Day 8: My son and I awoke to meet the sunrise, still a little giddy from our amazing day out with Jorge and the whale sharks (did I mention we had a really great day?). As we sat out on the balcony and watched the first streaks of red illuminate the sky, recapping the highlights, my son asked if we could drive over to Jorge’s dock and see if there is any room on the boat heading our again today. I laughed and told him that Dianne had said yesterday they were booked solid for the next ten days so we were not going to get to go again on this trip. He sat for a moment looking a little sad then perked up and said “that just means we have to come back next year to do it again.” I decided to play it cool and said Yeah maybe, we’ll have to see if we can work it out, however secretly inside I was already planning the return trip, but this time with both of my boys. The sun once again provided a superb show and then it was time for breakfast.
I made the suggestion to once again visit Lori at Lola Valentina’s, but my son said the last two meals we had were there and he felt if we went back again so soon she might think we were stalking her. He added next to her breakfast, Mangos was the best and said we should go back there. So it was settled and off to Mango’s we went. As always Polo delivered the goods to perfection. While we were enjoying every last bite I asked what he felt like doing today and he said he wanted to go see the underwater statues and do some more snorkeling. I laughed, questioning, “You have not had enough snorkeling yet?” He said “no way! I love seeing all the fish and there is nothing like this back at home so I want to go as many times as I can while we are still here” My first thought was to head over to Captain Tony’s house, but then I figured with it being perfect weather and knowing how many whale sharks were out there he would be committed to running a tour out to the feeding grounds. After saying goodbye to Polo and thanking him for another great meal headed back to the hotel grabbed our gear and walked down to Medina and the Palapa roofed booth of the Fisherman’s co-op. We arranged a tour for $20 US each and within 20 minutes we were in a boat and heading south toward Garrafon. Jr and I were the only two on the boat along with two local fishermen. There were not an over-abundance of fish out around the statues but Jr. was fascinated by all the sculptures and how the corals and sea fans had begun to colonize them. After 45 minutes to an hour we got back into the boat and headed for El Farito. It was still fairly early so the crush of day trippers from Cancun had not crammed the area and the snorkeling was great. There were large numbers of fish and Jr. had a great time. He really enjoyed that the current floated you over the reef so you just could sit back and enjoy the ride as you viewed everything. Probably another 45 minutes to cruise over El Farito and we were back into the boat and headed back to the beach. We were both pretty thirsty so we headed for Bally Hoo and DMartin’s table. We again ordered the Mango Margaritas and sat back enjoying the breeze and staring out into that beautiful blue water. As we were finishing up the drinks Jr. said “Ok were else is there to snorkel?” I laughed and asked if he was serious and wanted to get in the water again. The cock of his head and frown of disapproval that I would even contemplate asking such a ridiculous question made it clear we were not done snorkeling today.
I sat there for a minute thinking about where I could take him where he could snorkel as much as he liked. It was still early. Just before noon so I said we had to run back to the hotel so I could grab so additional cash and I knew where to go. 20 minutes later we were standing in line waiting to board the Ultramar to Playa Tortugas. Jr. was questioning why we were going to Cancun as all the beaches he had seen over there were nothing but pure white sand. I asked if I had lead him wrong yet and he said Ok I trust you. When we pulled into Playa Tortugas there was a guy preparing to jump off the Bungee tower and Jr. said “how did I miss this the other day when were came here? We are doing that!” Me and my great ideas, lets go to Cancun for a snorkeling adventure. As I stood there, brain scrambling for a way out of this, I think I actually heard the bones in my spine creaking. Jr. must have seen a look of dread on my face or perhaps he heard the creaking as well and said to me don’t even think for a minute you are chickening out of this. At this point the little voice in my head was heard laughing and saying “So do you still want to be the cool dad?” As we walked down the dock I gave a few feeble excuses as to why I couldn’t do this, but he wasn’t having it and when we got up to the booth where you sign up he walked right up and said “My dad and I want to do this. The man asked him our names and where we were from and within seconds were broadcasting over the loudspeaker Rick and Rick from Boston are going to jump. He went on to say this was the first time he ever had a father and son jump. As I listened I was thinking to myself that’s because most fathers were smart enough to say there’s no way I am jumping off that thing. Anyway, money was paid formed indicating that when I died the ones left behind would not hold them responsible for my poor ability to chose wisely were signed and we headed for the tower. The man, who likely would be the last person I ever spoke to asked who wanted to go first and Jr. said I’m going first. I thought, perfect when he climbs to the top of the tower I will make a break for it and disappear into the crowd. However, that perfect plan fell apart almost as quickly as it was formed. The man with the loud speaker appeared at my side almost as if he was a mind reader and knew of my plan to make a break for it. While Jr. was getting harnessed up he asked me a number of questions which he broadcast out for all to hear. I still believe the only reason he was doing this was so that everyone in the large crowd that had formed could keep an eye on me so I couldn’t slip away unnoticed. Before I knew it they were shouting out the countdown and in the next instant Jr. was flying through the air and rebounding high as the bungee recoiled again and again. He emerged unscathed with a huge grin and said “that was awesome, you’re up old man!” I made my way up the four or five thousand stairs and wished I’d taken some supplemental oxygen for the trip. When I got to the top I again met the man who would be leading me to the end. He was very pleasant and went over all the details several times until he thought I was comfortable with what was to come. I stepped to the platform and peered down to where my final resting place would be and thought it looked very tranquil there. I was given the final instructions to just let myself fall and not to jump and the countdown began. When the countdown hit zero I let myself fall and to my great surprise found I’d somehow survived. I was reeled in, unharnessed and emerged to the cheers of the crowd. They led us back to the booth and gave us the pitch to buy the DVD with all the photos and a video of the jumps at $25 each. I had not brought enough with me to purchase the two disks and still do the snorkeling we had come to Cancun for. I ended up getting the one of my son jumping so he could show all his friends. We left the shack and headed to the bus, my son proudly holding the disk and me wobbly legged and thankful to still be alive.
We took the bus to Aquaworld were I booked a trip out to their stationary snorkeling platform right out on the reef. The snorkeling was great, lots of fish and even a few small turtles. We stayed out there for about an hour and a half when hunger dictated we head back in. We took the next shuttle boat back to Aquaworld, caught the bus back to Playa Tortugas and hopped the ferry to Isla. By the time we got back to the hotel and showered it was about 6:00pm. I pulled out the Mapchick map and looked down the list of restaurants in Centro and settled on Fenix. We took a leisurely walk over and grabbed a table overlooking the cove at Avalon. We ordered a couple of Margaritas on the rocks while we looked over the extensive menu. We decided on the tapas menu and ordered just about one of each item on the list. The plates began to arrive a short time later and we dug in. If you have not had the tapas at Fenix you are missing out. Everything was delicious and we keep pointing different items to each other saying Oh man, you have to try this one” A couple more Margaritas perfectly complemented the meal and we ate until we thought we’d burst. We settled up and for the amount of food we had the bill was quite reasonable(somewhere around $600 pesos I think) and as we left we both wished there was someway we could have fit in those last few bites left behind. We strolled around Centro ending up on Hidalgo and looked through a few shops before returning to the hotel. We sat out on the balcony nursing a few Sol and listening to the waves crashing on the shore and talking about how amazing this little island really is. More to come…