PART 1 - Bad beginning...
During our first two days we didn`t get to dive, but once the Norte was gone, we had 13 wonderful dives. This was my most wonderful family vacation ever.
Saturday, January 19th, 2008 (travel day) We left home bright and early Saturday Jan 19 to catch our flight at Dulles. After a few minutes trying to figure out where to check in (we booked with US Air, but needed to check in on United since the first leg was via United Express), we were told that we would miss our connection in Charlotte as the flight was at least 3 hours delayed. Bummer... We were offered three choices: come back on Sunday, go catch the 5pm flight in Chicago, go to Cancun. We opted for the third option since the flight was departing about the same time as our original flight. We would take a taxi from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen, then the Ferry. All looked good until it was time to board. When we checked, we didn`t have our assigned seat and were told to get the seat assignment at the gate. Guess what; the flight was overbooked and one of us had to stay behind. Nathalie decided that she would join us the day after so I could go with the kids and start their certification as planned. She managed to get on a flight from DCA to Cozumel with a connection in Memphis... There she was on a cab while we were on the tamrac waiting to take off.
We had so much luggage between the five of us, we had to charter a private minibus-taxi to go to the ferry. It took us about 45 minutes to get to Playa Del Carmen. We stopped at a mini market to get some food as it was about 3pm by now and our 6am breakfast was long digested. We missed the ferry by 5 minutes and had to wait an hour to take the next one.
Finally, arrived in Cozumel and headed to our hotel: Hacienda San Miguel. We had reserved 2 studios, one for the boys (Alcatraz) and one for Stephanie, Nathalie and I (Bugambilia). The rooms were perfect. Rustic Mexican decor with a beautiful garden, terracotta floor, fully furnished kitchen, clean and outstanding service by the staff.
Nathalie`s flight arrived about an hour after we settled at the hotel. I took a cab to the airport to greet her and pick up a car (Jeep Wrangler). As expected by this time, the car reserved wasn`t what we had booked. It was only for 4 passengers and couldn`t hold any luggage - we were supposed to have a larger version of the jeep that can accomodate 5 passengers and luggages; for another 50% more we could upgrade to what we booked... so I decided not to upgrade and go ahead with whatever they were providing us for the pre-negotiated price...
By the time we were all settled at the hotel, it was 7pm and everyone was hungry. We headed out towards the place and stopped at Guido`s for some Italian food (good but pricey). We walked around town, stopping by a few dive shop and decided to call it a night and get ready for the scuba early Sunday morning.
Sunday Jan 20, 2008 (no dive - bad weather) The phone rang and woke me up at 6am. It was Alison calling to tell me we had to call it a day due to a strong wind from the north (a Norte). We could reconvene at 10:30 and see what the port captain would say, but it was very likely that it would remain closed all day. When it was confirmed that we wouldn`t dive, we decided to get in the car and drive around the island. It was quite tight in the back seat for three.
Hopefully tomorrow we`ll dive... part 2