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Published: November 22nd 2019
After all the tacos at El Camello we drove 4 hours to reach our next destination, La Casa Del Nonno (Grandad’s House) at the Laguna in Bacalar. It was dark when we arrived so we didn’t get to see the resplendent lake.
We were up at 6am the next day to drive to Mahahaul which was a couple of hours away so once again, we didn’t get to see the Laguna but the Chinchorro Adventure was awaiting us. The fast boat was well geared for 10 of us, some for diving, some like us, just for snorkelling. The company was really pro - run by Germans so everything was in order and we were given wet suits, flippers, snorkelling gear and a great crew on board.
El Banco Chinchorro is an atoll 40km away from the Mahahaul shore, which took 50 mins of a bouncy fast boat to arrive at the first reef for snorkelling. The schedule said 1 hour snorkel. We jumped in the water with fins and goggles.
Straight away I saw a shark, similar to the one I saw in Thailand but that one was a leopard shark, this
one had different colours. It was grey, but very similar sloppy but aerodynamic tail. This one has a long moustache like a cat fish. They said they were Nurse Sharks, they are not predators. Vegetarian Sharks! They were not frightening at all, very quiet, we saw many of them. Small in size 1.5 meters.
The corals were beautiful and colourful, and the water was between 5 and 7 meters, where the sun allows the corals to proliferate. We saw so many other types of fish you can imagine, different Moon Fish, Napoleons, big blue Parrot fish, a herd of Pargos, herds of other colourful type of fish, big ones, small ones and basically you feel you are in an immense aquarium (like where Daria teaches yoga ha!)
Enrico spotted a huge muraena, red and brown, we literally saw her swimming from one side of the reef to the other. Maybe more than 1.5 metres long, amazing. One hour in the water is a lot but it passes quickly when you are so amazed to see this stunning underwater landscape and so excited to go and explore behind every rock to see what you can
Daria was excited too, she had never seen a shark in the wild but seemed to be calm, especially when she learned that nurse sharks stay on the water bed and just sleep. She loved swimming with all the fishes, in the end, her star sign is Pisces.
Back on the boat, we continued to the actual atoll where all around there are fisherman’s palafiite and mangroves. The fishermen live there and as well as fishing, they catch lobsters with their hands. Once a week arrives a boat to pick up the crustaceans and pay them cash. They live there 6 months a year, the other 6 months the fishing is prohibited to make sure the lobsters can procreate.
We arrived on the pontoon and disembarked the boat. The actual land of the Chinchorro is totally desolate. It’s only a few square metres mainly inhabited by huge iguanas, crabs and lurking in the water...big crocodiles. There was a tiny viewing platform where you could look down to the crocs. We saw 3 or 4 massive ones only two metres from us and another slowly making his way towards us.
Very Eco-friendly they just served us ugly ham and cheese sandwich on white paper, after looking all that fishes we were expecting to bbq one. The day was amazing but the lunch very disappointing. Apparently they had a problem that morning and had to make some last-minute sandwiches for us instead of the fresh ceviche that the other groups enjoyed. As they felt bad, they offered us an ice cream back on shore. Still, we would have preferred fresh ceviche...
On the way back, we saw a group of dolphins swimming and playing right next to our boat. Everyone was so excited, high pitched voices and screams. It was quite beautiful and Daria cried a little of joy. We then stopped at a second bank for snorkelling for another hour. It was very colourful and we took more videos and photos with the underwater Go Pro. Enrico and I were diving as deep as we could. Enrico touched a few underwater conch and was told off by the German group leader. By accident I touched a jellyfish which disintegrated in my hands and one of the girls swam over to me and shouted at me
telling me to be careful not to kill the jellyfish! I didn’t do it on purpose! I thought that when a jellyfish divides into pieces it would just multiply...
The way back was less bumpy but still took an hour. It was nice to enjoy the wind and let all the day’s experiences sink in. Back in Mahahaul we were absolutely up for buying a fish to grill but we didn’t find one and so we came back to Bacalar to have dinner at a pretty restaurant on the Laguna and have some fish/shrimp tacos with habanero mayo that Daria liked so much (and her sister Lisa we know).
Beautiful fishes today, look, but don’t touch!
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