relive the excitement and fascination of
your first underwater experience as they
notice fish after fish and coral after coral.
On the way back from dinner, we found
little geckos running about on the walls
and hiding in the light fixtures; you could
even see them peering out at times, just
waiting for a morsel to come their way.
After breakfast the following day, we went
up the beach in search of turtles. There
were many fish, including yellow- and blue-striped grunts, blue-headed wrasses (both
super male- and juvenile/female-colored
ones), an adult French angel Pomacanthus
paru, barracudas Sphyraena sp., female and
super-male stoplight parrotfish Sparisoma
viride, juvenile and adult Atlantic blue
tangs—the small yellow tangs in this
locale are in fact juvenile blues—four-eye
butterflies Chaetodon capistratus, and many
more. Inverts included sea fans and other
gorgonians, sponges, and Porites coral.
However, we still saw no sea turtles.
After lunch, we headed into Playa del
Carmen, and while no snorkeling was
involved with this excursion, it’s always
interesting and worthwhile to walk around
and see the merchants. Much of the town
has become tourist shops, which is a little
disheartening, but one must remember that
the economy here relies on tourism quite
heavily. You could, however, still see some
homes outside of the shop areas.
At this point, I’ll offer an important
note about traveling in the Yucatán and
all of Mexico. If you have never traveled
in the tropics before (or even if you have),
remember to keep hydrated—keep that
relentless sun and heat in the forefront of
your mind. Your later plans will be ruined
if you allow yourself to get dehydrated and
sun sick. Also, the tap water is generally not
safe to drink unless you are from and live in
the area, so drink bottled water. Sodas and
other drinks are nice to sip on, of course,
but remember to get enough actual water.
An ocean surgeonfish Acanthurus bahianus.
A Caribbean reef squid poses for the author's camera.
Around 7 a.m. the next day, we drove
down to Yal-Ku Lagoon, which has an
entry fee allowing for the use of ladders,
instead of rocks, to get into the water.
Within two seconds, we saw juvenile
sergeant majors, a small puffer, and some
pygmy angels (which might have actually
been damsels). Within 20 yards into the
lagoon, we saw a rather large stingray,
Sergeant majors Abudefduf sp. were plentiful, nipping at the author when he got too close to
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