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Return to Cozumel after 6 year absence

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flyboy08

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You should write for From Rome to Rio..:)

In a few weeks we'll be tracing your foot print. Hopefully a joyous time as you have had!
 

drrich2

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Congrat.s on your trip; you didn't just make great dives, you made great memories, and those you get to take with you. Thanks for sharing.

Richard.
 

dflaher

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Thanks also for the restaurant thread you started. I found it helpful when I was in Coz last month.
 

k4kafka

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I went to the International Hospital and was getting a little worried that I'd have to go back tomorrow, when I didn't have the results after a couple hours. But I did finally get the email a little more than 3 hours after I left, and the test says I'm going home.

Other than that minor delay, it was a piece of cake. I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes. No appointment, just walked in. There was only one other person there getting the test while I was there.
I had a similar experience last month at the International Hospital,which had previously sent my test results within one hour in July. So after 4 hours (the night before my departure) I walked back to the hospital to find out what the delay was. They said they had emailed it hours ago,…but I never received it. Happily the result was negative,and they gladly printed it out for me.
 

DandyDon

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They said they had emailed it hours ago,…but I never received it.
I had the same experience with another clinic. Email address typos I suspect.
 

MMM

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And so, inevitably, the last day of diving arrived. It turned out to be the last diving day for all 6 of us on the boat, so we hoped it would be special.

We decided to try Palancar Horseshoe since nobody on the boat but me had done it on this trip yet. The current today was a concern, so divemaster Miguel told us we would drop in to Palancar Caves for the first 10 minutes, see how the current was, and then he'd decide which way to go. We ended up doing about 2/3 of the dive on Horseshoe and near the wall, and the bookends of the dive on Caves, because the current near the wall did get a big gnarly towards the end. A couple of turtles graced us with their presence on this one, including one that snuck up behind the backs of 3 divers waiting as the rest of us exited the swimthrough. I saw him coming up behind them just as they turned around and they all got a cool surprise - he was only a few feet away when they turned around and he swam right through a bunch of us. I love how fearless those guys are.

Towards the end of the dive as we were cruising a sandy bottom between coral, Miguel pointed out some tiny black worms in the sand. There were a little over a dozen of them, jet black and featureless, about 2mm long. It was neat to watch them crawl around on the sand but even back on the boat nobody was able to identify them. Miguel guessed it might have been teeny nudi's, but wasn't sure.

During the surface interval we got a really cool treat. We pulled up to a deserted bit of shoreline, and just a couple minutes later a saltwater croc swam right by the boat! Unfortunately he didn't grace us with any surfacing so I had to settle for this lousy pic of him cruising by while still underwater. We slowly followed him for a bit in the boat but he wasn't interested in coming up for air, and eventually we lost him in the sea grass.

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For the second dive I suggested a 'custom route' that my op likes to call Eric's Reef, after one of the divemasters that used to work there who came up with it. It's basically the end of Dalilah and then a short swim across the sand to the beginning of Paso del Cedral. I always have amazing luck on this dive and Cozumel wanted to send me off with a smile, so she gave us a fantastic presentation. We covered a lot of ground on this dive because the current was really ripping in some places, but it was calm in others so we occasionally got to stop and loiter for interesting critters.

We spotted a huge hermit crab digging away early on, and I got right in his face and watched his mandibles chewing up the sand like a piece of heavy construction machinery. It was pretty cool to watch him chew through the ground, filtering whatever it is those guys eat. There was also a pretty big lobster close by who I guess was supervising the construction work.

Just past them was a smallish puffer fish having a bit of a lie down in some soft coral. He had the same sparkly eyes as the one I wrote about in an earlier report. The crazy eye coloring must be something they have when young and then grow out of, but whatever it is it looks awesome. I spied a pretty good sized spotted drum, and just past him a large fish I didn't recognize. He had a couple of spines coming off the top of his head almost like a porcupine. My cheat sheet tells me it was probably a hogfish. Cool! A splendid toadfish rounded out the sightings on that section of the reef, but he got spooked as soon as we found him and went quite a bit back in his hole, so it was hard to get a really good look at him.

Then the really cool stuff started showing up. We found a small spotted eel, black and white, hiding quite well under a tiny coral head. His tail was easy to spot poking out of the back of the coral, but I really had to get my mask down in the sand to peek under that ledge and get a good look at him. Shortly after that the current really picked up so we were flying. Suddenly Miguel spotted a pretty large nurse shark hanging out in a little indentation in the side of the coral - not under a ledge at the end where they usually seem to like to nap. I'm so thankful for these eagle eyed divemasters because I'm sure without him we would have all sailed right past it without noticing. It took all we had with swimming against the current and using finger holds on the sandy bottom just to stay in place long enough to look at the sleepy shark for a little bit. Totally worth it though; it was cool to be basically face to face with a napping nurse shark.

The current finally let up a little bit and the next discovery was the head of a huge green moray barely peeking up from the bottom of a coral head. Everybody seemed to be hiding from this wicked current except us! He looked like a pretty big boy, but he was tucked in there so far we could only see his jaws peaking out while he huffed and puffed at us, as they do. Seeing these two eels in one dive was pretty rad, because they seemed to be hard to come by on this trip. I think I only saw maybe 4 green morays total in 30 dives.

The rest of the dive was calmer and as we moved up to the 30-40 foot shallows it turned into the glorious fishy dives that we all love. There were baby everything everywhere, and it was fun to peek into barrel sponges and around the tubers and soft corals to see what little guys where swimming about.

As the clock and the PSI ticked down, I basked in the glow of this glorious dive while at the same time feeling that tinge of sadness I'm sure we all feel on the last dive of a trip. I watched the reef pass by under me as long as I could, but 600 PSI finally showed up on the computer and I had to say goodbye. I turned back to the reef at 30 feet, blew it a big double handed kiss, and said goodbye. As if to give me a parting gift, a barracuda swam right between the 3 of us still in the water as we did our safety stop.

Glorious.

Thanks everyone for reading all my trip reports. I really enjoyed writing up my adventures to share with you, and I hope it gave you a small spark of that joy that we all feel diving and enjoying the wonderful food in this lovely place. I have one more dinner at El Pique to look forward to, and then that airplane home tomorrow. Of course, the wheels in my head are already turning, trying to figure out how soon I can come back.

Adios, amigos!
Hogfish are rarely seen because they are pretty darn tasty ..
 
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