San Miguel and Isla Cozumel
February 11, 2006

Day 1 - Cozumel
Day 2 - Tulum, Coba & Playa del Carmen
Day 3 - Isla Cozumel, Coconuts & San Gervasio
Day 4 - San Miguel, El Mercado & presentation of 
              Carnival Royal Court
Day 5 - Atlantis submarine dive
       Wilma damage

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Rendez Blu is open for breakfast and lunch next to the hotel (picture from my balcony)

Divers leaving with Blue Angel early Saturday morning. The fish paining was done the day before, another
was being painted next to it on the last day of my visit.

Day three got of to a poor start. Following the advice of previous visitors, I used bug spray at Tulum the day before. But the bugs hadn't bothered me and I didn't re-spray at Coba. This morning I have over a dozen large welts and they turned an ugly shade of red during the day.

This was the day I planned to rent a car on the island and I had one reserved at Smart Cars (the only local agency out of 5 that answered my emails) which is located near the main square. I started walking toward town and looking for a taxi. After no empty taxis came by in the first kilometer, I decided not to worry about it and just walk. 

For some reason I was tired and a bit footsore this morning and not enjoying the walk. When I got into the business district and all of the merchants started calling out for me to come into their stores, it wasn't wasn't fun. A couple of waiters came out more aggressively after me in the last block, and I actually snarled. I was the ugly American!

At Smart Cars, Thomas tried to hit me up for an additional $15, but I had a compete record of all our emails and held my ground. He agreed to the price previous negotiated, though I wasn't 100% sure that I actually had the insurance coverage if something happened. This is important - if you are in an accident, you may be held until proving that you have locally acceptable insurance or can pay for the damage - usually $1,000 in cash. When they brought my car around, I photographed all sides and required them to give me a copy of our agreed upon list of existing damage. They normally don't give one to the customer.

The car was a topless VW bug, though I decided I was already getting too much sun and left the top up. I think this car has seen everything. The gears didn't mesh well, and the brakes were soft. The car rattled when I got up to speed.

But it was adequate for my needs. I never did find reverse, but just made sure that I never had to back up. There was a padlock on the small trunk, so I felt safe leaving my pack in the car..

I stopped briefly back at the Caribe Blu, then headed south. First thing I saw was the Budget Rental Office about a mile from the hotel along the water. Wish I had known about that!

snorkelers returning to Blue Angel Dive Shop

Then south along the edge of the island and inland at the south. The trees along this route are really knocked down. I don't know what it looked like before Wilma, but it doesn't look good now.

First stop was the nearly famous Big Tree, and I got a couple photos. Then on to Punta Sur National Park, but it is still closed from Wilma. Still, this was the only thing I planned to do on the whole trip that was really impacted by the previous hurricane.

The "big tree" is big:-) but the biggest thing is the difference between its size and all the other trees in the area.

This is the closest I could get to Punta Sur - it will be another month before Park reopens.

At least this brought me to the wild side and the road that goes along the water. There was a pretty good size surf and the waves were pounding on the jagged rocks and occasional beaches. I stopped for photos several places, including some blow holes, but never did get quite the shots I was looking for.

The trees on this side of the island are only a few feet tall and to my eyes don't show much recent damage, just the continuing abuse from the weather. The road has a lot of new pavement where it washed out last fall. Sometimes just a few feet, but other stretches are much longer. Some of the new road is in a sandy area and looks like it may have a short life span.

blow hole jetting up about 10 feet

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copyright 2006 by Keith Stokes.