I left the comforts of Cozumel apartment life and caught the ferry to the mainland in the morning. I met up with Jose, an old Spanish man who was to be my dive master for the cenotes. We picked up two Frenchies, both mid-twenties, Caroline and Fabian. At the first cenote, Dos Ojos, we geared up and got into the fresh water of the cave opening, only to find that Caroline wasn’t such a great diver and probably not experienced enough for this sort of thing. I used my first 500psi of air just waiting for her to descend and equalise. She continued to be a hassle during the dives. She had no control over her buoyancy and kept floating to the top of the cavern. I can imagine for someone with not much experience, being in a seemingly enclosed environment with no access to the surface, could be quite terrifying. She also managed to lose one of the good rental masks and complained bitterly with exaggerated facial gestures about the tanks hurting her sunburned back.

The cenote diving was interesting for the first five minutes. The second five minutes was the same as the first five minutes.

The entire dive was the same as the first five minutes. It was something I’d always wanted to try, but now that I’ve tried it I will never need to try it again. There was barely any aquatic life to see, apart from the odd tiny silver fish. Just stalagmites and stalactites, and if you’ve been in a limestone cave before you will know what the inside of a cave looks like, just fill it with water and there you have it; cenote diving. The coolest thing for me, was the way the exhaled air from our regulators rose and formed pools of quicksilver on the ceiling of the cave. They appeared as perfect mirrors until you touched their surfaces, breaking the illusion, and they would then appear like windows with a view of the roof behind them. There were also several parts of the dive where daylight broke through the cenote ceiling and created a fuzzy rainbow in the water. After the dives it was great not to need to rinse salt off everything.

I headed back to Playa and then caught a bus towards Coba. I had planned to camp somewhere but by the time I got to the small town it was dark; the hotel across the road from the bus stop was more appealing.



Coba Ruinas (Day 231)

Coba Ruinas (Day 231)

The weather was so bad last night that the roof of the hotel was ripped off in the wind and the rain came pouring in. When I awoke to a chorus of roosters, the roof was still there and I was dry as a bone.

The ruinas were spread out over almost two miles but nothing seemed particularly outstanding from the other ruins I’ve seen. It did have the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan area and thankfully it wasn’t out of bounds. The view from the top was impressive but it is just a sea of thick jungle scrub as far as the eye can see.

How early explorers persisted in getting through this country I will never know, but obviously the promise of Mayan riches was enough to keep them going. Once I got back to Playa, I grabbed lunch and headed to the Tulum ruinas situated with a view of the lovely turquoise waters between the mainland and Cozumel. The place was crowded with tourists from Cancun and it was amazing the number of Latinos that would totally disregard the “No climbing” barriers just for a photo opportunity.

I got back to Cozumel in the afternoon, glad to be back.

Beach near Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Beach near Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Iguana at Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Iguana at Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Tulum Ruinas (Day 231)

Bicycle parking at Coba Ruinas (Day 231)

Bicycle parking at Coba Ruinas (Day 231)



It’s time to start planning the trip back home. I rode all about town looking for boxes big enough to fit the bike; the supermarket, refrigerator store, and a moped store; all of which let me rummage through their garbage, but to no avail. While I was on the North side of town I found a grungy-looking bicycle repair store and they said they’d pack my bike for a small fee. I had hoped they’d just hand me an old box.

I went to have my first-aid refresher course but it was cancelled so I used the opportunity to make another lap of the island. There were strong headwinds on the eastern-side and I had the sun setting behind me for the last half of the ride. I’ve started enjoying this ride now. I always give a big wave to the ambulance as they pass, they’d stopped to check if I was ok one time when I’d pulled over to eat. A big wave also to the Green Angels, the guy that rescues stranded drivers.

He’d also stopped one time to check whether I was ok. I get passed by a convey of one or two dozen jeeps for those cruise ship tourists who like to get a whirlwind tour of the island. I go past the sign advertising Bob Marley’s second home always thinking that next time I’ll get a photo of it. Next time. I pass the surfers on the East coast and stop and watch a while. I pass the wooden beach shack decorated with a charcoal drawing of a voluptuous naked lady. I stop in at the bar at Punta Morena beach for a quick drink and amuse myself watching the pet anteater. Each time, I consider buying the “Punta Morena – Surf Naked – Put a little colour in your cheeks” t-shirt but never do. Next time.

I finally hit the road heading back into town and see how long I can keep up with the mopeds that struggle whenever they have a passenger.

East coast Cozumel (Day 232)

East coast Cozumel (Day 232)



I’m finally a dive master. Had my refresher CPR course in the morning. Jorge, my CPR instructor told me that there are about two thousand scuba dives done every day in Cozumel. And in the afternoon I made two of them. Alberto had a very good-looking Spanish dive master, Yolanda, onboard helping. The two middle-aged divers from Ohio were cool; they asked me a thousand questions about my trip. Because of the good-nature of the guys and Yolanda’s bikini with little yellow flowers sewn onto it, it was a very enjoyable dive. The first was at Paradise Reef where we were watched by two long barracudas. Yolanda pointed out some anemone shrimp to me, tiny and translucent; I’d never noticed them before. The second dive was on Los Palmos; a gently sloping wall that disappears into the big blue. We were privileged enough to see two eagle rays. I was actually more excited to spot my first splendid toadfish, apparently endemic to Cozumel and reputed to live nowhere else in the world.

Went and saw the movie “Constantine” again as I was in dire need of some popular entertainment. In other news, there was another earthquake today off the coast of Indonesia, but luckily no tsunami followed. And Lisa Marie Presley told Oprah that she thinks Michael Jackson may have used her. Paul Hester, the Crowded House drummer, hung himself in a park not far from his home two days ago.

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence.”

– A Passage to India, E.M. Forster



Before mid-morning I had already completed another lap of the island. I now have 9832 miles on this trip and have 168 miles left in order to clock the 10,000 mile mark, seems a bit impossible with only two full riding days left.

What a difference a good dive does for one’s psyche. I found Alberto at the pier chatting to a beautiful girl, turned out it was Yolanda, who looks great even wearing normal clothes. I took a young Italian couple down to the beach for some snorkelling while Alberto tried to round up some more divers. Neither knew much English but Molina, the very cute girlfriend would babble away at me excitedly whenever she spotted something cool, they were a lot of fun.

I was the dive master for the two of them, and Mike, a bloke from British Columbia, apparently from a small town that I’d ridden through. He was shocked when I told him what time of year I’d been there. We dived on Paradise Reef again which was lovely as usual. Then we headed to the North end of San Francisco reef where we made a drift dive onto a gentle sloping wall. Drift dives are my favourite dives, it’s like flying, effortless flying. We only had to kick when we stopped to say hello to a large turtle heading in the opposite direction. I spotted a large lobster and we saw plenty of large angelfish nibbling on the coral. When we got low on air we all linked arms together for the ascent and safety stop. The dive left me with a grin on my face for the rest of the day. Especially after getting a goodbye kiss on the cheek from Yolanda.



Two laps of the island today! Ten thousand miles is in my sights; an early morning ride tomorrow then another on Saturday morning before I get Stef boxed up.




Sometimes waking up early is hard to do. My planned lap of the island was cancelled due to poor attendance; all I could manage was a ten mile ride south and then back again.

After two nice dives today, Alberto invited me to meet him and the other dive masters at a restaurant on 65th street. I spent at least half an hour trying to find either the restaurant or his clapped-out Chevy but eventually rode home disappointed.




I was on by the bike by 6:15am. It rained heavily overnight so there was a cool breeze blowing. I don’t think it’s ever rained lightly while I’ve been here; it always seems to bucket down. I rode fifteen miles south and then returned to town. The marina was closed because of the weather, so no boats were out. On the way back, I passed Alberto and Yolanda in the clapped-out Chevy and they asked me where I’d disappeared to. Alberto invited me out again tonight to meet some friends from Texas, said he’d pick me up about six. I got a lovely goodbye kiss from Yolanda.

I showered and headed over to the dive shop to say goodbye. Danielle gave me a book to read for the long trip home and Jean Pierre showed me his almost completed web page. I left telling them I’d pass by later, but I hate goodbyes so didn’t head back. I will miss them all.

I dropped my bike off at the bike shop north of town to get it packed. My bike computer read 9997 miles. Another three miles but for some reason I didn’t feel it was right to hit some sort of milestone. This whole trip seems to have been about going lots of places but not quite getting anywhere. I’d had the idea to ride west to east across the USA at one point but threw out that plan. Then I thought I’d try to do the four corners of the USA, but I only made it to one corner.  Then I tried to ride north to south through the USA but gave that up after numb toes convinced me of my insanity.

I’d tried to get to Cuba, ah…

So, why reach ten thousand miles? If I feel like I have somehow failed to reach a milestone on this trip maybe it will encourage me even more so to attempt something bigger and better next time. I like that idea.

I picked up Stef, all wrapped in cardboard, half an hour later.

Carolina knocks on my door at six and the three of us head to the restaurant in Alberto’s clapped-out Chevy. Alberto hands me a nice bottle of wine as a gift, and I immediately feel a little ashamed at the cheap bottle of my “León de Tarapaca” vino tinto that I’d bought along myself. So into the fancy open-air restaurant I walk sheepishly, hacienda creeper framing the clear night sky, with a bottle of wine in each hand. Alberto introduces me to his friends Colin, a pilot from Texas, and his wife. We talk lots about paragliding, fishing and diving and the negative effect that Steve Irwin has had on the American people’s perceptions of Australians. It was a brilliant meal, the raw fish I’d bravely tried was really good. Colin pays for the entire meal, and I, quite tipsy, try to slip him some money discreetly for my share, but he refuses. “Come on…, I’m a stranger” I insist, but they laugh.

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