Up early in the morning to pack camp and head to the airport. With each kilometre covered the throttles opens up a little more. I’m anxious to get there, but realise there is no point in hurrying as I have lots of time to hurry up and wait at the airport. Besides, Rebecca is arriving in full motorcycle gear, with a helmet, and a spare rear tire for the bike. She doesn’t speak much, if any, Spanish, and I’m sure she’s going to have a hassle with the Mexican customs, especially trying to explain the tire!
At the airport it takes a bit to determine which terminal she will arrive at, and then once there, with the bike parked, I find out that they just recently put up a barrier fence so people can no longer get close to the international arrivals. It’s supposed to protect tourists from pick pockets, bogus taxis, etc… , but makes it really hard for family members to find their arrivals who end up dumped out of the airport by all the tour buses, with no obvious signs of where to exit if not taking one of the tour buses.
A girl comes through the gate who was on Rebecca’s flight, 40 minutes after landing, and meets her parents. She hasn’t seen a strange, confused blond lady with a motorcycle tire. An hour after landing, and still no Rebecca. Another family, who speaks better Spanish than me, comes up with a plan to hire (bribe) one of the officials inside to look for their daughter. I jump in and give him Rebecca’s name and description as well. 10 minutes, and $10 USD later, Rebecca emerges from the chaos being rushed along by the official. She’s here at last!
We spend the next hour configuring the bike for her added gear and the tire, and soon we’re blasting down the highway towards Tulum. Rebecca is stunned at the heat and humidity, and frankly, so am I. Not until yesterday in Merida did I really experience sticky, hot days. I think much of the rest of the trip will be like this… and we’re in full riding gear.
Halfway to Tulum we see a sign for Dos Ojos Cenotes, and on a recommendation from a friend back home (thanks Andrew!), we pull in. We’re greeted by Luis and Lisa at the Dive Shop there, and a few minutes later we’re gearing up for some cavern diving. Rebecca’s been in Mexico less than 2 hours and the adventure is beginning for her!
Lisa is an amazing guide and instructor, and we plunge into the underwater world with flashlights and regulators. Both of us are blown away by the experience, especially how beautiful it is around the edges of the caverns where the light from above filters in through the formations of underwater stalagtites and stalagmites. An hour later it’s all we can talk about. I can’t wait to do more cave diving in the future.
Then it’s off to find a campsite on the beach in Tulum, which our guides have told us have become harder and harder to find because so many people have messed up the beaches camping on them. After a frustratingly long time, with lots of questions asked of locals along the beach road, we finally end up in a conservation area quite south of Tulum. They say that we can find camping about 4 km deeper into the preserve, so we pay the entrance fee. The road is challenging, especially with a passenger, extra gear, and spare tire. We find the camping area, but also find out that there is an additional fee beyond the entrance fee, if we want to camp. It all seems a bit fishy, but we pay the extra 120 pesos ($12), and pitch our tent as darkness sets in. The wind off the ocean, and the lack of light make it difficult, but once it’s done we have an amazingly quiet spot steps from the ocean. The only other people on the grounds are 2 HUGE overland trucks. We’ll have to meet them in the morning, but for now it’s our first night together in several weeks, and it’s so nice have Rebecca in the tent with me.