Hermaphroditic Lizards, Macaw Love & Teeny Baby Crocodiles
I heart Mexico! There's no other way to say it. I love the food, the people, spending as much time exploring the amazing turquoise Caribbean waters as I can and fumbling around trying to speak Spanish laughing at myself. A beautiful country with such a rich cultural heritage and history you can't help but fall in love with it.
Grand plans of roaming from one end to the other were in my mind so now viola! (look left) The Southern most point of Mexico, I made it! This huge sign only shows other islands and is made entirely of a massive driftwood log that washed up on shore. It took 6 men to carry it up to the lighthouse where they proceeded to recycle it, making all of these countries signs, the signpost itself and a small canoe... now you can fully appreciate the size of the log. And can I just say that I LOVE that Australia is pink... it's the colour of romance, love and all gooey girly things so what's not to love right?
To give you an idea of height, that's me leaning against it and I am nearly 6ft tall.
An amazing eco-park has been built on this entire southern section of pristine coastline of Cozumel island. Safely guarding the unique wildlife and offering sanctuary to a number of species only found in a small section of the Yucatan, the eco park is one of the highlights of nature.
There's a hermaphroditic lizard that are all female and manage to produce offspring... (no boy lizards at all) that can only be found here and on a tiny section of the mainland. Under the protection of the park, they are thriving. I saw three. This little striped beauty is a marvel of nature.
Meet the rare, and I think quite pretty, Aspidoscelis cozumelae. The locals love her and get quite excited when she's seen out and about.
On our trek through the newly built 'interpretive path' (ie: anything you want it to be) which I what I would call a real nature path, you know the ones, where you dodge and duck under branches stumbling over rocks and it goes squish under your feet in some places, well we saw three of these gorgeous gals so it was my lucky day. And I'm not going to lie, the guide was pretty excited about it and he's worked there for 18yrs.
Also out to be seen was one of the world smallest birds, the Cozumel Blue Gnatcatcher which is about half the size of a hummingbird, two different species of iguana's, Mangrove Warblers and a multitude of other bird life I was not quick enough to see let alone photograph. This place is a birders heaven and nature lovers dream where you every few feet something is disappearing into the bush quickening your heart depending on the size of the rustly.
I adore all nature so it was well and truly worth making my way along this path with about 20,000 of my new mosquito friends because look what I found at then end.
Little baby, teensy crocodiles. I was so excited to hear the little ones plop into the water and even more excited when I found one!
Don't worry, I didn't get too close, mumma croc was on the bank nearby and although she didn't move, the eye did snap open so that is all the warning I need. Time to back away and leave them in peace. Thank god for zoom lenses.. life savers. But, naaawww I want one.
This eco-park is the best place to see crocodiles and they have observation platforms built all through the wetlands and you're out of danger up on the raised boardwalks. But can still see these gorgeous creatures and the abundant bird life from the observation towers and boardwalks. And don't worry, they aren't like our salties that will literally project themselves out of the water and try and eat you. No, these guys are smaller and super shy so keep away.
Apparently there is also a couple of different types of 'fake' snakes found on the island but I was not lucky enough to make their acquaintance. Sorry Mr Fake Coral and Mr Fake Moccasin, I'll meet you next time.
Yes, I would have been that person running through the scrub on the hopes of snapping a pic to show you and ending up face first in the mud eyeball to eyeball with something unpleasant, so we'll just say it was probably my saving grace we didn't see that tail disappear sending me on a chase.
You'll just have to make do with me losing half of my blood volume to mosquitoes and braving crocodiles to show you some wildlife... you're welcome.
After meeting the locals, it was time to head back toward civilisation and climb stuff, because every good day out should involve climbing stuff, am I right or am I right? So I found the biggest thing I could find and climbed the lighthouse. Something I have wanted to do for ages. Oh god, so many stairs but it's worth the leg burn to get to that view.
And no those colours aren't enhanced, the water really is that gorgeous turquoise blue, crystal clear and just perfect to spend all day in. If you're a water baby that is and I am so everyday it called to me like a siren saying 'Bel, come and play' beaconing me to ditch work and go hang out with my tropical fishy friends... which I did more than I care to admit. But hey, I'm only human.
The other really cool thing about this eco-park is that there is a Macaw rescue there. Not pushy like a touristy 'get your photo taken with the birds for ... $. No, this guy educated you about Macaws, habitat devastation, poaching for the world market, abused pets etc because let's face it, these glorious birds have a very long lifespan so even if Nan loved her Macaw, well the grandkids might not like it as much.
These two cheeky girls were rescued by him and are now very happy, healthy and I'm so in awe of the wonderful work he does with these amazing birds.
I talked with him for a while and the girls kept blowing me kisses every time I walked past I'd giggle and blow them one back.
He ended up calling me over and said 'they really like you' so he put one on my shoulder and lay the other one in my hands and that was it for me. I was even more in love with these lovely ladies then before.
I think it's because I looked like a giant Macaw in that shirt so they probably thought I was a sister and you know what.. I'm happy to be a sista. Usually I never support that sort of thing, but I had happily donated before and it pretty much seemed like their choice not mine. I noticed they didn't blow kisses to anyone else so I feel doubly loved now. And I sincerely hope that one day you get to bask in the glow of some Macaw love.