As a retiree living on the island of Cozumel, I’m often in search of something to do, especially in the mornings. With two dogs that have me up by 5:30 insisting on their morning walk, I often find myself wanting more than just a cup of coffee to start my day once we’re back from the park. So, they get some food, as do the birds who I feed on my deck, and then I get on my bike with a bag packed with nothing much more than my camera and coffee. Photographic moments are all around me as I head down to the ocean side. I pedal down Melgar, the main road, and make frequent stops along the way just to grab some shots of the beauty all around me.
I especially like the way the morning light plays with textures down here. A few days back I’d stopped at the Blue Angel, a resort just south of town, and noticed the colors of their doors, entryways, flowers, pots and wood. I’ve often stopped there for breakfast, and will be heading there again soon to join a group of women who swim several times a week. But, at that time I just wanted to focus on the little touches they have on the outside. A clay pot filled with Bougainvillea that wraps itself around natural wood first grabbed my attention. Then I noticed their entryway door that is bamboo, I think, and I focused on that for a moment. Of course I had to take a closeup of the flowers, they are just too lush down here to ignore. And, there is always the need to capture the palm trees reaching up to the sky to really get that true Caribbean feeling. You can see that pic at the top of this piece.
As I was taking the pics, I needed to watch out for the runners and the walkers. There are quite a few of those in the early mornings. And, who can blame them? What a great way to start any day. As these folks headed south along the ocean side they could see the cruise ships that were just coming in and watch the sailboats that were rocking gently in the morning current. You just can’t beat the views here in the morning and I often wish I had the endurance, and the motivation, to join them. But, as I’d mentioned, I had been invited to join a group of swimmers and I think I’ll move on to that morning experience. It, too, came with some great moments.
When I first arrived yesterday I’d noticed that the boats for those who enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving were beginning to pull in. Since I was already in my bathing suit, and was a bit early, I pointed my camera and got a smile from one of the captains. Then the other swimmers began to arrive and it was clear that they were well acquainted. I was introduced and there were smiles all around as everyone welcomed me in between fixing their masks, putting on their fins and, in some cases, “dive skins” for warmth. And, this might be the time to mention that I had to look that term up, I really am a complete newbie. In fact, Maria was lending me some of her equipment so that I could see if this was something I’d enjoy before making any type of investment.
Now, to be honest, I was nervous. If you’ve read me before you’d know that my last snorkeling excursion with a boat in deep water didn’t go that well. Not accustomed to fins (I’d only snorkeled off docks and in shallow water before that day) I was reluctant. But, I’d decided to listen to those who know way more than me and made a compromise to wear them and just hang out fairly close to the dock area until I was more comfortable. And, if I did them justice, you’ll notice that these ladies are not only in shape, but quite a bit more comfortable with the concept than I was, at that point. Still, it was nice to feel included and it was quickly pointed out that it was not a race, just a great way to start the day.
Once I had on the fins, mask, and snorkel I jumped in from the dock. The water was a bit chilly, but only for a moment. The others were already heading to the other pier, which, to me, looked like it was a million miles away, but a friend hung back with me and we just swam easily and pointed out interesting fish and coral. Hanging around the fenced in area for a sting ray exhibit I was able to see the fish that nibble on the coral growing to the fence and marvel at the size of the stingrays that were, thankfully, on the other side. In fact, I only regretted one thing. I still don’t have a camera casing to take underwater pics. After my comedy of errors on the snorkeling excursion I, frankly, wasn’t sure I’d really need one. However, it’s now been put on my budget list since the experience was wonderful and one I intend to repeat, often.
Once out of the water again I started to take a few photos of the ladies as they came back to shore. Although they may have been a bit tired, the camaraderie was evident and everyone began to share what they’d seen. Whether it had been a puffer fish, a battle between a fish and an eel, or colorful coral, everyone had seen something interesting. Towels came out, clothes were put on and, still, the conversation flowed. This was clearly about more than just getting some exercise, these ladies are friends.
Soon, however, it was time to head home. Since it had been such a beautiful morning I’d decided to walk my bike so as to be able to capture a few more shots. In fact, the one on your left is of more than just water, which I didn’t discover until I made it home and loaded it up. If you look closely you’ll see yet another inhabitant of the island just hanging out taking in the view. And, the photo on your right was my version of a self-portrait in the early morning light. A bit silly, yes, but I was having fun. After that I was happy to put my camera away.
Now, just in case you didn’t notice, the title of this little snippet has a “pt. 1” included. And, that’s because I’ve been made aware of other morning activities as well, which would have made this piece a bit too long. Next week I’m going to try a few of them out and hope to have more good experiences to share, along with pics, of course. But, until then, have a great week. Salud!