Mayan Adventure – Day 5

As the purpose of this trip was really to relax and take a break I scheduled few activities before my departure.  The cenote dive was one exception, and the underwater sculpture dive was the other.  I heard about the sculpture gardens from one of my cohorts at work.  An artist by the name of Jason de Caires Taylor started dropping concrete statues into areas of the ocean where the reefs had suffered damage from hurricanes, tsnumis and human interaction.  He started in Grenada and has projects in several locals but one of the largest is off the coast of Cancun.  I re-certified my diving license in order to take a proper look and signed up.

Cancun is about an hour and twenty minutes from Akumal and about a million light years apart in atmosphere.  The hotel zone is laid out around a looping reef system and feels oppressively urban and touristy after the village of Akumal and even Playa del Carmen with it local charms.  A drive to the dive shop around the perimeter of the zone confirmed my preference for accommodation and locale.

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I eventually found the dive shop (after a few overshoots), suited up and headed out for a forty minute boat ride to the site


On the ride out I met a delightful woman named Gina from Edmonton. She had started visiting the Mayan Riviera only a few year prior, learned to dive and swiftly became addicted.  She was returning every three to four months on what she deemed the “diving and dental tour”.  Apparently the standards of dentistry in Mexico are extremely high and cost a pittance in comparison to what we pay in Canada.  Gina suffered degenerative bone loss in her mouth which resulted in the loss of many of her teeth.  She required extensive bridgework and grafting and had received a quote of $70,000.00 Canadian dollars to have the work done at home.  She had checked out the locals thoroughly and said that her teeth in Canada would have been a Mercedes, here they were a Ford.  They looked great and she reported that her care was excellent and the pain suffered, minimal.  Gina was a woman after my own heart.  She was about my age, a clinical mental health care specialist and had travelled to many of the same places I had,  and often alone.  She was the first person who thought that my solo tour was not only NOT bizarre, but normal and admirable.  (She herself was accompanied by her very nice snorkelling boyfriend and while she seemed genuinely fond of him I got the feeling he was a bit of an anchor at times).  We had a great time chatting (see Day #1 -attempt to be friendly) and we may try and meet up at another exotic local for some more dive adventures in the future.

The dive itself was in relatively shallow water ranging in depth from about 15 to 30 feet.  The sites can be snorkelled but I preferred to dive as you can stay longer with your own air and get much closer to the exhibits.

Here are a couple of shots from my group, thanks to the dive masters at Aquafueled.  I am second from the left.  One of the more flattering pictures of me

10387390_776017965816404_6370238813172659337_n VW (Me second from right)

I did bring along a waterproof camera but I have little faith in the quality of my shots and I have not had them developed so the following site photographs are courtesy of the underwater sculpture museum.  We saw the “Anthropocene”(pictured above) as well as the “The Banker”


but it was really the “Silent Evolution” that took my breath away (or would have if I didn’t have a tank of air on my back)

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It was a pretty amazing experience.

We headed back to the dock and back away from the sprawl that is Cancun.  I stopped on the way home for dinner at Imprevist in Playa del Carmen, the sister restaurant to Plank.  The restaurant was much smaller and quieter that its nearby sibling.  I had duck breast on vanilla mashed potatoes with port sauce and caramelized figs.  Need I say more?  I was at a table between two very different pairs – an older couple who did nothing but complain and order combinations not on the menu while making some pretty unreasonable demands (“Can you make the chili sauce less spicy?”) and a seven year old girl who kept begging her mother for the maraschino cherries from her potent drinks.  (“No, honey, there’s some pretty strong alcohol in these.”, That’s ok”, she replied in a very reassuring manner, “I can have it anyway”).  People watching is fantastic when you are armed with a book.

Dinner was delicious as was the Maya sipping chocolate #2 (or was it #3?) purchased for the long walk back to the care.  The next day promised another dive so I tucked in to bed for a blissful sleep.

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