Yucatan Dispatch 13 October 29, 2009 from Cozumel, Mexico

Today was cruise ship day!

We spent the morning driving around the greater San Miguel area, observing how the island of Cozumel changes on the days when a lot of cruise ships come in. Today there were three Carnival Cruise ships docked at the piers of Puerto Maya, representing a capacity of six to seven thousand people, in addition to the 1200 people that a Disney Cruise ship would deliver to the pier later in the day.

Robert Cudney, Director of the NGO Mexico Silvestre and former Director of the National Marine Park, spent some time explaining to Myfanwy and me how Cruise Ship economics for Cozumel are short-sighted. There are a lot of important issues involved and we’ll be posting Robert’s full interview on another day this week.

To give some perspective on how traffic in San Miguel changes on Cruise Ship days, consider this: we counted 51 taxis of varying sizes waiting in line just to enter the parking lot of Puerto Maya. Sitting inside the parking lot was at least fifty more, and most of these were idling with their air conditioners on, waiting to transport cruise shippers around the island. The highest taxi registration number we saw was 758, but Robert says there are over 1500 taxi permits issued. This for an island only 250 square miles, the vast majority of which is unpopulated.

So I got some important shots today, and tonight we’re going diving to find the endemic splendid toad fish with the help of Renee Applegate of Dive Paradise’s kind sponsorship. We’d also like to say thank you to Ricardo Gomez Lanzano, the current director of the National Marine Park, for making our use of National Park resources possible.