Day 4 of our Puerto Vallarta trip: Nov 16, 2007. 

Snorkeling has always been on our to-do-list whenever we visit a tropical country. Even if we have to haul an extra luggage, which was a large duffel bag packed with the snorkeling gear. Although it’s always an option to rent these stuff at the place of destination (most  touristy places are more thank likely to have a rental shop by the beach), we prefer to use our own. The thought of using a snorkel used by a stranger is not very appealing to me. Plus, I have a prescription mask. Can’t see clearly without it.

When we were here on Day 2 of our vacation, we were offered by a local rental owner to go check out the best snorkel and dive destination around here. It’s called Las Marietas or Marietas Islands. From his description, it sounded like it was THE place to go. There shouldn’t be any hesitation on our part, except for this: it is only accessible by sea. I don’t handle motion sickness very well; especially at the sea, and that was proofen by some occasions here and there. Be it a 2-hour boat trip on a tiny fiberglass fisherman’s boat from Treasure Island to the tiny Sunny Island in Jamaica, or on a speedy ferry when we did parasailing in Negril, or even in a submarine when we were at St. Martin.

dolphins close byToday we’re back to Punta de Mita to take up on that offer. I took some Dramamine an hour prior hopping on the boat to help ease the motion sickness. I wasn’t sure if it was because of that, or the view along the boat ride that helped me. Beautiful sky, ocean wasn’t so rough, and a surprise sight of dolphins. I was so psyched seeing dolphins so close (about 50 meters) in the wild instead of zoo. We counted 5 or 6 of them, swimming up and down near and around our boat. The boatman even stopped the engine so the boat would be still (great chance for picture taking, but making me a little queasy -it was worth it). A couple of dolphins got curious and they were circling our boat; I could almost touch its dorsal fin.

almost there rocky terrain

It only took no more than 20 minutes to get to the islands. Getting closer and closer, it was being in a documentary movie, or a pre-historic era, for my lack of experience. The islands have rocky terrain with so many caves. There was only one secluded beach possible for a boat to dock, but too far out. Probably a hundred meters away with waist-deep water, too deep for the kids. So we didn’t land, but continue to explore the islands instead.

blue-footed boobySo many seabirds inhabit these islands, but one species captured my attention the most. Short and funny looking, it has a long neck, sharp bill, and bright blue feet.  Its feather are brown on the wings, and its head and neck are brown with black streaks. The rest of the body is white. Later on I found out they’re called the Blue-footed Booby. They can also be found on the Galapagos islands.

snorkeling by the reefsThen the boatman took us to the snorkel site by the coral reefs. My husband Doug and my 6-year-old Davi went in the water, followed by my dad-in-law Jay. I wanted to go in but I freaked out because it’s so deep and I tend to get an anxiety attack if I couldn’t see or touch the bottom. My 5-year-old Dante refused to go in the water anyway, so we stayed on the boat. We had brough some bread with us to feed the fish. Our boatman had an idea to put the bread in an empty plastic water bootle. He added a bit of water, enough to make the bread soggy. He then threw the bottle to Doug, leaving it open. Doug handed it to Davi, I guess he was hoping for Davi to encounter some fish. Not only she did, but she was literally attacked by the fish (and seabirds!) fighting over the bread in the bottle. Davi freaked out and threw the bottle away. The bottle then float on the water, with the seabirds and fish kept on fighting over it. It was such a sight for the three of us on the boat, if only I captured it as a movie. Our boatman yelled, “Crazy fish!” so many times and couldn’t stop laughing I tought he was going to fall out of the boat. 

Right after that life-threatening episode, Davi decided to quit and climbed on the boat to join us. She said it was the scariest thing ever and not interested in going back in the water ever. Yea right, li’l Miss Drama. Doug and Jay joined us ahortly after, then it was time to go back. For $50 buck each (adult only, kids are free) and 2 hour experience, I though it was worth it. My only regret was not snorkeling. Other than that, I’m glad we went to Las Marietas.