Neck Injuries, Cenotes and Beaches

So at first glance you might expect that I had received a neck injury at one of the thousands of Cenotes (fresh water limestone holes) spread across Mexico, in fact the only thing these two have in common is that they both happened to me.

One of the first things I did when getting to Playa del Carmen was join a gym, aging and hard living is starting to catch up to me, and I find myself complaining way to often about sore knees and shoulders, back ache, and various pains which could possibly be avoided or alleviated by not sitting down so much. On top of that I have sporadically been a gym junkie over the years, and was feeling back in the zone. This ended up being part of the problem, as I returned to the gym with all the ferocity of my early twenty something self, and within the first week did myself some serious damage. While using terrible form on the pec fly machine, I stuck my head out, strained, and reeled in agony as something in my neck said “hows your father”.

Deciding not to follow conventional wisdom, I continued working out, that day and for a week after, until the pain got too much, and now, here I am sitting on my arse again, 2 weeks out of the gym, with about 60 percent mobility in the offending musculature. Bummer.

Never mind, I have become fairly comfortable with a slightly distended gut and love handles, which could really do with renaming as their existence so rarely helps in instigating love. Even more so, I am a master at not exerting myself, especially when I don’t have to.

But we also did stuff

That is not to say we haven’t done anything, despite my injuries, in the last couple weeks we have had a few snorkeling and road trips. We went down to a beach called Akumal, at about 9am, and watched giant turtles feeding, stingrays hovering, and barracudas looking scary as hell. The snorkelling at this amazing beach is fantastic, if you head out this way this is definitely the place to go.

Not another beautiful beach!
Not another beautiful beach!
Life jacket crop top, I'm nothing if not fashionable
Life jacket crop top, I’m nothing if not fashionable

After our snorkel we headed into the little town attached, and were well fed by a slightly crazy Mexican woman. She was lovely, but swore way more than a forty something year old mother should, had a penchant for marijuana, and put the hard sell on the old Cuban cigars (which I gave in to and purchased). Needless to say a good day was had by all (all being us and our Swiss friends), the sunburn was kept to a minimum (minimum being a ridiculous looking burn thanks to my crop top sized life-jacket), and we were home and watching “Grey’s Anatomy” by 7pm.

Cenotes and Beaches

On another day we rented a car for $35, and headed out to get some Cenote action. Cenotes are marvelous things, crystal clear fresh water sink holes, caused by the collapse of limestone caverns carved out by underground rivers. They are often full of fish (which I am still a little unsure as to how they get there, I don’t think they would swim through the dark from one to another), and rock formations which make for dazzling snorkel trips.

Cenote Azul
Cenote Azul

We stopped at Cenote Azul, snorkels in hand, and could not believe the clarity of the water, or its fresh testicle shrinking coolness. Deciding the waist drop was a less painful way to submerge than easing in, I donned my snorkel gear and fell into the embrace of Cenote Azul. It is a bizzare but beautiful experience, you fall into an obviously denser medium, yet your vision remains as clear as if staring through air. You can see without hindrance from one side of the 100m pool to the other without the slightest haze.

The underwater world is a veritable zoo of funny fishes and mini landscapes. Rocks drop off to depths of 4 or 5 meters, and you stare down at your dangling feet, as though you were floating on air. Swimming off to one side a rope disappears into the dark depths where the cenote joins the large underground network of waterways.

I dragged myself down about 5 meters, felt my ears pop, and began to be engulfed by the eerie darkness. Staring up at the surface you can see all the half submerged people flailing to stay above the waterline. Rays of sunlight cascade into the darkness and dance about the ancient sea beds surface. Fish feed at bright green moss on the rocks and swim inches away from me. It is a beautiful place to be.

Leap of faith
Leap of faith

Lunch in old Mehico

From the Cenote we pulled off the road to a random little town, and sat down at a seafood restaurant obviously catering to locals, a Mexican concert blared out of huge club worthy speakers, we were brought a bottomless supply of nachos and various dips, and ordered from the limited but delicious looking menu. We stuffed our faces for about an hour, surrounded by real Mexico, locals stared in our direction while unintelligible yet unmistakably Mexican music pleaded with us to get up and dance, the sun shone down as we gobbled through the rest of our meal, and small children ran around playing in the dirt like young children used to do before we all became germaphobic.

El Lunch
El Luncho

Overly stuffed we headed out and noticed a group of hombres resting against our rental car (I think, the car dealers personal car, as it wasn’t the newest and had a distinct Mexican look to it), they seemed surprised that we were driving it and scooted slightly to the left so we could be on our way, there was no dashing, no apologies for using your car a a seat, if anything, I felt guilty for stealing their resting place, it was great. Finally, I am in Mehico.

We finished the day with a frolic in the waves at another beautiful beach, a dip in its adjoining cenote, and then the drive home. There is so much to experience around here, you don’t have to go far, and you don’t have to spend a lot.

Iguana on the beach
Iguana on the beach
Frolicking in the Carribean
Frolicking in the Carribean

What else do you do when your not doing?

The rest of my time has been spent building a new look for Sarah’s blog, and continuuing work on another website for a company in Australia, both of which I really enjoy doing. The whole webdesign thing is surprisingly fulfilling,  I get to sit down and make an idea come to life.

I am reading a lot, learning a lot, experiencing a lot, sleeping a lot, watching TV a lot, designing a lot, and somehow, despite all that,I am also not doing a hell of a lot.

It reminds me of a quote I just made up,

“Doing things is fun, but so is not doing things”

0 thoughts on “Neck Injuries, Cenotes and Beaches”

  1. Adrienne Elliott

    Hope the neck is feeling better! Lovely photos. As the entire Yucatan is really just a layer of calcium carbonate/ ancient coral reefs, there must be ways fish travel from the ocean. Suppose too they can be trapped fish which have adapted over the ages. There’s some research you can do!!!

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I sometimes forget that we have the miracle of “Google” at our finger tips. A couple sentences and you can find out pretty much anything!

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