A Travellerspoint blog

Met Daniel the Manatee from Laguna Guerrero

Daniel was found in Laguna Guerrero as a pup with one lung full of water. Now he's a beautiful 7 year old 220kg bull, and much loved by everyone. He is free to swim about the lagoons which connect to the sea, but he never leaves his Laguna Guerrero.

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I was taken to Laguna Guerrero by a friendly family from Calderitas, they wanted me to film Daniel the Manatee for the 'Enchanting Mexico' documentary series. The daughter of the the family feed baby Daniel by bottle when he was a pup, I could see she got misty eyed just talking about it.
We got to the reserva in Laguna Guerrero and was met by the man who looked after Daniel, he was getting Daniel's food ready, beetroots, lettuce, cucumber, he was a bubbly happy man who you could see, loved his job. We all walked down the peer, there was netting all around the area, but you could see manatee sized holes in a few places.
As we got closer I got my first good look at a Manatee. Daniel looked like a gray blob with tiny eyes, a long barrel body, and flat rounded tail fin, his two front fins had little round nails on tips. Quite unlike any thing I had ever seen before. He looked up as us and seemed to look at each of us in turn, gentle and noble, and I fell in love there and then.

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As Daniel got fed his salad by Jair Hussein De Jesus Torres Mendiburu, Secretaría de Ecología y Medio Ambiente, told us all about Daniel and how he had been found by local kids as a pup with one lung full of water. The locals had adopted Daniel and healed him, now he's a 220kg bull. Jair had been looking after Daniel for 4 years, and they think Manatees live to about 60 or more years. Manatees don't have predators, well, that is the Mayan used to eat them and use their hide and bones for decoration, but not anymore of course. The closest relative to the Manatee is the elephant. Manatees eat 20% of their body weight a day, they eat the algae which grows in the area, well the other manatee do, Daniel eats salads.

There were some steps lead down into the water and I have a Gopro hero 3 cam which films beautifully underwater as well as in HD quality. I sat down on the steps and waited for Daniel to swim past with my cam in the water. Daniel swam right up to me and up the last two steps! I was face to face with the sweetest wrinkly faced aquatic mammal, and he unplugged his nose and breathed right into my face, and made me giggle. I'm getting teary eyed as I write this :)

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I spent about an hour tickling him and even kissed his nose :)

An amazing experience. One I will never forget.

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You can can see the latest episode of 'Enchanting Mexico' here:

Welcome to episode 3 for season 2 of Enchanting Mexico. This episode is fully translated into English and Spanish. In this episode Rose works with 'Son Barrio Abajo' a group of children musicians taught by Jose Fidencio Aguirre Fierro (col8) in Talcotalpan. The children make a painted animation to the song 'Toro Zacamandu' that Rose records them performing. Rose also takes you throughTlacotalpan's festival of bread and candy where you see the traditional dance of the Jarochos.
From Tlacotalpan to Toro Prieto - Rose rides her bike around the reserva biosfera of the Volcano St. Martin. and comes across the small town of Toro Prieto where she is shown the sites by a local family, and gives art workshops in the schools. Toro Prieto is the closest village to the amazing rock formations of Roca Partida.

Posted by Rose in Mexico 08:24 Archived in Mexico Tagged sea cow mexico 3 de mayan biking calakmul campeche roadtrip documentary laguna manatee aquatic hero gopro xpujil becan chetumal mexico_encantador enchanting_mexico rose_robin suc_tuc hopelchen pak_chen video_diary calderitas guerrero mammal secretaría ecología Comments (0)

boating & fishing adventures in Calderitas

I arrived 5 days ago and already friendly locals have taken me out fishing to tropical islands twice :) So much fun and beauty every where. I went home with three fish for my dinner :)

I only have to bike 20mins to get to a supermarket and Cinema which has a few films in English. It's delightful here. Restaurants along the sea front smell delicious. Right in front of the Yaxha campsite you have a little dock for small boats, the pastel green sea and the island Tamalcab, beautiful view from my tent door.

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Two days ago I went for an eventful outing with some friendly locals, they were going out fishing and asked if I would like to join them, I hopped aboard. We motored round to the other side of the Tamalcab island and they told me I could go snorkeling round there because there's a ship wreck the fish like to hide in, and it's good fishing. I was swimming for a little while and I realized the sea wasn't salty but fresh water, the mouth of the river Hondo made the sea fresh water, it's quite delightful. Also the deepest it got was about 5 meters.

I was called over by Moses the captain of the boat, he was in the water looking at the motor, he announced that he had lost the propeller and that we had to look for it, we spent about an hour looking and the light was going, so we got back in the boat... everyone had forgotten their cell phones... I was chuckling to my self and everyone seemed in good spirits even though we were going to have to push the boat back to Calderitas, with the tide coming up and the light fading.

Luck was with us as one little boat motored about 500 meters away we all yelled, and as he disappeared behind the island, we heard him turning the boat back to us. The skipper of the boat made fun of Moses and his friends, and announced that I was bad luck. we tied our boats together and he started to pull us, and then we stopped, he'd run out of gas!
We took the gas from our boat on to his boat, and tried to started the motor... he pull the rope and pumped the gas to no avail. Then Moses got on to the other boat to have a go. Strong, leader, type of guy, with a charming smile and easy laugh. He stood wrapping the rope to the motor and got it to stance, turned to everyone and said "Watch out". Every one was quite. Moses pull the cord, lost his balance, did a double pirouette then landed with his leg sprayed with the other skipper underneath him... hehehe... I got it all on camera!

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After laughing till our sides hurt, we soon the motor going and got back to dock just as the sun was setting. With pinks and purples, and orange high lights in the sea and clouds.

Moses asked if I wanted to help look for the propeller the next day and then go fishing to the island of the 2 bothers. I was of course delight to be invited even though I had brought them bad luck :)

The next day we left a 10am motored out to more or less where we'd lost the propeller. We were more eyes looking, everyone had a cell phone and this time we had enough food and drink or any eventuality. Moses found the propeller in about 20 mins and we all celebrated with a beer, if fact quite a few.

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Then we motored off to the Islands of 2 brothers it was quite a ways out to sea, yet the depth didn't get much deeper and the water was still fresh and not salty. You could see the huge, magnificent frigate birds also known as Man-O'-War bird, hovering over the islands as we got closer. Moses and his crew got the nets ready and started flinging the nets. Straight away they started getting little sliver fish. The nets would get stuck on rocks Isaac and I would wade over to free them.

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I had a lovely time walking around the islands admiring the male frigate birds with their big red pouches. When I got back to the crew they had switched the little nets for one long big one. Two were wading out and releasing the net into a large circle as the others banged sticks on the water. Then one guy would splash around inside the circle a frighten the fishes into the net. I had fun trying to manhandle the fish out of the net and into the boat, it's not as easy as it looks, but I got the hang of it.

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By the end of the day the icebox was full of fish. When we got back to the dock in Calderitas Moses gave me three fish for diner, which I cooked back at my camp site. What a lovely day :)

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I am filming a documentary series about my adventures in Mexico called 'Mexico Encantador / Enchanting Mexico' you can find all the episodes here on my website: http://paintingpirates.com/Mexico.html

Here is episode 3 of season 2

Welcome to episode 3 for season 2 of Enchanting Mexico. This episode is fully translated into English and Spanish. In this episode Rose works with 'Son Barrio Abajo' a group of children musicians taught by Jose Fidencio Aguirre Fierro (col8) in Talcotalpan, Veracruz. The children make a painted animation to the song 'Toro Zacamandu' that Rose records them performing. Rose also takes you throughTlacotalpan's festival of bread and candy where you see the traditional dance of the Jarochos.
From Tlacotalpan to Toro Prieto - Rose rides her bike around the reserva biosfera of the Volcano St. Martin. and comes across the small town of Toro Prieto where she is shown the sites by a local family, and gives art workshops in the schools. Toro Prieto is the closest village to the amazing rock formations of Roca Partida.

Posted by Rose in Mexico 10:42 Archived in Mexico Tagged mountains beaches art people children animals birds boats fishing mexico river family playa coastal de los rose mayan biking roadtrip documentary isla salinas mexican robin dos anton becan chetumal enchanting_mexico video_diary encantador harpoon tlacotalpan calderitas hermanos hondo Comments (0)

Biking from Xpujil to Chetumal

Only 118km left to go til I get to Chetumal... It rained for the next three days... I have arrived in Calderitas about 4km from Chetumal in the state of Quintana Roo Mexico... And I just had my first shower in 3 days :p phufffff I'm a happy girl :)

I left Xpujil at around 9 am, I had become quite attached to my little cabin, with it's shafting light coming through the cracks in the wooden walls and huge fan above my head keeping me cool. I hopped on my bike and thundered down the hill into the town of Xpujil only stopping to buy 5 litters of water and some food. The road had become much flatter, and quite honestly on long stretches of flat road you mind wonders to the strangest places... yep I think I was missing some hills to battle up. Then again when it started to rain about 10km into the ride I was happy not have the addition of too steep a hill. I got rain from all sides and from big trucks wheels and my own front wheel when got any speed up... Not very nice...

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I got to a small town after riding about 60km the first day. I stopped in a nice looking restaurant everyone turned as I rode up to the door and propped my bike against the wall, I must have been a mess, socked through and covered in mud. A lady walked up to me and I said 'firstly I want to eat and drink some thing hot, and also do you have I place I can pitch me tent for the night?' I gave her my 'I know I'm being cheeky smile'.
She laughed and took me out to back yard, which had a run down car with chickens living in it and two huts which were the restaurant toilets and a covered area where she was drying some clothes. she pointed to a patch of grass and said "You can sleep there if you like."
I pitched my tent and changed my clothes for some thing dry and had a quick wash to scrap some mud off me. Then I had Mexican style eggs and three pork tacos with lodes of hot coffee, it felt like heaven.

I realized the next morning then water was leaking into my tent, it seemed like through the ground sheet... every thing inside was wet, and it was still raining, I hung my foam bed up to dry and went to have breakfast, I had Mexican style eggs and lodes of hot coffee and yes it was heaven :)

When my foam bed was dried out at about 10am I packed up the rest of my things, and moved on, my objective was to arrive in Chetumal that evening... but that was not to be... at about 3pm I realized I had a flat tire, it was still raining and I had about 15km left to go before I got to Chetumal. I stood there in the rain muttering to myself. I noticed a path way not too far from me, and started to push my bike hoping to find some cover... nope no cover, but a slippery Chalk quarry. The quarry was big and had lots of places I could hide for the night, I walk around ducking behind mounds looking for a good place to pitch my tent. I finally decided that no one in their right mind would be wondering around this quarry in the pelting rain so I was safe enough... I popped off the flat and got inside my tent with my patches and glue and some dry clothes... found three holes!! and during a quick brake in the rain I found the culprit in the tire, a tiny piece of metal sticking through, it had come from a one of the many broken trucker tires I had been past.

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I slept cold and wet that night phuffff :§

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The next day I was thrilled to be only 15km from Chetumal and got on the road with my mind on breakfast. I found a little place about 5km down the road, they made traditional lamb soup and lamb tacos. I asked how they cooked the lamb and the owner said they bake the lamb in an underground pit, using Blue agave to give it taste. It was truly delicious.

I was soon in Chetumal and enjoy the beautiful ride down the malecon, the sun had come out and I was feeling over moon having completed my 388km bike ride from Campeche to the pale blue seas and grassy beaches of Chetumal. I knew where I was going from there and biked straight to the campsite Yaxhare in the little town of Calderitas. It's lovely right on the sea front, it has internet, and hot water, all for 100 pesos a night :)
I'm in my tent right now as I write to you, clean, making a pot of coffee and thinking about diner, feeling quite proud of my adventures on my travels to here.

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I have put up the next episode of the documentary series I am filming about my travels through Mexico. In this episode I visit the school for Marines in Anton Lizardo whilst the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, visits for his last tour before his end of term. I bike from Anton Lizardo to Playa Salinas, a beautiful small coastal fishing town, where I stay with a sweet family and I am taken out harpoon fishing. From Playa Salinas to Tlacotalpan, I stay at the Luz de Noche Hostel. I hope you enjoy:

Posted by Rose in Mexico 14:50 Archived in Mexico Tagged me landscapes waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes beaches bridges churches art buildings skylines people children parties trees animals birds sky snow night planes boats trains bikes fishing mexico of town family school hostel for playa noche coastal de rose mayan biking calakmul campeche roadtrip documentary salinas president mexican robin calderon felipe anton luz lizardo xpujil becan chetumal mexico_encantador enchanting_mexico rose_robin suc_tuc hopelchen pak_chen video_diary encantador enchatning marines hinojosa harpoon tlacotalpan Comments (0)

First entry 21/1/2013 Xpujil

I am currently 2/3 of my way around Mexico I am traveling by bike now from Campeche to Chetumal. I have stopped in Xpujil to rest for a few days. I'm going to tell you about the last 5 days biking through the reserva del Calakmul.

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Welcome to my blog.
This is the first time I have written a blog about my travels. I usually film every thing I do, like a video diary, or a kind of 'Gonzo' journalism. I have filming a documentary series in Mexico for about 1 year, I call it 'Enchanting Mexico / Mexico Encantador'. Please watch Episode 1 of season 2 to get an idea of what it's all about.

Biking from Campeche to Chetumal.

A 400km long bike ride. I left the city of Campeche on the 16th of January at around 10am. I found the road to be safe and well made with hardly any pot holes. The buses and cars were respectful a careful not to get too close whilst being friendly a waving as I went by... not too many hills the first day, an easy ride.
I completed 63km by 5pm. I arrived in the little village of Suc-Tuc and I asked the first lady I saw if there was a field where I could pitch my tent for the night. She pointed me in the direction of the baseball field. I got to the field and saw a family sitting outside their house, relaxing in the sunset and cooking up some corn to make tortilla paste. I asked them if it was safe to pitch my tent in the field. The Grandad Jose-Manuel shock his head 'Better off staying on our land for the night.' The daughter Claudia opened the gate for me and I pushed my bike and trailer into their yard. I asked them if they had eaten yet, they had, so I asked if I could cook myself up some food. Grandma Maria clean a table for me and I got my cans of food and herbs and veggies out to cook. The two little girls Sarae and Aranza squabbled over who was going to get me a chair. When they both brought over the chair I sit down for the first time that day (without pushing my pedals) and could feel the 63km I'd done and how hard it was going to be to get up again once my muscles cooled off, so I got back up and finished cooking my tomatoes soup with pasta, every one tried a cup and said they enjoyed it and I felt happy to share. Claudia asked if I wanted to wash, which I did very much, she gave a bucket of water and a cup and took me to the hut which was the toilet and wash place.
After dinner and a bucket I felt ready to set up for the night. Claudia took me to where I could pitch my tent, close to her hut on her parents land. Claudia had three little girls Sarae, Aranza, and baby Perla. Her husband was working in Campeche and lived there most of the time. "Daddy brings me Chocolate for town." said Aranza with a big smile. The four girls stood ohhing and ahrring, as I set up camp. I pitched my tent, and and pulled out my bedding foam and blankets for the plastic chests on my trailer. They huddled around the chest and pointed at objects asking what they were, each in turn. Claudia eventually gave me a big smile and told the girls to go inside for bed as she could see I was tiring for the constant flow of questions. I sat in my tent for another hour telling Claudia about my travels through Mexico, she listen and asked questions. She wanted to know if I was scared of traveling alone, I told her in one year I have not met a reason to be scared, but that I was careful, and that I'm certainly not looking for trouble." That night I slept well.

The next morning I got up and shared my breakfast of Oatmeal and chocolate soy milk with Sarae and Aranza, who loved it. After saying good bye to the lovely family, I started my next stage of the journey at around 8am. I arrived Hopelchen around midday I was stopped by a man on a bike taxi, which were everywhere to be seen, he asked where I was going, he gave me the directions for the road to Xpujil and told me to get a bite to eat a restaurant, in fact he biked me to the restaurant and waved to his friends there as he speed away. I had a huge plate of chicken for 35 pesos and enjoyed watching the local Mennonites interacting with the Mexicans. Mennonites are everywhere in this little town, dressed in their flannel shirts and straw hats and overalls, the ladies in their long skirts, blouses and bonnets, they speak a form of German and make cheese or so I heard, they have been living all over Mexico building ranches and living off the land since 1922.

I started biking down the road to Xpujil. Goodbye easy straight road, hello hilly country :§ as many ups as there were downs, so not all bad. most of the hills I could do in lowest gear but some I had to stop and walk up, they were so steep. I rode on and it started to my surprise to get chilly and rain, the weather went from blazing sun to frightfully cold in a few minuets. I rode on and it seemed like there were no towns coming up to stop in for the night. I started keeping an eye out for safe places to camp, and rode on through dusk, I was just about to lose hope when a man stopped in his car and asked where I was going, I told him Xpujil and he rolled his eyes at me... I asked where the next town was he said "5 minuets more you get to a small town." he wished me luck and drove away, and I thanked my lucky stars.
I turned off the main road and found the town of Pak-Chen. I asked around for a field to stay in and the people started to shake their heads and asked me if I'd like to stay in hut with a hummock because it was so cold, "Yes very much!" I said laughing.
One of the women, Candelaria, took me to her families land. Next to her hut was my hut, the walls where made of red clay mixed with straw packed between wooden poles. There was a fire going inside and a hammock, a table and two chairs. She put a pot of water to heat for me to wash with and told me to get comfortable. Candelaria had three little girls who came and asked me questions and played next to the fire. After I washed and made dinner I told Candelaria I was making a documentary about tourism in Mexico, she asked about the kind of things I filmed and the places I had been. She told me that in the Pak-Chen the people made traditional clothes and weaved hammocks and that tomorrow she would take me to film the locals if I wished.
I slept like a baby, and awoke to Candelaria washing dishes out side, I got up and put on some hot water to make coffee for us both. After coffee Candelaria, her mother Cristina and the three children walked me around the town. Most of the locals only spoke Mayan and some Spanish, I interviewed three people about the life there and hammock weaving. Then I said farewell to another lovely family and rode on towards Xpujil.

The next two night I had to find safe places to camp in fields, which I found to be beautiful and in my experience safe enough. I stopped riding at 4pm and rode up little path ways into small openings in the forest, I made camp and a small fire to cook food. I enjoyed watching the colorful birds, green, blue, red, and yellow I even saw a big Toucan. I slept from around 8pm to 7am made breakfast, coffee and oatmeal and was on my way again. It was a beautiful ride through the reserva biosfera del Calakmul.

It was day 5 I arrived in Xpujil, where I am currently writing to you now. I have done 70% of the road to Chetumal - I completed 268km, averaging 53.6km a day. I will be here for two more night in the comfort of a cabin with bed and hot shower and internet. 300 pesos a night at the Mirador Maya hotel.
There are 5 or 6 Mayan sites very close to the hotel. I'll be putting up photos soon :)

You can see the documentary series Mexico Encantador / Enchanting Mexico on my website here: http://paintingpirates.com/Mexico.html
if you have any questions please write to me here, on facebook or my email rose@roserobinart.com

Posted by Rose in Mexico 12:00 Archived in Mexico Tagged mexico mayan biking calakmul campeche roadtrip documentary xpujil becan chetumal mexico_encantador enchanting_mexico rose_robin suc_tuc hopelchen pak_chen video_diary Comments (0)

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