Well that went quickly.
I’m sitting in an airplane seat again. Exactly the one I had on the way in, 27D. The week just flew by. My wife is sitting across the aisle from me with a red hibiscus flower in her hair, she looks fabulous, I’m curious if customs will say anything about it. The flower I mean.
Fourteen dives in 6 days, including a 4 dives day and one where our second dive was cancelled by the Coast Guard because of bad weather. Yes, it got pretty rough for a moment. The weather was not fantastic, in fact it rained on an off (though more on than off) for four days straight, only on our last full day did the glorious sun return. The roaring sea, darkened skies and the heat were fantastic and beautiful, the beach bum viking within was pleased. I could not believe how humid it got, this morning there was mould on a pair of jeans that did nothing but hang in a closet all week, inside our air-conditioned room. My hoodie that was exposed to sea water (too darn cold on the boat) smells like a cross between nasty fermenting cheese and rotting shrimp. It happens when you can’t dry your stuff.
Rain notwithstanding it was a great week, we dove with some very cool people (and had quite a few tequilas with them along the way) and saw several nice dive sites (Colombia “Deep” and Punta Dalila among my favourites). If you like impressive rock formations, corrals, swimthroughs and drift dives, Cozumel can’t be beat. This time around the current was a bit strong here and there, a little too fierce for my liking, as we could not stop to spot the smaller critters like twerky or pistol shrimps. It often felt more like flying than diving, and every dive was a drift dive. You needed to sink low to the bottom, or hide behind rocks, to lessen the impact of the current. On one dive, the DM thought we covered around 5km under water, and two sites, that’s how fast we were drifting. Big turtles, stingrays and nurse sharks were frequently seen, as well as barracudas, morays, trigger and toad fishes, plus all the other usual suspects, including spotted drums and flamingo tongues. Something for everybody, though the wildlife is not as abundant as some other destinations. It keeps on amazing me how few lion fishes are around Cozumel, it looks like the spearing/eating programs have been very successful.
The somewhat crappy weather did not affect the dives so much as the boat rides. In the wind and rain after one or two dives it got cold, real cold, blue lips shivering cold. Hence the hoodie soaked in seawater. I’m guessing slowly decomposing diatoms and plankton are to blame for the smell. In heavier seas the most dangerous part of the dive is getting back on the boat. I got a little banged up here and there, it can be challenging to hang on to a wet ladder with a tank on your back, weight belt around your waist and a boat waltzing up and down. A knee hurts, an elbow hurts and no it is not old age. Still, well worth it, the beauty and majesty, the mystery and the immensity of the ocean is both humbling and inspiring. It’s a cliché but it is true.
The last two dives were nothing short of glorious, with sunlight pouring through the openings of the little tunnels we were swimming through and backlighting either corral fans or walking lobsters. Because that part of the sea around Cozumel is a protected area, the fish get big (super groupers!) and they are not skittish. A trigger fish bit Gen’s fin just to see what it tasted like. Not a hit apparently. Our fins should be safe for now.
We had ambitious plans to rent a jeep and tour the island (there are ruins, savage coastlines, empty battered beaches, things like that) but diving is really all we made time for. Two or more dives per day, including during the after noon, really cuts into other activities… Problems right? I guess we will have to come back. Plus there’s still the wreck of the Felipe Xicotencatl to explore, and the bull sharks off Playa Del Carmen, and…
We are not home yet, but have already started talking about the next trip. Some island hoping in the Caymans or the ABC’s would be nice. All we need now is a rich aristocratic (and thus previously unknown), relative willing to bank roll us. Keeping my fingers crossed.