Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Race Is On!

Every year at this time, the island celebrates "Marine Week" in honor of the water around us. All water activities, as well as some non-water ones, are celebrated throughout the week.

One of my favorite annual events is the 10K swimming marathon. It always starts from a point in Cancun and swimmers have to make their way over to the island. I greatly admire these people. Not only for their dedication to the sport of swimming and for their endurance, but for their bravery. No way would I ever attempt a swim like that. Even though it is a bay they cross, it still is open water to me!

When I looked off my front porch last Saturday morning, I was pleased to see that it was a nice, sunny, calm day. Great for the swimmers. It would have been awful if they had had to compete in swells.

I grabbed a spot on the overlook over Garrafon Park. I was surprised to see that I was the only person there to observe this event. In this picture, they are still so far away that you can only really see them through binoculars. The little white dots that you can just barely make out are follow boats. They had started the swim from that tall hotel which is the left most building in this picture.

This is where they had to swim to. The Garrafon Reef Park. The ending spot was the group of palapas at the bottom right.

Even with the naked eye, it was hard to see the swimmers. It was only the motion that allowed you to spot them. Wherever you see a boat, there is a swimmer close by.

As they got closer to the finish line, they started to bunch up a bit.

Kick! Not far to go now!

Putting out that last burst of energy before hitting the finish line.

All in all, I was disappointed in this year's race. There did not seem to be as many contestants. But the thing that really burned my butt is this: Normally the finish line is at one of the public beaches. It is easy to see the racers arrive and to cheer them on and congratulate them. This year it was help at the Garrafon Reef Park and you had to pay to get in to see the racers finish. Not very sportsman like of them.
I think they should have let spectators in for free and then charged to use any of the facilities, like the pool. Hopefully next year it will be held on a public beach again. These swimmers deserve all the warm fuzzies they can get from the spectators.
SPECIAL UPDATE: My good friend, Kelly, of CancunCanuck fame, has entered some of her most excellent photos in a contest here. She could win a fabulous underwater camera to make it possible for her to give us even greater shots on her blog. Please take a quick second to click on this link and go vote for her. Thanks!


Jackie said...

Yes, I thought they usually ended up at the Posada Beach. It was always fun to watch from Sergio's beach as the swimmers and boats made it close to the island.

lisa said...

I think you are right, why change things when it was working good the other way. I love to see the blue of the ocean! Just a fantastic view that is for sure!

Life's a Beach! said...

How bizarre that the finish line was at Garrafon where very few people could afford to watch! Gorgeous blue photos!

KfromMichigan said...

Great photos Wayne! Thanks for sharing. I've watched several marathons in Cancun and it's always fun to cheer on the contestants. I'll vote for Kelly as many times as possible.

CancunCanuck said...

Thanks for the link Wayne, much appreciated!

With regards to the race, they actually had more swimmers than ever before, next year they are thinking about doing it over two days, they've reached their maximum in terms of what is safe. Over 500 swimmers, safety first! (They did lower the prices for the day at Garrafon, normally it's about 800 pesos to get in but they knocked it down to about 300, including food/drinks/etc.). I worked the event from the inside, very cool, so much goes in to organizing something like this!

Islagringo said...

CC: thanks for filling in the blanks about the numbers. I had no idea so many people competed. All the more reason to make the spectator portion of this free to all. I see Garrafon as a monster out only to get money in these slow tourist times. 300 pesos? C'mon now. How many locals can afford to pay that just to watch and cheer on swimmers. Put it back to Playa Posada where it belongs.

Sue said...

I agree that they should land in a free place, we sure wouldn't pay that much just to watch and I don't know many locals who could afford that either. And that part of the water between Cancun and Isla is really tough to navigate with a boat, I can't imagine swimming in it - there are three currents all coming together in a point. But great they had so many participants.