me.