Trip Report Cozumel 6/23-6/30/2009
Actually got in the water on day of arrival as connections on Continental from Richmond actually ran on schedule for a change. So I started with a leisurely 56 minute dive at the shore in front of Hotel Cozumel. Welcome tank courtesy of Dive Paradise. It had been almost 2 years since my last visit to Hotel Cozumel, little has changed same quality service, same well manicured gardens, same good food (warning: I tend to be easy to please with food).
6/24 - First boat dove of the trip, Columbia Reef. Conditions always vary, so it may not be fair to say this, but I was seeing more abundant life than I saw on two trips to Cayman Brac last year. We kind of skipped the surface interval and went to Columbia shallows for the second dive, and like the name implies, it is a very shallow dive. Register 31 feet by hugging the bottom. Numerous schools of fish, very acclimated to having divers around, you can just kind of join them. After noon dive was Paradise Reef, with my favorite DM, Victor (pronounced Bictor). Victor has an odd sense of humor and an abrupt manner that may antagonize some, but he does know the reefs and does watch out for divers in his charge. Need to watch the currents at Paradise Reef as it is very close to the cruise ship docks. Straying within 500 feet of a cruise ship will supposedly cause alarms to sound, and the diver to be detained.
6/25 - Mooring started with Horseshoe Reef. Numerous turtles in the water. The turtles seems alarmingly tame. They do not scurry off when divers approach. I say alarmingly tame since this close contact with humans may not be healthy for the turtles. Tormentos Reef had very strong current, and that it the way I always have remembered it. The first time I had to surface with my own safety sausage years ago was at Tormentos. Afternoon dive was at Villa Blanca. Nice to see the amazing recovery this site has made since Hurricane Wilma 2005 when I got there just after the storm and it had been literally stripped. The small shoots of sponges and coral I saw in 2007 have now gained in size.
6/26 - Current had really stirred up sediment at Palancar Gardens. There were some spots of strong current during the dive. Palancar is usually a very nice dive, so this was just an unusual day. Plus, both morning dives I spent a lot of energy avoiding a couple that just could not keep their distance. No matter how many times I maneuvered to get to the back of the group.
6/27 - A Columbia Reef encore on the fast boat. Followed by what ended up being a good shark dive at Delila. The fat boat advantage is that you get there before any of the larger groups have scared anything away.
6/28 - Final day of diving for me. May have been a good thing, my Cressi Dive Computer kept alarming with impending DECO alarms. Palancar Deep is a good illustration of how the 2005 Hurricane widened up many of the swim through.
6/29 - Non-diving day. Did spend he AM at the dock to witness something extraordinary. Dive Paradise had been constructing portable ramps that week. As it turns out they were preparing for a group of challenged divers in wheelchairs. The staff took great care in getting everyone safely on board. Indeed, DP still runs a great dive op and the owner, a mature lady that goes by the name “Apple” was supervising in persons most of the week. The rest of the day included a walk downtown and shopping at the 99 cent souvenir store.
Next time, I think I am going to strictly book the fast boat dives. You get there faster, before the crowds arrive. And as always, I will probably book through Bay Adventures www.bayadventures.com