Queen Cozumel Part Two

The Estrella Del Mar, which we dove from on most days.

We dove twelve times off the western shore of Cozumel island, which is not too shabby for a week’s vacation. Our departing flight was late enough to allow us to dive right up to the last full day: kick ass. Our inaugural dives were on the morning of January first and a great way to start 2017. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, all dives were either going low and slow among the coral pillars and swimming through the various tunnels, cracks and canyons, or quickish drift dives on top of the coral formations. The current was at times quite strong, it was best to keep an eye on your buddies. Never did we circle back to the boat, instead the captains followed our bubbles. This allowed for buddy ascents, if for example someone got low on air, and not having to turn the whole group around.

Love swimming through them canyons.

As you’d expect, diving is a popular activity in those parts, and we frequently encountered other divers. Typically, any dive site had four or five boats over it, though it was not overly crowded below the waves. The captains from the different shops have a protocol among themselves, they will pick up stray divers from whatever boat they come from, and bring them back to the right one. For that reason, the names of the boat and its captain, as well as the radio channel they use, were all part of the pre-dive briefing and a good thing to pay attention to.

Bubble columns from another bunch of divers.

We dove with Pro Dive Mexico, a very large and well oiled shop (cliché time: it was founded by Germans), they have over eleven locations in Mexico and one more in the Dominican Republic. The shop we used had a daily turn over of about 200 tanks. A backyard operation this was not. The boats were clean, well maintained and so was the rental gear. You had nitrox at no extra cost, but the BCD and regulator rentals were on the expensive side, 20$ per day. At that price it’s worth it to bring you own rig.

Even though this was a very large shop, the DM’s and other staff we dealt with were very personable, and though you can’t really compare it to a smaller shop where they make the effort to get to know you, the crew and staff get high marks. We dove with DM’s Mateo, Matt and Loli, they had very different styles, but it was a pleasure (and a safe one) to dive with them. They were knowledgeable and pleasant both above and beneath the waves. Mateo and Loli especially went out of their way to show us some of the cooler smaller creatures we might have missed otherwise (juvenile angel fish, nudibranches, pistol shrimps, things like that). Additionally, Mateo demonstrated his good taste by agreeing that the sexy anemone shrimp should be renamed twerky shrimp. There was also a dance, I suppose you had to be there, just know that our underwater signs are getting weirder and weirder.

Aquanaut 1 and the Estrella Del Mar

The dives averaged about 65 feet deep, well above recreational limits, so zero worries there. In a few places you could get to the edge of the island shelf, where the big blue plunges to over 2000 feet. There’s something profoundly mysterious but also terrifying about that kind of depth, that kind of big blue. Every diver has heard at least one horror story.

After that edge, it’s a looooong way down.

The water was warm, 28°C or about 82°F, most of us wore shorties  but not me, give me a long suit any day. If you’re on the skinny side or tend to get cold easily, a 5mm long won’t go amiss. As the dives were not very deep, bottom time tended to creep up on one hour, that’s plenty of time to start shivering.

Topside it was the usual pleasures of being down south only more so. Beautiful views, sunsets, palm trees, beers with log books, and women with flowers in their hair.

Diving makes you literary and thirsty.

It was a great trip with a great group of people.

It’s not like most of us are wanted by the law or anything, or are famous, but you know, privacy and stuff.

Could you ask for anything more?

Talk to you guys soon. If you dive, stay safe.

P.-S.: Cozumel will show you many many wonders, even mermaids.

 

 

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