Whale Shark Excursion

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So today we woke up super early around 6:15 so we could be at the Eco Divers shop by 7:45. I ate some leftover pizza from last night and took some Dramamine. I really didn’t want to get seasick! So we got to the shop and eventually 4 other couples joined us. One couple from London was very nice. Mostly though people kept to themselves and didn’t seem like they wanted to be friendly. Then we got on the boat and left the island to journey out on the water for about an hour and a half. It was storming all around us on the boat ride. It was pretty cool. I should mention that although we booked with Eco Divers the tour was ran by Ceviche Tours.

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After a long time the boat suddenly stopped and the captain was pointing in the water so we thought maybe this is it! But some guy just lost his hat and they retrieved and we moved on. Also on the ride out we saw a couple of dolphins and a ton of flying fish. Flying fish were really cool.

When we finally got to the area with whale sharks there were a ton of other boats. The captain and the guide briefly explained to us how it would work. We were supposed to get all of our snorkeling gear on and sit on the side of the boat and 4 of us would go at once and swim with the shark. Don and I were in the first group so we got all ready and sat on the side of the boat. It was kind of hard to get up on the side. So we jumped and at first I didn’t see a shark. Then one of the guys said “right behind you!” so I looked down and there it was! So close!! So I got my first pictures and video! (Will post the video soon)

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It was gone so quickly so then we all just sort of waited in the water for the boat to pick us up. It was so weird being in the open water like that. I would look down into the water and it was so blue and clear, but I couldn’t see the bottom. A couple of times I thought I saw big fish swimming far below us.

Once we got back on the boat we got ready to jump in again. The second swim wasn’t as good for me. I couldn’t find the shark at first, but then I did eventually and I swam behind it for awhile. I think Don had better luck this time. He swam pretty far with it and even managed to get a selfie.

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The second and third swims were definitely not as good as the first one for me. Don had some luck. After the last round we were missing one of the girls from our boat. That was a scary few minutes. No one could find her and when the captain contacted other boats no one had an extra person. Fortunately we found her with a group in the water.

The experience was pretty cool. I was just so happy to see one! I was surprised at how tiring it was to keep up with them. All of the pictures you see make it look so easy and graceful. The shark is graceful but 8 snorkelers around it are not. If you were not first to the shark you were pretty much getting kicked in the face. I was surprised by how many people were in the water at once. I was so happy to do this, it was truly a bucket list day.

On the ride back a lot of people slept and rested. When we got near the port the guides gave us the option to snorkel, go to the port, or have ceviche and go to the best beach on Isla. Everyone but us decided to go to the beach. We were very lucky though because the beach happened to be our beach at our hotel. The ceviche was also amazing. It was very nice to sit on the boat, eat ceviche, and drink beer.

Once we were done we swam up to our beach and decided to check out the pool. The pool was great at Ixchel Beach Hotel. The water was so warm. When we were finished it was disappointing to find out that our keys did not work for our new room! Luckily housekeeping was around and let us in. Once we got cleaned up we relaxed and looked at our pictures and videos. It was pretty amazing to see this giant fish we swam with today! And BTW the hotel easily fixed our key this time so looks like we are good.

Someone had mentioned that a place called Bobo’s had great fried chicken and once we looked at the menu I was pumped to go. It’s a bar owned by Canadians and they have fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, and fish and chips. We were pretty much the first customers there and we decided to eat inside at the booth. I got the fish and chips. Don got some wings. The fish and chips were amazing. Don also said his chicken was good. It was the best meal we had so far. After we ate some people had come into the bar and were having conversation so we decided to come up to the bar. We met a guy from Austin, a guy from Chicago, and a guy from Arizona. The bartender was from Wisconsin! She was awesome and made some great drinks. It was a really great night…and we got pretty buzzed.

Once we left for some reason Don wanted to go to a hardware store to look for something. I took a selfie with a cat there.

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Then during our walking around we looked at magnets and I was determined to find a whale shark magnet. No one had one! We were also stopping by Island Adventures Mexico to try to book a trip to Contoy Island tomorrow. We found a bar and went up to the second floor. Then I made sure the Contoy trip was a go. From where we were sitting the shop with the whale shark magnets was directly below us. Don thought it would be a good idea for me to go down there and bargain with them. I had about 70 pesos I believe. I picked out 2 magnets and tried to get them. The guy told me that would only get me one magnet. Of course I caved because my buzzed self really wanted the whale shark magnet and I am a terrible negotiator. We had some great nachos, ok drinks, and some fun at this bar, but I can’t remember the name. We also came up with this saying “If I can’t eat it, drink it, or swim in it I don’t want it.” Because that basically refers to what we do on vacation.

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