Tag Archives: snorkel

Whale Shark Excursions – Mexico

Bucket List: Whale Shark Adventure

Location: Isla Mujeres, Cancun Mexico

Queer Rating: Friendly

Beach: Snorkel a small reef on Playa Norte Isla Mujeres and eat ceviche after

As a profound ocean enthusiast it has long been a dream of mine to swim with a shark in their natural habitat. Of course the whale shark is the most docile of all shark species, it is none the less exhilarating. Imagine you are in the water, mere feet from a fish that is at least the size of a school bus swimming along collecting the most microscopic of plankton and krill. Just WOW!

whale shark
Sam on the Aron

The day started out with the captain picking us up at the house on Isla Mujeres. We were heading to get on board the Aron to meet up with some other folks also joining us. Then it was 20km out into open ocean where the whale sharks were feeding on an abundance of plankton. This feeding happens yearly between May and September.

Please note: While this is a tourist activity much like heading to Akumal,  there are plenty of rules and regulations to foll

whale shark
Whale Shark Cruising

ow and only a certain number of boats are licensed to operate tours during this period. 

In the Water with a Whale Shark

Once you get out to the location of the whale sharks the captain and guide tell you to get ready. This means getting on your snorkel and fins ready to jump in the water. No time for fear or hesitation. If you are not ready forget about it, you missed that round. You literally jump in the water close to a whale shark. The guide takes you towards the big fish while the boat circles around to pick you up. In the boat the other tourists are rea

snorkel whalesharks
Sam Snorkels

dying to jump in immediately after you are onboard.

It sounds hectic because it is. In the water this day were about 25 fish. Sometimes there are 50+ and others still there are also the big manta rays. These beautiful creatures also feed on the plankton and krill in abundance here during this time. There are also 20-40 tour boats all positioning to get their tourists into the water to experience this once in a lifetime adventure.

Whale Shark
Bye Bye Whale Shark

The captain and the guide will let you get in the water 3-5 times depending on the crowds before heading back. In case you are wondering there are rules. Rules you must follow.

View Whale Shark Rules.

When you have completed swimming with these gentle giants you will boat back to Playa Norte for some ceviche and a swim in a small reef there. Playa Norte is rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. The reef boasts a few fish and is always packed with tourists feeding the fish. However, you have a boat, swim in the white sand bottomed water, drink cervesa and eat your ceviche before returning to dock.

At the end of the day I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed with how (expletive) cool the experience was. As the days after unwound I realized I was so effected by the

Whale Shark Tattoo
Whale Shark Tattoo

experience that I got myself a tattoo to commemorate it.

If you want a once in a life time experience that pits you in the open ocean with giant sharks then you need to be in Mexico in the summer of 2018.

 

Akumal Dive Shop

Location: Akumal Beach, gorgeous white sands and friendly folks. And the reef, makes it worthwhile

Queer Rating: Friendly

Beach: White sand beach leads to a coral reef with lots of colorful coral, fish, turtles and rays

 

There is a place at Akumal Beach that provides a great home base when you are driven to snorkel at reef at Akumal Beach, the Akumal Dive Shop. A friendly, quaint little shop that introduces professionals and newbies alike to the magnificence of the reef just meters offshore.

The dive shop here provides everything you could possibly need. Be sure to call and schedule your outing ahead; Stay in a nearby hotel and arrive 15 minutes ahead of time and you will get the full service. The guides, equipment, cameras, life vests (which must be worn to venture with the guide beyond the sea grass) as well as lockers to store your dry gear. You are teamed with a group of six and out you go.

During the outing the guides point out the life underwater. You can see an assortment of wild life swimming around the reef. That first trip we encountered 2 different schools of fish, barracuda, lobster, spotted eagle rays and some stingrays. Of course the main attraction was also hanging around enjoying the sea grass, the turtles.

Finding a great dive shop is important when you are going out. You want to feel confident and secure. The water is dangerous and being prepared is your best safety preparation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snorkeling the Reef at Akumal Beach

Location: absolutely perfect. The crowds, the water, the reef, magic!
Queer Rating: friendly
Beach: White sand beach leads to a coral reef with lots of colorful coral, fish, turtles and rays.

Swim With Sea turtles and More at Akumal Beach

Do a Google search for “top places to Snorkel” there will be a number of lists that speak of great reefs and blue waters to snorkel. There are literally pages of articles about where to go for great snorkelling. Akumal Beach, is a part of the Mesoamerican or Great Maya Reef, is located just North of Tulum/South of Playa del Carmen,  in the Riviera Maya.

When you arrive in Akumel (travel there from any of the many all inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya resort for less then $20 USD) head to the Akumal Dive Shop. Here you can decide if you want to rent equipment or do a group tour with the dive shop. The other option especially if you have your own equipment, is to go by yourself (life jacket required) or use a guide (life jackets provided with guide for $12 per person).  When you use the guide you can also go out to the deeper reef areas. Here you will see more of the reef’s inhabitants.

Rules are strictly enfoced. Our guide shouted at a few unvested swimmers to head back into the shallows. Paddleboarders were also in the water keeping charge.

The Underwater Adventure

Three species of turtles call Akumal home, the Leatherback turtle, the Loggerhead turtle and of course the Greenback Sea turtle.  While out on the reef I have seen the Logger and Green. I have yet to see a Leatherback. Generally you will see a turthle as soon as you are swimming over the sea grass. The turtles here  range in size. One about a meter wide swam along side of me as swam down to get closer pics.

The Turtles here are protected. Each spring they are known to return back to the beach to lay eggs. Part of the reason there are strict rules to snorkeling this reef is the ecological protection of the region for the rebirth of the reef and the turtle population.  Several sections of the reef are dead, all that remains is broken coral.

In addition to the turtles, the reef is alive with lots of other sea creatures. I believe by far my favorite is the spotted eagle ray! In general I am a fan of rays, the grace and beauty in the way they almost fly through the water. I followed one for some time just watching it move across the sand bottom.

I suggest if you are planning a trip to the Riviera Maya, you make a point to visit Akumal Beach. It is an adventure worth having. Beautiful beach, gorgeous underwater life and an eco-tourism pholosophy.

Have you snorkeled in Akumal, post a pic or leave a comment!

Grand Sirenis Mayan Riviera Mexico

Website: http://www.grandsirenisrivieramaya.com/
Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Nearest Airport: Cancun {QOO}
Accomodation Type: All Inclusive

Queer Rating: 4
There were lesbian sightings all around the resort.
Resort Rating: 3
Other then room size seems no different then the Catalonia Yucatan

The Basics
Check in was incredibly easy. We upgraded for $24 per person per night to a room closer to pool and with a partial ocen view
The staff are friendly and helpful.  There is the constant push from the concierge and attendants in the lobby to purchase something, sit in on a time share. When you pass by a resort employee on the grounds they always greet you with “Hola”
Some Shots Around the Resort
Great access to reef where turtles live
Small a frame waves fun to kayak on, could do some really easy surfing, though reef is close under.
Typical resort that is all inclusive basic needs paid for under the hot sun great place for snorkelling.
Has a Dolphin Discovery with human raised Dolphins. They do regular showd and it kind of made me really sad. Shoudl be encouraged to open the pool tanks up into nearby ocean.
Hydrotherapy is incredible could have spent the day there.