Posts Tagged With: Chac Hal Al

Stinking and Sinking in Puerto Aventuras

Our condo at Chac Hal Al overlooked Bahia de Fatima, a beautiful, serene bay with clear cerulean water perfect for swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, or paddle boarding. For the less active, it was a beautiful setting for sunbathing or just sitting in the shade of a palm tree or palapa with a good book or a cocktail.


Bahia de Fátima (Fatima Bay) from our beach


Báhia de Fátima (Fatima Bay) from our balcony


Swimmers and snorkelers at the beach


Gail paddle boarding


Jim chillaxin’ poolside with a view of the bay


Gail sunbathing on the beach


Jim with a view of the pool and the bay


Time for nachos and Coronitas


My view

Idyllic, wouldn’t you agree? That is until our idyll was disturbed by two events. The first disruption occurred when we observed this.


What looked like brown seaweed invaded the peaceful azure waters and definitely discouraged water activities. My research revealed it was sargassum or sargasso seaweed, which is an increasingly common problem in the Caribbean. The free-floating algae originate in the Sargasso Sea located in the Bermuda Triangle of the North Atlantic. While its existence is nothing new, the amount has increased dramatically and may be attributed to the warming of the ocean due to global climate change. In normal amounts, sargassum provides habitat for lots of marine life including hatching sea turtles but the massive amounts washing ashore today can adversely impact tourism. Clogging the water, it discourages swimmers and snorkelers and the smell as it deteriorates drives away beach-lovers.

I was impressed to see residents and employees working side by side to rake and bag the sargassum and haul it away from the beach. Soon they had the beach looking pristine again and ready for activities. We did, however, observe sargassum at other beaches along the Riviera Maya during our stay so I wonder how they are dealing with the issue.


Jim walking back from the area where clean-up occurred

The next puzzling event occurred when we noticed a large ship which appeared offshore in Bahia de Fatima.


Large ship in Bahia Fátima

After several days continued presence, we asked a local realtor that paddle boarded to our beach about it. She said a Mexican Navy ship hit the reef and sank. I posted a teaser on Facebook and Twitter that a blog post would follow. This is finally that post.

We still didn’t know the full story. Why was the large ship there? Day after day, when I saw it was still there, I wondered what it was doing and how long it would continue to be present. It dominated our view and became a daily topic of conversation.


Mexican Navy Ship


View of the navy ship from our upstairs balcony

We even discussed it over cocktails at the Omni swim-up bar.


Our view of the navy ship from the swim-up bar at the Omni Hotel

And then it was gone and the drama ended. We finally learned from reading the local paper, The Pelican Free Press, a Polaris Patrol Interceptor boat lost power causing it to hit the reef. It was hung up on the reef for several days, where Jim first saw it, but it sank when it was pulled from the rocks. Salvage operations first centered around removing equipment and weapons from the boat. The Mexican Navy’s second largest multipurpose logistical ship, a BAL-02, equipped with a hoist arrived to refloat the sunken ship and tow her in for repairs.

Life on Bahia Fátima returned to its previous undisturbed halcyon state. But I’m sure the tourists and locals who were there sometimes say, “Remember when…”


Next time: Playa del Carmen

Based on events from January 2016.



Categories: Mexico, Uncategorized, UNESCO | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

I recently visited a tropical paradise on the Riviera Maya in Mexico and honestly, I was tempted to keep it a secret. I know once I share it, you’ll want to go there, too; then it will be booked up and I’ll have to go somewhere else. But because I have a hard time keeping a secret and I’m so excited about this place, I just have to share it with you. Here’s a picture of our first view from the condo.

Our view

Our view from our balcony of the infinity pool overlooking Bahia de Fatima

It was already late in the afternoon when we arrived by private shuttle from the airport in Cancun so we decided to look around our accommodations and then explore the complex before dark.

Entrance to our Condo

Entrance to our Condo

Living/Dining combo looking out to the balcony

Living/Dining combo looking out to the balcony

Looking into the kitchen from the living area

Looking into the kitchen from the living area

Second bedroom off the living area

Second bedroom off the living area

Jim and I were traveling with our friend, Gail, and we agreed that she would have the master bedroom upstairs with its own balcony and another bath, while we would sleep on the main floor. I’m an early riser and I prefer to move around, make coffee, and work on my computer without worrying about disturbing others. Because of this arrangement, I neglected to get photos of her area but it was lovely with a king size bed and large closet along with the aforementioned bath and balcony. Jim and I rearranged our bedroom putting the two single beds together. Sliding doors separated the bedroom from the rest of the living area to provide privacy. (The entire condo is two floors up and, as far as I know, there is no elevator so this is not a good choice if you have mobility problems.)

The condo is supplied with everything one would need for a short or extended stay including wifi, a coffee maker, hairdryer, washer and dryer, a grill and even bottled water. There is a flat screen tv that we turned on just once late in our stay to see a weather report. (We’d heard about the epic storm that was hitting the east coast and Gail was scheduled to go through Baltimore.) Housekeeping came in twice to clean although we were there only one week.

Our first exploration of Puerto Aventuras revealed a gated community with restaurants and shops dotting the central marina. Our condo faced Bahia Fatima on the Caribbean Sea. This map shows the area with Puerto Aventuras resort area east of Highway 307 and the pueblo where the locals live is west of the highway.

On our first walk we saw Dolphin Discovery, where you can swim with the dolphins, then we wandered over to the nearby Omni Hotel. There we discovered their swim-up whirlpool bar that we returned to wearing our swim suits several times during our stay.

Dolphin Discovery

Dolphin Discovery with rainbow overhead


Omni Hotel

Omni Hotel swim up bar and whirlpool


Puerto Aventuras

Sunset at Puerto Aventuras

The next morning here’s what greeted me when I awoke early and had the living area to myself.

Morning coffee with a view

Morning coffee with a view

I didn’t tire of the view during our stay and I’m hoping our friend has already reserved the condo for two weeks next year. If I’ve kept your interest thus far, here’s the name of the place where we stayed. But shhhh. Let’s keep it our secret.

Chac Hal Al, Puerto Aventuras

Chac Hal Al, Puerto Aventuras


Based on events of January, 2015






Categories: Mexico, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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