Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Belated 10th Anniversary to Us!

Our first night!
At the beginning of the year, we decided that we were going to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with a vacation.  However, we wanted to spread out our vacations, so we chose November!  We researched a lot of places, and finally decided that we would go somewhere closer to home where we could catch up on sleep and scuba dive.  We settled on Tulum, Mexico - a city about 80 miles south of Cancun.   In Tulum, you’ll find the remains of a walled Mayan city on the sea dating back to the 12th century, the Great Maya Reef (also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef), which runs along the coast down to Belize (over 620 miles), and over 7,000 cenotes, which are natural sinkholes filled with water.

We chose an all-inclusive resort which ended up being just okay.  However, thankfully we slept A LOT, and had some awesome dives.  We spent the first couple of days just sleeping, crazy how tired we really were.  Thankfully the weather was pretty good while we were there, despite being at the tail end of hurricane season.  Relaxing by the pool and beach, reading, and eating was just what the doctor ordered for the first couple of days.  By Sunday we were ready to start doing something, so we did a diving refresher in the pool since it had been 10.5 years since our previous dives.

Dinner at Portofino (Italian restaurant on property)

Spinytail Iguanas were everywhere!

Swinging by the pool bar while awaiting a refill

Monday morning we went out with our divemaster and three other people to dive around the second largest reef in the world.  To say I was excited to see a sea turtle after being down for only 10 minutes was an understatement!  We followed it around for a bit, and then swam off to see more of the reef.  We saw a barracuda, lobster, lion fish, and a variety of other small fish.  We swam through some reefs, and could see all the way to the top from about 35-40 feet down.  We did a two tank dive that morning without any issues, and were excited to go back out on Wednesday.

Selfie underwater!

diving through a reef

Tuesday we went out with a different divemaster and another couple.  We went to a nearby cenote, Dos Ojos, and did two dives there.  I was a little nervous going into it, as these caverns are fairly dark, and it feels like you are in a cave.  But as our divemaster explained, they are not caves because natural light does shine through in different spots, and caves dead-end, caverns or cenotes do not.  While we didn't go very deep, and there wasn't much marine life, the dives were so unique and beautiful.  The water was crystal clear and the stalagmites and stalactites were something else.  In addition, when our bubbles floated up and got stuck on the rocks above us, they shimmered.  During our second cenote dive we came up in one area nicknamed "the bat cave" because there were tons of bats hanging above us.  I hate that we didn't have a decent camera, but I had to include a couple I pulled from the internet just so we won't forget its beauty.

The word “cenote” means sacred well.  These caves and underground rivers were created naturally over 6,500 years ago, but have only been explored by divers the past 20 years.  Experienced scuba divers have explored these caves discovering more than 300 miles of interconnected passageways and marked them with string so people can safely dive through them and not get lost.  These cenotes are only found in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, so we were thrilled to get to dive in one.

A professional photographer got this shot of Steve

That evening we tried our hardest to tune out the election going on back home, but we couldn't.  It sucked us in, and we ended up falling asleep to fox news with Trump winning a couple of key states.  We woke up a couple hours later to him securing more, which left us thinking he would win.  But when we woke up at 2am to Pence giving his acceptance speech, we were STUNNED!  I know the writing was on the wall earlier in the evening, but it still left us shocked.  Not that we were Hillary supporters, but Trump wasn't our top pick either.

During our final full day in Tulum, we took a cab to the Mayan Ruins.  The ruins in Tulum are unique in that they are the only ones built on the coast, which ended up being one of the walls of this very old city.  The city built of limestone still has partial structures throughout its walled city.  Historians have put up signs speculating as to what each building was, and how the people of that time utilized the space.  The inhabitants worshipped the "Descending God," by sculpting angel-like figures with their heads all pointing downward.

panoramic view of the ruins from one of the high points
Steve by the temple, overlooking the cliffs

Great Palace (still amazingly upright)

One of the five doorways into the Mayan city

The afternoon after our tour was spent soaking in the last few hours of relaxation with cocktails on the beach, listening to the waves crash with a book in hand.  Our final dinner was at an Asian inspired restaurant on property.  The following day, we headed home to see our babies and hear everything first hand about how our country excepted our President-Elect Donald Trump!  Happy 10th Anniversary to us, and to MANY more years! 

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