Well, just back last night from our third trip to AC, so it is time for a trip report. This trip indicates that they just keep getting better.
Saturday. Got in about 5 o'clock to Paradise Villas (Tradewinds). The six of us had one beachfront unit (upper and lower). Both fridges were stocked with Belikin, coke and pepsi (compliments of a friend who had been in contact with Stefanie without our knowledge). Changed into warm weather gear and headed off to Jambels for dinner. Never been there before for some odd reason. Great food and cold beer. Sat on the porch at the villa for awhile and polished off a few more Belikins.
Sunday. Up early for the sunrise and off to Estels for breakfast. Back for the first mid-morning Belikin. Went to Hustler to say a big hello to Diane and set the Brother-in-law up for his certification dives on Monday. Another round of Belikins and sat around the pool till the 2 o'clock ferry up to the Palapa Bar. Needless to say, nailed a few more Belikins there and listened to the music. Back about 5, and dinner at Papi's. Never been there before, but after hearing so many people on the board mention it, had to give it a try. Another winner. and some dynamite margueritas.
Monday. Headed out to Hol Chan with Billy from Hustler for the first two cert dives. I went along with my camera to document. Been there a number of times, but there seemed to be a lot more critters than I ever noticed before. A turtle, couple of big Eagle rays, a 5 foot Barracuda, some lobsters, tarpon and nurse sharks. The Brother-in -law (Denny) had no problem with the first two dives. We were supposed to go outside the reef for the next two, but it was a little too rough, so we opted to wait until Tuesday. Didn't want to do any more Hol Chan. More Belikins on the porch, and then to the Reef for dinner. That linoleum is more like contact paper over wood, like it better the old way. Food was still good, and the Belikin was still Belikin. While Denny and I were diving, the other four headed out with Vince Dawson for some reef fishing. As expected, they came back with enough snapper for a good barbecue, planned for Tuesday.
Tuesday. Still rough outside, so we chose to put the next cert dives off until afternoon instead of doing Hol Chan again. Didn't help, as the afternoon blew up some wind and storm and we had to cancel the barbecue too. Denny and I went down to the Ark to meet Dr. Bron (fantastic lady) and pick up some Saga Society t-shirts and calendars. Went to the Belikin distributor to try and get some of their calendars, but no such luck (anyone ever see that picture of Paisano they have tacked on the inside door of the office at the distributors?) Since we still had a full fridge, just took it easy the rest of the day, and headed to Elvi's for dinner. The food was fair, never found it outstanding anyway, although my wife and her sister have this thing about Mayan Chicken there. Every evening gets topped off with the Beer of choice, of course.
Wednesday. Got outside the reef today, did Dennys next two dives at Emerald and Cypress Gardens. The second dive was pretty, but Denny was thrilled with it as he had never seen anything like it. No problems on these dives either, so he just needs the paperwork sent in to get his cert. Got back and did some conch fritters at Estels (perfect, best I've ever had) then hunted up all the necessities for the barbecue. Jim at Tradewinds set us up with the grill and coconut husks, and we had about the best snapper I had ever tasted, at least at this point in time. More Belikins to help digest things, of course.
Thursday. Just the six of us on the Hustler cat (with Vince, John and Darryl) took a cruise down to Caye Caulker. Skipped Hol Chan and went to Coral Gardens instead for snorkeling. A bit rough and a wet sail, but that's what sailing is all about. Caye Caulker for lunch and more Belikins, and then to Shark Ray off of there. Always seems to be more sharks than off AC, and we had a good 8 footer with a few five footers. The girls were thrilled, as my wife missed it last year due to a combo of sun and rum punches. Dinner at the Blue Water Grille and I vaguely remember it was good, but after 3 horny Monkeys I covered a lot more ground than anyone else getting back.
Friday. Again the six of us on a Hustler boat for snorkeling, diving and a shore lunch up at Basil Jones. This was a blast. The Hustler crew (Alex and Dilson) took us up to Mata Rocks. We snorkeled and picked up conch, the girls fished and the crew took turns spearfishing. Then up to Mexico Rocks and the divers dove (yeah, shallow. Still couldn't get outside the reef. Take what you can get) and the 2 non-divers fished some more. Then up to Basil Jones. Alex put together probably the best conch ceviche I have ever tasted, and the fish were mixed with a variety of other things and baked on the barbecue on the beach in front of Basil Jones. This fish dinner blew away the stuff we did on the grill, and much better than anything you can get in town (believe it or else). Back down to Mexico Rocks (couldn't get outside at BJ) northside for another liesurely dive. Saw some turtles and a huge spotted eagle ray. Back to the house for more Belikins, not particularly hungry for dinner.
Saturday: One couple left for Akumal to meet their kids for another week. The rest of us took it easy, Went shopping, picked up another Iguana Jack pot, a few paintings for the house, and a couple of lithos from the Island Dog.
Sunday. Sat around and moped as we had to catch the two o'clock flight out. Great Trip.
One other item. Due to all the interest on the board regarding Basil Jones Resort. I can see why some people are pissed. That is probably the prettiest view I have ever seen. If I would have been taken there, I would have plunked some money down too. There were a couple of guys working, moving some sand around, but it looked like 7 of the bungalows were finished and the 8th nearly so. Not much else there.
No luck finding a 2002 Belikin calendar, any ideas?
I would like to thank Stefanie and Jim at Tradewinds for their help and advice (and a few laughs). Make sure Whistles gets where he's going. Also the people at Hustler, who ae always most accomodating.
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt