Cozumel Trip Report – June 29 – July 10, 2009 – A Compilation of Daily Posts
Diving was with the fine folks at Blue XT~Sea Diving. First class service, sharp eyed and safety conscious Dive Masters and Boat Captains, and you can dive your own profile within reason. A wonderful dive operation!
Stayed at Casa Mexicana, downtown, right on Avenida Raphael Melgar. It is a great hotel, immaculately clean, great breakfast in the morning, and a pleasant, smiling and helpful staff. The internet room (four computers) and wireless connection worked great and was a big plus.
Steamy Windows ... (+) - 6/30/2009 4:38:37 AM
...here in Cozumel. It is quite humid Got here yesterday afternoon, and going out on Shamu at 0800. Woohoo! S'posed to rain off and on today, but who cares?
Cozumel - 6-30-09 - Nice day on the water ...(+) - 6/30/2009 3:02:58 PM
...Nice day on the water. Went to Santa Rosa and Yucab/Tormentos. Currents were goofy at Santa Rosa. Went North to South, East to West and finally back to the normal South to North. Saw a juvie Spotted Drum and a Splendid Toadfish. D_aviddiver and Ms M. on the boat Shamu. Nice to meet them finally, plus George, Judy and Elaine. All fine divers. 1 Hr. 12 minutes.
SI at Playa San Francisco. Pound cake, juice, agua, fruit and stories.....
We were going to go to Chankanaab Reef but the current was going East to West (out to sea), so we went to the end of Yucab/start of Tormentos. Another dandy dive and saw...a Red Long Snout seahorse, pointed out by a DM from another OP and a few Southern Stingrays. 1 Hr. 12 minutes, again...
Time for tacos at Casa Denis in an hour or so....I could get used to this
Cozumel Currents Have Been Moving About...(+) - 7/1/2009 7:07:33 PM
...but other than that, another fine day on the water. Went to Columbia Deep, and just got started when the current did a 180 (North to South) about 1/3 way through the dive and we wound up at Punta Sur. Onboard were d_avidiver, Ms M., Elaine (Browneyedgirl), Jonathan and his girlfriend. A few turtles, some nice swimthroughs, a nurse shark, scorpion fish and gorgeous scenery, although it was a bit murky at times. 1:11
S.I. At Playa Palancar with pastries, fruit, jugo y agua, for 1:40
The original plan was to do Columbia Shallows, but due to the shifting currents and murk, we went to Punta Tuniche instead. It did not disappoint (never does), and a fairly frisky current. The place was lousy with large, medium spotted drums and quite a few juvie spotted drums. Numerous toadfish and played drop the pebble with a couple of nesting Sergeant Majors. A spotted moray was spotted. At the end, Pedro, myself, David and Ms. M saw a huge loggerhead turtle, It looked like a Buick with flippers and a smaller hawksbill under a ledge. 1:12
Beers and chit-chat at El Cantil Sur (Thanks David and Ms. M.) and then dinner at Primas, which was yummy. The New York strip steak was perfect. It is windy outside, so we opted for the air conditioned inside and had the place to ourselves.
Got the word that since there is an election on Sunday, so all liquor store sales are suspended from Friday to Sunday
Another damn fine day...
Well, I'll Be Dipped...(+) - 7/2/2009 1:53:40 PM
...we did Paseo De Cedral in reverse (North to South) also, this morning on the first dive and wound up at the tag end of Dalila. Nothing as exciting as a Lion Fish, but there were a fair amount of swimming nurse sharks and one snoozer with his snoot in a hole.
Dive two was San Francisco wall, but going South to North, with a few Juvie drums, a toad fish or two and a nice easy current.
3 cruise ships in port today at the International pier. Downtown is busy. And...there is a 200 ft. or so Mexican Navy destroyer (214) parked at the northern pier, with its 5" bow gun pointed directly at Punta Langusto terminal !
Cozumel - Another Fine Day (+) - 7/3/2009 3:04:13 PM
...Dinner last night at Los Otate after beers at Casa Mexicana with Moonman. He told us about the great Lionfish hunt. He lives about 10 miles away back home and we meet in Cozumel! Los Otate is a local taco joint on Avenida 15, roughly in back of the square. 3 tacos bistec and a Sol beer were 56 pesos. Yum!
...Dive #1 - Went to Palancar Gardens. Vis was outstanding. DM Pedro found a pipehorse. I have no idea how he spots one, but it was way cool. Lots of fun swimthroughs. A splendid toadfish and the usual cast of reef characters. 1:06
SI at Playa Palancar again for an hour or so. Water is calm as a lake, and 81-82 F
Dive # 2 at Paseo de Cedral and today the current (mild) was running South to North. Saw a large Southern Stingray at the beginning, completely buried with just the eyeballs and the tip of the tail sticking out and just the faintest outline. Can't fool me When we got to the reef part, Pedro found a 'herd' of 3 pipehorses and a pipestem within 2 feet of each other. Woohoo! Had a nice leisurely 'stroll' through all the tunnels, and played 'hover with the Grunts' for awhile. 1:06 - This dive was the 'Triple Nickel' # 555
Probably go to Chi's for dinner... Where can I get a good cheeseburger for 4th of July ?
Cozumel – Day 6 – No Report
Cozumel - Day 7 (+) - 7/5/2009 3:39:56 PM
...and 5 more to go
...went to Mosaicoz on the NE corner of the square and got my Cheeseburger and fries for 4th of July. Pretty good. Probably go back to Casa Denis tonight and then an ice cream and music in the square.
...#1 - went to Palancar Bricks today on the Blue XT~Sea boat - Bandida II. The new custom shade cover sure is a beauty. Sturdy and well made. Just a smidge of current. Blanca found some teeny nudibranchs out in the sand, maybe a 1/4 " long and got a peek through her magnifying glass. 7 Hawksbill turtles of various sizes and a lot of fishies on the top of the wall. 1:06
S.I. at Playa San Francisco, with Shamu and some other boats. Blanca said that the Aldora big boat bagged a lion fish today. Don't know where.
# 2 - Back to Punta Tuniche. I sure like that dive. A snappy little current. juvie, teen, adult spotted drums hiding in the lee of the current. Dropped behind a ledge to take a current break and there was a wall of French Grunts doing the same. I looked further back into the hole, and there was a chubby green moray about 6-7 ft. long stretched out in the sand! Blanca found a pair of baby trunk fish while I was playing drop the pebble with a pair of sergeant majors on the nest. I was focused on my game and didn't even see them 2 ft. away. Several jumbo Hawksbills and a free swimming Nurse Shark during our rolling safety stop. 1:04
There must be 30 - 40 little boys and girls swimming off the Aqua Safari dock, right now. Sure looks like they're having a grand time
Cozumel Day 8 (+) - 7/6/2009 1:28:23 PM
...Dinner at Casa Denis last night, but alas no beer to be had at any restaurant or bar due to the elections. No big whoop, had beer in the fridge at the hotel, and had a Fanta orange pop with dinner. The bar at Casa Mexicana was doing a booming business, though
Numero Uno - Palancar Gardens - the vis out on the wall was outstanding again and we had it to ourselves for most of the dive. The hard and soft coral there is absolutely beautiful. Most of the fishies were on top of the wall. Saw a juvie Hawksbill chowing down on something with its head in a hole and was totally oblivious to us. Last 3rd of the dive was on top. In the last 10 minutes or so was a huge group of divers, pretty much all of which were wearing yellow split fins. One bunch was so close together, at about 20 ft. or so, it looked like a human bait ball with yellow fins sticking out every which-a-way. When Arturo and I came up, it seems this mob of 30 or so were all off Del Mar Aquatics Big Splash. 1:10
SI at Playa San Francisco with jugo y agua, muffins and fruit. 1:20
Numero Dos - My Favorite, Chankanaab Shallows. Had it mostly to ourselves, except for about 10 minutes or so, when a large group blasted through at warp speed. Saw two REALLY big lobsters strolling out in the sand flats, without a care, and I followed them into a cave. They took great exception to this and went into a defensive posture. Loads of schooling grunts and other fish. Juvie spotted drum out in the open. The best part: just started the safety stop and here comes a 5 ft. or so Spotted Eagle Ray about 20 ft. below. It hung around for about 5 minutes, gliding around back and forth. WooHoo!
'Nuther fine day,
Cozumel - Day 9 ... (+) - 7/7/2009 1:31:06 PM
Dive # 1 - Columbia Shallows - One of the spouses of the group I was with was pregnant, so she could only snorkel above us. Saw 3 Eagle Rays, a small nurseshark kept checking us out, several yellow stingrays under a ledge, boat loads of schooling fish. Nice lazy dive for 1:26 depth 34.
SI at the Calleta. Muffins, fruit, jugo y agua. They 'charge' 5 pesos to use the bano. No takers from the guys, but the pregnant lady had to. She came back cussing about the 5 pesos, cleanliness, lack of t.p. and I think she tossed in a few comments in Spanish, which had the crew laughing.
Dive # 2 - Paradise Reef - Large Channel Crab, Splendid Toad Fish, lots o' Flamingo Tongues, small spotted moray, loads of schooling fish, slipper lobster. Last 15 minutes we looked in the sand flat plants for seahorses. Nada. 1:25 depth 45.
Not too shabby...2 dives for a total of 2 hrs. 51 minutes
Had dinner at Prima's again, at El Cantil Norte. Man, those dry aged New York steaks are perfection on a plate. Tender, juicy and zero waste. Can’t beat the price either ... $220 pesos or about $17 USD. My lady had blackened scallops and shrimp. which I got a grudging taste of... The tables by the window have a magnificent view of the water at sunset, and no 2 ft. wide steep winding staircase to negotiate (or not). Hint: don't push 'S' on the elevator or you will wind up in the parking garage. Push 'L' ...
Cozumel - Day 10 and Seahorse Rescue...(+) - 7/8/2009 1:13:00 PM
Dive #1 - Palancar Gardens - 'bout the same as a few days ago...lovely coral, great swimthroughs, and Pedro found another Pipehorse. Fishy as can be on the reef top. 1:06 - 75 ft.
S.I. at Playa San Francisco, where it started to rain some. We could see up North and it appeared to be raining right smartly
Dive #2 - Tormentos - the group wanted to go back and try to find the Lionfish they found a few days ago, but failed to capture. It was not found. We could see the raindrops hitting the surface for most of the dive. Pedro found a nice sized red seahorse out in the grass. Way cool. I found a Splendid Toadfish half out of it's hole and showing off it's yellow coloring some. Towards the end of the dive, Pedro found another Red Seahorse way out in the sand and lying on its side. It got tumbled over a few times by the current. There were no plants anywhere closer than 30 ft. or so. He gently cradled it in his hands and paddled over to a nice stand of sea plants. He placed it's tail close to a likely plant and in a few moments it had curled it's tail around it and was now upright. We watched for a minute and it had already started feeding and was doing OK when we left. Awwww, Shucks... a happy ending 1:16 - 55 ft.
So far this trip - 18 dives and 21 hrs. 13 minutes underwater. WooHoo!
Cozumel Day 11 - No Mas Buceo (+) - 7/9/2009 1:57:14 PM
Dive #1 - Palancar Bricks - nice easy dive with beautiful coral, several turtles, a few Southern Stingrays out in the sand. Lobster in a hole in the sand? 1:11 - 80 ft.
SI at Playa San Francisco 1:20
Dive #2 - Chankanaab Shallows Reef - loads of schooling fish, scorpion fish, several large channel crabs, a rather large strolling hermit crab in a conch shell, one more toadfish. a teeny nudibranch, several jumbo lobsters. A fine way to end the dive trip. 1:21 - 47 ft.
20 dives - 23 hrs : 45 mins. underwater ... almost a full day
Going home tomorrow on the afternoon daily AA flight at 4:00pm.
Special thanks to EVERYONE at Blue XT~Sea Diving, for a wonderful diving experience. The outstanding service, letting me dive MY profile, within reason and all the sharp eyed dive masters who pointed out all kinds of great things I would have probably missed. Muchas Gracias, amigas and amigos