9 - 2 tank dives with Dive with Martin from May 5th to 16th. Dove with them twice last year and very happy with how easy they were to work with from receiving all necessary forms by email and having them filled out before leaving to paying for most of the dives by check in advance. Had all my own equipment but for a BC and regulator. Another reason I like DWM no charge for this equipment. Dove with 100 tanks (no extra charge). I use a lot of air taking pictures so my dive times were those of the other divers using 80’s. Tip: DVM is located at the International pier so you have to enter at the north side through a small gate (not where the cruise ship passengers enter) where you have to provide ID to enter. Once inside you can shop there also.
Small fast boats with the max of 8 divers with one DM (most of the days there were 8 divers). Dove with a private DM (cost $40) the first day since I hadn’t dove since last Aug and to check out using the new video light. I was picked up at the Wyndham Pier (since Palancar took over no $3 per day fee – nice). Pickup scheduled for 7:45 am but no later than 8 am and in the water as early as 8:10 am and never later than 8:41 am. Returned around 11:30 each day. They would have up to 3 boats a day picking up at the Wyndham so don’t as 1 diver did at one of the southern resorts and just sit there. Ask what boat you are on. He was left and boat had to return for him. They seemed to match divers experience level to the boat they were on. Usually the first boat to arrive at any reef we went to for the first dive. Never on the deep dives but twice on the shallow dives had another group catch up with us. So make sure you can pick out your DM and fellow divers in the water or you will be joining another group.
Once everyone was on board the DM would ask where we wanted to go. Give a reef and safety brief and in the water. Dove with 4 different DM’s (had my favorites but all good) and every day except for the first at least half of the divers where ones I had dove with before.
Camera equipment: Sealife DC 1000, SL 970 wide angle lens, SL 960 strobe with diffuser, SL 980 video light (first time using). Was looking to update to the professional strobe but opted for the video light. Not quite so sure I made the right decision. Had the video set at 100%, 75%, 50% and as a spotting light that would shut off for 3 secs when strobe fired. All my pics came out dark using this setting so turned the video light off except for using as a light during swim through and taking videos. Close up videos everything had an orange background at 100% so shot most at 50%. The beam is narrow so at times you could see the lighted and unlighted areas while video mode. I’m sure once I learn to use it properly it will make a big difference. I must say it was nice having the video light handy for looking in dark places and swim throughs instead of having to carry a flashlight. I didn’t get to try it out on night dives.
I dove with a full 2/3 wetsuit and this year added the socks. I was very comfortable temp wise. Taking pictures you get up close to the reef and didn’t want any issues with fire coral, etc like last year. Let me say I take great pains not to come in contact with the reef but things happen.
Dove your computer and at 700 lbs would notify DM and ascend for your safety stop. The DM would deploy his sausage and as briefed you would stay close to it for pickup. The rest would continue their dive. Dive interval was either at a concrete pier or at sea depending on your dive sites. Always lots of water and fresh fruit. Just don’t throw your bananas peels over board. As the DM told me there are no monkey fish in Cozumel.
Did all my dives south of the Wyndham pier except for 1 day we went north. Don’t remember the reef names but they were my 2 least favorite dives.
Water temp was a low of 80 for 2 dives with most being 82. Vis was great to excellent. Current was mild during the deep dives but on some of the shallow ones was really moving. Learned to look ahead and position myself for the subject I wanted to take a picture of. Then just let the current take me to them. I’m not much for swim throughs or how deep I can go. So mostly swam over them and stayed shallower – better picture opportunities.
Marine Life: Lots of it. Turtles on just about every dive (swimming and eating), more nurse sharks than I saw last year (swimming and sleeping), lots of lobsters even saw 3 walking along the reefs during the day (huge), only 3 spotted eels but numerous green morays with 2 swimming out of their homes, a change from last year, more drums than last year with even 3 swimming together under 1 ledge, 3 crabs, my first peacock flounder, rays with their sidekicks swimming above them looking for food, 2 batfish, 1 stonefish which I would of missed if a more experience diver didn’t point it out to me, a couple of toadfish. Lots more but to numerous to list. Now for the lionfish. Saw at least 12 meet their maker. Fed to snappers, groupers, green moray even tried a lobster but I didn’t see it take it. The snappers at first were unsure it seemed but once the majority of divers moved on they went at it attacking it head first. The moray came out of its home to get it. Once the DM was under a ledge trying to get one and a huge grouper was waiting for its free lunch. Planted itself by the DM fins which he got kicked a few time but stayed put until lunch was served. A site to see.