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Phase 092: 3rd April to 12th June 2009

Maya and we’ve just finished eating


our last meal, the sun is setting over
the horizon and everyone is enjoying
We had our last dive yesterday and
the last evening looking over the
there were many disheartened faces
gorgeous beach, listening to the
as we all realised that the time has
sound of the waves and of course, in
actually come and we will, tomorrow,
each others company. In some ways
be packing up and saying goodbye to
it seems like only yesterday that we
Pez Maya for good. It isn’t going to be
arrived at Pez Maya and everyone
easy leaving and we never really
was hastily whipping out their
thought the time would come but we
cameras amazed at the sight of an
all have so many fantastic memories
iguana as soon as we reached base
to take home with us, it slightly
(maybe a bit too hastily because
softens the blow…slightly…only a little
obviously at that point we didn’t
bit. It’s our last Thursday night at Pez
realise they’d become pretty much
family after a week or so living with
them in our huts.) In other ways
however, we can’t even remember
the days when we would look puzzled
at the mention of an ‘Agaricia
agaricites’ and a ‘blue tang’…who
could imagine?! Those were the days
of no diving, no coral, no fish, no
Vision, no Ka’ay, no sand…we’ve been
here ten weeks but it’s amazing how
quickly you adjust to the lifestyle and
really start thinking there couldn’t be
much better than living the Pez Maya
lifestyle.

sugar fix on your pancakes, porridge


and cereal. There really is nothing like
waking up knowing you’ve got toilets
ready to be cleaned, breakfast ready
to be cooked, boats ready to be kitted
up and sand ready to be raked. What
more could you want? It really is all
worth it though when you’re
underwater exploring the reef and
identifying the flora and fauna by only
8am and that really does make you
feel special (in the good way.)
Learning about the coral, the fish and
the whole ecosystem surrounding the
reef is one of the most rewarding
aspects of Pez Maya and of course
Of course, getting up at 6am is why most of us came here. Thanks to
definitely a shock to the system but Jax, Lluvia, Sophia and Mike for giving
you learn to love it (promise) when us helpful tips on our journey to coral
you actually get the full hours of brilliance (for example; ‘Eusmilia
daylight and can watch the sun rise fastigiana’ – you smile at a fast
and set every single day. Duties in the iguana. Get it? Aaaah beautiful!) and
morning certainly get you up and to Rob and Sam girl for their help
going, along with a coffee and a quick with the fish kids (still not as good as
coral though, no way. Never.) Also, of Spanish lessons and of course peanut
course, to the instructors who butter and Oreo eating (well done
managed (somehow) to get us all Leela – the fattest skinny girl I’ve
through our diving incapability and
out the other side as excellent,
brilliant, fantastic, wonderful
Advanced Open water divers! Wahey!
And, as of today, just to add to that,
SEVEN divemasters! Double wahey!!
They had a LOT of work, but it was
all worth it and they swam through
with shining colours. We also have
two BTEC holders. Good job Shayle
and Liz and thanks for your Thriller
Thursday (complete with Michael
Jackson soundtrack) and Fat ever met.) At the end of the first five
Friday…nicely done with ease and weeks when we were all set for things
style none of the staff could ever to get ever better we never even
compete with. imagined the next blow, who would
have expected the attack of the
dreaded SWINE FLU?!…dun dun
duuuh!!! Panic struck and no-one
knew what to do! Sue and her cough
were left very much alone as we all
ostracised her and forced her into
solitary quarantine, everyone was
wearing heavy duty gas masks and
full body suits even underwater (bye
bye sweet tan), no one was allowed
in or out of base, we had to send
messages to the outside world via
iguana and frigate mail, staff were
The bad weather during the first five running around screaming in blind
weeks of the phase definitely brought panic and…and…well, maybe not
moral down at first but soon we quite an accurate account of what
learned not to fight nature but to go happened but close enough. In fact it
with it and instead we thrust our was very much chilled out over this
spirits into bird watching, crocodile side of the border, we kept a close
hunting (go Alan!) and shark spotting, eye on the progress of the flu but in
as well as multiple volleyball general life went on as normal. As is
tournaments, ‘Escape from Pez Maya’ the Mexican way of life hey. Nothing
(really embracing the rough and much changed around base other
ready jungle lifestyle), hammock chill than a warning against going into to
out sessions, tae bo and yoga practise, Tulum for a couple of weeks and it
was actually the aftermath of the flu bumpy coastal track is so worth it for
that really brought bad news and that the blasting air conditioning, a huge
was that we wouldn’t be joined by the relief after the sweltering hot heat on
next set of five weekers after our own base and of course Lluvia’s awesome
beloved Shannon, Alan, Rachel, Cordi, soundtracks, preferably Shakira
Lucy and Sue had all left us. What a Shakiraa (in Spanish.) It is a hugely
bummer! We decided to stay positive rewarding experience to arrive at the
though and in fact things turned out school, meet the kids and teach them
just dandy. With a smaller number it some good solid words and phrases
meant that we became a very tight like “Hi, my name is…”, “dad” and
knit group and pulled together all
round to make base life as easy as
possible, and easy it was. We realised,
after losing the five weekers that they
obviously didn’t do much work in the
first place, boat push actually seemed
to get easier with fewer of us. What a
team! We all have a new set of guns
to show off when we return home.
Pow pow. In the past five weeks
things have looked up in every aspect
and we have actually managed to “you look like a monkey.” You know
dive twice a day pretty much every that they’re having a great time when
day of the week which really sped Dana and Shayle pull out some empty
things up and we got some water coolers, sit them upside down
monitoring done finally. Yes! between their legs and get all the kids
Obviously it was the reason we all to join in banging them like drums
came and despite the bad weather at while the other kids dance around
the beginning, we managed to clapping. Rhythmic wonder! And the
complete monitoring four of the sites reward after, ICE LOLLIES for the
which is apparently more than in the way home! Absolute taste bud bliss!
past three phases. It’s a great feeling Having visited Punta Allen a couple of
when you’ve completed a monitor and times we knew Earth day was going
you’re writing up the data, convinced to be something special (although we
that you actually are making a huge had to wait a while as it was
difference to helping the reef. cancelled a few times due to the flu)
when some of the kids came down to
Another thing of course we can’t Pez Maya to enjoy a day of
forget is Punta Allen and the long snorkelling, learn about the reef and
awaited Earth day. Every Tuesday the base and play some quality turtle
and Thursday a group of four of us games. Having the kids around really
would head South with Lluvia to teach livened up the place and we all really
the kids of Punta Allen some basic enjoyed their company. We soon
English. The hours drive along the realised there was no point even
trying to play volleyball against them, clean the bathroom, do the gardening,
even though they were half our age cook the breakfast and service the
and half our height, our skills just car…perhaps on the weekends she
didn’t compare. So the less athletic of can go litter picking and empty her
us engaged in face painting, small kitchen for a nice spring clean…her
talk in broken Spanish, picture mum will be proud.
drawing and many more fun activities,
before we all chilled out in the
hammock area eating a ham and
cheese sandwich picnic. Scrummy So I’m going to have to say a final
McYumyum. farewell to writing the blog, to the
mozzies, the sandflies, the bucket
showers, the huts, the beach, the
boats and of course the staff. It’s
going to be one of the hardest
goodbyes I’ve ever had to make and I
really will miss Pez Maya and the
amazing fun I’ve had here and I know
that the rest of the group feel the
same. I hope that everyone to come
experiences the same wonders of the
reef that we have and all I can say is
make the most of it and even without
trying you’ll have the time of your life!
So for a final time…

Copy that.
Standing by 67.
The weekends also brought continued
fun and laughter with our themed
parties (well, the first one at least
with our ‘L’ themed party for Liz’s 21st
birthday, the rest were much more
imaginative like ‘come as you are’ and
‘turn up’…nice one guys), cenote and
ancient mayan ruin visits, trips to
town and also the two things we
looked forward to the most all
week…introducing the fabulous and
wonderful Beach clean and Kitchen
clean (round of applause!) What will
we do without them?! Eilidh has
already decided she’s going to help
more round the house at home by
getting up at 6am every morning to

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