Overview of Cozumel In MexicoWritten by Clint Leung
The island of Cozumel is only 12 miles (19 km) off Mexican Yucatan Peninsula's east coast and 44 miles (71 km) south of Cancun. For years, Cozumel was a quiet sleepy island that didn't get many visitors until Jacques Cousteau did a documentary on it after discovering world class scuba diving at Palancar Reefs nearby. Since 1961, Cozumel has been known as one of best scuba diving destinations in world. In fact for decades since that time, only tourists visiting island have been primarily scuba divers. Mainstream tourists went to resort intensive Cancun in mainland instead. However, Cozumel became a regular cruise ship port of call in recent years and today it is one of busiest with two separate terminals. It is common to have five or even six different cruise ships at port on any given day. I've been to Cozumel twice, first time staying several days on a scuba diving vacation and second time for a day via cruise ship (also scuba dived during my second visit).
As a result of cruise ship boom, there has been lots of retail development along main waterfront road of Avenida Rafael Melgar in island's only town of San Miguel de Cozumel. There are countless jewelry and t-shirt shops most with staff standing in entrances enticing visitors to enter their stores. Both silver and liquor can be good bargains here. There are also some nice Mexican crafts shops too. The one problem that we found was that after about 4 jewelry shops, they all started to look same. It was almost a retail overload. For those who came for a wilder time, there are some bars such as Carlos 'n' Charlie. The town's main outdoor square, Plaza del Sol, is just opposite main ferry dock to mainland. There are usually street vendors and artists in Plaza as well local entertainment during some evenings. The artists do some amazing artwork with spray paints and their prices are very reasonable. San Miguel's main tourist area can be very busy during day when cruise ship passengers are in town but since most ships depart at dinnertime, evenings are actually very quiet. The only tourists left at night tend to be scuba divers staying in Cozumel.
African experiences in the wildWritten by Dirk Wessels
I love nature and being outdoors and have had a couple of interesting experiences in South Africa. My South African friends seem to find my stories pretty interesting and even so much more people I have met in Australia and other countries, so I thought Iíd put some of my experiences to paper.
Hyenas in Transkei
A friend and I went to Transkei years ago with intention of catching some fish for my marine fish tank. On arrival at Hluleka game reserve my friend took out beers and I went for a walk to see where I could snorkel. I found a little footpath running along side coast and just followed it for a couple of hours. I walked past a small waterhole, but there were no animals around and I did not give it a second thought. Eventually I realized that it was getting late, so I ventured on back to camp. By time I got back to water hole, it was starting to get dark and as I passed a couple of trees with water hole behind them, I got a sudden chill. It was strange because I donít believe I had seen anything yet, but I felt something was wrong. As I looked more closely into these trees, I noticed a blou wildebeest standing a couple of meters from me staring right at me. The only thing I could think was to continue as if nothing was wrong, so I kept on walking only to get a full view of water hole, which was now surrounded by animals. For most part it was a herd of blou wildebeest and a couple of buck/deer. But there were also a couple of hyenas on hill on other side of water hole and they seemed to be running towards me with their heads high in air. Every story I had heard about hyenas said that they are cowards, but Iíd also heard that they have second strongest set of jaws in world and I was not happy with them running towards me. Nonetheless, I knew that I was still a long way from camp and only thing I could do was to keep on walking, which I did with a renewed sense of urgency. Well, it only took a couple of steps before hyenas were right behind me. I donít think they ever came too close to me, though at time it felt like they were on my heels, and I also think they probably turned around after a couple of meters. But this did not help me, I had heard that you should not turn your back on hyenas, so for rest of way back to camp I continued turning around every few seconds to see if hyenas were still around. I got back to bungalow some time after 9:00pm and was truly exhausted from walking in bush in dark while trying to look behind me all time. My friend, sitting in his jocks with a beer in hand, was furious that I was away for so long and left him all alone in bungalow. Funny thing, coz I was pretty furious that he never told game ranger that I had been gone for more than 6 hours!! Needless to say, rest of weekend was spent in and around bungalow, drinking beer and eating crayfish!!