Into The Jungle We Go

The day before heading off to the jungle Derek, Katrina and myself decided we would go snorkelling. Puerto Morles has the 2nd largest coral reef in the world which is now a national park. Off we went for what was suppose to be 2 hours worth of snorkelling. We saw a great number of fish in all sizes and colours.  Our guide even lifted up a stingray from the ocean floor that was amazing. Unfortunately because the weather for the past week was cooler than normal we only lasted an hour in the water. We came out absolutely frozen with chattering blue lips. I never looked more forward to a hot cup of tea than I did that day. But what we saw was well worth the frozen limbs.

The next day we headed toward Akumal to our new place that we called home for the next 13 days Organic Yoga. In the Mayan jungle this ecological resort offered us solitude while enjoying wildlife outside and inside our huts (get to that later). You could attend  Yoga 3 times a week along with trails to explore, birds, bugs, butterflies and lizards to photograph. One definitely needed a machete for walking in the dense jungle.  As I was not equipped with one and was not keen on getting lost I stuck to the main roads and paths. Taking pictures in this area was a challenge the density made it difficult at times to get a perfectly clear shot of the birds. And they almost always seemed to be in areas that were impossible to get through. All I could do was listen and imagine what the birds looked like. While hoping luck would be on my side to get a shot or two of some of the wildlife.

Had to be very stealthy to even get this shot of  the elusive  Blue Crowned Mot Mot.

Our  main road into our jungle paradise Steve called the butterfly freeway. Like cars on a freeway they went zooming past you however did manage to catch a snap or two. My favourite ones were the ones I dubbed tree bark butterflies you really have to look carefully to spot them. The best thing about where we were staying is that nature came right to your front door step. Many mornings I would be sitting in our screened in porch and hear a flock birds rustling in the leaves on the ground and in the trees.  To my delight it would be the brightly orange coloured Altamira Oriole.

These guys could be just as elusive unless they found a gold mine of seeds.

Learned during our time in the bird filled jungle that even when just reading a book to bring the camera along just never know what bird might drop in for a small snack. Seems I am not the only one who likes papaya. Though this is not woody-woodpecker he sure is a close second.  This hungry fellow is a  Golden-fronted woodpecker.

Before you think I have completely gone bird crazy I did manage to get a couple of green things in my wanderings. This particular guy I thought was a Humming bird because when it flies (yes flies) you see red wings. Otherwise known as a Differential grasshopper quite the appropriate name.


Next we have straight from the Mexican jungle Mr. Green Jeans himself who didn’t mind being photographed.

Where we were located involved about a 5-10 minute walk to the main highway. Upon which you stood at the side of the road and waited for a colectivo to pick you up. Mexico was smart in developing this form of transportation. It is  geared towards moving the population around Mexico’s vast labyrinth of roads and highways. Usually the colectivo is a mini-van. There are no specific stops you just flag them down where ever you are standing and the driver will drop you off at any spot on his route. Now if Ontario would only use this system for our suburb and rural areas. Instead of waiting for a high volume of people requiring transportation before providing a bus route with their monster buses. Just have  several colectivos going up down the back roads and then you would have a transit system that provides for everyone plus inexpensive to start up.

The colectivos we used fairly often in order to get into Akumal to do grocery shopping and hit the beach. There were 3 beach sites we walked to from Akumal. From the town it involved about a 20 minute walk under palm trees. The first one was a haven for swimmers, snorklers and Egrets. This place was wonderful for all level of snorkelers a few strokes out and there was plenty to see.

The second location was Half Moon Bay here the water was very shallow which made snorkeling tricky at times. But if you want peace and quite this is the place. As well if you are lucky you get to spot a sea turtle (we did) and you can find plenty of shells and corals.

The only thing that disappointed me here was the amount of plastic bottle caps and other garbage I found while searching for shells. After seeing that I am convinced we should be banning plastic bottles or at the very least charging a deposit. The only way you would get deposit money back is if the bottle is returned with the cap still on it (that’s my rant). Plus there was alot of  washed up oil from ships that flushed out their tanks.  It really was a sad sight.

The third site was called Yal-ku Lagoon here you did not even have to snorkel plenty of fish could be seen just off the edges of the rocky shore line.

Our other outing was to the Muyil ruins about 25 km south of  Tulum.  These Mayan ruins are not big this meant less tourists which we preferred. But there are a few interesting buildings and most importantly they are looked after by their descendents the Mayan people themselves. The entrance fee went strictly to the people and conservation needs of the area.

Most of the buildings on the site date back to 1100-1200 AD.

The Castle  stands 17 meters high making it taller than any of the buildings in Tulum or elsewhere on the coast.

The buildings are not far from the Muyil lagoon.  A board walk was built for easier access to the lagoon and to the look out tower.

An interesting climb up for those who have a fear of heights but well worth the steep, steep stair climb.

During our walk back on the board walk where you are canopied by the trees.

I again was very stealthy and managed to get this shot of a Toucan to my delight.

Another wonderful find was a short walk away from our huts in the jungle. It is a cenote. There are no visible rivers in the Yucatan Peninsula and as the area is a porous limestone causing caverns and caves to form where water would collect. The water is crystal clear and if  you arrive at the right time you will see the turquoise color.

The water was a very pleasant temperature which Katrina, Cheree and I discovered when we decided to have an impromptu swim minus some clothing.

If you are ever in Mexico the cenotes of  Yucatan are a natural treasure that you should experience it is well worth taking your clothes off for.

As I said before in my previous post to truly experience and see Mexico. One should rent rooms, condos or huts and eat out a the local eateries. Resorts have you locked in their world  with little opportunity to walk down the road and make a few discoveries of your own like I did on several occasions. Plus enjoying Christmas Eve dinner under the stars in the jungle with my family is memory no resort can duplicate.

Ferruginous Pymy-Owl   Yucatan Jay  These last two bird photos are of a Red eyed vireo and a Roadside Hawk.

Oddly enough I was on a small road heading to the cenote when I came upon this hawk.

Good-bye from the jungles and beaches of  Mexico  I hope you will join me on my next adventure where ever that may be.

Oops almost forgot this was some of the wildlife that we would find in our huts especially if the nights were cold. This guy I discovered on the day we left for home in the wee hours of the morning. I could hardly focus on it as it was still pretty dark and my eyes were still half shut. Needless to say after taking this photo my eyes were wide open and I made sure I was not bringing any Scorpions to Ontario.

Renee

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It Is A Green Christmas For Us!

It has been a couple of years since I last wrote but I felt doing a Blog about this trip was the right way to go.

Let me start by saying this is the last place I thought I would be spending Christmas with the family. However looking at it , it was most appropriate as Christmas is about giving and in our family we are trying very hard to give back to our mother earth. Which this trip did lend itself to.

Stephen was sponsored to go to Cancun in order  to report on the COP 16 summit as well do a workshop for aspiring young environmental journalists from South Africa. My son Derek along with his girlfriend Cheree we planning on travelling through South America starting in December. Thus I put forth the idea that we all meet in Mexico. Where we could meet other people from around the world and learn from their stories. While at the same time being able to have a family Christmas together. Everyone was on board, Katrina cracked open the Spanish books immediately.

Off we flew to Cancun and upon landing took a taxi to the lovely fishing village of Puerto Morelos.

The Original Lighthouse in Puerto Morelos was tilted over in 1967  by Hurricane Beulah. It has  survived Hurricanes Gilbert 1987 and Wilma in 2005. It has become the symbol for the this small fishing village. The new light house replacing the leaning Pisa is visible in the background.

Having experienced the Resorts of Cancun twice and now Puerto Morelos I truly believe  the way to experience Mexico is staying in small villages like Puerto Morelos. Guess what no food poisoning happened here. I am thinking the gastrointestinal problems are a resort issue. We  enjoyed many fine meals from the numerous food stands, restaurants and even from the back of a truck (that is another story) without having to rush to a doctor. Mind we did have to take Derek to a doctor as on our third day here he managed to step on a small Stingray and get stung. What a way to start our adventure by seeing how good the medical system is.

While Steve was off doing his workshop in Mexico City Derek, Katrina, Cheree and myself went to the Klimaforum 10 The People’s Climate Summit.

Here I heard the best comparison from a former British lawyer  Polly Higgins concerning Climate Change. She likened it to a mother who has a child which is constantly throwing up. Upon taking the child to the doctor she is told the child is allergic to milk. Whereupon the mother stops feeding it milk. The mother does not like in the case of  Corporations and Governments when dealing with CO2 emissions reduce the amount of milk she gives to the child and if the child throws up sweeps it under the rug.

Also managed to catch some cultural displays

while in Cancun to watch a documentary on the Inuit and the changes they see occuring to their landscape.

On December 7th there was a gathering of thousands to march on the main highway of Cancun leading to Moon Palace.

We also decided to add our voice to the Via Campesina (International Peasant Movement) protest march. 

The principal objective of La Via Campesina is to develop solidarity and unity among small farmers. In order to promote gender equality and social justice in fair economic relations. COP now a days seems very far removed in the concept of fair economic relations and social responsibility.

This creation aptly named The Hammer came all the way from Berlin which was created by Derek’s friend Jakub Simcik and artistic partner Artúr van Balen

Naturally Steve was busy interviewing people during the march. In this photo Steve is doing an interview with Tom Goldtooth Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

In all it was an amazing experience seeing and hearing the voices of many peoples being a united voice of action.


Needless to say we never made it to Moon Palace as there were police barricades  well before the palace.

 

The day ended with a pleasant surprise after taking a bus back into Cancun to find something to eat. In behind the Town Hall the Mayan Tropical Forest People were providing a feast and all were welcome. This where the meal from the back of a truck comes in. The best piece of meat I ever tasted. The cops enjoyed it to. It always amazes me that those who have so little give so much.

It goes without saying I was in my element in discovering all the different wildlife here. I was shutter bugging away.This little guy we saw everyday in the garden of the apartment we stayed in. It is an Anole Lizard

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Cheree, Derek and Katrina were on the hunt for this guy.

Look what Derek and Cheree found!

A new species okay just kidding Katrina and Steve are just plain old beach bums not wanting to have their pictures taken. But here is the rest of my camera finds. Just click on the thumbnail image if  you want an enlarged photo to look at. P.S. you can do this with the other photos as well.

Butterflies are natures way of saying keep it simple.

The stories are in the eyes. This crab gives a whole new meaning to look in my eyes.

Another little    beach bum the Sand Piper

Of course what would a fishing village be without a Pelican.

The stunning  Needlenose fish which we had the fortune to see quite a few of. Their colours blew me away.

Christmas is not that far away and we are off to the jungles of Akumal. There will be no snow for us this Christmas but lots of interesting things to see and experience that I am certain of.  So good-bye from Puerto Morelos and Merry Christmas to all.

Oh yes and this guy says HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Adios from Renee

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 12:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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