|Caribbean Island water taxi (passenger ferry)|
The recent repainting of the Caribbean Island one of the several passenger ferries that traverse the 8-mile stretch of water between Cancún, and our little island - Isla Mujeres - brought to mind the various boats that we see on a daily basis.
Boats to go fishing. Boats to transport people from the mainland, to the island and back. Boats to take tourists snorkelling, diving or swimming with the whale sharks. Some are ordinary work boats, and others jazzy multi-coloured tour boats. Ghostly grey navy ships, red, black and white Coast Guard cruisers, pale blue sailing boats, sleek black 'bad boy' yachts, and car ferries - boats, always great subjects for photos.
|Commercia fishing boats|
Settled hundreds of years ago by the Mayas and later colonized by Spanish explorers the island of Isla Mujeres is situated in the Caribbean Sea, north-east of the City of Cancún. Cancún and its multi-million-dollar hotel zone, generating nearly 10% of the Mexican GNP, were created out of a sand-swept stretch of beach in the mid 1970's by the National Fund for Tourism Development.
For the islanders who were very self-sufficient up to that point living primarily on fish, shell fish, and turtle meat, they now had better reasons to cross the water in a boat. Groceries. Supplies. Restaurants.
All the trappings of 'civilization.'
|Panga fishing boat in a smokey dawn|
Living here on a permanent basis we have become attuned to the nautical comings and goings around the island. One of my early morning treats is to watch the fishermen navigate their small brightly coloured pangas along the reef in front of our house, picking up their nets.
Later in the morning turquoise and blue tourist boats drop vacationing snorkelers into the surf. At one o'clock precisely a bright yellow tour boat passes by on its daily circumnavigation of Isla. I have - twice - had the pleasure of adventuring several miles off shore to swim with the gigantic but benign Whale Sharks. Lawrie and I have been deep sea fishing a number of times with Charlie Simpson and various friends.
|Whale Shark - benign giants|
Isla Mujeres is a maritime community. The ocean defines the activities. The boats are the local workhorses, adding character and flavour to the island; the wild paint combinations, the stacks of nets, the rusty anchors, the wooden fish cleaning tables awash with fish scales, blood, and innards.
It is Isla. It is beautiful. And it is very colourful.
That purple and green boat - it fits right in.
|Frigate birds dive bombing a ray carcas|