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Shore dive or boat dives better for macro life like nudis and seahorses?

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leungj2002

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Hi, we'll be diving Cozumel in late Jan. We will be diving for 4 days and would like to devote 1 day of diving to finding macro life like nudibranchs and seahorses. Is there a better chance seeing these on shore dives (and where) or boat dives? If we do shore dives, any recommendations for private guides that are good at finding macro life? I've seen prior posts of some DMs who are good at finding macro but I don't think they are with the dive shops previously mentioned anymore. Any direct contact info? I've sent an email to Julio, who was recommended by others, but he now runs his own shop so may be too busy to personally guide. Thanks.
 

cozcharlie

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A few thoughts:

If you have your own boat and can choose your pace and location , a boat dive is probably slightly better than a shore dive for macro because you can probably cover a slightly larger and more varied area. Obviously area covered isn’t that big of deal when you are looking for macro subjects, but having some options is nice if say not many aglajas and painted Elysias around maybe you can look for blennies and batfish.

That said, unless you are paying for the boat odds are other divers aren’t going to want to move at snails pace looking for macro subjects the entire dive. The advantage of a shore dive is that you can set the pace and the target subjects. If you find something interesting you may only move 10 or 20 yards in a 70 or 80 minute dive. I don’t really know many guides that work of Tikila Beach, so you may have to find your own macro subjects if you shore dive there (it is a well thought of shore diving spot on Cozumel—though Cozumel isn’t exactly known for shore diving). Also I don’t remember seeing as many aglajas and elysias there, but they seem to be seasonal and I generally have dove there at times when I wasn’t seeing them on the main reefs either

I know @jlyle has good luck shore diving at the house reef at Scuba Club. Would be interested in his opinion .

Btw, Fernando (who is a great macro guide off a boat ), is still at Pelagic Ventures. We dove a couple of weeks ago.
 
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jlyle

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Cozumel isn't known for its variety of slugs and finding a seahorse on your own is like winning the lottery. Your odds increase if you are diving from a boat with a dive guide who likes to point out little critters. Drift diving presents its own problems when looking for the small stuff. You don't say if you are a photographer or not. Shore diving in Cozumel isn't what it used to be years ago; runoff from the island and gray water from the cruise ships has resulted in less colorful marine life and more algae on the rocky bottom. I still enjoy long, slow dives in shallow water along the shore looking for little stuff but diving has deteriorated over the thirty years we've been coming to the island.

Talk to the dive operator you have signed up for (Pelagic Ventures?) and ask for a dive guide (Fernando?) who will give you what you want. I would spend the extra money to hire a private guide for a day or two to accompany you on the boat dives. Paradise Reef would be my choice for little stuff but be prepared to do a lot of searching on the sand and out in the turtle grass.

Night dives are better for little stuff...

DSAO (dive safely and often),
Jim
 

NDL_Diver

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Boat Dive withprivate DM. Cozumel is drift diving and you need to stay with the group. Macro requires slow and stoping to frame and take the picture. By then you'r group could be out of sight.
 

ggunn

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Shore diving in Cozumel isn't what it used to be years ago; runoff from the island and gray water from the cruise ships has resulted in less colorful marine life and more algae on the rocky bottom.
Another reason is the storms that have affected the west coast of the island in recent years, most notably Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
 

Sloeber

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As a shop owner here I'd rather you pay me to rent my boat for macro, but the reality is shore diving is your best bet. IMO the best macro photogrpaher of Cozumel is Robert Stansfield. Every macro photo on his Instagram was taken on a shore dive from Tikila Beach.

 

leungj2002

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Thank you all for all the great info. We'll definitely be hiring a private DM for shore and boat dives. It's worth it if they can find critters for us.
 

lionfish-eater

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Henry gave great advise
Contact Robert and see if he would be willing to point you in the right direction
Or if you become friends maybe you could dive together someday
 
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