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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Posts Tagged ‘snorkeling’

SCUBA Diving…More Goodies for Luna Blue Guests

Posted by Tony & Cheri on October 20, 2010

Mexico Blue Dream dive center in Playa del Carmen MexicoOne of the most popular activities here in the Mayan Riviera is SCUBA diving. That’s not a surprise since just offshore is the world’s second largest continuous coral reef. With a few hours of training, visitors can be swimming among some of the most beautiful and diverse sea life in the world.

Guests of the Luna Blue Hotel who have always wanted to try SCUBA diving are now in luck. Starting today, all Luna Blue guests receive a free SCUBA pool demo with our friends at Mexico Blue Dream dive center, just a couple of blocks from the hotel and a half block from the best beach in Playa.

Mexico Blue Dream dive center in Playa del Carmen MexicoIf you’d like to give SCUBA a try, just let us know before or after your arrival and we’ll set it up for you. You’ll be able to try SCUBA in the safety of a pool with trained dive masters at no cost at all. If you find you love it, the folks at Mexico Blue Dream will be happy to talk with you about a Discover SCUBA class or even about how you can become certified. Or, if you find that snorkeling is more your preference, they can take you to some of the best snorkeling spots in the area.

If you’re already a SCUBA diver, we highly recommend Mexico Blue Dream for some of the best prices and service you’ll find in Playa del Carmen.

In the near future, we’ll be offering some attractive dive packages for our diving friends where you can save both on your hotel and diving costs. So keep in touch. 🙂

Posted in Activities, Recommendations, The Hotel & Bar, What's New | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

An August Day at Akumal Bay

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 23, 2008

A sea turtle as can be seen in Akumal Bay.  Click here to read more about these creatures on Wikipedia.August means a couple of things to us down here in Caribbean Mexico. First of all, it is hot, hot, HOT. Even in the evening, it stays pretty oppressive. Usually we have a few thunderstorms to cool things off at least temporarily; however, the skies have been clear for weeks. The good news has been we’ve seen no tropical storms or hurricanes yet, although we are keeping our eyes open for the weeks ahead.

The other seasonal guarantee is that August and September are part of low season for us at the Luna Blue. That means we can actually take some time and enjoy our beautiful coastline. Today was one of those “time off” days. We used it to get in a little water time by snorkeling in Akumal Bay.

Akumal is on the coast about a 20-minute drive south of Playa Del Carmen. Akumal sits at the entrance of Akumal Bay, Half Moon Bay and Yal-ku Lagoon. The word “Akumal” means “The Place of the Turtle” in Maya, and Akumal Bay is known as a sea turtle nesting and feeding area. It has an interesting “floor” that combines sandy flat spots bordering large stretches of seas grass with active coral growth areas. As a result, the sea life which can be seen there can be pretty amazing.

As usual, we picked a spot on the beach in front of the Lol-Ha restaurant, set down our towels and sandals, and waded into the water. A boat lane marked by buoys divides the bay. We usually swim out to the right of the boat lane which takes us over some areas of seagrass, a favorite food of the sea turtle. As we snorkeled that direction we quickly ran into a large sea turtle slowly traveling along the sea floor, munching seagrass. He was three to four feet long and didn’t seem to mind our company as we floated above him. Occasionally he would rise up the 15 or 20 feet to the water’s surface to gulp some air before returning to his lunch. Sadly we had not brought our camera. The photos in this blog entry are from Wikipedia. Click on the photos to be taken to the Wikipedia page for more information on the amazing creatures pictured.

A barracuda.  Click here to read more about these sinister-looking creatures on Wikipedia. At one point a couple of tourists swam up to join the party. Unfortunately, they began to chase the turtle, diving down to grab its shell. This bothered us since we know the sea turtle is an endangered species. When they surfaced we yelled over to them, “Hey, don’t touch the turtle!” They looked quizzically at us. Then Cheri said, “No tocar!” They understood that and swam off to do damage elsewhere.

We moved along and quickly ran into an even larger turtle that had two large feeder fish clinging to his shell. These fish feed by cleaning the shell of the turtle. Again we hung around for a while watching the big guy having lunch.

We then headed for the other side of the bay to the coral area. As we swam we came upon the largest school of fish we had ever seen: It looked to be 15,000 to 20,000 identical fish packed together creating a virtual wall. The school stretched like a giant green snake, circling around and over itself as it disappeared into the distance.

Suddenly we saw what was causing the fish to pack together to appear like one large creature. We found ourselves floating only a few feet from a five-plus-foot-long barracuda. We know from experience that it is rare that a barracuda will attack a swimmer. A spotted eagle ray.  Click here to read more about these beautiful creatures on Wikipedia.They prefer smaller fish that can be easily swallowed. Still, the jutting jaw, the hooded eyes, the sharp dagger-like teeth sticking out of the mouth, and the size of the thing made us catch our breath. We watched for a while, the school parting around its enemy, as the predator floated and waited patiently for one to swim out of the protection of the group. We never saw it happen.

We crossed over into a flat sandy area and were rewarded with the sight of a number of rays. We saw several smaller eagle rays swimming gracefully a few inches above the sea floor, the motion of their beautiful “wings” occasionally causing a puff of sand to rise up beneath them. Then as we began to head back to shore we spotted something we hadn’t seen before, a spotted eagle ray also commonly known as a leopard ray. It was good sized, with a wingspan of three feet or more and with a tail about eight feet long! We finished off by swimming among several parrotfish feeding on the coral.

Later, when we were back on shore we rewarded our hard work with milkshakes and onion rings while sitting on the deck at Lol-Ha. We gazed out on the bay and marveled at a sight that never grows old. The water of the Caribbean Sea was wonderfully calm and a gorgeous blue-green in color. This, we reminded ourselves was one of the reasons we lived down here.

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