Thursday morning I didn’t bother trying to see the sun rise. Other things were on my mind. The night before the Captain warned that we were heading into rough seas and to simply be careful walking on deck and around the ship. Just be sure of your steps. As I bustled around the stateroom and later up to the Restaurant for breakfast, I gathered that the rough waters didn’t scatter with the shadows that the morns rays chased away. The waves continued to be a little rocky until we came to port in Cozumel, Mexico.
Not that it really mattered to me. Like I said, other things were on my mind.
Eleven-thirty couldn’t come fast enough. I had been dreaming about this day for a year since I saw the photo last February on the brochure. Mayan Ruins. Mainland Mexico. It all swirled in my mind until we walked to the Queen Mary Lounge, where our excursion was to meet and depart from. I have a love for all things old and antique, and in this case, ancient. Nothing in Mexico fits that category better than the Mayan Ruins! The Mayan Ruins of Tulum to be precise…
Once the port authority cleared the boat, we were ushered down the stairs and through the gangway. Outside, The Paradise towered above us as we walked down the pier. On the other side, The Conquest stood even taller. I couldn’t help but smile, it seemed like certain ships were following each other around the Caribbean! LOL!
From one pier, we walked down a street and headed towards another. Up ahead, the ferry awaited us. The excursion to the mainland would take seven hours, a 40 minute ferry ride, a 40 minute bus ride and of course, the same transportation back. The inside of the ferry was nice – it had seats like those you would find in a charter bus, a restroom and a place to buy snacks and beverages. It took a while to get everyone on board, all the while, the ferry bobbed up and down with the waves. During this time, my sister turned to me and asked, “Do you think it will be this rough the whole way?” I confidently replied, “No, this reminds me of the tender boat – it bobs pretty good sitting still, but once we’re on our way it will smooth out.”
Boy. Was I wrong about that!
The rough seas from the night before were exaggerated in the small boat – which felt as if it were attached to a pendulum, swinging from side to side. On one side of the boat, you looked out the window and saw sky. On the other, the window showcased the best of the Cozumel Channel’s blue water. Immediately, the lady sitting behind me blurted, “I’m going to be sick…” Many were. The crew was very helpful and passed out barf bags whenever needed. Thankfully, my sister and I did not get sick. The whole ride over to the mainland was like that. The Captain said that it was extra rough because we were going against the current and the ride back wouldn’t be so bad. People grunted. The next time the Captain made an announcement it was to let us know that we were only five minutes away from land. Not long after, we rode a swell and I’m telling y’all, the front end of that ferry was air-born on the way down! As you felt it falling, everyone screamed and grabbed the seat in front of them as they were jostled.
Needless to say, we were glad to have our feet on land again. Off the boat, we were introduced to our tour guide, Pamela, and given green stickers with a number on it to identify the group we were with. This number would be on our bus (as there would be other buses at the Ruins as well) and helped us identify which one we belonged to! We had the opportunity to visit the banos before we took a short walk through Playa de Carmen to where our bus would pick us up. The walk wasn’t far, but rather a pleasant mini tour through brick streets and we could see into a park area where vines grew and birds chirped. When we stopped, our bus pulled up and we climbed on for our bus ride to Tulum. As my sister and I took our seats towards the front, the lady behind me exclaimed, “Oh! A bird!” Indeed, we had a bird in the bus with us! LOL The folks behind us caught it and made sure that it was freed outside before we left. Our tour guide said, “Oh, you save it!”
The bus ride passed quickly. Pamela gave us the history of the Mayan’s and explained the difference between the Aztec and Mayan pyramids, calendars and customs. After a brief stop to learn about the Mayan Calendar, browse some souvenir items and make another trip to the banos if needed, then we were on our way once again.
The Mayan Ruins of Tulum were amazing! Pamela informed us that Tulum was the only Mayan city built on the beach – so what we were seeing really was special. The city was small compared to others, only holding about 500 people. It was the “college town” of its day. It was the place where the educated lived, such as astronomers, lawyers, and farmers. On the back of the “castle” (which is the largest structure in the photos) there are two windows. Those two windows served as a lighthouse to fishermen while they were out on the water. When the sun descended and shined through those windows, the fishermen used the two lights as a guide back to the shore. Why? Because the world’s second largest coral reef lay beneath the waters and if they used the light through the windows correctly, they could steer away from the reef and not get their boats caught in it.
We walked around the ruins as long as we could, snapping pictures and taking in the view before it was time to head back to the bus. Back at the bus, we were offered a cool washcloth to wipe our hands with and a snack – chips, water and a cookie. Then we rode back to the docks where we took the ferry back to Cozumel.
So… anyone want to go on a ferry ride? 😉
To be continued…