Gay Gal At Sea: Day Six

Curve contributor Jenny Block shares her adventures from Olivia’s 20th Anniversary Western Caribbean cruise.

I can’t believe it. It’s our last day. I am willing myself to simply enjoy it. But it’s hard not to think about the fact that we disembark in the morning in Tampa. What an amazing, amazing week it has been.

And it’s just like Olivia founder Judy Dlugacz said when we first got on board, “It’s not just a vacation. It’s an experience.” I didn’t know what she meant then. But I sure do now. But more on that later. First I have to tell you about our day in Costa Maya yesterday!

We met our guide Mario at the port terminal and then took a short bus ride—in a very nice tour bus—to the dock in the town of Mahahual where we would get on our catamaran, the Mayan Wind, for snorkeling. The crew onboard was very nice, the equipment was brand, spanking new (in fact, we got to keep our logo baring snorkels as a memento of our excursion), and the boat was beautiful.

We sailed (which is so much nicer than motoring) out to the reef and then jumped on in. Luckily the sun was out—finally—so even though the water was cold, it was a much better scenario than our snorkeling in Belize.

Plus, there was a guide for every ten or twelve snorkelers, which was great. He pointed out stingrays and lobsters and led us away from coral dead-ends and into large schools of fish.

When we got back to shore, we decided to not go back to the boat but instead hang out at the beach there, an area they also call downtown. The whole place was leveled by a hurricane two years ago so it is just now looking like a place you’d want to visit. We walked down the small malecon (boardwalk) to see what was there.

Lots of small restaurants and shops lined the way and chairs were set up on the beach. Some were for rent and others were free if you ate at the restaurant behind them.

At every step someone asked us to take a look at their local wares or their menus. It was a little bothersome, but I totally get it. They’re all offering basically the same thing and people have to make a living.

One guy, Jose, starting chatting us up and it turned out he was from Mexico but had just moved back from Fredericksburg, VA, where he spent a few years. Being a Richmond, Va. girl myself, I decided that was as good a reason as any to choose a place to spend the afternoon.

We found ourselves a couple of chairs, ordered up a round of frozen drinks, and later indulged in delicious shrimp tacos, ceviche, and totopos (a very thick, Mexican tortilla chip). The sun was playing peek-a-boo with us all day, creating a fun afternoon of put on your cover-up, take off your cover-up.

But the clouds overhead and cool breeze did not stop my fair-skinned beauty from getting a bit of a sunburn. The beach was gorgeous, we were together, and my Blackberry was locked in my stateroom. It really doesn’t get much better than that. We finally packed up to head back and Jose took us to his uncle’s shop to get one last souvenir. (Everyone seemed to be related to Jose in Mahahual!)

A quick, two-dollar cab takes you back to the Puerto Costa Maya cruise ship port where there are lots of shops, bars, and even a pool. We spent a few minutes wandering and then got back on board to get ready for the night’s entertainment.

Dinner was stellar, as always, and the performer for the evening was Suede, an incredible blues performer (singer and musician) with a very big voice and an even bigger personality. We had such a good time listening to her.

After a short visit to Club O, where the younger Olivia set can always be found, we drifted back upstairs, looking forward to our day at sea and trying not to think about it being the final day of the trip. Why is it that work weeks are so long and vacation weeks are so painfully short…

Hope you have a sunny day, whatever the weather,

Jenny Block

P.S. Every night, waiting in our room, is a funny sculpture made of towels sitting at the end of our bed. Last night’s was a particularly good one of a pig. Where do they come up with this stuff?