It has been a very quiet week in Lake Wobegone

(make that Cozumel, Mexico)

It was not my intention to put a blog out this quickly and it was planned to be about other things, but the island is experiencing the effects of the faux epidemic flu scare and I thought folks might be interested to see how we are doing here.

Passengers getting ready to board the ferry to Playa del Carmen. They are being asked a series of questions screening out anyone who might be ill. So far so good on the island. We have not had ANY cases of the flu. This is current as of 5/5/09

Empty horizon on a normal weekday morning. Making for great views, but few tourists. There are some dive boats going out. Some tourists are coming from other parts of Mexico and Playa del Carmen. They are finding empty beaches and lots of personal attention from the service people on the island.

Sign at the entrance of Mega (our new mega store which is owned, I believe, by Cosco). Basically, it is saying there are new hours. That is true for much of everything here. This was true for the ferry schedule BEFORE the flu faux crisis and is really true now.

Some of the closings -- the cinema, the El Cedral anual celebration, all schools, some hotels (taking advantage to do some maintenance and updating), some waterfront stores such as Dimonds International and any large public gatherings. Stores I saw open last night, Cinco Soles, Guidos restaurant, No Name Bar -- plenty of businesses still open to make your trip comfortable if you want to come down and enjoy Cozumel the way it was 20 years ago, but with all the modern conveniences.

At least a Mega, the employees are all wearing masks. But there is a right way and a wrong way and the fellow at the left is an example of the wrong way. Also, wearing the masks on your chin is a poor survival plan!

I have seen a few people on the streets wearing masks, but not many. People are staying home. As is the nature of the Cozumeleño people, they are quietly enduring yet another attack on their fragile economy.

Midday view of No Name Bar. Their clientelle is mainly the cruise ship crew. No cruise ships = no crew. So there are a lot of empty chairs just waiting for you to come fill them. Word from Carnival for at least some of the ships is that they aren't coming back til and undisclosed date in June. Pretty excessive if you ask me, but they may change their plans when the see that Cozumel continues to be free of the flu.

Speaking of No Name, Tulay, one of the owners is taking advantage of this time to work in her garden and take it easy from a normally hectic schedule. So the lack of tourists is a mixed bag. Horrible for the local economy which wasn't all that great. But also a quiet time to take a breather.

As someone that was here for the hurricane Wilma, I will say this is worse. At that time the government was distributing food and put people to work cleaning up for a small amount of money. The shut down was for 3 weeks. It looks like this is going to be longer. At least we don't have to see all the destructtion of Wilma.

Pier at Punta Langosta free of any cruise ships. Kinda good news/bad news.

The main street in front of Baracuda and Mega. Usually teaming with activity gives a ghost town feel to the city.

The only pleasurable part of this economic disaster, is that while nobody is here to support our community, nobody is here to muddy up the waters when I snorkel. So the water is clearer than I have seen it in years. I am getting some great photos. Here is a saddled blenny above a sea anenomie. These are popular fish with the divers and snorkelers because of their large eyes and cute behaviors of fierce open mouthed fighting. They have jerky swift movements that make them (in my opinion) very difficult to get a good photo of. Below is a closeup of another saddled blenny.

It literally took me 20 photos to get one this good of this tiny fish. I have only seen this fish a few times and just in the past couple of weeks. It is clearly a juvenile something, but what I don't know. I checked out the spotfin butterfly and the four eyed butterfly but it isn't one of those, unless it is a newborn in a different color. There is a familiarity about it that I can't place.
This little beauty is just that, a juvenile rock beauty. It was identified by Eve Ackerman and once I knew what to look for, it has been verified. Thank you Eve. The photo below is of a rock beauty all grown up. Amazing isn't it.

It is another mystery and I hope someone can help me figure this one out. By the way, the mysteries in the last blog have been solved and it has been updated.


A few sea creatures to find. A crab, and spiney sea urchin and a stone fish (scorpion fish).

Fish story. This adorable juvenile something followed Juen & I when we snorkeled from Money Bar to Presidente last week. It mostly swam right in front of Juen's mask all the way. It was swimming for all it was worth to stay with us and ahead of us. Juen called me over to take its photo and then we started back and swam further apart. Suddenly the little darling left Juen and swam as fast as it could over to me. It proceded to "follow" me the same way, staying just in front of my face. One photo I caught of it, to the right, appears that it has its mouth open--maybe eating something. There is a familarity about this fish also -- perhaps a juvy triggerfish of some sort. Any ideas?

This darling little guy has been identified as a juvenile yellow jack by Debby Bollag and I was able to find confirmation that it was a jack on the web. Thank you for finding this, Deb..

Right now we have unobstructed sunsets watching without cruise ships marring the beauty. If you want of visit the island, now is the time. You will be very much appreciated by the local people and can have a personal impact on the economy. You won't be disappointed. It is Cozumel as it was before the cruise ships, but with all the nice restaurants that have sprung up over the years. The island is operating in a quiet peaceful fashion that will leave you totally relaxed and enchanted. Right now the pulsating latin rythms have softened and you can hear the birds, frogs, geckos and the gently lapping waves. And as I said in the beginning --   NO FLU HERE.