Wednesday, June 29, 2016

La Choza

Our 2nd dive day was a little different in that we were scheduled for an afternoon and night dive. Since Aldora only does the night dive once or twice a week, they're pretty packed. Which meant a much bigger boat and getting to the downtown pier instead of being picked up at the villa. As with everything on the trip, Aldora made sure this required minimal effort on our end. We ended up getting a ride in a rust-bucket of a pickup with busted windows (that didn't close), exposed wiring in the steering column (the ignition key didn't work) and ripped vinyl seats - I always considered this to be a quintessentially Mexican experience (I blame Hollywood for injecting this stereotype in my head).

With about a dozen divers in the group, we had 3 DMs (Liang, Sophie and Jorge) riding herd. The first dive was on the Santa Rosa Wall and was one of the most amazing dives I've done so far. The reef was continuous as far as the eye could see and bursting with color and life - there was way too much to take in individually. The wall started at around 30ft and went down far deeper than I cared to look. It took a few minutes of experimenting in the current to get stable in this position but head down feet up worked really well for me to just drift and see all of the reef without minimal kicking to keep position.
-> 76ft, 59min, 84F

Before the night dive at San Clemente Reef, Liang was giving us a briefing and telling us about some of the different creatures we would see. In passing, she mentioned that we would probably see some blood worms towards the end. There was still some ambient light under water when we dropped in but it turned to pitch black pretty quickly. As is in my nature, I hate to brag but A and I accounted for most of the sightings that night - spotted morays, a Caribbean reef octopus and a stingray. The annoying thing was that anytime we pointed something out, the entire group descended upon us in a rush to get it on video. Not to mention the awful light discipline and the terrible awareness of anyone around them. Oh, the jostling. So much jostling. I guess I shouldn't complain too much - a drift dive in pitch black would be hard for anyone. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience. Until we attracted the blood worms. There were jillions; it was literally like swimming through a dense cloud of these things. And they got everywhere - in our hair, on our faces, on the gear. Everywhere. And they latched on even as we ascended and got on the boat. We were picking them off of us for a while after the end of the dive. A still shudders at the thought and decided pretty quickly she didn't want to do anymore dives that had even the remote possibility of blood worms.
-> 41ft, 1hr 12min, 84F

One thing I did notice today is that my Hollis F1s are far too heavy for this kind of diving .i.e. warm water and minimal exposure protection. A had the same thought about her Jets. I saw all the DMs using freediving fins and might give that a shot. Deep6 has stiff paddle fins designed for fresh water which also look interesting.

We ate at La Choza earlier in the day (great overall - ambience, food, margaritas) and Senor Frog's (oh, the horror) after the night dive, primarily because we were famished and nothing else was open when we got back.

 - U