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Cozumel -- Sept 27 to Oct 9, 2007 (part 1)
jfhuard - 12/25/2007 5:09 PM
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Category: Travel
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Cozumel -- Sept 27 to Oct 9, 2007 (part 1)My first dive trip in the Carribean was in Cozumel with Nathalie (my lifetime mate and buddy). My parent drove down from Montreal to Oak Hill to live with our kids (Louis, 17; JP, 16; and Stephanie, 11) for two weeks so we could go on vacation (11 diving days, 26 dives).

I got certified earlier during the summer (in July) and have quickly become addicted to diving. Nathalie observing what`s happening decided that she`d better try it despite her fear of the water since vacations would be very boring for the years to come... So she decided to take her confined water certification the weekend prior to our departure and was planning to do her Open Water certification during the trip.

I did a lot of research before booking the trip since I wanted to make sure Nathalie would feel safe and have a personalized experience. After many evening of research, I found Alison Dennis, an experienced female instructor that was willing to take us for a couple days and certify Nathalie one-on-one. We had the most wonderful learning experience diving with Alison. Below is our dive log which is inspired from Alison`s dive compendium ( )

Thursday, September 27th Left from Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) on United at 6am with a 2 hour stop in Miami. We arrived early afternoon with all our new gears and settled at the Reef Club (Wyndham Hotel & Resort). We were in low season and got upgraded to a nice waterfront room with balcony and kitchenette. The resort was not very busy, which was great since we had outstanding service and a la carte restaurant were not too busy...

Friday, September 28th (2 dives: 0:39, 1:02) Alison picked us up at the Reef Club`s pier at 8am. Nathalie was very nervous, but was ready for her open water training. We were by ourself with Alison and Carlos (boat Captain) for the day. We did a couple of dives on Cardona in front of the hotel. Water was at 83F at the surface and all the way down. I practiced buoyancy control. We had a bit more current than Alison would have liked, at least for Nathalie’s first training dive. My brand new regulator (Mares Abyss 22) free-flowed a lot underwater and I got very nervous. After I realized I could keep diving, I settled down and the dive went smoothly (it was working just fine afterward - probably a grain of sand got stuck inside and everything was fine after purging at the surface). The second dive was much easier than the first as there was less current, no equipment problems and we saw a spotted moray eel and a southern stingray. Nathalie was very pleased and pointed at every pretty fish we saw (zebras, parrot, croaker, angel, etc.)

Saturday, Sept. 29th (3 dives: 0:46, 0:42, 0:45) Nathalie and I were again by ourself with Alison for the day. I decided to bring the camera and practice underwater digital photography. We started the day at Palancar Gardens. We saw our first turtle. Nathalie was absolutely ecstatic. The drift was nice and easy.

It just kept getting better at Dalila. We drifted over a coral head and found a medium-sized nurse shark lolling about. Then we saw a second big shark that swam off when we took a picture. We saw a third shark later in the dive. Nathalie finished all her skills and is now certfied!!! She is enjoying diving (I am so happy) and decided that she didn`t have enough today and we asked Alison for an afternoon dive.

We did our 3rd dive on Paso Del Cedral. We had another great dive. We saw a big green moray eel which was in its normal spot... Diving with Alison is like visiting Paris with a French historian - the water is her backyard, she knows the reef like the back of her hand and know where the animals live... She brought a brush and scrubbed a tomb stone underwater... We saw a timid nurse shark hiding in the cave system and a smaller nurse shark taking a nap. There were many large barraccudas, giant lobsters and many other fishes. It was a fantastic day!

Sunday, Sept. 30th (2 dives: 0:56, 0:57) On our third day of diving, we were joined by Jason (narcosis), Pheobe, David, Andy. Nathalie and I were much more comfortable in the water: I drop two pounds of weights and our bottom time are getting longer. Our first dive today was on Chankanaab. We had a nice and easy dive with not much current. Jason found us a couple of lobsters.

We had a bit of excitement on Paradise. Nine minutes into the dive the current stopped. It gradually changed direction. After about 30 minutes it got a bit crazy, so we hid behind the coral and waited for it to calm down. There was a lot of silt and we finished the dive right where we had started it. Due to the current, we ascended as a group and after we got on the boat we had to rescue three divers that were floating into the construction zone of the new pier. They waited too long to go up and they were floating right into the Puerta Maya construction project. What a disaster. Alison tossed them a rope and dragged them back to the reef and out of the construction zone. Then their boat came and picked them up.

Part 2, Part 3