APR 10 - 18 – Just some background to start. You can always just skip to dive log.
This review is written for those at my experience level (NOVICE) and hopefully contains some good info for you more experience divers. As a new member I’ve gotten so much from this site and just wanted to give something back. Hopefully everyone enjoys it as much as I did diving it and writing about it. I know it’s long. Thought better to long than too short. I used the DM’s knowledge for some things because of my experience level.
Experience level: I have 21 dives in over 20 yrs. Two for certification in 78 (No - not a mistake – my Padi card is an antique and my instructor number was 1126 – OW, I wish I looked as good as my pic then at 21) and 1 in Jamaca in 89. Starting diving again in Apr 08 with a refresher pool dive. My first 2 dives each yr in 08 and 09 were shore dives. Have 18 dives since 08, 16 in the Caribbean (St Thomas, Dominica, St Kitts, St Lucia) and 2 in MX (San Carlos) which was 11 mos ago.
Dive Operator - Dive with Martin - reasons: reviews, equipment at no additional cost (except wet suits, dive computers and dive lites),small fast boats and they pick up at the Wyndham. They were extremely easy to work with. Paddi answered all my emails and my many questions by the next day. Once I decided on dives they emailed me my voucher with the cost breakdown. Change dive plans twice and each time the next day Paddi had emailed me a new voucher. Printed and mailed to a US address with deposit (50%). Cash only in Cozumel. Received back confirmation voucher and liability forms via email. Printed and had all filled out before leaving. Sent me maps on exact location of shop at International Pier and where to park.
Note : I stayed at the Wyndham Sabor (separate review on this forum). On site dive op – Sand Dollar charges $3 per day to use their pier for pickup. To offset this expense DWM paid my $2 per day marine park fee.
Cost: Received a $30 credit for bringing in 2 bags of clothes. Total $504 ($384 - 15 dives – 7; 2 tank morning dives with 1 nite) plus ($120 - 3 days with private DM - $40 per day). I like to take pics and didn’t want to interfere with a buddy’s dive who wasn’t into pictures. First day was for my safety. There really wasn’t any need for a private DM after the first day. With dive package also received a CD of 1 of my dives.
Equipment: Always rented everything except purchased in 08 a Sealife Mini SL320 and SL960 strobe.Delayed checking my camera until 10 days before this trip. Guess what – couldn’t get it to work properly. Lesson learned – check your equipment early. Purchased the following for this trip: Sealife DC1000 camera (replacement for the Mini), Aeris XR1 dive computer, Henderson Neosport 3/2 jumpsuit, Tusa (Liberator mask – Imprex snorkel – full foot split fins) and Princeton Miniwave II, Tec 40 dive lites. Budget will only handle so much at a time. I research loads of sites looking for the best deals with the best equipment reviews. I found most sites will match prices when asked. Tried to order everything from the same vender to cut down on shipping cost. I looked at the number of times per yr I plan to dive against the rental cost before deciding to purchase. All equipment work great.
Day 1 – Sat: Cozumel Airport – Very smooth. Didn’t get the red light. Was at Isis car rental within 35 mins of landing.
Car Rental - Isis (VW Bug - $30 per day with all insurance and taxes). Usually 2 days to answer emails. Went with Isis vice Lesspay because when I called Lesspay to confirm reservation was told that the price I was quoted was for cash only – otherwise add an additional 7% for plastic. Not mentioned on web or my email quote and never answered my last email about it. Took less than 10 mins to get car and then headed to DWM shop at the International Pier to check in, turn in paperwork, get fitted for gear and find out pickup time for the next morning before heading to my hotel Wyndham at 7:45. On 1 email sent me maps on where to park and exact location of shop.
Day 2 – Sun: First Dive: Reef: Palancar Cave, WX: Sunny, No Wind, Flat seas, temp 78, [Vis; 60 – 70 ft, Depth - 97 ft, Temp - 78 , Bottom Time - 35 mins, Current - none ], [Private DM - Roberto, Number of Divers not counting me - 6 with 1 DM]. Saw 4 turtles, lobsters.
Second Dive: Reef: Cedral Pass, WX: Same but temp now 79, [Vis; 50 - 60 ft, Depth - 55 ft, Temp - 78, Bottom Time - 50 mins, Current – ½ knot], [Private DM same, Number of Divers - Same], Saw 2 drums (high hats), nurse shark, loads of small barracudas, 3 file fish, 1 yellow tang.
Day 3 – Mon: First Dive: Reef: Palancar Bricks, WX: Overcast, No wind, Seas flat, temp 79, [Vis; 80 -90 ft, Depth - 84 ft, Temp - 79, Bottom Time - 44 mins, Current - light], [Private DM -Roberto, Number of Divers not counting me – 5 with 1 DM], Saw 3 turtles, crab, toad fish. Finished 500 lbs. Counted at least 20 dive boats with ½ mile when surfaced but only saw 3 other groups while diving.
Second Dive: Reef: La Francesa, WX: Same but at end wind picked up with a light chop. [Vis; 60 – 70 ft, Depth – 57 ft, Temp - 81, Bottom Time – 48 mins, Current – about ½ knot], [Private DM – Same, DM - Same, Number of Divers - Same], Saw 1 turtle, lots of lobsters, 3 nurse sharks, large groupers. Used a lot more air fighting current try to get photos.
Day 4 – Tues: First Dive: Reef: Santa Rosa, WX: slight overcast, no wind, seas calm, [Vis – 70 -80 ft, Depth - 85 ft, Temp - 80, Bottom Time – 44 mins, Current – none at first but picked up at the end], [Private DM – Roberto, Number of Divers not counting me – 7 with 1 DM], Saw lobster, turtles.
Second Dive: Reef: Cedral Wall, WX: Overcast, wind picked up – slight chop, [Vis; 60 – 70 ft, Depth – 80 ft, Temp - 81, Bottom Time – 50 mins, Current - strong], [Private DM – Same, Number of Divers - Same], Saw lobsters, turtle, 4 large groupers, permit, spotted moray eel, nurse shark, crab, file fish, biggest parrot fish I’ve ever seen. The most Marine live so far.
Day 5 – Wed: First Dive: Reef: Columbia Deep, WX: Cloudy, light chop, [Vis; 60 – 70 ft, Depth – 99 ft, Temp - 79, Dive Time – 51 mins, Current - slight], [DM - David, Number of Divers - 7], 2 turtles, 1 nurse shark and the largest lobster so far it was out in the open. DM stated that the tail was at least 12 ins. At the end of the dive the DM – David took off his tank and blew a large air ring as it rose he swam through it with breaking it. Very cool to watch.
Second Dive: Reef: Santa Rosa Shallow, WX: same with mod chop, [Vis; 60 – 70 ft, Depth – 55 ft, Temp - 81, Bottom Time – 55 mins, Current – ½ knot ], [DM – Same, Number of Divers - same], 1 turtle, 3 nurse sharks, 1 sea horse, 1 spotted eel, couple lobsters and lots of large groupers.
Day 6 – Thurs: First Dive: Reef: Palancar Caves, WX: Cloudy with rain on way out, sea calm, [Vis; 60 - 70 ft, Depth - 103 ft, Temp - 75, Bottom Time – 38 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Roberto, Number of Divers - 8], Saw 1 lion fish – DM tried but couldn’t capture it, spotted moray eel, 2 turtles. Finished with 1100 lbs – dive partner ran out of air.
Second Dive: Reef: Santa Rosa Shallow, WX: Cloudy – rain stopped, slight chop, [Vis – 60 - 70 ft, Depth - 60 ft, Temp - 80, Bottom Time - 52 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Same, Number of Divers - 8], 1 lion fish – DM tried but could capture it, large green eel, mature highhat, lobsters, string ray.
Third Dive: Nite Dive: Reef: Paradise, WX: Rain, small chop, [Vis as good as your light, Depth – 41 ft, Temp - 76, Bottom Time - 57, Current - light], [DM – Roberto, Number of Divers – 6], Saw 2 octopus, 2 spotted eels, high hat, toad fish, crab and a 30 lb or so grouper was following us around and then like a rocket shot out about 6 ft in front of us and ate a 12 fish. Very distinctive noise when it attack. Was a high light of my dives.
Day 7 – Fri: First Dive: Reef: Santa Rosa Wall, WX: thunderstorms, [Vis; 50 -60 ft, Depth – 76 ft, Temp - 76, Bottom Time -55 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Orlando, Number of Divers - 8], with the storms above it was almost like diving at dusk. Lobsters were out walking around. Saw 2 spotted eel and 2 toad fish.
Second Dive: Reef: Cardona, WX: Rain, [Vis; 60 -70 ft, Depth -40 ft, Temp - 75, Bottom Time – 1:05 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Same, Number of Divers - Same], saw 9 seahorses, large green moray eel, trumpet fish.
Day 8 – Sat: First Dive: Columbia Deep, WX: Clear & sunny, seas calm, [Vis; 60 -70 ft, Depth – 81 ft at 80 ft 75., Temp - 80, Bottom Time -49 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Orlando, Number of Divers – 4, DM – David, Number of divers - 4], saw 3 lion fish, David caught 1, spotted eagle ray, crab.
Second Dive: Reef: Dalila, WX: overcast, slight chop, [Vis; 60 -70 ft, Depth -60 ft, Temp – 80 at 60 ft 78, Bottom Time – 1:02 mins, Current - slight], [DM - Same, Number of Divers - Same], saw 1 lion fish – David caught, 1 turtle, file fish, at least 100 lb grouper, lots of marine life.
Note: Temps were around 75 at the deeper depths. Enjoyed the 2 nd dives more. Seemed to be more marine life. First nite dive and new camera so pics suffered. Should of done 2 nite dives but really cut down on my afternoon drinking. First time drift diving. Really enjoyed it. Current was never really strong unlike some other divers I talked to. Even though I did dive some of the reefs twice – it was like a new reef each time. Will be going back.
Day 9 – Sun: Went home
Overview of Dive with Martin: I requested a 100 cc tank everyday and it was delivered at no extra cost. Pick up for me was scheduled for 7:45 each day. Actual was between 7:40 and 8:10. Was back cleaning gear no later than 11:15 every day. Cold bottle water and fresh fruit each day. They did everything. Get the tanks ready with their gear or your own and bring them to you and help you get it on. If diving the next day they will clean and store your gear over nite to be on the boat when picked up. Back entry into water. Each DM did a safety brief before each dive. If no problems just wanted to know when you reached 1000 lbs of air. Dove your computer with your buddy or if you didn’t have one you dove same profile as DM. At the end of the dive they throw out a line to hold onto until your turn to board the boat. Tanks taken off in the water and DM would take them from you. Each day the DM would ask were we wanted to go. It was never an issue with us. We discussed where we had been, what we had seen and decided along with the DM’s help. Most Divers I dove with were not into how deep but how much marine live we would see. Even when some stayed longer at the deeper depths ½ would hover around the 50 -60 ft mark. More marine life to look at and longer bottom time.
Negatives: 1: First dive on day 6. One diver rain out of air in 15 mins and dive partner had to use his octopus to get him back to surface. Boat Capt told him he had to stay on the boat. He wasn’t happy. I witness him telling the shop about it that nite. No compensation was offered and they really just dismissed the issue.
2: No rinse tanks for cameras.Everyday there were about 3 of us with cameras. Actually only 1 day did boat arrive with rinse tank after requested from a diver. And then even though it stated cameras only divers would use it as a rinse tank for their masks.
Snorkeling at Wyndham: Never snorkeled. It’s a large area and the people I talked to about it were please with the marine life they saw.