Cozumel Trip Report January 11 – 23, 2010
A compilation of daily dive reports, posted while I was there in Cozumel from the Internet Café in the lobby of the Casa Mexicana Hotel.
Well, I Made It To La Isla...(+) - 1/11/2010 12:46:39 PM
...didn’t even get a red light and still got bagged searched. The were highly interested in Christi’s goody bag...maybe they thought I was going to open a stand on the square ...saw the new Margaritaville at the airport...WTF? Time share zoomies are still pesky and ‘bagged’ quite a few... checked into the hotel and about to go out for essential ‘supplies’ and then off to the dive shop to check in when they open. Casa Mexicana is still quite nice and spic and span.
Wind is still blowing frisky from the North but appears to be slowing down...I hope !
Cozumel Weather Has Improved...(+) - 1/12/2010 4:21:36 AM
...looks like we will go out today. Just a light breeze, but it looks like we may get some rain. Don’t care. Most of the divers I’ve talked to are going buggy at this point due to lack of nitrogen. Stay tuned... Grunt
Cozumel – Tuesday 1-12-10 - Nice Day On The Water...(+) - 1/12/2010 8:57:09 PM
...blasted off at 8:00am on Bandida II, with a group of happy divers, for a total of 4 dives...
Dive #1 - Palancar Gardens - 1 hr. Current a little squirrelly going from the wall to the sand and when we got to the wall, it was going South to North... Southern Stingray and also a Yellow Ray...Lovely
S.I. at Playa Palancar with the normal Christi goodies including the hot chocolate I hauled from San Jose.
Dive #2 - Dalila - 1:06 - Lots of wildlife...3 turtles, nurse sharks, monster Green moray under a ledge, splendid toadfish, a free swimming golden moray, boatloads of lobsters in nests of many, octopus in a hole. Current South to North and picking up.
S.I. at Aldora dock and stroll into town for a coke (no lunch)
Dive # 3 - On Shamu this time -Chankanaab Reef - 1:10 - Current running North to South and fairly strong for that site. Juvie spotted drum, scorpion fish, octopus in a hole, bunches of schooling Grunts and snappers
S.I. at the Calleta
Dive # 4 - Paradise Reef - Twilight and night dive - 1:05 - Current south to north and strong -Dropped in just as the sun was going down and then it got darker. The night shift showed up with lots of Channel crabs, lobsters, and a very nice free swimming octopus. An Eagle Ray flew by just after we saw the octo. WooHoo! Now it was really dark Back to the Calleta and back to the hotel in Christi’s pick-em-up-truck.
4:21 U/W - what a difference a day makes on the weather....
Dinner at Casa Denis after a shower and a few beers. A lovely day. Thanks, Christi and crew! Time for a snooze...Ah"m pooped....
Buddy’s and dinner companions for the night were Infantry_169 (Michael) and his lovely wife who posts occasionally. Small world indeed...
Please pardon any typos...been a long day with a few tequilas
Cozumel – Wednesday 1-13-10 - Another fine day (+) - 1/13/2010 2:46:43 PM
...water has finally flattened out, light breeze and the only rough water is around the end of the International Pier, where it always is. 7 ships in port today and San Miguel is mobbed, but entertaining with all the podsters
Dive # 1 - Palancar Horseshoe - 1:11 hrs - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - Nice dive, lots of swimthroughs. Pedro found a Pipehorse out in the sand. Sure are cute. Several Channel crabs. Snoozing Nurseshark in a cave. Very fishy on the reef top. No SS, because the reef top is only 20-25 ft. or so, so it was a rolling 25 minutes stop. Several Spotted Morays.
S.I. @ 1:35 at Playa Palancar with cookies, fruit, jugo y agua. Rained a smidge.
Dive # 2 - Dalila Reef - 1:11 hrs - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - Got to dive with the National Park Police today. They pulled up near us, Pedro yakked with them for a minute or two and then he explained that sometimes they dive with a dive Op to "check them out" and that everybody had wrist bands and observe their divers behavior. Two of their divers followed us around...we had a young woman, and some guy was moseying around the fringe of our group. They had clipboards, and other paraphernalia and pretended they weren’t watching us. We were on our best behavior. I had fun with the woman diver, pointing out a Spotted Moray, a Toad Fish and a juvie Spotted Drum, who feigned semi interest. They got bored with us, I guess, after 35 minutes or so and peeled off. Saw four Nurse sharks snoozing under ledges or in caves...2 singles and a pair tail to nose side by side and a tight squeeze. Several turtles going up for air. More spotted morays and a jumbo Green Moray who took off like a shot when I shined a light on it, right past me in the cave. HELLO MR. MORAY! I pee’d in my suit..
Dinner tonight at Los Otate and load up on tacos, frijoles y arroz and cerveza. Nums...
Cozumel – Thursday 1-14-10 - The Daily Dispatch ... (+) - 1/14/2010 2:25:59 PM
Hola, Sports Fans....
...the water is calm as a lake, but overcast most of the day. No rain or wind to speak of. Air is about 75 deg. F. - 8 dives so far this trip...let’s hope the weather stays nice. Just say NO to El Norte
Dive # 1 - Palancar Bricks - 1:06 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - 3rd visit to the the Palancar complex in three days. Not much wildlife on the wall except a monster Channel Crab, but gorgeous scenery and swimthroughs. Plenty o’ critters and fish on the wall top...several spotted morays...lots of schooling fish of various stripes and flavors, one teeny Spotted Drum.
S.I. (1:25) at Playa Palancar again. Marbled Pound cake, papaya and cantaloupe, agua y jugo. A bunch of iguanas sunning on the ruins there. Their tracks were all over the place.
Dive # 2 - San Francisco Wall - 1:07 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - A nice lazy drift dive with Several Splendid Toad Fish and their Arrow Crab buds, a swarm of 8 lobsters in 1 hole, a golden moray, bunches of Grunts of various flavors, one very large grouper (100 + lbs.) and a Southern Stingray out in the sand that was having a domestic squabble with it’s bar jack buddy that was pestering the hell out of the ray. They tussled all over the place. The symbiotic relationship was going sour...
Probably back to Casa Denis tonight for Enchiladas Suiza with green sauce.
I’ll be diving tomorrow for my Birthday...WooHoo!
Cozumel – Friday 1-15-10 - The Daily Rocket ... (+) - 1/15/2010 1:57:42 PM
...weather was OK today...overcast with periods of sun - Air: 78 - Agua: 74-77 depending on who you ask. Wind has freshened up a bit. 4 cruise ships in port...San Miguel is full of people.
Weather update: It’s raining right smartly here at 4:00pm. Hope it stops for my stroll to dinner.
Dive # 1 - Palancar Caves - 1:09 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - 4th visit to the the Palancar complex in four days. Not much wildlife on the wall, but gorgeous nonetheless. Pedro spotted a large Lion Fish at about 85 ft. on a ledge. He carries a snap lid plastic box on his gear along with a pointed metal rod about 16" long to point things out. First he tried to herd the Lion fish into the box several times with the poker. No go, so he stabbed it with the poker and it crawled up into the hole, and stayed there. No word on the "kill". Almost at the end of the dive , at about 35 ft. he found another small Lion fish in a hole at the edge of the wall top and the sand flats. Same drill as before, but no joy. This time he whacked it with the poker to try and stun it, and it also crawled into a nook. Those little buggers are fast! Saw a small one on the dock several days ago that an Aldora DM had in a plastic box.
S.I. at Playa San Francisco with a bunch of other boats stacked 2 deep in some cases (ours). The tourists were entertaining on the big floating climbing thingies.
Dive # 2 - Punta Tuniche - 1:06 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - Current was 2-3 mph but pleasant. Lots of Toadfish on the wall. Quite a few turtles. A big depression behind a ledge I stopped at to rest from the current probably had 500 French and other Grunts in it. I gently hovered amongst them during the break and had a grand time with my namesakes. I dubbed it the Valley Of The Grunts and hummed "Seven Spanish Angels" by Willie Nelson for the duration of the dive. The safety stop was out in the blue for about 9 minutes since I was loaded.
10 dives - 11 hrs. 13 minutes U/W so for the trip...
Time for a hot shower, a cold beer, shot of tequila and a visit to Prima’s tonight for a steak for my birthday dinner. Hot Diggity Dawg!
Dinner At Prima"s...(+) - 1/15/2010 6:43:17 PM
...was delightful. No rain on the way there, but coming down pretty good on the way back. Glad we toted the umbrellas.
Had an ice cold Sol, New York steak, bleu cheese salad, warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, garlic mashed spuds, and vegetables. The dry aged New York steak was cooked to perfection, zero waste and a real bargain at 220 pesos (about $18.50 USD). Topped it off with Crème Caramel (sorta like Flan) and delicious coffee y crema. Total tab was $50 including my wife’s meal.
Time for some ZZZZZ’s. A Splendid Day in Cozumel!
Cozumel – Saturday 1-16-10 - The Daily Report ... (+) - 1/16/2010 11:41:00 AM
Hola Chucos Y Chicas,
Another nice day on the water. ...weather was Ok today...overcast with periods of sun - Air: 80 - Agua: 74-77 depending on who you ask. Wind has freshened up a bit, from SSE at about 15-20 mph. 2 cruise ships in port...not too many podsters in San Miguel. I was getting a bit cold in my old, cheesy 3 mil (after 150 dives or so, it is probably a 2 mil or less), so I broke out a brand spanking new Henderson ThermoPrene 5 mil. Nice and comfy on the morning dives, but I had to add weight. Added 3 lbs. for the first dive...not quite enough, so I added another 1 lb...just right for the 2nd dive.
Dive # 1 - The Wreck C-53 - Felipe Xocatel (sp?) - :57 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - We decided to do this because (a) the rest of the group wanted to and (b) because the waves were high down south due to the strong SSE wind. Nice dive, zilch current. Hadn’t dived it since before Wilma, so it was a little beat up. Pedro spotted several Lion Fish back up under the keel, towards the stern, plus a lobster. Did a circumnavigation of the hull and then toured inside. Several compartments were filled with glassy sweepers. The inside still doesn’t have much growth or silt. Down in the engine room was a jumbo Green Moray about 8 ft. or so. Did the obligatory tour of the ships head and a few sat on the toilets and had their picture taken. Glad they tied up at the mooring ball, since I was a little underweighted with my new suit.
1: 20 S.I. at the Calleta with cake, fruit, jugo y agua, chit chat...
Dive # 2 - Villablanca Wall - 1:06 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - I haven’t done this one in awhile and thoroughly enjoyed it. A fair amount of Channel Crabs tucked up into holes. One Toadfish. Current at 1-2 kts. The rest of the dive was just moseying along with the current with occasional fining to stop and look at stuff. The crowning glory near the end of the dive was a very large Spotted Eagle Ray that almost looked fat, came up off the sand flats and flew right in front of me and Pedro and hung out for 30 seconds or so. WooHoo! The 2nd one I’ve seen this week.
Got back at 12:20pm. Usually we get back about 1:45pm. We only went as far as Chankanaab, so it makes a big difference on time, not going all the way South.
The locals think an El Norte is coming in tonight, so we shall see about diving tomorrow. Online weather forecasts don’t think so, but I would put my money on the locals.
No idea on dinner tonight, but it will be somewhere. A cheeseburger, mayhaps
Hasta la vista,
Cozumel – Sunday 1-17-10 - NDR (No Dive Report) (+) - 1/17/2010 10:46:31 AM
...since nobody went out except on big boats, and small boats got skunked. Oh, well
We’ll hook up with some other D2Ders at 4:00pm for drinks and dinner later at Kinta.
Met the gang for drinks at Jeanie’s Waffle House, since Margaritaville was closed, and then hoofed it up to Kinta. The table ended up with 13 folks and the dinner was delicious. At the end of dinner, out came the waiter with a decadent looking cake with four lit candles, and all sang me a Happy Birthday, even though my Birthday was Friday. What a surprise and was very touching. This was Christi’s handiwork and very much appreciated. The cake was delicious!
After the big blow last night and this morning, the water is now calm as a lake, so ... Tomorrow, we be divin"
Surf In The Lagoon...Update (+) - 1/17/2010 4:42:02 AM
...in front of Casa Mexicana between the cruise ship and ferry piers is not a good sign. I bet they close the Calleta today, but I hope I’m wrong. Stay tuned. I can hear the wind moaning through the door.
It’s official...got a call from Christi at 0745. The Calleta is closed for small boats, BIG boats, Si...getting off the boat is fairly easy in the chop, but getting back on is another story ... The weather should be fine tomorrow, according to what I heard. I guess I’ll off-gas, snooze, read, cervezas, etc. Dinner tonight at Kinta with the newly arrived gang, and drinks earlier. We were supposed to meet at Margaritaville, but apparently they are closed on Sundays.
Cozumel – Monday 1-18-10 - Dive Report (+) - 1/18/2010 1:32:13 PM
...the day broke calm and we are going DIVING. Pickup at the Aldora pier with Apocalypso, Frances, Sue, Leyla and we picked up Chuck at Casa Del Mar pier. A fine group of divers!
Dive # 1 - Santa Rosa Wall - 1:07 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - A nice lazy dive with lots of swimthroughs. My new 5 mil is keeping me quite comfy, although all the extra lead takes some getting used to. A Splendid Toadfish out on the wall, the wall top was nice and fishy and towards the end, a nice Spotted Eagle Ray out about 25 ft. from the wall cruising with the current in the opposite direction we were going. BUENO!
S.I. - 1:10 - at Playa San Francisco with sliced papaya, cookies jugo y agua. Lots of boats there and the beach was packed with cruisers. 3 Ships in port at the International Pier, today.
Dive # 2 - Tormentos - 1:07 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - Lots of groups on this site, but we managed some separation. Another Splendid Toadfish about 3/4 of the way out of it’s hole and showing off it’s yellow finery. Spotted Moray about 1/2 out of it’s hole and taking in the sights, not a care in the world. It could have cared less we were there. A Southern Stingray out in the flats. Coming up for the safety stop at about 30 ft. was a juvenile Hawksbill, maybe a foot long. He came up to me about a foot away on his way up and was peering into my mask for a few moments. Major cute
Dinner at La Chosa with my wife, Apocalypso, Frances, Sue, and Leyla. It is almost next door to the old one that burned, and has improved.
That’s about it...and still having fun!
Cozumel - Tuesday 1-19-10 - Daily Report (+) - 1/19/2010 1:42:15 PM
BTW Casa Mexicana now has NetGear Wireless Points in all the hallways so you can use your laptop in the room, and from the few people I’ve talked to, it works dandy. They even give you a slip of paper when you check in with the proper credentials printed on it.
...water is calm as it can be...took a nice long boat ride down to Columbia Deep after a pickup at Casa Del Mar dock...same gang as yesterday...ride was smooth... 4 ships in port today and San Miguel is crowded.
Dive # 1 - Columbia Deep - 1:01 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - Lot’s of nice swimthroughs, several Yellow Stingrays and a Southern Stingray and his little buddy hovering behind. The best sighting was a free swimming 6-7 ft. Green Moray out and about at the edge of the back of the wall and the sand flats for a minute or so going from coral head to coral head.
S.I. - 1:10 by the beach on the boat near Columbia. Mago found a red starfish which he showed around. He took the opportunity to use some scrubbing brushes and whatnot to clean the hull. We were in about 3 ft. of water. Spic and span now!
Dive # 2 - Columbia Shallows - 1:31 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - A nice long dive, since the max depth was 35 ft. and mostly 20 - 25 ft. Pedro and Frances found at least 5 small to mid-size Lion Fish and Pedro went into Hunter mode. He got a smack or a poke in all of them but they disappeared. One was in a hole with a jumbo lobster, which was totally ignored during the hunt, and it backed up way into the hole. Wonder what it thought of that! Lot’s of schooling Grunts, Schoolmasters and Mahogany Snappers. Played hover with the Grunts on several occasions. What fun, and a good way to practice pin-point buoyancy control. Spaz around and they are gone Several groups of snorkelers hovering above, off and on...a few free dived down to us and waved Hi...
16 dives so far and about 18 hrs. U/W...
No idea on dinner tonight, but dinner will happen...perhaps Prima's...
Update: It was Prima's...Bleu Cheese Salad, New York steak with all the goodies plus Key Lime pie y cafe' for desert. Nums...
Cozumel - Wednesday 1-20-10 - Dive Report (+) - 1/20/2010 2:08:35 PM
...water is calm as it can be near town, but was a bit wavy and choppy down south with stronger wind from the West...took a nice long boat ride down to Columbia Deep after a pickup at Casa Del Mar dock...and another pickup at Occidental Grand...ride was smooth for the most part... 3 ships in port today and San Miguel is crowded, as usual...
Dive # 1 - Columbia Deep - :57 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - Lot’s of nice swim throughs, and beautiful hard and soft coral. Pedro found a medium size Lion Fish at about 120 ft. He has a new spear that comes in 3 threaded screw-on sections with a trident tip that one of the divers on the boat made for him. There was also a section of PVC pipe that you could slide over the tip, and also acted as a handle and a slide. Nailed that sucker and this time it didn't get away. He smacked/jabbed it a few time with his poker to finish it off and then used the poker to get it off the trident tip, and let it float away. It spasmed a few times which was all the encouragement a large Grouper needed. It munched it head first, and all that was sticking out was the fins 'n feathers and it shook it a bit to get it down. Some Yellow Tail Snappers finished off the left overs. For some reason 6 Hawksbill turtles of various sizes converged on one spot at the same time at various depths. What a show!
S.I. - 1:20 at Playa Palancar
Dive # 2 - Dalila - 1:13 hrs. - 77 Oceanic Degrees F. - Nice lazy drift. A free swimming Golden Tail Moray and several more in holes. Another Splendid Toad Fish. Lots of schooling fish of various flavors. An Octopus tucked up in a hole.
'Bout it, until tomorrow. Supposed to go North...we shall see...
Cozumel - Thursday 1-21-10 - No Mas Buceo (+) - 1/21/2010 12:55:00 PM
...Hola, Amigos and Amigas,
Well that's it for the diving. Weather is lovely with a just a few clouds and a slight breeze. Went North today and the current was jammin'
Dive # 1 - El Cantarel - :47 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - Hoping to see Eagle Rays, but I didn't see a one...a few others saw one out in the blue, but I guess I was too busy hanging onto the base of a sponge, at 80 ft., for dear life to notice. I was looking, tho'....My regulator was vibrating if I faced into the current (wooba, wooba) and the bubbles were going sideways. Still a nice dive. Everybody on the boat dove 32% Nitrox, or the dive would have been much shorter. I had plenty of computer left, but we were really wuffing down the air in the current. A fair amount of turtles, which weren't making much more headway into the current, than we were. Pedro said we drifted about 1.5 miles.
S.I. at an old, beat up dock about a mile north of El Cantarel hotel - 1:10
Dive # 2 - San Juan Reef - 1:07 hrs. - 76 Oceanic Degrees F. - Left the dock, went directly west, and jumped into the beginning of San Juan Reef. Now the current is really smokin', and we were flying. No time to stop and rest or look, unless your grabbed the base of a sponge or dropped behind a ledge, so we mostly didn't and just enjoyed the ride. One I did grab, and there was a nest of Pederson Cleaner Shrimp inside. A nice treat. More turtles and a jumbo green moray under a ledge. VERY large schools of Grunts who weren't making a whole hell of a lot of headway in the current either. My guess was the current was 3-4 mph with occasional higher bursts. Wheeee, look Ma, I'm flyin'. The magnificent Finger Coral has recovered quite nicely and very little evidence of the devastation from Wilma. Coming up for the safety stop was a large Eagle Ray cruising about 25 ft. below. YES! Pedro said we covered about 3 miles and we were quite a ways offshore when we came up.
All in all, a splendid holiday, but alas, I have to go back to reality tomorrow.