Posted by: adventuressetravels | March 18, 2011

Natural Aquarium

I slid out of the dinghy into the warm blue water.  The clear water had to have been almost 80 degrees.  Just perfect for the muggy weather.  I stood up to adjust the life preserver, putting it on my back.  I couldn’t believe there was a law that you had to wear life jackets snorkeling!?  How the hell could you dive?

I flippered towards the reef and moments later I swam over a school of five or six purpley-grey fish.  They didn’t scoot out of the way, or even seem to care that a large strange possible predator was sharing the same water.   The closer I got to the reef, the number of fish increased.  All seemed to be

Suddenly the water was filled with fish.  Like the plastic flakes in a snow-globe they circled around me, brushing against my legs and arms.  There must have been hundreds of the curious ocean denizens. Every size, shape, and color  Yellow black-striped fish, big iridescent purple bottom feeders, mottled blue verities.  I gaped in wonder at the veritable aquarium I was swimming in.

These fish were tame. They knew this was a national park and that they had nothing to worry about.  Fishing was illegal here off the coast of Isla Mujeres and all around Cancun.  Because of the droves of tourists snorkeling this reef these fish weren’t just unconcerned; they were expectant.  “Where’s the food?” they seemed to ask.



Tony flippered up to me through the sea of fish. There was an tunnel through the reef he told me and Lindsey.  The underwater archway he lead us to looked as if it could have been the gateway into some sort of fish kingdom.  The fish certainly seemed to be enjoying it so we decided to give it a go.

Taking off our obligatory life preservers we took turns diving down and making our way through the underwater archway.  The ocean lapped against the other side of the archway.  Though there were more live coral structures, little fish did not appear to enjoy getting battered by the waves and huddled under branches of coral for shelter.

Back on the calm side of the archway we were suddenly ocean’s tranquility was replaced with a boatload full of red-wristbanded tourists clearly on a trip from the nearby Cancun.  When people outnumbered the fish, it was clearly time for us to go.   We could always come back another day…



  1. Is the water as murky as in the photos? Do you, or somebody, feed the fish? Somehow a line dropped out.

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