Cozumel (article and photos © Dave Weatherup, 2001)

For quite some time a friend had been telling me about the incredible diving in Cozumel. He had tried several other places in the Caribbean but always went back to Cozumel. He made it sound so wonderful I decided to check it out for myself. So in April of 2000 a group of Sea Snoopers, weary from a long winter, boarded a plane for the island of Cozumel. We stayed at the Scuba Club Cozumel, again on the advice of my friend. I fell in love with it immediately. The rooms were very nice, roomy, and comfortable. The courtyard, pool, and waterfront areas were beautiful. I especially loved a covered area right at the water's edge that held about 10 huge hammocks. I spent many lazy afternoons laying in one of those hammocks, feeling the warm breeze, listening to the waves break on the seawall, and replaying in my mind the morning's dives. The dive boat picked us up each morning right at the resort and took us to the day's destination.

The reefs we saw were absolutely magnificent. They were alive with color. The visibility seemed almost infinite. We swam through valleys with walls that extended up 40 feet on each side of us, with lots of swim throughs to explore. The fish were very abundant, with the usual array of angles, butterfly fish, and blue tangs. I'd never seen so many queen angelfish in one place before. In addition to the spotted and moray eels normally found, we saw a sharptail eel, which looks more like a snake than an eel. My favorite was a very small eel, no bigger than your thumb, that was yellow on top with a cream colored belly. In addition we saw filefish, splendid toadfish, spotted drumfish, and queen triggerfish. Night dives give you the opportunity to see the lobster, crab, and octopus that are so good at hiding during the day.

Quite often on the boat ride back to the resort, flying fish would follow the boat in and give us a show of their flying ability. When we returned from diving we would find lunch waiting for us, usually a choice of an American and a local dish. The rest of the day was ours to shore dive, sightsee, or just siesta in a hammock. Sightseeing is easy, as taxis are everywhere. The downtown area offers more shopping opportunities than you can imagine, but be prepared to be solicited on the street and practically dragged into the shops! Downtown also has lots of restaurants to sample the local dishes. In the middle of the week we decided to take a day off of diving and take a short plane ride to the mainland to Chichen Itza, where they are in the process of restoring a large number of Mayan ruins. We saw a senote, which is a very deep pool where the Mayans gave sacrifices to their Gods, including human sacrifices. There were many ruins including an observatory where they studied the stars, and even a stadium where games were played. My only other Caribbean diving experience was in the Bahamas, but it didn't come close to the beauty and abundance of Cozumel. The mix of warm weather, exceptional diving and fun companions made this the most memorable trip of my life. There is no doubt we will be going back soon.


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