18 March 2015

SCUBA Diving & Snorkelling on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

Location: San Miguel de Cozumel, San Miguel, Q.R., Mexico
Journal Entry: Tuesday, March 03 - Wednesday, March 18
Taxi from Akumal to the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen, a ferry to San Miguel and then a taxi to Hotel Cozumel & Resort on Cozumel Island.


 Cozumel Ferry Dock

This will be our fourth trip with Randy & Heather ... all have been diving & snorkelling ... one to CUBA and two previous times to Cozumel in MEXICO. This is our fifth trip with Al & Wanda ... all those have been paddling trips ... three in CANADA (ON PQ YT) and one in the USA (UT). We were also fortunate to reconnect with our new American friend, Andy Tolle, whom we met here last year. Most days ... Andy, Randy & I were booked onto the same fast boat. 

We arrived early at 11:00 am. Our room was not cleaned so we walked into town, shopped some, had lunch out, returned to the resort and hung out around the pool. 



 
Our view from room 1241

The flight from Toronto that R&H and A&W are on was delayed so we won't see them until sometime around 5:00 pm.




We're ready. All diving and snorkelling gear has been unpacked, checked and aired out ... now, we just need an ocean, dive tanks and a fast boat!

Days 1 - 5

Following our arrival day, I did 10 dives over the next 4 days, all with Randy and some with Andy, Al & Wanda. Heather & Helen hung out at the pool and snorkelled while the rest of us were diving. The Dive Paradise operation on Cozumel Island is extremely well run. Everyone from the shop technicians that fill, inspect and deliver the hundreds of compressed air tanks daily, the shore staff who book dives and arrange for gear rentals, the boat crews that deliver us and return us to dive sites and all the dive masters who take care of us underwater and point out all the wonderful marine life and flora that we would often miss ... They Are Exceptional!



The shop is attached to the resort by an under-road tunnel or can be accessed by walking across the street. Angel (above), Julian and others, book and juggle as many as 13 boats (all with a dive master, captain and crew) each with a potential 4 - 5 dives and upwards of 200 divers per day ... and they do it all professionally, expediently and cheerfully.

 Preparing for a 'check' shore dive with Al & Wanda. The Dive Paradise shop gives divers a bonus tank if 3 or more dives are booked.


Boats often sit in the water for a short time while divers discuss where they want to go for the 2 tank, deep / shallow combination ... and, majority rules.











Rinse tubs and drying racks for gear.








Driving Tour
A day off from diving. The group rented a van and we drove around the island ...

 The West Side is developed. Six cruise ships in port now, but as many as 14 at one time. Condo's, hotels, dive resorts, private villas, shops, restaurants and bars. The islands economy relies on tourism.

 East Side is mostly undeveloped
$300M Russian billionaires' private yacht
In addition to this price tag, apparently a single fill-up is $500,000, staff includes 14 retired Navy Seals and the yacht holds a private dive boat and several vehicles in the cargo hold.

Days 6 - 9
The weather continues to be in our favour. Winds are low, ocean conditions are fairly calm, so re-entry onto the boats following dives has been relatively easy. We are staying with the fast boats, so our groups remain at 8 or less and we got to a couple of sites I have not visited before, fabulous coral formations at Palancar Horseshoe, abundant marine life at Dalila ... it's all good. Randy & I have each had a couple of short tanks. Typical fills should be to 3000 psi or more. Randy in particular has had to swap out tanks that were only filled to 2500 - 2600 psi ... not good for deep dives or dives with a camera. Six more dives over these 3 days.

Snorkelling Tour

With Chichi Charters to the reefs at Chun Chakaab and Columbia Shallow. Guide Angel and Captain Luis ... good snorkelling. Angel in particular was very personable and energetic and tried his very best to find marine life for us. At the end of the day they prepared, ceviche with fresh red snapper, guacamole and pico de gallo, all on board ... accompanied by cerveza, soda and agua. Today ... nurse sharks, baraccuda, lobster, sting ray, flounder, langosta, ocean trigger, sardines, mango & red snapper and a bunchasmallandmediumfishes.

                    Ahhh! ... the Caribbean






                          Luis              Angel
                       Angel Fish                                             Flying Gurnard


Days 11 - 13

Six more dives and two additional new locations, Palancar Bricks and Casa Blanca. Palancar Bricks has beautiful coral formations and the nicest tunnels and swim throughs that I have seen along Cozumel. Abundent marine life on Casa Blanca ... green and hawksbill turtles, nurse sharks, green moray, lionfish, spotted drum, dog snapper. I am consistently surfacing with 1100 - 1300 psi (Dive: 100' / 50min) and my weight carried is now at 12 lbs. 

Before I show you fish pictures ... this is REALLY why we dive!

The Divers
Wanda                                                                              Al
Randy                                                                         Dann
Stone Crab                                                          Spotted Drum
                 
Green Turtle                                              French Grunts
 
Grouper                                                             Sandiver
        

Feeding Lion Fish to Nurse Sharks

 

Another Adventure
   Good ... friends, diving & snorkelling, food, drink and weather.


Crusty ... from our journal!





2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the good times. Looks like great weather and some excellent diving. Have a safe trip back to Florida.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes the diving in Cozumel is fabulous, My Mac doesn't want to load videos ATM and my dive buddy has recorded some very good ones ... hopefully I can upload some later ... eagle ray, feeding nurse sharks, large green moray. Thanks for the feedback Basecamp Desk ... I do apologize if I don't recognize you from past interactions.

    ReplyDelete

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