Its a Jungle Out There!
14 May 2012
A recent conversation with a Canadian ex-pat couple down here in Mexico went something like this: Ex-Pats: “We moved here a year ago, and we love it so much that we haven’t been back since!” Us: Wow, that’s amazing! We’ve really enjoyed ourselves since we’ve been here as well. The country is even more beautiful than we imagined! But what is the weather like in the summer?” Ex-pats, leaning across the table with intense expressions: “It’s a jungle here you know!” Us: “Uh… sure! So you’ve taken some exotic inland trips, have you?” Ex-Pats: “Oh, no. We’ve been enjoying our beachside resort condo and once in a while we go into town. But it’s a jungle down here you know!” Us (still trying to glean some context from their comments): “The tropical weather certainly feels more like the jungle compared to the chilly winters in Canada!” The female half of the couple grabs Kim’s arm and flicks her long hair over the shoulder of her leopard print dress: “Not a rain forest, A jungle!” Kim smiled nervously, and slowly withdrew her arm. Judging by the woman’s appearance, Kim determined that Mexico’s exotic (and slightly dangerous image as portrayed by the media) was what drew her to the country. But interestingly, she had little interest in exploring the imagined jungle that lurked outside the resort’s gates!
There is SO MUCH to see in Mexico, by sea and land. And while we have plenty more exploring to do, we’ve certainly been impressed by the wildlife we’ve seen so far - some of it more exotic than others. A few days ago as we sailed from Bahia San Gabriel to Isla San Francisco and were entertained by a friendly seal who frolicked in the waves around our boat for close to an hour. While he seemed content to swim back and forth across our wake at first, once he realized he had our full attention he impressed us further by twirling, diving and then launching himself straight out of the water, landing in various positions. He splashed around, and blew huge bubbles before coming back to the surface, checking to make sure that we were still watching. We decided to pay him for his performance by sharing some of our freshly caught tuna with him! (See photo gallery)
The diversity of tropical fish here rivals anything we’ve seen on any other tropical locations. We’ve had some great snorkeling adventures over the past months, but it’s so difficult to capture the beautiful images on film… underwater photography is quite an art! Maybe we should take some lessons from James!
We’ve grown accustomed to hearing peculiar slapping sounds in the middle of quiet bays, which most often are created by Skates (Manta Rays), who launch themselves straight out of the water and make spectacular belly flop landings. During one recent passage we noticed a school of Rays swimming in perfect formation, looking very much like stealth bombers in hot pursuit of a target.
We have also had the pleasure of seeing numerous humpback whales and dolphins are almost a daily occurrence.
Every once in a while when we’re sailing along, we’ll notice a strange looking creature like the one above and be unable to determine what it is… perhaps you can tell us!
Seabirds are also plentiful and diverse here. Spending an afternoon watching the pelicans and egrets fish around your boat can keep you interested for hours. Some birds actually dive from such a great height and so fast that they propel themselves 8-10 feet under the water! It’s an amazing place with Rays trying to fly and seabirds doing their best to get below the surface!
There are so many different kinds of lizards – some the size of a German Shepherd, others no bigger than a mouse. They range in color from lime green to mustard yellow, to burnt orange, some are spotted and striped with spiky protrusions on their heads and back, and others are glossy smooth. Occasionally you’ll see them running across the beach, and if you’re very quiet and patient, mangrove bushes will come alive with huge iguanas perched precariously on branches, perfectly camouflaged to their surroundings, Some even venture out and onto marina docks, looking like they’re contemplating hopping aboard!
The crocodiles are difficult to find in the wild, as they’re incredibly shy. You might wonder why tourists are so interested in finding them when they grow as large as 12 feet, and 900 pounds! Tigers and spectacularly colored parrots are even harder to find in the wild (in fact tigers are not indigenous to Mexico) and much easier to photograph in Paradise Village Resort (see gallery). We realize we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t been ‘swarmed’ by bees while cruising along the coastline, as some of our friends and other fellow cruisers have reported having been overcome by a fast moving black cloud of bees, looking for a new home (or to share a meal with them)!
It’s a Jungle out there!