Sunday, August 24, 2014

Secret Beach

I don't normally head out to the beach during the high season, but this morning the pull was so strong that I went anyhow. Some people go to church on Sundays. I find renewal swimming in the ocean and feeling the sun on my skin.

Today is the very last day of summer vacations in Yucatán. School starts tomorrow, so although hot weather continues for at least another month or two, the beach scene calms down after this.

But on a day like today, at most favorite beach spots, parking areas and restaurants are jammed, and the sand is lined with beach chairs, umbrellas and all types of fancy and home-made sun shelters. It seems that all of Yucatán and their cousins are swimming, building sand castles, listening to music and drinking beer along the fringe of the Gulf of Mexico.

So I headed out to Secret Beach.

This is undoubtedly my favorite beach in Yucatán, not because it's spectacular or beautiful, but because of the solitude. Today, on one of the busiest beach-vacation weekends of the summer, I took the above photo at this wonderful little spot.

Tracks in the sand showed the path of a horse and rider that had passed by earlier. Curious, I followed their trail for a bit, but the heat drove me into the water. They'd obviously been out in the morning when the sun was not so intense.

The bottom here is sandy and the water clear, warm and calm. Fish raced through the waves and jumped around me as I swam. Pelicans, vultures, gulls, overflying flamingos, and a few lizards were my only other company.

After a while, a fishing launch passed by and dropped a handful of tourists off a few hundred meters up the beach. I'd had enough sun, and now the place was starting to feel crowded. I walked the rustic path back to the car and headed for a shrimp cocktail and fish-fillet lunch under a palapa a little ways down the sandy road.

Creeping development is a threat to the wonderful solitude here, and things are slowly changing. Power lines sprouted along the road several years ago and fancy beach mansions are going up not far away. When they build the houses, they put up walls or barbed wire fences which block off trails and roads to beaches like this one. 

At least for the moment though, along the stretch by Secret Beach, access is still unrestricted and free.

I try to get out here and enjoy it while I still can.

Text and images copyright 2014 by Marc Olson