Knocking on Heaven's Door

There are different translations of Sian Ka'an. One version refers to the "origin of the sky", because sometimes it would be impossible to distinguish the blue of the sky from the blue of the water. Another is "gift from heaven". According to our guide the connection between sky and earth held a profound spiritual meaning for the Mayans. The Mayan afterworld would be a place in between the two, rather than a place above earth like in the Western culture. It reminded me of Cape Reinga, in New Zealand: the place where the Tasmanian Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet, and, according to Māori mythology, Māori souls enter the afterworld. Interesting enough, for Māori culture the afterworld Hawaiki is also the place of  origin of all Polynesian people, before they travelled to the other islands.


The reserve is hardly accessible without a guide, and even if the locals seem to treasure their "gift" and to be careful and respectful when approaching the wildlife, I wondered how disruptive the daily boat chase might be for sea turtles and dolphins.