|The bay at Isla Contoy|
"No, my name is Joe, but I can be Kevin if you want me to," he quipped. His response elicited good natured laughs from everyone, easing the strangers-meeting-strangers awkwardness. By the time we had been fitted with life jackets, flippers, goggles and a snorkel we were chatting easily.
After several days of wind and high waves, the weather was finally perfect for a boat trip to the Isla Contoy National Park. The three of us - our neighbour Andy, my niece Renee, and I - had been waiting all week for this day.
|Lovely and quiet|
We left the docks promptly at nine in the morning, and arrived at Isla Contoy shortly after ten. Paradise. Tucked into a crescent-shaped bay was a clean sweep of white sand, a handful of palm trees, two or three communal outdoor grilling areas, plus a couple National Park service buildings. That's it. Wild and relatively untamed, the island is home to thousands of nesting birds, plus a few boa constrictors and crocodiles in the jungle areas.
|View from the blue observation tower|
|Noah Garcia - cooking up a great meal|
It was a bit early in the adventure for a meal, but when the crew explained the reason it made sense. Tony likes to ensure that his boat is the first into the dock, and the first out to the reef, allowing his customers an hour of quiet bliss in paradise before the arrival of the other tourists. Sitting on rustic wooden benches, under a cool palapa we enjoyed our delicious meal, finishing as three more boats arrived at the dock. The new arrivals spoke a profusion of European and Asian languages, each with their own multilingual guide informing, and educating the groups. I much preferred our easy, no structure, explore at your own pace experience.
|Alberto Garcia - captain and chef|
After lunch we floated in the refreshing ocean while the guys packed up the remaining food and beverages. We then headed out to the nearby reef for a bit of snorkeling. Alberto secured the boat to a mooring buoy just a short swim away from the reef. Puffing and splashing I struggled to catch up to the group, and then realized that I had forgotten my waterproof camera on the boat. Darn! Swimming back, I could hear my fellow travels babbling excitedly about the huge black and yellow grouper that Noah had located.
|Noah Garcia - a man of many talents, snorkel guide|
|Getting our bodies back on the boat|
As we puttered along the shore of Isla Contoy, Alberto slowed the boat to show us a magnificent Manta Ray.
|Beautiful Manta Ray|
|Snorkeling on a nearby section of the Belize Barrier Reef|
|Getting wet - Lynda and Kevin/otherwise known as Joe|
Sun-baked, and tired we disembarked on the beach waving goodbye to our new acquaintances - Kevin/otherwise known as Joe, Amber, Doug, Susan, and Shelagh. (Not sure of the spelling on that one ....)
I needed a shower, and a cold drink, and a nap!
Great adventure; thank you Tony, Alberto and Noah Garcia.
Cheers Lynda & Lawrie
Note: currently the price per person is $65.00 USD or $800.00 MX pesos. The cost includes equipment, cold beverages and a delicious lunch. Bring a towel, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, and camera. Wearing your swimsuit is the easiest solution as you will be wet several times during the excursion. A long sleeved shirt to protect your arms from sunburn is also a good idea.
|Grilled chicken and grilled fish. Yum!|