22 February 2007

Cozumel Diving - Day 5

Tuesday we again got in the car, picked up the rest of our gang and headed back to Playa del Carmen. My ear was a little sore from the day before and later I would come to realize I was coming down with a cold, but this in no way affected my diving today. Playa del Carmen was jam packed. We drove down the streets where we parked on Sunday and there were no spaces so we ended up paying for parking.

A short walk later we were at the ferry terminal buying tickets. This is a passenger only ferry. I don't know if they have an auto ferry or not, maybe out of Cancun, but a car really isn't necessary over there, especially if you are just going to hop on a dive boat. While waiting in line the seas were getting a little choppy, waves were crashing on the seawall, spraying all of us and then it started to rain pretty hard. I was glad I took my sea sickness pills this morning. I saw a few people on the ferry turning green. But as we approached Cozumel the storm had already blown over and we were now on the leeward side of the island, protecting us from the wind. The sea was now calm. The sun came out.

There are dive shops everywhere in Cozumel. Although they are nothing like the shops here in the states, with their fancy showrooms and gear galore. Our plan was to walk from shop to shop and find a nice one that didn't run a cattle call boat but right on the ferry dock there were some podiums set up where you could sign up to dive. Since it was already around 11 we took a chance with one of these. It turned out to be OK. The man at the podium called up the shop and signed us up. Take a left, walked about two blocks down the street, take a right and on your left is the shop.

When you walk in Scuba Staff Divers looks more like an office then a dive shop. There is a little equipment for sale to the left, a long desk with computers to the right and straight back is where they have the rental gear and rinse tank. Although I didn't use the rinse tank as it smelled of soap, there is a waterspout just above it. We didn't want to be hauling our gear around all day so we rented much of the stuff. I just brought my reg, fins and mask. They gave me a 3mm shorty which was a little cold even though the water is 80F. I'm pretty thin but you might ask for a 3mm full.

We signed in, tried on, picked up our gear, got in the taxi (van) that they had called and all headed out to the boat. The drive was about 15 minutes. The boat, I believe was the Enigma. Their website says it holds 8 passengers and 2 crew members. Besides the crew I believe we only had 4 divers with us. Despite how it looked the Enigma turned out to be quite nice. I never felt crowded, there were nets under the canopy to hold your dry stuff and only holding about 8 it definitely was no cattle call. The procedure for entry and exit was the same as for the Akumal dives. Gear up, sit up on the side, roll off, meet at the back of the boat and all descend together. But this time we would do so as the captain told us, two at a time. Our dive guide was Julian, and assistant instructor according to their website. He was good. Friendly, informative, good pre-dive briefings.

Santa Rosa Wall, Cozumel, Mexico


  • Dive site 1 - Santa Rosa Wall

  • Site depth - 1000+ feet

  • My maximum depth - 82 feet

  • Visibility - 80 to 100 feet

  • Coldest water temperature - 80F

  • Bottom time - 40 minutes

  • From what I read on the web, the Santa Rosa Wall is an advanced dive. I didn't see what was so advanced about it but then we are "advanced" certified. It is a drift dive. We had a nice slow current taking us past the beautiful coral outcroppings and fish. They say this wall descends down below 1000 feet. We floated at about 70 - 80. We saw much of the same fish/coral I listed in the Akumal dives with the addition of one nurse shark. We focused most of our attention on the wall but I believe one should keep a lookout away from the wall for larger pelagics. Video here - Santa Rosa Wall

  • Dive 2 - Paradise Reef
  • Site Depth - 40 to 50
  • My maximum depth - 41
  • Visibility - 80 to 100
  • Coldest water temperature - 80
  • Bottom time - 48 Minutes
  • Another drift dive over reef and sandy patches. Much the same life as before.

Cozumel itself has a nice little town square, resturants and shopping for you or your non-diving friends. There are also many hotels and if I were doing a pure dive trip with no other family/friends I would probably stay here on the island.

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