Saturday, July 2, 2016

Cozumel 2016

A and I took a short trip to Cozumel before her school work got insane. Insanity in a PhD program is relative and we aim for the baseline levels when planning our vacations (and our pet sitter's availability - that's actually the first thing we check for). We didn't do a ton of diving but the dives we did were all fantastic.

Day 0 - Rock n Java
Day 1 - Mar y Juana
Day 2 - La Choza
Day 3 - La Perlita
Day 4 - Los Otates

 - U

Friday, July 1, 2016

Los Otates

Our last day of diving in Cozumel took us south to the big kid sites. We had a couple of spearos on the boat as it's deep enough here that lionfish hunting is still a viable option. Our first dive was at Punta Sur Sur, along the reef that has the (in)famous Devil's Throat tunnel. We had decided ahead of time not to go through there and instead do the Cathedral - this turned out to be a fantastic decision as it was an absolutely spectacular swimthrough. Even the thought of an overheard gives me the heebie jeebies but this was a great experience. After this, I feel fairly confident I would be able to dive caverns without freaking the frick out. AND WE SAW MORE BARRACUDAS!!! I mean, seriously, how much more awesome could this dive get?!?!
-> 92ft, 1hr 14min, 84F

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that if you choose to dive nitrox, Aldora provides EAN32 for the first dive and EAN36 for the 2nd. Considering the dive profiles commonly followed in Cozumel, this does wonders for your available dive time.

Our 2nd dive was at Paso del Cedral. This site is a series of hillocks with reefs on them with sand channels between. The current zips through pretty quick here and dipping down into the sand gives you a little bit of respite from it. Liang told us in the pre-dive that we would see some nurse sharks here as some divers feed them lionfish carcasses. What she neglected to mention (or did and I wasn't paying attention) was exactly how unscared of divers they are and how insistent they can be to get fed. I found this out when a 7 footer swam right at me and nudged my shoulder. Even assuming I had heard Liang tell us about how close the sharks get, I don't think anything could have prepared me for seeing a shark come at me head on and there not being a whole lot I could do to get out of its way. It made a few more swoops by me after covering the entire group and I had gathered myself enough to not completely spaz out when that happened. I found a lobsterzilla under a little rock outcropping while hanging on to that rock outcropping in the current - the antennae itself were about 3ft long and when I peeked under the eyes and head looked massive. I let go of that rock post haste. Another really cool thing at the end of the dive that Liang pointed out was a hole with a resident green moray living with a nurse shark.
-> 80ft, 1hr 15min, 84F

We had tacos al pastor with pineapple at Los Otates, super simple but deeelish. Unfortunately, A got sick after eating there (gluten contamination was our prime suspect) and we'll have to cross this place off of our list for next time.

 - U