The experience of the Sacred Mayan Journey

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

Not an easy task.

On May 22 and 23, 350 brave canoeists sailed out to honor an ancient tradition that has been recently revived. On board of one of these 35 crafts was Montserrat Torres, who for the second time accepted the challenge of the 9th Sacred Mayan Journey.

Completing it took months of grueling training and long hours of team work, as the voyage from Xcaret to Cozumel involved long hours fighting against waves and the harsh rays of the sun. No simple task at all.

Perseverance, strength and courage are needed to accept the challenge. "Once you do it, it becomes an addictive experience," said Torres, a Cancun resident, to Mexico News Network. "You arrive being one person and come back being another."

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Boat number 11 with Montserrat on board, took about five hours to complete the journey. Though there weren’t any major setbacks in this year’s edition, something almost made her give up the challenge.

During the journey a severe back pain – which resulted from last year’s training – almost made her leave the canoe. But the support and encouragement of her teammates gave her the strength to overcome her pain and continue the challenge.

Each canoeist has a special purpose that motivates each one to continue despite any obstacle that comes their way. The inspiration for “Montse” has a name and a face: her 86 year old grandfather who attended the 9th Sacred Mayan Journey to receive his granddaughter on land.

"I cried when I saw him receive me in Cozumel,” Montse said after completing the first stage of the journey. “ I want to tell my grandfather: granddad, I did it for you and I made it."

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