Cozumel 2011 Recap

My experiences with the U of A Scuba club in Cozumel were resoundingly successful – so much so that I’m taking on the planning of next year’s trip! I didn’t post as much as I’d wanted to, so here are some of the other fun things we did while we were in Mexico.

Extremely soft sand near Coconut's bar.

Click continue reading for the rest of the trip:

The First Week

My friend Nolan and I arrived a week in advance so we could complete some scuba training with the very best scuba instructors, Kari and Matthew Atkins, and so we could tour around Cozumel Island and do touristy kinds of things before the rest of the group arrived. We worked with Kari to complete our Fish Identification and Underwater Naturalist certifications. We were ready to visit the reef when the rest of the group arrived!

Nolan saying hello (Kari in the background).

In addition the the dive training that Nolan and I did on the shore of Blue Angel, we also did a tour of the island. We rented a Tuk-Tuk (roughly translates to ‘Death-Death’), and rode out to visit the San Gervasio ruins and visit the east coast of the island. In addition to dining at the finest restaurants we could find (I ordered a cheeseburger), we took the Tuk-Tuk out at 5 in the morning to see the sun rise over the ocean.

Driving a Tuk-Tuk through the city.
Gateway to San Gervasio (blur courtesy of our terrible tour guide).
View from Coconuts bar on the east coast of Cozumel Island.

The Second Week

The second week of the trip marked the arrival of the rest of the U of A Scuba Appreciation Club. In total we had 15 divers that participated throughout the week. Many of the divers were working on certifications of their own, some doing the Night and Deep specialties, while others completed their Advanced Open Water certification. I finished a total of 7 specialties and my divemaster course.

The U of A Scuba Appreciation Club ready for another boat dive!
Group shot on Palancar Bricks.
Nolan hovering about the sand at Paradise Reef. Best UW photo on the trip.

It was nice to have finished the Fish ID and UW Naturalist course before the group arrived, since it meant that Nolan, Kari and I were the de facto experts on IDing fish, coral, and anything else people asked about. For the most part I think we did a pretty good job, and we added a lot of different fish to our list. We saw a number of nurse sharks, turtles, seahorses, eagle rays and large groupers, in addition to the gamut of Caribbean fish that frequent the reefs. Some of the rarer fish included juvenile Drumfish and a few Splendid Toadfish.

The Last Days

The second week was filled with diving and studying and resting and eating; it didn’t leave a lot of time for exploring the city with the rest of the group (who I hope had enough spare time to get some solid touristy stuff in). But the final few days with the group were action packed. For an extended surface interval before the group returned by plane we planned an excursion to Kari’s secret tidal pool on the east coast.

Kari and Nolan protecting their beer in the tidal pool.

After the rest of the tour left, Nolan and I returned to the mainland to spend a few days before returning home ourselves. One of our big attractions was visiting Xcaret. Nolan spent a day visiting Chichen Itza, but you’ll have to ask him about that.

Simulated Mayan ritual at Xcaret.
Sunset at Blue Angel.

I can’t wait for next year’s trip!!