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Akumal The annual return to paradise April 23 to May 7, 2015
The annual trip to Akumal has almost entered the realm of virtual certainty. We enjoy the general environment, we have made friends with people who live there and we have friends from across the continent who like to meet there. An on-line group, Loco Gringos,has been the starting point for quite a few of these friendships and this group of friends organizes the Annual Akumal Spring Break, usually taking place in Akumal (of course) during the last week of April. We planned our trip to coincide with the AASB for our first week. We stayed at the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort, formerly know as just ABR, for the first week (April 23-30). The resort has seen quite a bit of renovation and upgrading. We liked the improvements. There are now four a la carte  restaurants all of which are enjoyable. Friends from across Canada and the US were there and we had a great time. It was so good to connect with Bob & Adriene, Stacey, Wendi, Shelley, Mark & Donna, George, et. al. The next week we moved to Taj Kamal, a small B&B right on the bay. We stayed in the Prana Bungalow. What a wonderful little place. The picture is of the pool just a few steps away from our door. It is closer to the dive shop and that meant the morning “commute” was a notably shorter walk. We ate at local restaurants: Lol Ha snack bar, Turtle Bay Bakery and Café, and a really wonderful dinner at Lol Ha restaurant. Of course for me, the key is diving. Once again it was so much fun to dive with our good friends and superb dive masters/dive instructors, Ivan and Natalie. Unlike all my other dive excursions, this involved very personal diving, often only me and either Ivan or Natalie and after Scott, another good friend and great diver from Colorado arrived, just the two of us with either Ivan or Natalie. One adventure involved traveling to Tankah bay to check out an alternate dive site. This just happened (??) to coincide with a lionfish hunt organized by a group of local resident divers. Scott and I were spotters and along with Ivan made up one of the hunting groups. The entire group managed to remove 18 lionfish from the reef. We were treated to lionfish ceveche and lionfish tacos the next day at Lol Ha (snack bar). It’s a very mild fish and quite enjoyable. After the hunt our (Scott, me and Ivan) second dive was in Casa Cenote, the cenote that was across the road from the ocean, the dive shop and the snack bar. I was a bit worried since I did not have a wet suit. However, we geared up and jumped in. The first surprise was that I discovered that my air had not been turned on. I thought I’d attended to this, but nope. So I sucked on my regulator and - nothing! I indicate the problem to Scott who swam over and turned on my air. All OK. We spent 50 minutes in the cenote and then we headed for the out-flow where the centote emptied under the road, dive shop and snack bar, into the ocean. The turbulence was such that visibility dropped to almost zero. I looked back and couldn’t see Scott at all. I could just see the circle that was his light and the oval on the bottom that was where his light was shining. And then we were out. The current pushed us through the underground channel so fast that the 200 metre trip took only a few minutes. We surfaced in the ocean about 70 m offshore in water about 2-3 m deep. When we arrived I had completed a total of 479 dives since starting diving in 2004. There was a chance I would be able to dive on eleven days out of the 14 provided the weather cooperated and the boats were going out every day. If luck held I would be able to do 22 dives and reach 500 lifetime dives (501 actually). The weather didn’t cooperate and boats didn’t go out on April 27 and due to the rough weather the visibility was so bad on the 28th that I only did one dive. So the goal of reaching 500 was lost - at least that’s what I thought. However, into the last week of the trip I realized that our flight didn’t leave until 2:00 PM on May 7th and therefore I could dive on the 5th and still have 48 hours of no diving before flying. The result was that my last dive on Tuesday May 5, 2015 was my 500th dive! Wow! Donna met me at the boat as it came in with a cold Negra Modello. Then to my surprise, Deb & Glen arrived with a sign displaying 500, Ivan arrived with a key lime pie with “Happy 500th” written in icing on the top, and Mark and Donna H. arrived with a bottle of bubbly (courtesy of Stacey). Natalie gave me (us) a bottle of rosé. We had a great party on the beach and I couldn’t have imagined a better celebration. It was a wonderful time with really good friends. It was also a perfect end to a great trip and a great time diving. Of course, I took lots of pictures underwater. As usual, I have sorted through them and posted those that are worth viewing. I hope you enjoy them. The can be seen here. We have not yet made any plans for our trips in 2015-16. However, we know we will be returning to Akumal at some point and the Annual Akumal Spring Break is a strong candidate.
Ron, Natalie, Ivan & Scott Mark, Donna H, Lori, Donna B. Ivan, key-lime pie, happy diver Ron Akumal Akumal