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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Diving in Cozumel

So...the major goal of our trip, besides relaxation, was for me to give SCUBA diving a whirl. I was certified last summer, and had been wanting to since then and before we headed to South Africa in a few months. Part of the reason we picked Cozumel was for the excellent diving. On the recomendation of my diving-junkie friend, we used Dive with Martin for our dives (instead of the hotel dive shop). They picked us up a bit before 8AM out on the pier at our hotel- very convenient!

I was a bit nervous before my first dive, but very excited. The best thing about our hotel is that it is the one closest to the dive sites & we were there in about 5-10 minutes each morning. The first dive master gave us about zero instructions- just told us to gear up and fall backwards off the boat. My first dive was to Palancar Caves (more like coral canyons), and it was nerve-wracking. Down to about 90' or 100' at time, it was a difficult dive as we swam around various coral and through narrow areas. We saw a very large turtle to start with, and many other neat things.

I think H was more nervous on our first dive than I was, and I'd threatened him that he better look out for me and be by my side all the time. We were constantly looking for each other & checking all of our gauges. The divemaster really didn't give us much instruction on where we were going or when to start surfacing. It was ok & I survived, but I think a little more info and instructions would have calmed my nerves a bit.

Obviously I don't have an underwater (to more than 10') camera or any of the other fancy gear that the divers had on the boat, so I not many actual pics. We were super rushed once we arrived a dive site to get geared up and in the water. I managed to recover enough after our 2nd dive on the first day (at El Cedral) to snap a photos of H, half-wearing the size medium shorty that I'd reserved for him. Guess he's a large!

The water was just breath taking and so amazing. I'd seen the blue sea like that before, but being there is so different and spectacular. We had fabulous diving both days & luckily I was able to dive Palancar Caves on our first day the second day. I was much more relaxed and enjoyed it a great deal. We saw another turtle and a very large crab. I'm super-glad I brought my own full wetsuit, as I got pretty chilly near the end of my 2nd dive on both days. It was partly cloudy and pretty windy, so I wasn't able to warm up too much between dives.

In between our first and second dive, we'd stop off at the shore for a brief break. The first day I was so over-whelmed/relieved/tired that I just sat on the end of the pier for most of the break tying to warm up and enjoy the beautiful waters. The second day, I ventured on to land to walk down the beach and relax a bit more. On our second day of diving, there was a slight problem as we all did not go down together. After flipping backwards off the side of the boat, the divemaster told us to go down, even though we had not "buddied" up. I was looking all around for H, since he fell off the opposite side as I did. I was pretty annoyed that he went down without me, but even more annoyed that we were missing a diver when we got under. The group had to (attempt to) hang out on the bottom, against the current, as the divemaster went back up to look for the missing diver. We eventually found him, but I was slightly miffed that we were cutting safety corners.

These are the boats we dove from, and there were 4 other divers on each day that went down with us and the dive master. I liked being in a smaller group, since we stayed together through the caves and we needed to drift to the very strong current together. The second day, diving at Delilah, we saw another turtle and an octopus, along with tons of very colorful and large fish.

All in all, diving was fun, but not something I see myself pursuing very seriously. I'll dive if we travel somewhere that had extraordinary diving, but probably won't be planning more trips around SCUBA diving itself. It's a lot of work and is very stressful for a beginner (and her husband!). It was neat & I'm glad we did it. Although H grew up diving tons every summer, it's not exactly something he has many fond memories of doing. It's all pretty, but I think there's only so many beautiful fish and colorful coral that I care to see. There are so many other places & things I'd rather see on my vacation time and with all the money.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Today is sleep in (past 4AM) day.

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