Carmen Island

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Carmen Island was much more than I ever imagined. I thought it would be a small island in Mexico where there wouldn’t be anything to do but watch desert sheep, which was the basis for the whole trip. Instead, Carmen Island was gigantic and offered incredible scenery. Some areas of the island had rocky cliffs carved out by large waves that beat against them. Other areas on the island had fine, white sand beaches. These beaches sparked a deep-down passion of mine. I had always wanted to experience the water and beaches one sees in magazines. The water was so clear that I could see the bottom in depths well over 15 feet. The water had such an unnatural turquoise tint that I would swear it was photo-shopped. With such mesmerizing scenery, I decided I had to go swimming.


After discussing the topic in the morning, our guide decided he would take us out snorkeling that evening. I was very excited and for the time being, nothing else mattered. It was all I could think about. I would be snorkeling in the clear, beautiful water I had always dreamed about. Finally, the time had come. We loaded our gear in the boat and were on our way. At this point, all I knew was that we were going snorkeling, but I had no idea where we were going. Like any good guide, our guide began telling us a little about our destination and what to expect. This did not go very well. He mentioned we would be snorkeling around an old, ship-wrecked barge a few hundred yards from shore, and in order to see anything, we would have to dive down about 15-20 feet to the barge. What? I’m just an amateur. I haven’t snorkeled in years, and you expect me to swim around ship wreckage? I thought to myself. Next, he mentioned that in order to get the best view, I would have to grab onto a part of the ship so that the current wouldn’t carry me off. This instruction was followed by a list of about thirty different things NOT to grab onto. Oh, great. Now, not only do I have to worry about drowning, but I also have to worry about the current and all the creatures and plants that could potentially kill me! Then came the mention of the worst hazard of all, sharks! They’ve seen several sharks, and they recently saw a 17-foot tiger shark (the scary looking one with lots of sharp teeth sticking out of its mouth). Why would he tell me that? Now fully frightened, we reached our destination.

Our destination was nothing like I had imagined. Instead, there were large waves crashing into some of the small fragments of the ship which were protruding out of the water. In contrast to the beautiful water which surrounded the island, the water by the ship was a dark blue/black. I couldn’t see anything past the surface of the water. Sploosh! In went our guide. “Come on,” he urged me. I jumped reluctantly into the water. The water was even more unclear than I thought it would be. I could only see about an arm’s length. Not being able to see very far only contributed to my fear. My breathing became rapid. I tried diving a little but had to come back up before I could get very far. Each time I tried, I went deeper and deeper, but I still couldn’t see anything. More frustrated than scared, I took a deep breath and dove, determined to see something. When I got down about 10 feet, the water became very clear. Suddenly, I was able to see about 10 feet away, and my whole experience changed.

Beneath the murky layer on the surface was an amazing view. Although slightly dark, I could see the sunken ship had many deteriorated holes in its hull and many of its parts were scattered about. Underwater vegetation outlined the barge’s walls. It reminded me of the sunken ships I had watched on TV. There were tons of fish, too. Every dive seemed to bring a new fish into view. Each one was more exotically colored than the one before it, and each had a different shape and size. They darted around the sunken ship as though they were playing hide and seek. Every now and again they would enter a hole in the ship and reappear from a different one. They lacked any fear of me and swam around as though nothing had changed. Before long I’d completely forgotten my fears. I was so astounded that I didn’t want to stop snorkeling. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on my side, and we had to head back. Although I would not return to the same spot, I left with many new memories, which will be imbedded in my mind for a long time to come!

My experience far exceeded my expectations of Carmen Island. With the help of the incredible scenery and experiences, I formed some of my best memories. If I were given the opportunity to go back to the island, I would take it in a heartbeat.





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