Tuesday, Jan. 1st, 2002
I did a shore dive to ring in the New Year with Carol, Christianne, Kevin, Jonathan and Megan. We saw those famous lobsters and a spotted eel. Kevin and Christianne were practicing navigation for the Advanced Certification and navigated square patterns using the compass. There was a mild current that threw their patterns off a bit and the squares were not “exactly” perfect.
Then I did a night dive with Lindsay, Dani, Ray, Janet, Kevin and Christianne on Paso Del Cedral. We waited until it was good and dark. Dani thought that it was creepy. We saw lobsters, crabs, eels and scared away a big southern stingray.
Wednesday, Jan. 2nd
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Janet, Ray, Lindsay, Dani, Christianne and Kevin. There were many groups of divers in the area that day. Some were up current from us and some were down current.. Our plan was to stop and let everyone pass us when it got too crowded. The plan worked quite well. We saw several big groupers.
Then we went to Cedral Wall. We saw the most amazing green turtle munching on sponges. It was completely undisturbed by our presence. The goodbye gift for the Morris family was a giant nurse shark feeding on top of the reef.
Friday, Jan. 4th
The port was closed that morning due to a strong north wind. It calmed down a bit and I took Renee on a shore dive for the Resort Course.
Later that day I went to Paradise with Megan and Jonathan. We had a nice mild current and everything went well.
We dropped Renee off at her cruise ship and just the three of us went on another dive on Chankanaab. We saw huge lobsters and lots of crabs. The wind died down quickly.
Saturday, Jan. 5th
I did a night dive on Paradise reef with Jonathan and Megan. There were loads of crabs and lobsters everywhere. A very large black grouper followed us around during the entire dive.
Sunday, Jan. 6th
I had a very bad day at work ! I don't even want to discuss it ! Even though we called the Port Captain to get a weather report in the morning and he advised us that diving was a “go,” a north wind blew in during the first dive and almost sank the boat. This was a day that will never be forgotten. The good news is we saw two beautiful eagle rays on Palancar Gardens.
Tuesday, Jan. 8th
The first dive of the day was with Gaetan, Patrick, Natalie and Nathalie on French reef. We saw a small hawksbill turtle swimming up to the surface for a gulp of air. There was a huge eagle ray that let us get fairly close before it swam away. We saw many lobsters, but one was huge. It was out and walking about.
The second tank was on George's Reef to see the sardines. We spent 15 minutes playing and taking pictures. I saw a baby jewfish that must have weighed 80 pounds positioned in among the sardines. I swear I haven't seen a jewfish in over a year! We also saw a big crab and two southern stingrays.
That afternoon I met with Mike in the marina to do two shore dives at Paradise. On the first dive I saw lobsters, a yellow stingray and a cute pair of juvenile spotted drums.
On the second dive at Paradise we saw two sweet little goldentail morays.
Wednesday, Jan. 9th
I went to Punta Sur with Gaetan and Patrick. I swear it must have been performance anxiety for poor Chucho. He couldn't find the Devil's Throat! In the 9 years that I have known him he has never had a problem locating the Devil's Throat! He drove around all nervous and told me that he thought that he had located the cave. I jumped in to check and see if we were in the right spot. Now, I am no expert mind you on the Devil's Throat. Chucho really is the expert. But I got in and descended to 60 feet. I saw a majestic, yes, majestic, eagle ray and a beautiful section of reef…but no Devil's Throat. I didn't want to come up. I knew that they would worry, so I came up and told him that the spot was beautiful, but no cave.
I got back on board and Chucho drove around for 10 more minutes. He went North, then South again, settling with a bit of confidence, on a particular spot. He told me, "Here it is!" I jumped in and it was the exact same spot with the exact same eagle ray gliding around! I giggled and came up.
I decided that since both of the Natalie’s were waiting for us along with Mike, we would stop driving around. We could dive this section of Punta Sur, even though it was not the Devil's Throat. Who knows how long we would be driving around looking for it! Poor Chucho. He was nervous and just couldn't find the spot! We had a beautiful dive because the eagle ray came back for the boys to see. We also saw a little turtle and Gaetan got very friendly with it. As a bonus, there was a very big lobster hiding under a ledge.
We went back to the piers and picked up Natalie, Nathalie and Mike and we all went to Cedral Wall. We saw a baby nurse shark under a ledge, a big turtle and a big nurse shark out swimming. Our last dive was on Dalila where we saw loads of colorful fish, a barracuda and a southern stingray.
Thursday, Jan. 10th
I did a refresher dive on the beach with Steve at Paradise. Steve is a good diver and the current was very light, so I decided to try something new . We swam out to the offshore reef at Paradise. On the way out to the reef, we found a large octopus and a snake eel that was very frightened. The further from shore that we got, the stronger the current. I got a bit winded dragging the dive buoy. We were rewarded with spotted moray eels, schools
of grunts and grouper. On the way back, a frisky golden-tail eel came out of its hole and then hid itself again.
That evening I did a night dive with Paul, Andrew, Mike, Patrick, Gaetan and Natalie. We went to Dalila. We saw lots of crabs, but only a couple of lobsters. We saw two octopuses as well. One of the octopuses was missing a tentacle. Andrew said that he was so hungry that he had bitten it off.
Friday, Jan. 11th
I took Brad and Sonja to Chankanaab Reef. We saw a couple of really big lobsters. One was walking up the side of the reef. We also saw some crabs. During the safety stop, I was unraveling the line to my signal tube and it dangled below us like a fishing lure. It seemed to attract a very large barracuda. I honestly don't know what I would have done if it had attacked the line!
Then we went to Paradise for the second tank. We found all kinds of little interesting things for Brad to take pictures of. There was a spotted moray eel hiding in a hole next to a big crab that was especially photogenic.
Saturday, Jan. 12th
I did a refresher with Jim on the shore at Paradise. We saw four different types of eels. There were two golden-tail, two spotted morays, one snake eel and one chain eel. I really love those little buggers. We saw loads of yellow stingrays and lobsters. That school of rainbow parrotfish was still there too. I think that they go by there every evening.
Sunday, Jan. 13th
I went to Colombia Deep with Steve, Jim, Nicki and Susan. We went in search of turtles for the girls. I found a small nurse shark hiding in a hole. I took off my fin to give it a little coaxing to come out of the hole….so everyone could see it. It simply scooted in deeper.
In the shallows, we found our turtle and everyone took pictures.
As soon as we got back on the boat, Jim spotted "something" in the water. That "something” was four dolphins. We got back in the water to snorkel with them. There were two adults and two babies. What fun!
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall, where we saw lots of little lobsters and many, many colorful fish.
Monday, Jan. 14th
Today I was blessed with the opportunity to do the dive I have been waiting nine years to do. Chucho and I went out to the northern end of the island on the Manetto (larger boat) to see the schooling eagle rays.
It was my day off, and I got to do what I have always dreamed of doing. The Captain dropped us on the wall, which is 80ft. at the top. There is a convenient little nook at the top and we ducked into it to hide from the current.
First one eagle ray appeared. I took a picture or two. Then about five minutes later five more appeared. I swam down to 100 feet on the wall to take more pictures. When they left, I practiced taking portrait shots of Chucho, my model. Seventeen minutes into the dive another school of eagle rays came by and I went back down to 100 feet to take photos.
We went back to the exact same spot to do the second dive. That protected nook is very convenient. First, there was only one eagle ray, the same as in the first dive. Then a school of twelve rays came by! (This time I only dropped down to 92 feet.)
At the end of the dive, while we were ascending, either the same group came back or another of equal size, cruised along the wall.
It was the stuff diver dreams are made of!
Wednesday, Jan. 15th
Back to work! Jim and I hitched a ride with my friend Sergio to Palancar Bricks. We first saw a small hawksbill turtle. Later, a really big one arrived.
Sergio ducked into a cave at about 80 feet. One of his divers followed him in. I turned around to ask Jim if he wanted to go in and he gave me a nod. As I was turning back around to go into the cave, I noticed something large swimming underneath us. It rather caught the corner of my eye. At first I thought that it was a really big nurse shark, so I waved at Jim and pointed down. Then I realized that something was not quite right. The body was really fat and the dorsal fin was tall and it was really tattered. Then it dawned on me.....THAT'S NOT A NURSE SHARK! I followed above it trying to get a look at its face. It took a minute before I realized that it was a hammerhead! I screamed bloody murder through the regulator.
When the big guy had disappeared into the blue, Jim gave me a "high 5." In my nine years here in Coz, that was my first hammerhead. I screamed, not because I was frightened (surprisingly I wasn't) but because I was so excited.
At the end of the dive there was a cute little three flipper hawksbill turtle munching on sponges at the top of the reef. He paddled off to the surface for a gulp of air.
Jim and I went to Paso Del Cedral for the second dive. We were rewarded with a very sweet green moray eel, which let me caress her and pull her out of the hole so Jim could see her. Then Sergio Jr. pointed out a nurse shark. It came out of the hole right at me. I stuck out my arm to make it turn around so that Sergio Sr. could get a picture of it. He got an excellent shot of me chasing the shark. I hope he gives me a copy!
Wednesday, Jan. 16th
Jim, Susan and Nicki were my divers that day and we went to Bolones De Chankanaab. We saw lobsters, a crab and a big green moray eel with a crooked mouth. We saw this great white whale shark coming at us off in the distance. Oops, we were wrong, it was just submarine. It is really weird to see something that big pass by you while you are diving! When we were going up we looked down and saw three beautiful spotted eagle rays swimming below.
Tank number two was on Las Palmas Reef. We saw loads of baby lobsters, tons of crabs and lots of spotted morays. We also saw golden-tails and a moray (that I had to look up in the book that Sandra gave me when I got home.) It looked kind of like a honeycomb moray but the head shape was a little different.
We also saw the infamous splendid toadfish and spotted drum.
Next, a shore dive with Shane and Lee at Paradise. We had great conditions and we saw lots of critters.
Thursday, Jan. 17th
I went back to the North end of the island with Jim, Angela and Chucho to
see the spotted eagle rays again. On the first dive, there was another group of eight or nine divers already there. We only saw the schools of eagle ray from a distance.
On the second dive, we were alone on the reef. We had a front row seat! They passed several times and there was up to fourteen in one group. I was looking right into their eyes. They would come close to me, and return my gaze.
When they are looking into your eyes it is eerie and peaceful at the same time.
Friday, Jan. 18th
I went to Paradise Reef with Shane, Lee, Jim and Steve. We saw some lobsters, a crab, spotted eels and big snappers. At the beginning of the dive, we saw one eagle ray glide by. A few minutes later, we saw one more eagle ray…or perhaps the same one.
Next, two more swam rays by in the distance. Shane found us a cute little nurse shark that was quickly frightened off.
Sunday, Jan. 21st
I spent all day on the beach at Paradise. The first two morning dives were spent with Kevin and Parker. We saw four different kinds of eels. We saw spotted morays, golden-tails, a snake eel and a chain eel. We also saw lobsters, yellow rays, spotted drums and a big, fat octopus.
Later that afternoon I did a dive from shore with Susan, Nicki, Lauri, Michelle and Jeff. We went back to see the octopus in his conch shell castle. There is another eel that we saw and I am still not sure exactly what kind it is. It was the same as the one that I saw on Las Palmas. It really has me stumped.
Monday, Jan. 21st
I went to French Reef with Kevin, Parker, Jeff, Michelle, Susan and Nicki. We were just minding our own business, when along came a big spotted eagle ray swimming right at us!
Michelle saw a turtle right when we first jumped in…but no one else saw it.
Our second dive was on Dalila. Michelle pointed out a turtle escaping us off in the distance. Later we got a better look at a hawksbill that I coerced into swimming up to the group. We also saw many southern stingrays.
Thursday, Jan. 22nd
I dived on the shipwreck with Steve, Tiffany and Monte. There were many, many lobsters living under the wreck. They were all lined up in groups of 20 to 30, wiggling their antennas at us.
The second tank was on Punta Tunich with Mark, Dave, Steve, Tiffany and Monte. As soon as we reached the bottom, we spotted a large eagle ray swimming towards us. When I turned to point it out, I saw the enormous nurse shark nestled up against the reef. All of us were sandwiched between the big ray and the enormous shark! I honestly didn't know which one to look at. At the end of the dive, two more graceful eagle rays came swooping by us.
I did a third dive on Chankanaab with Dave, Mark, Tiffany and Monte. We saw a couple of lobsters and a crab. Tiffany smiled when I made the Christmas tree worm disappear.
Thursday, Jan. 24th
I did a night dive on Paradise with Susan, Nicki, Kevin and Parker. We saw two small octopus, many lobsters and a couple of crabs.
Saturday, Jan. 26th
I went diving on Palancar (George's Reef) with Gustavo, Hans and Frank. The sardines were still there, but they were very deep inside of the cave and difficult to see. There were less groupers than usual.
Next, everyone wanted to go to Santa Rosa wall. We found a big crab, a lobster and a squishy sea cucumber. We saw a small hawksbill grazing on sponge on top of the reef.
Our third dive was on Paradise. This time Gustavo showed us a crab and a lobster. I spent quite a while crawling around in the algae looking for seahorses. I still can't find one!
Sunday, Jan. 27th
We went back to Santa Rosa wall per special request by Gustavo, Hans, Frank, Nicki and Susan. We saw what I believe to be the same little turtle, in the same spot doing the same thing as yesterday! We saw the same lobsters too.
Then we went to Tormentos. There we saw a very small seahorse that looked like algae. There was an eagle ray off in the distance.
We also saw a big southern stingray buried up to his eyeballs in the sand.
Monday, Jan. 28th
I dove Paradise from the shore with Dave, Meredith, Bryan, Greg, Aaron and Ben. I only saw one spotted eel tail sticking out, and not showing us his head!. We peeked at a group of lobsters.
Later that day I took Bryan, Greg, Marion and Ed out to Paradise Reef. We had nice calm conditions and good visibility. There was almost no current, which made for a very relaxing dive.
Tuesday, Jan. 29th
I went to Santa Rosa wall with Marion and Virve. We saw a big spotted eagle ray with it's tail missing. Every time I see an eagle ray with no tail, I wonder if a shark bit it off. Sharks are the ray's natural predators. It swam so slowly that it seemed unaware of our presence.
We also saw a big, fat octopus spread out on top of the reef. It turned light blue and green
and zipped into a hole. A large green moray eel swam right up to us and I petted it.
Our second tank was on San Francisco wall where we saw a spotted drum and another green eel out swimming freely. I went over to Virve to tell her not to pet it. I don't know that particular eel on San Francisco Wall and it could possibly bite.
Wednesday, Jan. 30th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Perry, John, Marion and Virve. The boys practiced Peak Performance Buoyancy Control while swimming through the tunnels and archways.
Next, we went on to my favorite, Dalila. There we saw another big green moray eel and a baby nurse shark sleeping under a coral outcropping.
Thursday, Jan 31st
John, Virve and I hitched a ride with my friend Isidrio. We dove at Punta Sur for our first dive. John went down into the "Devil's Throat" with Isidrio. Virve and I stayed on top and were rewarded with a turtle sighting.
Our second tank was on Dalila again where we saw an octopus, hidden behind his conch shells. We also saw the really big barracuda that lives at Dalila. A small nurse shark swam by with a remora temporarily attached to his side.
John and I did a third dive on Paradise to finish up his Advanced Certification. We saw a pair of spotted drums and lots and lots of lobsters. A spotted eagle ray without a tail came close to us. He was followed by a visit from a second eagle ray.
Saturday, Feb. 2nd
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Dave, Bob and Julie. We saw the local pair of spotted drums behind the coral. There were plenty of lobsters, spotted eels and a goldentail moray.
On to a dive on Dalila with Chip, Bob, Bob, Dave and Jason, we saw a green turtle from far away and a nurse shark out swimming about in the open water.
Jason and I went to Paradise. We searched the algae patch for a seahorse. It was all to no avail. I am just about ready to give up the search for Susan's seahorse.
Sunday, Feb. 3rd
I went to Palancar Caves with Nicki, Susan, Chip, Bob, Bob and Dave. We saw three different turtles. Chip pointed out the first turtle. He was large, slow and right under us. The last one was the little turtle with only three flippers that I had seen on the same day I saw the hammerhead shark.
Then we were off to Colombia Shallows per Chip and Julie's request. There was a small nurse shark hiding in a hole so I took off my fin to nudge it out so that the divers could see it. I scared the wits out of it and it took off like a bolt of lightening. I felt really bad for scaring the little guy!
Monday, Feb. 4th
Chip, Bob, Dave and Bob came with me to Palancar Gardens where we swam through all of those beautiful tunnels, archways and caves. I showed Dave the pillar coral that he had requested.
We did our second dive on French Reef. We saw a big hawksbill turtle along with several lobsters. Bob pointed out a good find...two little nurse sharks entwined in a small niche on the side of the reef.
Then I went to San Francisco Wall with Chip, Bob, Bob and Troy. There were lots of colorful fish, as always. We saw a southern stingray, a spotted drum and a toadfish. There were two baby lobsters together who wiggled their antennas at us.
My fourth dive of the day was on the end of Yucab and the first half of Tormentos. We saw two big southern stingrays; another spotted drum and some very large lobsters.
Tuesday, Feb. 5th
Palancar Horseshoe is where Nicki, Susan, Dave and Bob elected to dive that day. There was a big hawksbill turtle swimming in front of a nearby group.
San Francisco Wall was our second dive. We found a couple of splendid toadfish. At the end of the dive, a big eagle ray came by. It looked like it was trying to get rid of the two remoras attached to its underside. It flapped and swerved and went right over Susan's head! As soon as it swam off, I turned my head and saw a big octopus being nipped by a big snapper. The snapper had its tentacle in its mouth, but the octopus escaped. It stuck itself to the side of the reef and that's when I discovered that there was another big octopus right up against it. I couldn't resist the temptation to caress it. It didn't seem to mind. It sat really still and put up with me.
Wednesday, Feb. 6th
I went to see the eagle rays at Cantarell with Chip, Bob, Nicki, Susan, Armando and Chucho. The current was swift but not unmanageable. We saw several individuals, pairs and groups of four or five eagle rays. There were no large schools on this particular day. Two other groups of divers had been there right before we arrived. I wonder if they scared them off.
The search for Susan's seahorse continued on Las Palmas to no avail. Chip pointed out yet another eagle ray for us. Bob showed us a spotted drum, a toadfish, spotted cleaner shrimp (in an anemone) and a golden-tail moray.
We went to Palancar Gardens with Bob, Troy and Jason. Everyone enjoyed the archways and tunnels.
I found a short fin pipefish in the sand. Bob and Troy found a big green eel while Jason was on his way down from the surface.
My fourth dive of the day was on Cedral Wall. I rolled in and there was a spotted eagle ray right below me. We saw a couple of lobsters and a green moray eel. A female hawksbill turtle swam by and we spotted a large nurse shark off in the distance. A second eagle ray came swimming right toward us, against the current.
Next, I saw a huge male hawksbill turtle and just as it was swimming away a large lobster, under a ledge, distracted me. We saw a small hawksbill turtle cruise to the surface for a breath of air and proceed to dive back down. She swam by our side until we ascended. What a dive!
Thursday, Feb. 7th
I went to Colombia Deep with Chip, Bob, Dave, Bob, Troy and Bob. Three Bobs on one boat! First we saw a green turtle resting on top of the reef. She had a really clean shell. Then we saw a photographer from another group in front of us chasing a hawksbill turtle right toward us. At the safety stop we saw one more little hawksbill swim to the surface for a gulp of air.
Our next dive was at the end of Gardens and the beginning of French Reef. The boys found a big crab and lobsters. During the safety stop we saw two more turtles.
Saturday, Feb. 9th
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Nick. We saw a spotted moray, a golden-tail and a chain eel. Nick got photos of the pair of spotted drums that live there. The two animals that I wanted to show him were hidden deep into their holes and he didn't see either one of them. They are the fat splendid toadfish and the octopus.
Then he and I got onto the boat with Chucho and Armando. We went to see the spotted eagle rays at Cantarell. We only saw them solo or in pairs. Chucho said that he saw a group of four. Armando thinks that they are beginning to leave our area now. We are seeing less of them.
Monday, Feb. 11th
I went diving on Chankanaab with Dan, Mary, Mona and Dana. We saw a really big crab and a couple of lobsters. I spent most of my dive taking pictures of Dan. I think everyone was wondering why!
Then we did a dive on Paradise where we saw a giant eagle ray swim by.
In the afternoon I did a refresher dive with Molly and Phil from shore at Paradise. The current was brutal. We tried to swim against it near the shore...where it is weaker. We spent a while hanging on to a rock and watching a school of rainbow parrotfish graze on algae. We finally make it out to see the lobsters and a spotted yellow stingray. We had to forget the search for the eels and octopus; the current was just too strong! I caught a glimpse of two spotted eagle rays going by, but no one else saw them.
Tuesday, Feb. 12th
Patti, Andrew, Rich, Elaine, Dan and Nick accompanied me to Jorge's Reef. Right on the drop-off we saw a hawksbill turtle. I tried to get a photo of it but the flash didn't go off. Dan pointed out two separate eagle rays. Nick took off like a madman after one of them to get a photo.
Our second tank was on Paso Del Cedral. A nurse shark swam by and Dan petted it. I was afraid that it would turn around and bite him! He is a brave man! We also saw a big lobster after we came out of the cave.
Wednesday, Feb. 13th
I dived at Palancar Horseshoe with Patti, Andrew, Elaine, Rich and Dan. We drove around looking for a spot with no current. We settled on Horseshoe. The first 15 minutes of the dive were calm as we swam through the tunnels in the reef. When we went out to the wall the current hit. We had to swim hard to return to the reef for protection. We saw a couple of lobsters over by the cement block, where the statue used to be.
Our next dive was on French Reef. We saw crabs and lobsters. It was much more relaxing.
Then I did a quick refresher on the shore at Paradise with Lauri.
My fourth dive was on Santa Rosa wall with Nicki, Susan, John and Jimmy. Fortunately, we had good diving conditions. I saw more crabs and lobsters.
The exciting dive was on Paso Del Cedral where we saw five different nurse sharks! Some were sleeping and I woke them up. Some were out swimming about. The last one was my favorite. It is the one that has the stubby dorsal fin. I really am fond of that shark. I have been seeing it for many years, since it was just a babe.
Thursday, Feb. 14th, Valentine's Day
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Rich, Elaine, Patti, Andrew, Dan, Doug and Phil. Every time I go there in the morning I always wind up sandwiched between lots of different dive groups. Could Santa Rosa Wall be Cozumel's most popular dive site?
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall in search of rock beauties for Rich to photograph. I saw tons of rock beauties but neither Rich nor I was able to get a photo.
My third dive was from shore at Paradise with Chris. We saw loads of spotted eels and a goldentail. The big octopus was in his new home this day and was quite easy for us to see. We also paid a visit to the local lobster colony.
Late afternoon I went to Chankanaab with Molly and Phil. The reef was crawling with crabs. We chose Chankanaab because normally there is very little or no current there.
Friday, Feb. 15th
I went to Dalila with Rich, Elaine, Patti, Andrew, Molly and Phil. Rich found us a turtle and an eagle ray so I deemed him dive master for the day!
Our second time down was on Dalila again, because everyone liked it so much the first time around! I saw a nurse shark take a big bite of a hydroid and immediately poop it out! That was a first! Then I found an octopus and a spotted eel.
On the safety stop I went back down to check on the pair of nurse sharks that live in a cave. I found a bonus green moray eel too! All three critters crammed together in the little cave. Rich came back down, even though he was low on air, to take a picture.
My third dive was on Yucab with Jay, Nicki, Jason, Susan and Kevin. We saw tons of splendid toadfish and adult spotted drums. We also saw lobsters. Nicki found a big crab.
Saturday, Feb. 16th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Brad, Brennan, Jason, Nicki, Kevin and Susan. Kevin showed us a big turtle at the beginning of the dive. Thankfully, there was almost no current.
Then we went to Paso Del Cedral. We saw the same nurse shark swim by twice. We also saw lobsters.
I did a night dive on Paradise with the same gang. We saw at least four octopuses. One was sitting in the sand right next to us when we turned off our lights. A frightened squid swam right into me with a thud and squirted its ink. We saw lots of crabs, including some really big ones! We also saw lobsters; a snake eel and I found a big-eyed toadfish. The big, black grouper made his appearance as well.
Sunday, Feb. 17th
We had some North wind and the surface was really choppy so we decided to dive close in. My first dive was on Bolones de Chankanaab with Susan, Kevin, Nicki, Jason, Brad and Brennan. We saw some lobsters. A big eagle ray did a slow pass in the deeper water.
Our second dive was on the end of Yucab and the first half of Tormentos. I found a really big stonefish that startled me when I nudged it. It swam right at me.
That afternoon I did a resort course for Corey on the shore at Paradise. He really liked the queen angels best. We saw the good old lobsters, yellow rays, but no eels. The octopus was too far under a rock to see well. I didn't even bother trying to point it out.
Monday, Feb. 18th
I went to Colombia Deep with Nicki, Jason, Susan and Kevin. We saw two normal size hawksbill turtles and one really cute little baby turtle. Nicki took a picture of it. We saw a baby jewfish too. My mom tells me that they changed the name of the jewfish to goliath grouper to be politically correct. I have a hard enough time remembering not to say Diamond Resort instead of Allegro! How am I going to change my stubborn ways?
Dive two was on San Francisco Wall. The current was really clipping along for the first 30 minutes of the dive. Then it slowed down quite a bit and we could stop and look for stuff. I saw that yellow fin grouper that had a big bite out of the top of it's head. A few months ago it looked like he might not make it. Now it is healing nicely.
Later that day I did a shore dive with Lynn and Doug. We saw several spotted eels plus my favorite chain eel. We saw lobsters and a stingray too. There is a really cool school of stoplight parrotfish that swam right past us.
Tuesday, Feb. 19th
Nicki, Jason, Susan, Kevin and Mom came with me to dive on Palancar Bricks. Towards the end of the dive we saw a little hawksbill turtle and later on the during the safety stop we saw a big one.
Next came Punta Tunich with a very fast current. Mom stopped to show me a stonefish and Susan and Kevin disappeared. It took a bit of swimming to catch up. That is when I decided that we should all ascend together to avoid separation in that current.
Wednesday, Feb. 20th
I went to Chankanaab with Mom, Shelly and Vito. The kids snorkeled near shore. Mom found us a lobster the size of a dinosaur. We also had the pleasure of a small barracuda, a big green moray eel, two spotted moray eel and a small goldentail.
Next, we were off to Paradise where we saw a seven-foot eagle ray. I saw a goldentail moray snatching up a small crab and wolfing it down. We reached the end of Paradise reef, very near their cruise ship.
In the afternoon, I dived from shore at Paradise with Mike and saw the big octopus. This time we got a really good look. It wasn't shy at all. I picked up a snake eel and surprised Mike. We saw the standard spotted morays and lobsters too.
Thursday, Feb. 21st
I went to Colombia Deep again with Michelle, Mike, Mom, Nicki, Jason, Susan and Kevin. Just as we began our descent, a turtle joined us for a breath of air.
We were joined by a large school of humans that we couldn't get away from! They were in front of us, and in back of us the entire dive.
We went to Dalila (my favorite) for the second tank. We saw the humongous barracuda in his usual spot under the reef. He showed the divers his silver color and large protruding teeth. There was a small nurse shark nestled in a small nook in the edge of the reef. At the end there were two large nurse sharks in a cave. The current was pretty fast and I am not sure that all got a chance to see them.
In the afternoon I went to Chankanaab with Craig, Peggy, Kent, Jeff and Carla. We saw a huge crab with monstrous claws and a lobster too.
I finished up that day on Paradise where there was yet another eagle ray swooping toward the group. I am getting spoiled with all of those eagle rays! We saw more crabs and lobsters too.
Monday, Feb. 25th
I went diving with Dan, Dan, Kelly, Guy, Matt, Mark, Kelly, Brian and Frank! We tried to do a dive on the wall, but when we arrived we found that the current was too strong, so we doubled back and did a dive on Yucab. The current was pretty strong there too, but at least there was a bottom! It took about 10 minutes for Chucho and I to get everyone settled on the bottom and we breezed along the reef. We saw some lobsters and lots of fish.
The second tank was on Paradise. The current had slowed down a bit and we had time to look for more lobsters. Brian pointed out a spotted drum in the intermediate stage.
Tuesday, Feb. 26th
I dove at Palancar Gardens with Susan, Ellen, Pascual and Vincent. We swam through my favorite tunnel, which is really long and has beams of light shining down through the roof. Everyone really loved it.
Then we went to Paso Del Cedral where we found a big, fat, green moray. I wanted to pet it and pull it out of the hole but she seemed like she wasn't in the mood, so I left her alone. We saw lots of schools of barracuda.
At night I went to Paradise with the gang. The big grouper came out and followed us around, as is his custom. We saw lots of lobsters and crabs. I even saw a decorator crab that I have never seen before with a big chunk of sponge stuck to its back for camouflage. Susan and Ellen found two stonefish, but we didn't see ANY octopus. I think that there was too much moonlight for the octopus to come out.
Wednesday, Feb. 27th
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Rob and Jeremy (J-dog) and there were waves from the North wind. They are a couple of young, strong guys, .so they could handle it! I thought that there would be no current because of the North wind. Boy, was I wrong! We had to kick our butts off! Rob took off after a pair of queen angels. I pointed out the octopus, but nobody saw it except me. We also visited the lobster colony. J-dog knocked out Rob's regulator and he just stuck it back in, cool as a cucumber.
Friday, March 1st
I was off to Palancar Caves with Susan, Ellen, J-dog and Rob. Ellen had a special request for turtles so I thought Palancar Caves would be our best bet. Unfortunately, we didn't find a single turtle. All we found was a nice southern stingray at the end of the dive.
Then we did a dive on Colombia Shallow in search of Ellen's turtle. Finally she got to see not one, but three! I counted five in all, but two of them were far off in the distance and Ellen didn't see them all. A big eagle ray passed by us twice while we were looking at the little green turtle. Rob took off after it.
Saturday, March 2nd
I did a shore dive with Susan, Mark, Kristi, Lauren and Sharon. We had waves and wind from the Southeast. Not all dives go well, and that was the case today.
In the afternoon, I dived on Bolones de Chankanaab with Brad, Cassie, Jeremy and Rob. We saw the big white submarine go by again. That thing is really impressive. The boys said that they felt like James Bond when it went by. Brad got to see his eagle on the first day out. We also saw some lobsters.
We finished our day on Paradise where Rob really was in Paradise, swimming after all of those queen angels.
Sunday, March 3rd
Susan, Sam, Kristi (good sport), Mark, Brad and Cassie came with me to dive Yucab. It was a nice, easy dive and long too!
Then we went to Las Palmas for the 2nd dive. Finally we saw two seahorses. The girls were quite pleased. Cassie took tons of photos. One was the biggest seahorse that I have even seen.
Then I went on a shore dive at Paradise with Trent, Terri, John and Judy. We saw the usual bunch of lobsters, one spotted eel and a golden-tail.
Later we were back for another tank on the beach with just Trent and Terri. for the best dive of the day. We saw an eagle ray doing flips and a big, fat octopus completely out in the open, slithering about.
Wednesday, March 6th
I dived on Palancar Gardens with Susan, Gary, Cassie, Brad, Trent and Terri. Cassie got a photo of a big hawksbill turtle swimming by very slowly.
Next, we were off to Paso Del Cedral. During the first 20 minutes of the dive I was thinking to myself, ‘Where is all the big stuff?’ Then "Stubby" the nurse shark with the chopped off dorsal fin swam by. During our safety stop Susan saw the largest eagle ray she has ever seen.
Thursday, March 7th
Terri, Trent, Brad, Cassie and Susan came with me to dive on San Francisco Wall. We saw yet another eagle ray with no tail. It was kind of small. We also saw various small lobsters.
Our second tank was on Dalila (my favorite). I saw two little sharks with their tails sticking out, one right after another. The current was pretty fast, so not everyone bothered to stick their head in the hole to see the two sharks that always sleep together in the cave between Dalila and Paso Del Cedral.
Friday, March 8th
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Tim and he found us lots of lobsters.
San Francisco Wall was next, with Tim and Kelly. We saw a big crab. Tim and Kelly took lots of pictures.
Our third dive was on Paradise, where we saw more crabs. There was a lone diver floating at the surface and trying to kick down. By the time we got close enough to help him, he had figured out how to go down and had disappeared.
Saturday, March 9th
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Anne, Leslie and Mike. The octopus wasn't home but we saw plenty of spotted eels. We also saw a goldentail moray. There was an empty shell from a lobster that had molted. Thankfully, the current was very mild.
Then I did a night dive on Chankanaab with Susan and Mike. We saw an octopus, crabs, giant lobsters and an eel.
We did a second night dive on Paradise, and spotted a snake eel and a spotted moray. There was a splendid toadfish completely out of his hole, along with a pair of large puffers hiding in the reef. We saw more octopuses, crabs and lobsters.
Sunday, March 10th
Hank, Marty, Lorrie, Laurie, Mike and Cinamon came with me to Palancar Gardens. Laurie lost a weight pocket when getting back onboard. I went back down and took Cinamon and Mike through my favorite cave. Then we spent ten or fifteen minutes swimming around, looking for the missing weight pocket.
Next, we went to Dalila, where we found a dead crab. Hank found us a pretty little green turtle.
At night I went back to Paradise with Mike to finish up his specialty. We saw two octopuses, tons of crabs and lots of small lobsters. There was also a snake eel and a tiny little one-inch splendid toadfish.
Monday, March 11th
I dived at Palancar Horseshoe with Marty, Hank, Lorrie, Laurie, Susan and Mike. Laurie really loved the swim through. Susan found ‘Tripod,’ the hawksbill turtle with three flippers.
Our second tank was on Paso Del Cedral and Santa Rosa shallow. We had another five-shark dive! The first shark was frightened off, but was pretty big. The second shark was "stubby" my favorite. Later we saw two different small guys off in the distance. At the very end of the dive there was a big, fat nurse shark sitting right out in the open. It had a remora stuck to the top of it and sat really still while Laurie took pictures of it.
Tuesday, March 12th
I did a beach dive with Brian, Kelly and Cary. There were four big spotted eels and one small golden-tail moray. We saw the usual lobsters and a yellow ray.
Then I was back on the beach with Susan to complete the navigation for her Advanced certification. She did distance measuring and navigated a straight line out and it's reciprocal course using natural references. Then she did it again with a compass. Her last skill was to navigate a square.
Wednesday, March 13th
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Susan and Mike to do a deep dive. We are still debating as to whether or not Susan had a touch of Nitrogen Narcosis.
Our second tank was on Punta Tunich, where we swam over beds of finger coral. When Tunich ended, we crossed over to the end of Yucab and finished the dive on Tormentos.
Thursday, March 14th
I went back to Santa Rosa Wall, this time with Hank, Marty, Laurie and Lorrie. We did another deep dive just for fun. A big nurse shark swam right underneath me.
Next, we were off to San Francisco Wall where we saw three eagle rays! The first one was huge. The second one was small and had no tail. The third one was kind of medium sized and had only half of it's tail.
I finished my day with a night dive on French Reef. There were four big crabs, two octopuses, one spotted eel, a yellow ray and a southern stingray.
Friday, March 15th
There was a strong south wind so we went to Santa Rosa Wall again. I went with Elvia, Jeff, Mack, Sally, Kyle and Roland. We saw a little baby lobster and we swam through the tunnel.
Yucab was our second dive. Kyle pointed out a fantastic, big octopus out in the open, on top of the reef. We also saw another lobster.
Next, Chris and I did a shore dive at Paradise. There were several yellow rays, a goldentail, a spotted moray and a snake eel.
We did my fourth tank of the day on the beach again. We saw more yellow rays, tons of spotted eels and lobsters. Chris really enjoyed the arrow crab.
Saturday, March 16th
I dived at Paradise from the shore with Tim and Andrea. We saw the goldentail moray, the spotted moray and a yellow ray. Tim pointed out a lizardfish, perched on the bottom.
We did a second dive from shore and saw more eels. Then we visited the lobster hole. The second time we saw the lizardfish, I made it swim.
My third dive of the day was on Chankanaab with Dan, Chris, Doug, Lynette, Mack and Sally. We found the giant lobster that lives there. We also saw the resident barracuda which is very big, maybe almost 5 feet long. Then an eagle ray swam by us in a big arc.
My fourth dive was on Las Palmas, which is where Carlos the captain suggested we dive. It was a weird critter dive. We found Susan's orange seahorses, a snake eel, toadfish, coronet fish, sea cucumbers along with a spotted moray at the very end of the dive.
Sunday, March 17th
We had a special request for turtles… so we went to Colombia Deep with Mack, Sally, Andrea, Tim, Holly and Derrick. We saw three hawksbill. (One big and two small) Mack got a picture.
Next, we had a special request for a shark… so we went to Paso Del Cedral. We swam through the cave and saw a pretty little spotted drum. We saw our shark swimming by.
Tuesday, March 19th
I went to Palanacar Horseshoe with Mack, Sally, Derrick, Holly, Tim and Andrea. We swam through the arches and tunnels. We saw the resident lobster that lives by the cement base… where the statue used to be. Everyone on the dive was very curious about the grave marker that sits on the cement block.
Our second tank was on Dalila. Tim put in a special request to see "stuff" and that is the easiest order to fill! There was absolutely no performance anxiety on that dive!
Wednesday, March 20th
I went to good old Santa Rosa Wall with Mack, Sally, Derrick, Holly, Tim and Andrea. When Tim rolled back into the water the buckle on his weight belt popped open and it fell to the bottom. I went after it. I had to fully inflate my BCD to lift it up. When I was only 10 feet from the surface, another dive boat came along and stopped right over me. They started dropping divers in the water so I couldn't ascend! Boy was I pissed! So I waited and swam away. By the time I reached the group I was exhausted.
San Francisco Wall was next on our agenda. Mack observed symbiosis, predator/prey relationships and the effects of man on the reef for his naturalist specialty.
My third tank of the day was on Tormentos with Paul, my Rita, Sharon, Bob, Ed and Ryan. We saw the pretty maroon and orange sponges and a big lobster.
The fourth tank was on Yucab where we saw more lobsters and floated around in the current.
Thursday, March 21st
I dived on French Reef with Tim, Andrea, Ted and Susan. I was the only one who saw the 5-foot nurse shark swimming by us, followed by a pair of black groupers. We also saw a small eagle ray on our safety stop.
Our second dive was on Paso Del Cedral, where we saw "La Loca". She is a green moray eel with a flirtatious manner. She comes out and swims among the divers searching for snacks. When she didn't find any in our group, she ducked into a hole. I tried to get her to come out but she stubbornly refused. Then I saw another nurse shark swim by. I pointed it out but not everyone saw it. On our safety stop we all saw the big nurse shark sitting in the sand. You just couldn't miss it!
Friday, March 22nd
I went to Paradise from shore with Eva, Victor, Wendy and Victoria. While we were doing skills, a charming spotted moray came out and swam around to entertain us. Half way through the tour a North wind blew in. I was really worried about the getting out with all of the waves that came up.
The second dive was a difficult one. The current really kicked up and we had to double back and wait for the current to slow down. It was relentless so we just said what the hell and swam hard against it to get to the little protected cove. We did our skills and then a VERY brief tour…because the current was so strong.
Saturday, March 23rd
I went to Chankanaab with Eva, Victor, Bill, Victoria and Ryk. We had no luck in finding neither the big lobster nor the big barracuda. It was still a great dive.
Then we went to Paradise. I found one big stonefish and one small one. We saw a humungous snapper too.
Sunday, March 24th
I dived at French Reef with Sharon, Paul, Rita, Ryk and Mindy. Ryk pointed out a big, huge crab sitting under a ledge.
Santa Rosa Shallow was our second outing in search of a nurse shark and eagle ray for Paul, along with a turtle for Mindy. I found the nurse shark right away and we parked in front of it while it sat really still for us. The turtle appeared at the end of the dive. She was sleeping under the reef and when I gently moved a gorgonian out of the way to show her off, she woke up and swam away. Unfortunately I couldn't fulfill Paul's request for an
eagle ray. That was a tall order!
Monday, March 25th
My first dive of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Grant, Max, David, Bill, Kristina, Jenna and Mark. We saw a really big turtle with barnacles growing on its back.
Then we dove at Paso Del Cedral and saw a nurse shark swimming and a lobster out walking around. That afternoon I went to Palancar Gardens with Eva, Victor, Wendy, Victoria and Ryk. The current had calmed down and we had a nice, mellow dive.
San Francisco Wall was my last stop that day in search of a stingray for Eva. We not only found her a nice southern stingray, but we also saw a big crab, two lobsters and a very ominous looking barracuda off in the distance.
Tuesday, March 26th
I started my day on Paradise doing a shore dive with Ryk, Kathy, Jim, Grahm and Nick. We saw lobsters and eels. Thankfully there was no current!
I did a second dive from shore with the gang to do more skills for their referrals. The boys were delighted with the arrow crab and the brittlestar.
In the afternoon I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Ryk, Joe, Eva and Victor. The current was really strong. Our descent really chaotic. Once we reached the bottom everything settled down and we drifted with the current.
I finished my diving day on Paso Del Cedral in search of Eva's shark. Fortunately, I found one right after we went through the cave. It gave me great pleasure to see Eva smile underwater.
Wednesday, March 27th
I dived at Palancar Gardens with Ryk, Marion, Grahm, Nick, Kathy and Jim. We saw Tripod, the three flipper turtle.
Dalila was our second destination, where we saw two big sharks. Everyone saw the first one. Only Marion and I saw the second one at the safety stop.
Thursday, March 28th
Joe, Ryk, Marion, Grahm, Nick, Kathy and Jim came with me to one of my
favorite spots, the end of Cedral Wall. We were immediately greeted by "Stubby" my favorite nurse shark. After 15 or 20 minutes, Cedral Wall ended and we finished our dive on Santa Rosa Wall.
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall. We saw lots of medium sized black groupers.
Then I did a night dive with Paul, Rita, Sharon, Bob, Ryk and Marion. OH MY GOD! This night dive was insane! I have NEVER seen so many divers underwater at once in my entire life. The lights from all of the divers looked like an alien invasion. I forgot all about the octopus and crabs.
Friday, March 29th
I did a shore dive with Dan, Marion and Ryk. Dan worked on his Universal Referral. Ryk and Marion worked on navigation for the Advanced Open water certification.
Our second tank was at the same spot. Marion pointed out a cool looking balloonfish. I showed him a lizardfish.
Later that day I went to French Reef with Grahm, Nick, Kathy, Jim and Ryk. Kathy was the only one who saw a turtle. I had seen her pointing but I didn't know what it was that she was pointing at until we got back to the boat. Grahm found a southern stingray.
Then we hit up three reefs in one dive. We started on Cedral Wall and crossed over to Cedral Pass. Then with a little creative navigation we finished up on Santa Rosa Shallow. Stubby was sitting out in the open with a remora stuck to his head. Grahm jumped when he frightened Stubby and Stubby swam away. We saw another shark that swam right under me. I could have reached down and petted it. Nick showed us a HUGE lobster. We saw a third shark swimming away quickly behind a pair of rainbow parrotfish.
Saturday, March 30th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Dan, Marion, Ryk, Caroline and Fred. We swam through those beautiful tunnels.
Then we all went to French Reef. There were tons of lobsters, a big crab and a southern stingray in the sandy area.
Sunday, March 31st
It was the first day for the big group that consisted of Janet, Jim, Kim, Kathy, Susan, Christine, David, Freddie, Judy, Lisa, Chelsea and Casey. We saw a huge grouper getting a good cleaning at the cleaning station up on top of the reef.
Then we did our second tank on Dalila. We saw a small nurse shark under the coral and I kind of frightened it when I got close. Chucho pointed out a hawksbill turtle. Jim found a baby nurse shark hidden under the reef. Then Chucho found another big hawksbill turtle perched on top of the reef surrounded by lots of queen angelfish. It was quite impressive.
Monday, April 1st
The group went to Palancar Horseshoe because the wind had calmed down a bit. We saw a southern stingray with a pilotfish following it around to collect table scraps.
The second tank was on Paso Del Cedral in search of toadfish. We saw one little guy way back in his den. We also saw various lobsters and crabs.
Tuesday, April 2nd
We dived at Palancar Gardens again. We were trying to get out a bit further south to Caves or Colombia but the South Wind just wouldn't permit it. However, there were plenty of caves for the gang to swim through.
Our next dive was on San Francisco Wall. We saw peacock flounders and a school of barracuda. We saw lobsters too.
Wednesday, April 3rd
Yeah! Finally we made it to Palancar Caves. We saw a small hawksbill turtle swimming down the wall past us. We also saw a loggerhead turtle kind of waddling in the sand during the safety stop. Loggerheads are very uncommon here in Cozumel.
We went to Colombia Shallow. Jim pointed out a lot of little stuff. He showed us a bristle worm and a very small blenny. They also saw squid. Jim and I observed a lot of damaged coral. It looked like someone had dragged an anchor over the reef.
Thursday, April 4th
On the last day for the group, we went to Santa Rosa Wall. We were saving the best for last. We saw a big crab hiding in a hole. Chucho chased out a big lobster from the cave and it walked around on top of the reef for us. Then Chucho grabbed a crab with huge claws and brought it out to show everyone.
Our last dive was on Cedral Wall crossing over to the Paso Del Cedral. We saw two hawksbill turtles right off the bat. They were sitting out in the open munching on sponges. Then we saw the big green moray eel with the chopped off nose.
Saturday, April 6th
I went to Bolones de Chankanaab with Lorne and Marion. I saw lots of lobsters, which is normal for this site. But the first one we saw was enormous. It was taking a stroll and then it backed into a parking space for protection. Lorne says that it could have filled two plates. We also saw a delicate little spotted drum.
Our second dive was on Las Palmas looking for Susan's seahorses. We only found one of the pair. It was the striped one. There was a hawksbill turtle nestled into a cave on the top of the wall and it sat really still when we got up close to take a look. When Lorne was low on air we crossed over to the shallows where we found a school of rainbow parrotfish.
Sunday, April 7th
I went to Cedral Wall with Marion to do his deep dive for the Advanced course. When we came back up to the top part of the wall the other divers were all pointing at a turtle, but I missed it. I hate it when that happens!
They also saw a shark on the safety stop and I missed that too.
We did the next dive on Bolones de Chankanaab again. One of the divers was pointing back against the current and making a sign for eagle ray. I swam back to get a look but it was gone. Now I am getting pissed! I decided to stay with the group and wouldn't you know it, the eagle ray came back! I got to see it not once, but twice. We also saw crabs and lobsters.
Monday, April 8th
Marion, Ken, Dan, Yves, Suzanne and Jimmy came with me to Palancar Gardens.
We wanted to go to Colombia but once again that darned Southeast Wind wouldn't allow it. It was really rough! The waves were crashing over the side of the boat. Underneath the conditions were very calm. Ken showed us a couple of lobsters.
Our second tank was in front of the white house. I wanted to see the pair of nurse sharks that sleep together there. Unfortunately they weren't home.
Tuesday, April 9th
I spent my morning on the beach at Paradise with Jimmy doing rescue training. We did calming the tired diver, panicked diver, tired diver tow and response from shore or boat.
In the afternoon I did a resort course for Mike, Mike and Brenda. Jimmy hung out with us for fun. We saw the usual lobsters and a yellow ray. The bonus was the octopus we found. There was a beautiful chain eel completely out in the open too.
Wednesday, April 10th
I spent the entire day on the beach with Jimmy, Amanda, Manuel and Arturo. We did exercises 4 through 10 for his Rescue course.
Thursday, April 11th
I was on the beach again finishing Jimmy's Rescue course with Amanda, Manuel and Arturo. We did the scenarios 11 and 12.
Friday, April 12th
I went to Santa Rosa wall with Jim See Ray and Chris. We saw a big crab under a ledge and another big crab in the cave. There were a couple of lobsters too.
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall. We saw more lobsters and Jim found us a big shark. Maybe he will have to change his name to Jim See Shark.
Saturday, April 13th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Jimmy, Mike and Amanda. We swam through the tunnels and archways.
Then we went to Dalila and saw one medium sized nurse shark swimming and it passed right under Mike and I. Later I saw a small nurse shark.
Friday, April 19th
One more time out to Santa Rosa, by special request with Amanda, Karen, Bill
and Jim. We saw loads of little lobsters. I pulled a tiny crab out of an anemone
to show everyone
Wednesday, April 24th
The first dive of the day was on Colombia Deep with Holly, Kent, Bill, Neils and Amanda. Holly had requested to see turtles and I always try to produce! Colombia Deep is a good place to see them if you stay up on top of the reef in the shallow water. We saw three! The first one was medium sized, the second one was small and the third one was an adorable little, tiny baby turtle. All three were hawksbill.
We went to the end of Palancar next. Kent said he saw a turtle swim away, but I missed it. Holly found a huge crab and some little lobsters.
Thursday, April 25th
First I went to Colombia Shallows with Luke, Hope, Judd, Craig and Amanda. We saw a big lobster and a conch. I showed Judd a hermit crab. I took pictures of Luke and Hope. They looked so cute in the extra, extra small scuba gear and little tanks. Unfortunately the pictures didn't come out. They looked like the models in the PADI promotions for kids.
We did another dive on Palancar Gardens because it has an easy descent. Craig found us a little sleeping nurse shark nestled away in the shallows.
Friday, April 26th
I dived at Colombia Deep with Craig, Judd, Judy, Ken and Amanda. Craig wanted to dive with turtles so I knew that Colombia would be a winner. Once again we found three. The first two turtles were hawksbill and the third was a green turtle. We also saw a spotted moray poking its head out of a hole and a big pufferfish.
Our second tank was on Dalila. We swam really close to a turtle and found an octopus in a hole. We saw a puffer on the safety stop. Amanda saw a large crab and a large lobster whilst doing her "if I were a sea creature, where would I hide thingy".
Saturday, April 27th
We went to Santa Rosa Wall with Ken, Judy, Holly, Kent, Bill and Neils. The current was quite fast. That seems to be Holly's luck. We saw a bunch of little lobsters and a couple of southern stingrays with bar jacks swimming over them.
Our second dive was on Paso Del Cedral where we saw a huge green moray eel. We saw more lobsters and a barracuda that actually charged me! There was a big turtle swimming away in the distance too.
Then I did a shore dive with John, Tim, Pancho and Pat. We saw stonefish, yellow rays and lobsters. We played with a spotted cleaner shrimp and a brittle star. There were lots of arrow crabs as well.
Sunday, April 28th
I did my first tank on Bolones De Chankanaab with Ken, Judy, Dave, John, Amanda and Pat. We saw tons of massive lobsters. Two of which were boldly walking around in the open. Dave showed us a splendid toadfish.
Then we went to Las Palmas to satisfy Amanda's request for a seahorse. John did us the honors of spotting Susan's seahorse for us. Judy pointed out the eagle ray. It seems that when I screamed bloody murder through my regulator for Amanda, she turned around and saw it. Now her vacation was complete.
Later that day I did two beach dives with Nancy, Art and Kraig to complete referrals and get refreshed. We saw lobsters, spotted eels, a golden-tail moray, a snake eel, a yellow ray and a tiger's tail. They got lucky with the conditions that day. There wasn't much current at all!
Monday, April 29th
Judy loved the dives from the day before so much that we decided to repeat them! Today we had Diane, Tim, Nancy, Art, Judy and Ken on board. We went to Bolones first. We saw more lobsters, a couple of crabs and Tim found us a cute turtle swimming off. Ken commented that it seemed very different on Bolones that day.
Then we went back to Las Palmas so Judy could get a better look at the little orange seahorse. Ken and I are not so sure that it is the same one we saw the day before.
Ken and Judy also saw two turtles. I missed out. I didn't see either one of them. But I did find a splendid toadfish.
Tuesday, April 30th
Our first immersion was on Palancar Gardens with Ken, Judy, Kert, Erika, Tim and Kraig. There was very mild current and there were lots of pretty angelfish on top of the reef for Ken to take pictures of them.
Then we went to Colombia Shallows where we found a small nurse shark. We did a nice long dive there since it is only 30 feet max.
Wednesday, May 1st
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Ken, Judy, Kert, Erika, Art and Nancy. We swam through the beautiful tunnels and saw lobster. Ken saw two turtles at the end when we went up but no one else saw them since they were already onboard.
We went to Paradise for the next dive. We saw loads of fish. We saw three different juvenile spotted drums and a really big snapper.
In the afternoon I went to San Francisco Wall with Alisha, Tony, Greg, Diane and Tim. Alisha wasn't too keen on doing a roll back entry and needed a little coaxing. The next day I found out that she told Manuel and Carlos that if they didn't push her, she wouldn't go in. As luck would have it, a big wave came along and knocked her half way over the side and Manuel let go
of her, and in she plopped! Once she was in the water, she had a great time!
My fourth dive of the day was on Paso Del Cedral. We saw schools of barracuda, two big crabs and loads of little lobsters.
Saturday, May 4th
Tim, Diane, Christy and Jan accompany me to Palancar Horseshoe. Christy and Jan were working on the Advanced course and identifying vertebrates, invertebrates and plants.
Our next dive was on French Reef. This dive was great! Right off the bat we saw a good-sized hawksbill turtle swimming slowly against the current below us. Then we saw a lobster out and about. As we got near to it, it slipped into a hiding hole. Then we saw a queen triggerfish eating a lobster tail, how strange! When we came to a sandy area with a big ball of coral, I saw something fluttering around. I stared hard at it until I realized that it was a big green moray eel!
Then we did a night dive on Paradise. There we saw tons of lobsters, a few huge crabs, two spotted morays, loads of yellow rays everywhere and two octopuses. That was a very successful night dive!
Sunday, May 5th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Diane, Jan and Christy. We swam through my favorite long, narrow cave that has beams of sunlight coming down through the roof. We found a BIG brain coral for Christy and a sea pearl for Jan.
The girls did their navigation dive on Chankanaab. I chose Chankanaab because normally there is no current there. Just our luck, not only was there current, but it was going a screwy direction as well. The girls did a great job on the straight lines out and their reciprocals. The square patterns left something to be desired.....We decided the problem is that Christy is so magnetic that "the needle got stuck"!
Monday, May 6th
Tim, Diane, Christy, Jan, Nancy and Paul all came to Santa Rosa Wall with me. Right before we were to enter the big cave, Nancy started pointing like mad to the top of the reef. When I looked up I saw the tail of a good sized nurse shark go by behind the coral. Christy saw it too and took off like a bolt of lightning after it. She got a good look.
Cedral Wall was our second tank. First we saw a medium sized hawksbill sitting around enjoying a tasty sponge. Later a huge hawksbill turtle swam right under Di. It was one of the biggest hawksbills that I have ever seen. Only loggerheads get bigger than that around here!
Tuesday, May 7th
I did two shore dives at Paradise with Edward to complete his referral. On our first dive we saw tons of lobsters, a few spotted eels and a really tiny goldentail. On the second dive we swam all the way out to the reef and saw a huge crab that had lost one claw in battle. There was absolutely no current that day.
Wednesday, May 8th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Jan, Christy, Edward, Nancy and Paul. Coming out of the first tunnel, there was a turtle swimming up towards the surface to breath. Since I was the first out of the tunnel, I was the only one who saw it. Jan and I, along with Jan and Christy, took photos and samples of this weird algae that grows all over Palancar. Jan is going to try and have it identified.
Dalila was our next stop. Christy showed us a hawksbill turtle that had gone to the surface for a breath of air. It came right back down and Jan swam after it to get a picture. She also got a picture of the barracuda. While Christy, Nancy and I were making a safety stop, we looked down and saw a nurse shark on the bottom.
Thursday, May 9th
I dived at Palancar Gardens with Jim, Mark, Edward, Paul and Nancy. About half way through the tunnel, Mark and Jim snuck out. I waited and waited at the exit for them to come out. When I was just about to go back in and get them, I looked up first and they appeared on top of the reef!
Then we all went to French Reef. I ran into my old friends, William and Ricky, underwater. I did a safety stop with them and we played just like in the good old days. That is the one advantage to having co-workers.
Sunday, May 12th
I did a resort course on the beach with Willy and Judy. We saw a bunch of lobsters and a moray eel. The big octopus was back in his old spot under the mountain of conch shells.
Later that day I did some shore dives to complete open water referrals for Melissa and Cary. Sharon and Mike accompanied us on the first dive. After the skills were completed, we swam around and Sharon showed us a few big spotted eels. There was even one eel swimming along the bottom underneath Mike. I showed Melissa a sea cucumber, a short spine sea urchin, an arrow crab and a peacock flounder.
Mike and Sharon didn't come with us on the second dive. Melissa, Cary and I went back to see the octopus but he had changed hiding places. I found a chain eel, a goldentail moray and more of the big spotted morays. It was late in the day and all of the lobsters were more active and visible.
Monday, May 13th
I dived at Cedral Wall with Mike, Sharon, Melissa and Cary. We didn't find the requested turtles; however, the swimming nurse shark was an adequate substitute. There were lots of lobsters too.
Our second tank was on Santa Rosa Shallows per Sharon's request. While Mike was shining his light on a puffer fish in a hole to show the group, another nurse shark swam by. This time Melissa got a good look at it!
Tuesday, May 14th
I dove at Palancar Horseshoe with Ron, Ryan, Ken, Aron and Craig. We swam through those beautiful tunnels and found an empty lobster's shell that had molted from its owner.
Then we went to Dalila. Ron found a little baby green moray. I tried out the camera that had been in the drawer for a month. I took lots of pictures of fish.
Thursday, May 16th
Mike, Craig, Ron, Ryan, Kathy and Chucho took me to the shipwreck. There was a bonanza of marine life living under the ship. The millions of lobsters were gone and in their place were a huge crab and a green moray eel. I would guess that the moray ate some of the lobsters. There were still some lobsters remaining, but not the many of them, as before.
After the surface interval, we went to Las Palmas in search of the little orange seahorse. We found him with his tail wrapped around a hunk of seaweed.
Friday, May 17th
The first tank of the day was on Chankanaab with Kelly, Craig and Jim. We saw one enormous crab and three normal-sized crabs. One dinosaur-sized lobster was quite impressive…in comparison with the countless others. We spent a good 200 psi chasing a hawksbill turtle. Jim said that the dive "Rocked"!
Our next stop was on Paradise. I found the most adorable baby nurse shark sleeping under one of my favorite coral heads. Depending on which of the three of us that you ask, the shark was anywhere from 1 1/2 feet to 3 feet long.
Saturday, May 18th
I went to Palancar Gardens first with Jim, Jay and Dana. As I was coming out of one of the big archways, a large southern stingray swam beneath me.
Next we were off to Yucab, where we found a shell from a really big lobster that had molted. Jay asked me if something had eaten it…but there was no way to explain "molting" underwater!
Sunday, May 19th
Tracy and David did a resort course on the beach with me. All of the lobsters made themselves a lot more visible, since it was late afternoon and overcast. The eels thought that it was dusk as well, and there were several eel that we could see completely from head to tail.
Monday, May 20th
My first dive of the day was on French Reef with Mike, Sharon, Marina and Patrick. Mike showed us a big crab and he also found a big lobster. I saw a large hawksbill turtle. Mike took a picture of it when it swam up to breath. Later Patrick showed us a precious little baby turtle maybe 1-year old.
San Francisco Wall was our second stop. There were no big animals here, just many colorful fish and some small lobsters.
Tuesday, May 21st
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Marina, Patrick, Mike and Cynthia. We saw a couple of lobsters. When I came back out of the tunnel in the shallows with Marina, we saw a small hawksbill turtle swim away.
Our second tank was on Dalila, where Mike pointed out the first nurse shark. It came out and then swam away so we could get a better look at it. The second nurse shark swam right in front of my face so I couldn't miss it. During the safety stop we saw a BIG hawksbill turtle swimming against the current.
Wednesday, May 22nd
I was off to Palancar Gardens with Mike, Cynthia, David and Tracy. We saw a really large grouper and Mike sneaked up on it, very slowly, to take a picture.
Then we did my favorite spot, which is next to the end of Cedral Wall and at the first half of Santa Rosa Shallow. There was another really big grouper and we saw "Stubby,” my favorite nurse shark.
Friday, May 24th
Per special request, we went to Palancar Gardens again with Marina, Patrick, Andrew, Tanya, David and Tracy. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
The next dive of the day was on Paso Del Cedral, where we saw the crazy green moray eel. I really love that sweet thing. I tried to get her to come out, but she was sick of divers bugging her all day. Patrick pointed out an eagle ray scooping up lunch out of the sand. After the cave, we saw a green turtle. What a great dive!
That evening I did a night dive on Paradise with Phil, Tony and Doreen. Oh, we saw everything! There were the usual lobsters, crabs and octopuses. Plus, we saw two cucarachas (slipper lobsters) and a splendid toadfish.
Saturday, May 25th
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Phil, Tony, Doreen, Marina and Patrick. There was the usual traffic jam on Santa Rosa with divers in back of us and in front of us. I felt like a sandwich. That place is just too busy in the morning. Doreen was highly interested in a big barracuda with a hook in its mouth.
Our second tank was on Cedral Wall because Doreen said that she wanted to see a turtle. We found exactly one. It was sleeping in a hole on the bottom. We woke the poor thing up and it swam off. I showed Marina a big crab and a southern stingray.
Sunday, May 26th
Becky, Randy, Graham, Ed, Kim, Tony and Phil came with me to Bolones de Chankanaab. I saw an eagle ray in the distance and, of course, got all excited and swam quickly to it. When the group followed me they used up a lot of their air. It was a small eagle ray about five feet across. It was slowly scavenging on the bottom.
After that, we went to Paradise where we found lots of little stuff like two spotted drums, a toadfish and yellow rays. Phil showed us a goldentail moray.
That evening, I did a night dive with Graham, Phil, Doreen, Tony, Richard and Brandy.
We went to Tormentos. We saw many, many lobsters. There were groups of five or more lobsters clustered together. One really big crab was out on the sandy area showing off. An octopus scooted away into a hole right in front of me. The dive was a bit chaotic because of the current and Brandy did not like it at all!
Monday, May 27th
I dove at Palancar Gardens with Phil, Tony, Doreen, Kim, Ed and Graham. I ran into Jorge and he gave me a big underwater smooch.
Then we were off to Las Palmas to bug that little seahorse. This time we had to get in line. There were 4 groups of divers lined up to see him. We were group number three and accidentally picked up an extra diver (Wayne) for the remainder of the dive.
Today, my night dive was on Chankanaab with Phil, Tony, Ed, Kim and Richard. We saw lots of octopuses, one of which had several tentacles chopped off. There were only a few lobsters and crabs, not like the last two night dives.
Tuesday, May 28th
I went to Yucab with Roland, Lorraine, Becky, Randy, Jimmy and Cindy. We had a nice, easy dive for those who had not been in the water for a while. We saw a really big grouper there.
Then we were off to San Francisco for our next tank. We saw loads of little lobsters and a goldentail moray having a battle over territory dispute with a small grouper.
Later that day I did a shore dive to take Leah on a resort course. We found a couple of spotted morays and tons of lobsters, while Leah took pictures.
Wednesday, May 29th
Santa Rosa was the dive site I chose with Phil, Tony, Kim, Ed, Roland, Richard and Andy. Roland and Andy were doing their Advanced Certification and they needed to do a deep dive. At about 90 feet I turned around and saw Richard pointing up. There was a nurse shark swimming overhead on the reef.
Toward the end of the dive, we saw another nurse shark swimming below us.
For the next dive, Roland had requested a wreck-dive and all of the other divers were interested, so that was where we went. Andy was the first to be low on air, so I took him over to the ascent line to begin to go up.
I pointed out the deck of the shipwreck to the rest of the group (What I wanted to communicate to them is that they were to wait for me there on the deck of the wreck.) I guess a few of the mischievous little buggers got bored and decided to re-enter the shipwreck! When they came back out, one rascal was low on air and another was 13 minutes into deco!
I did a night dive on Paradise with Phil, Tony, Doreen and Richard. Once again, we saw lots of stuff and "Fido" the big grouper followed us around for a while.
Thursday, May 30th
I went to Colombia Deep with Phil, Doreen, Tony, Ed, Kim and Andy. We saw two baby turtles about one foot in diameter. I wasn't sure if it was just the same turtle twice, but Phil says not.
Our second dive was on French Reef where we found another cute little baby, but it was a nurse shark, not a turtle. At the end of the dive as we were watching a graceful eagle ray glide by, a big hawksbill turtle swooped down in front of the big ray. The turtle was swimming so fast that I looked to see if there was some big predator chasing it! Then a big permit came by and frightened them off.
Friday, May 31st
It was Palancar Gardens for Becky, Randy, Andy, Barbara, Roland and Lorraine. We swam through those archways and tunnels.
Then we went to Paso del Cedral to go through another tunnel. We saw a REALLY big nurse shark feeding on something under a barrel sponge. It had its head inside and was thrashing around and stirring up the bottom.
Saturday, June 1st
Roland, Lorraine, Andy, Barbara, Nick and Rob came with me to French Reef. We had a tranquil dive and saw lots of fish.
The second tank was on San Francisco Wall where Roland got a picture of three lobsters in a hole. We had a super long dive.
Monday, June 3rd
I took Rob and Nick on a deep dive because they wanted to see if they would get narcosis. (I told Nick that part of the Advanced Course is doing a deep dive and checking for narcosis at depth.)
So he decided to do the Advanced Course because they also wanted to do a night dive and that is part of the Advanced Course as well.
Well, the boys felt nothing at depth. We saw a hawksbill turtle and Nick swam after it with his new digital camera.
Then the boys let me decide where we would do the second dive…so we went to my favorite spot at the end of Cedral Wall. Ooh, what a nice dive! We saw two large hawksbill turtles and one small, pretty green turtle. We also saw "stubby" my favorite nurse shark. Later we saw yet another hawksbill turtle.
For the night dive with Nick and Rob, we went to Paradise, which is my favorite. I think that Phil, Tony and Doreen would agree we see more stuff there than anywhere else! We spotted two small octopuses and one big one. There were several crabs and countless lobsters. A large barracuda was attracted to our lights and kinda gave me the creeps.
Tuesday, June 4th
I went to the wreck with Nick and Rob. There was a clump of lobsters hanging out together under the ship. We also found the green moray eel and the big crab. They were sitting together. I hope Nick got a picture. We swam through only the big openings of the ship. The outside is now covered with black stinging hydroids and schools of glassy sweepers have moved in.
Then we went to take a picture of that famous little orange seahorse. Joe and Rick joined us from the cruise ship for the dive. A group of 17 divers descended upon us while I was searching for the little bugger. The only good that came of it is that they found him first. (The extra 17 sets of eyes make for a quick find.)
While I was doing a safety stop with Joe and Rick, I spotted the divemaster from the other group showing stuff to his divers. When I came back down I looked in the same spots and found the
second seahorse (the mate) camouflaged against a sponge. I also found a goldentail moray sticking out with his mouth wide open. There were also spotted eels, a splendid toadfish, and a couple of really big crabs, small lobsters and an octopus.
My third tank was on Paradise with just Rob. I found a flashlight! That made me quite happy. When we came up it was pouring rain. Nick and the crew were suffering.
Wednesday, June 5th
I dived at Santa Rosa Wall with Larry, Diann, Nick and Rob. Rob had put in his order for a nurse shark and it appeared right at the beginning of the dive while we were still trying to get settled at the bottom. Nick practiced neutral buoyancy for his Advanced Certification in the swim throughs. We ran into my other friend Nick underwater on the reef and I swam over and gave him a big smooch on his bald head. Larry was worried that I would ask him to do the same! Then a pair of very excited barracudas made a show for us. First the big one chased a yellow tail snapper, but the snapper got away. Then the two barracudas alternated chasing each other and charging us. I kept my hands tucked under my arms....
Our second tank was on Tormentos. Larry was disappointed that there weren't more lobsters and there was a lack of live conches. He was surprised at the piles of empty conch shells. I think some crazy divemaster gets bored and every time he dives there he puts another one on the pile. I see those piles on Yucab, Tormentos and Chankanaab.
Sunday, June 9th
I did a resort course from shore at Paradise with Karen, West, Nick, Laura and Mark. Surprisingly, we had quite a bit of current. We spent the first 15 minutes swimming against it and then drifted back to the entry area with the current. We saw a spotted moray eel and Mark saw a lobster. Both Laura and Mark liked the trumpetfish.
Tuesday, June 11th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Mary, Mark and Steve. I asked Carlos to drop me off a short distance inshore from the reef (usually the current pushes out to sea there.) Just my luck...the current was going the opposite direction today. We had quite a swim to the reef. That's OKAY, because we saw two southern stingrays with bar jacks following them while we were en route to the reef.
We also saw a big hermit crab. It was an interesting swim. After about 25 minutes the current kicked in and it was going Northbound, so we turned and drifted back to our starting point!
The second dive of the day was on Dalila where we saw an octopus, a splendid toadfish, a good-sized hawksbill turtle and a swimming nurse shark.
Wednesday, June 12th
I dived on Santa Rosa wall with Sandra, Patricia, Marcelo, Steve, Mark and Mary. The current was going the opposite direction again and it was REALLY strong. The water was very cold too. My friend Nick said his computer bounced between 72 and 76 degrees. The cold water was brought up from deep, deep down in the channel by an upwelling. At the end of the dive we found a sleeping nurse shark on top of the reef.
We drove around in the rain looking for a second place to dive where there wouldn't be so much current. We settled on Bolones de Chankanaab where we saw a huge lobster out on top of the coral. There was a very large dead crab sitting out in the sand. I can't imagine what had happened to it.
In the afternoon I went to Paradise from shore with Bev, Jeff, Parker and Spencer. Two of the divers were doing a resort course with me so we stayed shallow. We found three goldentail morays, a yellow ray and the usual lobsters.
Then we all went out to the reef where we saw more big crabs and lobsters. We also saw lots of spotted eels and two splendid toadfish.
Thursday, June 13th
The first dive, I was off to Colombia Shallow with Karen, Mark, Westley and Laura. As soon as we got down, a small nurse shark swam out from under a rock and swam with us for a while. We all took turns pointing out little lobsters.
Then we all went to Palancar Gardens, where we saw several large snappers. The biggest one must have weighed at least 80 pounds.
Friday, June 14th
My first tank was on Yucab reef with John, Karin, Lisa and Craig. We saw lots of spotted eels and goldentails. There was a southern stingray under us when we first got in. We saw lots of lobsters and a big splendid toadfish.
The second tank was on San Francisco Wall where we saw a couple of big crabs. The current changed direction on us several times during the dive.
Saturday, June 15th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Richard, Karin, John, Lisa and Craig. We saw more lobsters and crabs. We also played around with a few defensive damselfish. One even bit Lisa! Good thing they are too small to do any damage.
Dalila was our second choice. The current was flying. We surrounded a poor hawksbill turtle. It was really befuddled and didn't know where to go to escape. Craig pointed out a nurse shark swimming over the platform.
Sunday, June 16th
I did a shore dive with Greg, Susann, Raeanna and Jon. Two were doing the resort course and two were doing a refresher. The current was a bit strong and heading south. So we had to swim against it for a while. We saw a clump of lobsters and loads of fish. We saw a chain eel too, but it was in tide pool at the water's edge.
Monday, June 17th
My first dive was on Palancar point with Todd, Raeanna, Greg, Susann, Bryant and Shirley. The current was mild and cooperative. We saw loads of fish.
Then we did our second tank on Dalila, where the current started out mild and really kicked up during the dive. Shirley enjoyed that hawksbill turtle we spotted. When I was pointing out a big grouper, I could hear Todd shouting through his regulator. When I looked around a bit I found out what he was shouting about. There was a good sized nurse shark swimming away! By then the current was clipping along at about 3 knots or more.
Tuesday, June 18th
Todd, Richard, Lisa, Craig, John and Karin came with me to Santa Rosa Wall. The current was swift and when we crossed over to the shallow area we saw an eagle ray. We also saw a big barracuda with its mouth wide open and a southern stingray with a bar jack following it around.
Our next stop was at Cedral Wall where we looked for big groupers for John. We only found one, but I was happy to point it out! It was hiding from the strong current in a niche in the reef.
Everyone floated right over a big loggerhead turtle and no one but Craig even noticed it! It was sleeping on the bottom and blended in well. Then it woke up. In its confusion, it swam right toward us.
I found a weight belt on the bottom and decide to leave it there. The current was just too strong to drag that thing around for a while.
Richard lost his temporary fin strap under water and it was quite a show getting another one back on in that ripping current.
We saw a baby hawksbill turtle eating a sponge and another larger turtle swam up to take a gulp of air. We covered two reefs in the one dive.
Wednesday, June 19th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Bryant, Shirley and Todd. There was no current and it was a very easy, calm dive for all of us. We saw one little lobster near the cement block in the same place as the other day.
We jumped back in the water in front of the white house. There were lots of little lobsters and a hawksbill turtle. I found a large octopus under a mountain of seashells. I tried to take the seashells from the octopus, but he wouldn't let go. Boy, those guys are really strong.
Thursday, June 20th
First I tried to take Greg, Susann, Todd, Bryant and Shirley to Santa Rosa Wall. I went in first to check the current and decided that it was just too strong for a dive. We changed reefs to Palancar Gardens. There was almost no current and we had quite a peaceful dive.
We did our second dive on Paso Del Cedral. The current was quite swift. A nurse shark swam right in front of us and gave us a good show. When I signaled up, I turned my head and saw an eagle ray was gliding over the reef, so we went over to get a better look.
Friday, June 21st
I took Mary, Steve and Nick to Chankanaab. As we were gliding along, a big lobster came out from under the reef, travelling quickly. Then we realized why….a HUGE lobster was chasing it out of the spot under the reef. It must have been a territory battle.
Our second tank was on Paradise reef, where we saw a spotted drum and a big green moray eel. We swam up close to its face in order to get a good peek. It was opening and closing its mouth to breathe.
That afternoon I went to Bolones de Chankanaab with John, Karin, Lisa and Craig. The submarine came by and the passengers waved at us and took our pictures.
We also saw several big crabs and some small lobsters. There were lots of schools of fish too.
The final dive of the day was on Las Palmas to find the "real seahorse". Not only did we see the little orange bugger, but we also saw loads of little stuff like two splendid toadfish, a goldentail eel, a spotted eel, a big crab and a spotted drum.
Saturday, June 22nd
The first dive of the day was on Chankanaab with Kathye, Maurice, Myra, Jim and Chris. Normally there is no current on Chankanaab and that is why I picked it. Tough luck for us! There was actually a lot of current. We did some skills on the bottom and then came right up.
For the second dive my plan was to start off on the area near the shore of Paradise and when we finished the skills training, we would cross over to Paradise reef.
We started out to the reef, but the current was so strong that by the time we got out there, the reef had ended and was long gone! So we ended up floating a while and wound up diving on Las Palmas instead. Oh well, at least we were having a good time in the current.
In the afternoon I had a resort course scheduled from shore with Karl, John, Becky, Kaily, Jimmy and Gus. Since the current was so strong in the morning I decided to use the boat instead so we had a guaranteed ride back! I found a shallow spot to do skills and then flew along the shoreline watching the goldentail morays go by.
Sunday, June 23rd
Craig, Lisa, Karin, John and Richard accompanied me to Colombia Deep. The current was kind of weird, like a washing machine. After about 11 minutes, I decided to move away from the drop off. We saw two turtles on the dive.
We then jumped into a swift current on French reef and finished the dive on Dalila. We saw another turtle.
I did a resort course for Colleen, Denise and Tony. Jim, Myra and Chris came along as one of their dives for the open water referral. We went to Paradise again. We dived in the shore area near the boat. I wanted that ride again, just in case. I showed them the old lobster cluster. I swam right by it at first, then remembered to bring them back so they wouldn't miss it.
Chris found a nice moray eel.
Monday, June 24th
Palancar Gardens had some strange conditions today. I went with Maurice, Kathye, Jim, Myra, Chris, Colleen, Denise and Tony. There was a lot of run-off from all of the rain. The water was green and murky, and the visibility wasn't so great. Just to add to the fun, the current was pushing us out to sea on the descent. We had to work to get down.
Tuesday, June 25th
I had a special request for one of my favorite spots at the end of Dalila. John, Karin, Craig, Lisa and Richard were with me. First we saw a good-sized hawksbill turtle swim by. Next, we saw a big lobster out and about, with a nurse shark, with two small groupers following it around. Only Karin, John and myself saw it. Later Craig found not only one, but two more nurse sharks cruising by.
We went to Cedral Wall/Pass. Carlos dropped us off right on top of a big hawksbill turtle munching sponge on the bottom. Later we saw a smaller hawksbill. We also saw a big, fat green moray eel out swimming towards the wall. John's favorite spot was where we saw the third turtle with a big school of grunts.
We crossed over to the Paso Del Cedral where we found yet another green moray eel. We spent a long while checking out her teeth.
That afternoon I did a refresher dive on the shore with Joe and Kim. We saw three spotted morays, one of which was dead! There was another group of divers holding the dead eel up and taking pictures with it. That scene was quite comical, actually. Another one of the eels was free swimming. We also saw one of my favorites, a chain eel. There were a couple of yellow rays too.
Wednesday, June 26th
Back to Dalila, per special request , with Joe, Kim, Kathye, Maurice, Jim, Chris and Colleen. Jim found a sleeping nurse shark for us and a hawksbill turtle swooped down right in front of me. We also saw a decent-sized shark swimming on the bottom during the safety stop.
Then we were off to Cedral. I pointed out a small hawksbill turtle and Jim showed us a good sized nurse shark. When he took a picture of it, he was frightened it and swam off.
Jim, Chris and Colleen did a third dive with me on Las Palmas. When we jumped in there was no current. Fifteen minutes later, when Jim found the orange sea horse, the current was pushing us out to sea. We really had to work hard to stay on the reef. Especially when Chris was showing me the snake eel, we had to kick hard. We also saw a spotted moray.
Thursday, June 27th
I went to Bolones de Chankanaab with Kim and Joe. We had a great dive. We saw loads of big lobsters and a shy green moray eel. The submarine drove by and we waved to all of the people inside of it. I giggled when I thought of how ridiculous my job is. I always feel like I am in Disneyland when the submarine goes by. We saw a big, beautiful green turtle grazing and then swimming away.
Our second tank was going to be on Las Palmas. When I jumped in to check the current it was pushing hard out to sea, even harder than the day before with Jim. So we moved the boat over to Chankanaab. The dive was quite uneventful, so we took time to look at the interesting stuff like the stalked eyes of the queen conch and the arrow crab. It was relaxing actually.
Saturday, June 29th
I did a couple of shore dives to complete open water referrals for Ted, Elizabeth and Will. The current changed direction several times and varied in strength from very strong to non-existent. We saw spotted morays, lobsters, sea cucumbers, a school of super male spotlight parrotfish (those pretty green ones) and a lizardfish.
Sunday, June 30th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Joe, Kim, Ted, Elizabeth and Will. Joe pointed out the really big barracuda that swam off into the blue. Then Ted coaxed a big grouper out of a corner in the reef. Later we found an enormous barracuda just hovering near the bottom. His teeth are really scary.
Our second dive of the day was on French Reef. There was almost no current at all. It was a pleasant dive.
Then I did a third dive on the beach with Dan, Alicia and Jan. We stayed shallow and saw a goldentail moray.
On the fourth dive Dan didn't want to join us. We saw a bunch of lobsters in their favorite spot.
Monday, July 1st
Ted, Elizabeth, Will, Alicia and Jan came with me to Colombia Shallow. The big rainbow parrotfish seemed to be swimming around in buddy pairs, like us that day. Ted chased after a pretty hawksbill turtle.
Our next tank was on Dalila and another turtle swam right up to Elizabeth to say hello. Will stuck his hand out to touch it. Later we saw yet a third turtle and Jan took off against the current to get a good picture of it.
Tuesday, July 2nd
I dived Colombia Deep with Ted, Elizabeth, Will and Eduardo. The current was mild and the dive was uneventful until the very end, when Eduardo brought Elizabeth and Will over to see a small nurse shark hiding in a cave.
Then we were off to Cedral Wall for a very exciting dive. First there were two hawksbill turtles. Will terrified the turtle when he petted it. We also saw two very large nurse sharks. The second one had a huge bar jack following it around. Will found a balloon fish that was all puffed up and Eduardo got it all on video. Now they can re-live that dive over and over again.
In the afternoon I took Hugo and Manuel, my first mate, on the shore at Paradise for some confined water training. Hugo was getting certified. We spent hours and hours doing skills. Finally, Manuel is learning to dive. It is ridiculous to work on a dive boat and not know how to dive!
Wednesday, July 3rd
I made two training dives from shore with Manuel, Ashley and Hugo. On the first time out, we did a very short tour because Manuel was having trouble with his mask. He had decided to go on in without telling me. So we all followed him back to shore. (Sometimes he can be a bit of a pain.) J I guess that will be the last time that I take him diving with paying customers!!!!
On the second time out I made it up to everyone with an hour long dive and we saw several groups of lobsters, a couple of spotted eels, a stonefish, a peacock flounder and two yellow rays. The grand finale was a small spotted eagle ray!
Thursday, July 4th
Happy Independence Day! No fireworks here in Mexico for 4th of July!!! y first immersion of the day was at Palancar Gardens with Karen, Kirk, Clayton, Robert, Ashlee and Hugo.
Poor Robert had a middle ear barotrauma during the dive causing nausea and he suffered quite a bit. He had been waiting 20 years to scuba dive again and that is a lousy thing to have happen on the first time out!
Then Robert had to sit the second one out on Dalila. I searched for animals, on special request. The divers put in an order for octopus, sea cucumber, brittle stars and a shark. I found them all! We also saw a hawksbill turtle.
Friday, July 5th
I dove at Palancar Horseshoe with Nancy, Jen, Mike, Joe and Hugo. We saw the world's biggest snapper with scary teeth. A big lobster came out and walked around on the reef too.
The next stop was at Paradise where Hugo found a huge crab. We also checked out a few different kinds of conch.
Then there was a night dive on Paradise with Nancy, Jen, Joe and Hugo. We saw too many lobsters and crabs to count. There were 5 octopuses, 3 splendid toadfish and 1 snake eel.
Oops, I almost forgot to mention the 2 moray eels.
Thursday, July 11th
I went to Paradise with Javier, John, Alex, Barry, Lin, Nick, Rex, Jimi and Chucho. We saw a very big crab and lots of little lobsters. A Bermuda chub bit my finger and it made me so mad I screamed through the regulator.
Friday, July 12th
The same group came with me to Colombia Deep. We saw so many turtles that I lost count. We also saw lots of turtles at the surface before the dive. They all had their little noses sticking out of the water to breathe.
The second one was one Palancar Gardens where Chucho led everyone through the long, skinny little cave. The 5th or 6th diver through kicked up all of the sand and the last guys didn't even bother going through. What a bummer. L That cave is so beautiful with the rays of light shining through the roof.
Saturday, July 13th
The first tank of the day was on French Reef with Pam, Craig, Shelly, Brian, Gemma and Steven. Right off the bat, we saw a little hawksbill turtle on the bottom. We frightened the poor thing and it swam away.
The second tank of the day was on Cedral Wall and Santa Rosa Shallow for an action packed dive. Stevie pointed out another small hawksbill turtle resting on the bottom. It blended so well that when Pam drifted over, it she didn't even see it until I pointed it out. Later we saw a good sized green turtle eating a hydroid. (ouch!) She didn't seem to mind our presence at all. During the safety stop we looked down and found a spotted eagle ray burying it's mouth in the sand eating mollusks.
Sunday, July 14th
I was off to Palancar Horseshoe with Allen, Ryk, Suzanne, Glenn, Pam and Craig. We swam through the tunnels, saw a little lobster and flirted with a damselfish.
Then we went to Tormentos. Once again we had a nice light current. It was a very relaxing dive.
In the afternoon I met Patty, Jim, Rafael, Julie, Dominic and Jackie for a shore dive. The current was going southbound and later changed direction and headed north.
We went to visit that cluster of lobsters Patty remembered, still at the same rock, when she last visited.
Monday, July 15th
The morning dive was on Santa Rosa Wall with Rose, Roman, Suzanne, Glenn, Ryk and Allen. As we were floating along I looked up and saw a nurse shark swimming by, overhead. Someone commented that the group of divers in front of us had scared it our way.
Then we went to Paso Del Cedral by special request. There we saw the same spotted moray that bit Jose Luis 2 years ago. The closer I got to him the more he came out at me. I was afraid to stick out my finger and point it out. I decided to wiggle my coral card at it instead.
That afternoon I went to Palancar Gardens with Ryk, Glenn, Patty and Jim. While swimming out of an archway, Jim and I confronted a very large loggerhead turtle. Jim went after it and we left Glenn and Ryk behind. We just couldn't resist following it.
The last dive today was on Santa Rosa Shallow. As I was cruising along, I felt something moving underneath me. When I looked down there was a 7-foot shark , swimming within touching distance.. That was kind of thrilling, to say the least. Then it went over and swam under Patty. You should have seen her eyes!
The current was moving quite quickly when we crossed from Cedral Wall to Santa Rosa Shallow. Patty felt out of breath and reached out for Glenn's hand. I think that Glenn will make a good divemaster some day.
While I was bringing Jim up to the surface, a barracuda came over and eyeballed Ryk. I think it made everyone a bit nervous.
Tuesday, July 16th
First I went to Colombia Deep with Suzanne, Glenn, Ryk, Rose and Roman in search of turtles for Suzanne. We found a grand total of 4. There were 2 big ones and the 2 twin babies that I have seen before. They were all hawksbill turtles. We also found 2 goldentail morays and a big southern stingray.
Our second tank was on Dalila where Patty and Jim joined the gang. We saw 3 different nurse sharks. One kept swimming around and coming back. There were lots of lobsters too. Patty and I petted a big, friendly grouper.
Wednesday, July 17th
I went to Palancar Caves with Allen, Adam, Ryk, Suzanne, Glenn, Rose and Roman. Even though the name says "Caves" we didn't go through any!
Then we went to Yucab where Suzanne found a splendid toadfish and I showed Allen a big, fat octopus completely out of its hole. By the time the rest of the group arrived, the bugger had escaped deep into its den and you could only see its tentacle.
Later that day I took Ryk, Patty, Jim, Rafael, Julie, Jackie and Dominic to French Reef. The current was pretty fast. It was too fast for my comfort with a boat full of beginners, but all dived quite well. Ryk went after a big turtle and sucked up about 500 psi trying to get a good shot of it.
During our surface interval Carlos found us some real dolphins, not buoys, (you had to be there) and everyone quickly donned snorkel gear and slid into the water to see them. They say that you could hear them communicating with one another.
The last dive of the day was on Dalila where the current was even faster!!!!! We flew along the reef and saw the huge barracuda that lives there. I haven't seen him in months and it was good to see his face even thought it is full of sharp, pointy teeth.
Thursday, July 18th
I dived Colombia Deep again with Ryk, Allen, Adam, Suzanne, Glenn, Rose and Roman in hopes of seeing more turtles. Unfortunately we saw not a one. The current was like a washing machine going around and around and we ran into an old boyfriend of mine who made hearts with his fingers at me. Yuck!
Our next stop was on French Reef where Manuel was the only one who saw the 2 turtles as he was using snorkel gear to clean the bottom of the boat.
There was a night dive on Paradise with the same group. We lost count of all the octopus that we saw. Allen was very pleased. We also found a snake eel, lots of big crabs and tons of lobsters. When I gave the briefing, I had forgotten to mention "Fido" the big grouper that follows us around all night. I hope he didn't frighten anyone.
Friday, July 19th
Sandra, Mike, Ryk, Glenn, Suzanne, Roman and Rose came with me to Cedral Wall. I always have a good dive there. We chased a big turtle and minutes later a big, fat nurse shark came out and swam away. I wonder if it was the same one that swam under Patty and I the other day. Ryk got a good shot of it. Then there was a smaller turtle that went to the surface to take a breath of air. When it came back down it settled under a little piece of reef for a nap. Ryk went over and took its picture too.
San Francisco was the choice for the next dive. The current was stopped for a while and we had to swim quite a bit for the first 25 minutes. Then it turned around and brought us back to the same place where we had started..
My afternoon dive was on Santa Rosa Shallow with Patty, Tina, Rick, Curtis, Patti and Andrew. Wow! What a dive! We saw 4 different nurse sharks. The last one was "Stubby" and I blew him a big kiss. A small turtle came and slowly swam amidst us.
Last, but not least, we went to San Francisco Wall again and the current was still running backwards.
Saturday, July 20th
Palancar Horseshoe was the elected reef for Sandra, Mike, Patti, Andrew, Brian, Shelly and Gemma. The current was a little whacko and it pushed us out to sea on the decent and ascent.
Dalila was the second dive where the current was absolutely flying! We saw 2 (I think) eagle rays. The first one was swimming against the current and Andrew went over and took its picture. Then we saw a turtle. It went to the surface to breath and came back down again. We also saw a nurse shark and another small turtle at the end of the dive.
Monday, July 22nd
The first tank was on Palancar Gardens with Sandra, Mike, Patti, Andrew, Jim, Kathy, Nick and Graham. The current was going the wrong way again. When we arrived at the entrance to the skinny little cave there was another group of divers on their way in to the cave too. The divemaster was very polite and asked me how many divers I had and I told him 8. He hung back
and let me go first. My divers did a great job of not kicking up the sand for the people who went in after them.
Our second tank was on French Reef. Jim liked the shallow second half of the dive, where there was more sunlight and color. Graham went over and teased his big brother Nick about having more air so I poked him in the nose. He was tormenting poor Nick. Graham smiled and poked me in the nose right back!
Tuesday, July 23rd
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Patti, Andrew, Sandra, Mike, Kathy, Jim, Graham and Nick. The current was like an amusement park ride! We flew along the wall and we saw a small turtle. There were various groups of other divers that we passed along the way. Sandra found us a red snapping shrimp. It was out in the open, and not hiding inside a corkscrew anemone like it usually is.
For our second dive we tried to go to Cedral Wall for Graham, but the current was just too strong. We moved over to Paso Del Cedral where we flew along some more and blew past a big nurse shark. Nick found a big green moray eel and I thought he was "crying wolf" so I never went to go look! Boy, was I disappointed that I missed it and it is all my fault.
Wednesday, July 24th
We made another attempt to get to Cedral Wall for Graham. With us were Nick, Kathy, Jim, Patti and Andrew. A small hawksbill turtle swam right up to the surface for a breath of fresh air and came back down again. The current was swift, but not difficult.
Then we went to Yucab Reef where the current was flowing backwards, very slowly. Nick described the dive as relaxing. We found a pile of seashells but the octopus that ate the snails wasn't home.
That night we all did a night dive on Yucab. Finally I got to fulfill Patti's request for an octopus. It was really big and I suspect it is the same one that left that pile of seashells. We also saw lots of lobsters. Jim found us a splendid toadfish.
Thursday, July 25th
I dove with Patti and Andrew that day and it was a very easy day. Our first stop was at Punta Tunich where Patti and Andrew worked on the Underwater Naturalist Specialty. They looked for symbiosis, predator/prey relationships and effects of man. A baby nurse shark swam by and Andrew got a couple of pictures of it.
Then I wanted to check out Cardona Reef because I hadn't been there in years. Now I remember why I haven't dived there in years......We ran out of reef after only 35 minutes so I got the crazy idea in my head that I would "explore" and try and swim to another reef or the wall. We saw tons
of starfish, but never made it to the wall. Strangely enough the water kept getting shallower the further we swam from shore. The dive was not a complete wash however. We did see a humongous lobster at the beginning of the dive!
Friday, July 26th
I took Patti, Andrew, Jim, Kathy, Nick and Graham to Bolones De Chankanaab. We found a big crab and quite a few lobsters. At the end of the dive, the submarine came by and everyone waved and took pictures.
The second one was on Tormentos where we saw an enormous grouper and Jim pointed out a yellow-headed jawfish poking its head out of its borough on the bottom.
That afternoon I did 2 shore dives with Mike and Kalin for Kalin's open water referral. We saw the resident lobsters and beautiful turquoise blue and lavender "blue" parrotfish. I picked up a white short spined sea urchin. It stuck to my hand with its tube feet. Mike held it, but Kalin wanted no part of it! We also saw spotted moray eels.
Saturday, July 27th
I tried to do the first dive of the day on Palancar Gardens. That is where the captain dropped us off, at least. By the time we all got down (Jim, Kathy, Nick, Graham, Mike and Kalin), we were on French Reef. It was a good spot. Graham was having a little trouble equalizing. We came up to the top of the reef. Good thing… because that was where we spotted a big turtle right behind him! We would never have seen it if we hadn't gone up a bit. We also saw "Tripod" the three flippered turtle. Towards the end of the dive, we saw a really big nurse shark. That always makes Graham happy!
Our second tank was on Paso Del Cedral where the current was also very strong. We finished that reef quickly. While we were descending, we saw a small nurse shark swimming on the bottom. Kalin had some trouble with his mouthpiece so he came up a bit early. He didn't get to see the big, fat nurse shark that was frightened and swam off.
Monday, July 29th
Bette, John, Kalin, Mike, Daffy, Al, Devon and Nick came diving with me on Palancar Gardens. Thankfully, we had almost no current. This allowed the first day of diving for the group to be more relaxing.
Dalila was our 2nd tank. There was a bit more current there. We did individual buddy team ascents. After John and Nick went up, I looked down and saw a nurse shark swimming off in the distance.
Our 3rd tank was with Bette, John, Mike, Al, Daffy and Nick. While we were still on the Iberstar pier, we saw dolphins go by. Everyone got ready quickly and got into the water to swim with them. Then we went to Santa Rosa Wall where we fulfilled requests for anemones with shrimp in them, big groupers and a shark.
Our 4th tank was on Colombia Shallows. Al, Daffy and Mike got off the boat and Lenore and Devon got onboard. When we told Devon about the dolphins she said that she wanted to see them too. I told her that was a tall order… but I got really lucky! We saw about 14 of them swim by while we were diving.
Tuesday, July 30th
we liked it so much that we went back to Colombia Shallows with Kaolin, Mike, Al, Daffy, Nick, Bette and John. Colombia Shallows is a favorite for photographers because they can kneel down in the sand and take the time to get the right angle on the reef with the light and the water in the background. We saw lots of barracuda and lobsters.
Then we went to Palancar Horseshoe with Lenore, Nick, Bette, John, Al and Daffy. We went through all of the pretty tunnels. The reef there is quite magnificent.
In the afternoon Bette, John, Devon, Mike, Al and Daffy came to dive with me on my favorite spot. We saw "Stubby" my favorite nurse shark. I think John got a good shot of him. We also saw some lobsters in a hole. While we did our safety stop, a small nurse shark swam along the wall with a grouper chasing it.
The last dive of the day was in front of the White House. Mike, Nick, Bette and John were my only takers that dive. Half way to the bottom I saw a small nurse shark in a hole being bothered by a grouper. Along came a hawksbill turtle and everyone fought the current to see it. About half way through the dive, I found a small nurse shark resting under a ledge. I chased it out and it swam with us for about 10 minutes before it settled down under a ledge. At the end of the dive Bette chased a turtle over for us to see. While we made a safety stop, I looked down and saw a small nurse shark.
Wednesday, July 31st
Tank number one was on Colombia Deep with Kaylin, Mike, Bette, John, Nick, Al and Daffy. We saw several turtles and the conditions were very good.
Tank number two was on French Reef with Lenore, Bette, John, Nick, Al and Daffy. Once again, more good conditions. We saw lots of lobsters, a nurse shark and a turtle.
Tank number three was a disaster! We went to Las Palmas in search of the little orange seahorse. Well, it was the first time in ages that I really screwed that one up and couldn't find the seahorse.
I jumped in to check the current and it was going the wrong way (southeast, of all things!) and we moved the boat to the other end of the reef with the intention of floating back to the little bugger with the current. Well, when we jumped in there was no current at all so I announced, "If you want to see the seahorse you are going to have to do a little swimming!" I never dreamed that it would be AGAINST the current. The current changed direction and we kicked and kicked, but never found the photographic jewel of a seahorse..
Oh, but one really fantastic thing happened for me on that dive. I saw a small black tip shark for the first time in years. Anyway, everyone really sucked up their tanks (Nick) and I wouldn't blame them all for being pissed at me.
Sorry guys, I did my best......Overall the dive wasn't so bad, however. Nick pointed out a big turtle and Mike found an octopus.
Then Devon, Nick, Mike, Bette, John, Al and Daffy did a night dive with me on my favorite spot for night diving, Paradise. That made up for the last dive. On the night dive we saw two slipper lobsters, (also known as "cucarachas") loads of lobsters, big crabs, three octopus, one swimming snake eel and a big southern stingray.
Thursday, August 1st
Palancar Horseshoe was the first big splash of the day for Bette, John, Al, Daffy, Devon and Nick. When we jumped in we saw a big turtle on the wall. I came around a corner and there was a dinosaur-sized lobster waiting to have his picture taken. Al parked in front of an arrow crab with an anemone that was conveniently posing for the camera.
Cedral Wall is where we went for the next dive, and saw yet more lobsters. I saw ANOTHER black tip shark. I swam like a madwoman after it and I was surprised to see that the group followed me. But I was more surprised to see a black tip two days in a row, when I hadn't seen one for many years.
In the afternoon I did two shore dives with Ian, Michael, Jim and Alison to start the kid's referrals. We saw the cluster of lobsters, several spotted morays, two snake eels, a stonefish, and a golden-tail eel. I showed the boys an arrow crab, which they loved.
Friday, August 2nd
John, Bette, Nick, Al, Daffy and Lenore came with me to Santa Rosa Wall. We had beautiful conditions.
Then we went back to a favorite, Colombia Shallows, where Chucho found the stingray that Kaylin had requested. We also played with a young hawksbill turtle and Bette filmed the entire thing.
Then I returned to pick up Ian, Michael, John and Jane to finish up the boys' referral. We went to Cedral Pass. We found a big, fat shark for Ian and a large lobster.
Ian and Michaels final certification dive was on Colombia Shallow where we found a turtle just for Michael. There was a large octopus on a mound of seashells, three huge crabs and lots of little lobsters.
Monday, August 5th
I dived on the shipwreck with Justin, Aaron, Wes, Alanna, Kimberly, Ken and Stew (Shane for the day). The big lobsters are still living under the shipwreck along with a bunch of big crabs. Schools of coppery glassy sweepers have moved in to the darker parts inside the ship. The big green eel seems to be gone.
Paradise was our next stop. We passed around a sea cucumber and a conch. I found a small red snapping shrimp just like Sandra's.
Thursday, August 8th
Bolones De Chankanaab was the first immersion of the day with Joey and Dustin. We found six big crabs and a green turtle that was about 20 - 30 years old.
On Paradise we saw many lobsters and a couple of crabs. Justin showed us a small turtle swimming in the distance. We also saw two spotted morays, two splendid toadfish, a yellow ray and a bristle worm.
Friday, August 9th
I did a shore dive with James for his navigational exercises in the Advanced Course. There were yet more lobsters, more eels and a yellow ray.
Then my mom joined us for the deep dive on Las Palmas. There were plenty of groupers everywhere, but I still didn't find my little orange seahorse.
Then the three of us did a night dive on Paradise. There were two big, fat octopus, several large crabs and some lobsters. Mom liked the yellow stingray. I tried to show them a splendid toadfish but no one came to look.
Saturday, August 10th
I did a resort course for Mary, Dave, Lori, James, Coleman, Joe and Ann. James was working on Peak Performance Buoyancy Control and I was working on keeping the group together! They were a fun bunch.
Then Lori, Joe, Dave and James came with me to Chankanaab. Lori swam around and found all of the lobsters and the big crab. Another divemaster was showing his group a hawksbill turtle and we swooped right in. Dave and James were already aboard and didn't get to see it.
Monday, August 12th
I took Mom to "Jorge's Reef" per special request. Carlos dropped us off right on top of the best cave in all of Palancar. It took about 10 minutes to swim through it.
Mom loves turtles so we went to Cedral Wall next to search for them. That is my favorite "Sharks and Turtles" spot. A medium sized nurse shark swam right at us. It took a little coaxing but I got a small hawksbill turtle to swim over to Mom so she could get a better look.
Tuesday, August 13th
Mom and I dived on Santa Rosa Wall. As soon as I put my face in the water I looked down and saw a big nurse shark sitting on top of the reef. By the time that we got down we had drifted past it. I discovered a huge chunk of spiny flower coral laying face down in the sand. I spent 5 minutes looking for a place to "transplant" it so it wouldn't suffocate and die.
Yucab was Mom's last dive this trip. I showed her the famous splendid toadfish. She said that she had never seen one before. We found more piles of conch shells, but no resident octopus. Oh well.
Saturday, August 17th
Cynthia, Craig, Chuck and Terry went diving with me. We had an incredible time! Craig had asked to see a nurse shark so I chose Dalila for our first tank. First, we saw a big southern stingray, then some lobsters. There were several barracudas; one was so big that it made Craig look a little wary. Then I started to get lucky. First I found two nurse sharks lying together in the sand. Then I found a big green moray eel. I found another nurse shark and a second green moray in the cave where two nurse sharks used to live. Right after we saw the green eel, there was a fourth nurse shark sitting very still. Craig got up close and personal with it and got a good look.
Our second dive was on Cedral Wall in search of more sharks. We found four of them !
What a great shark day! The second shark was "Stubby" my favorite nurse shark, and he was in his usual territory. At the end of the dive we saw a small hawksbill turtle.
Wednesday, August 21st
Jon and Daniel did the resort course with me at Paradise. We saw my little cluster of lobsters in the coral and a golden-tail moray. The current was mild so we swam over to the reef. Just then, Daniel started having trouble with his ears…so I turned around and led the pair back to the
shore. Oh well, maybe we can see the reef next time!
Thursday, August 22nd
I dove at Chankanaab with Todd and Kristy. We saw various lobsters, a big crab, and Todd pointed out a goldentail moray. We frightened a small barracuda and I picked up some large conches to show Todd and Kristy the eyes on stalks.
Then we went to Las Palmas where we saw another really big crab, a yellow stingray and the piranahs (Bermuda chubs). The piranahs kept biting and pulling at Kristy's hair. They were a big pain, no pun intended!
Friday, August 23rd
I went back to Dalila this time with Todd, Kristy and Mai Mai. The current was a bit stronger than I had expected. Kristy wanted to see big fish. We saw a midnight parrotfish, which is pretty large, and we also saw a nurse shark. We ran into a shy hawksbill turtle that Todd chased around a bit. He was trying to decide if it was close enough to take a picture…or not.
We decided to try for less current on the next stop so we let Carlos choose the second location. He picked Yucab. We did have to swim a bit for the first 25 minutes, but then the current stopped completely and we just floated and relaxed.
Saturday, August 24th
I dove on Palancar Horseshoe with John, Cornell, Kristy and Todd. The only turtle that we saw was at the surface sticking his head out of the water before the dive. John and I played with the ferocious damselfish guarding their nests in the staghorn coral.
Our second dive of the day was on Cedral Wall and Santa Rosa Shallows. That has got to be my favorite spot. We found one green turtle and one small hawksbill turtle. The hawksbill turtle was munching algae on the bottom. There were two big groupers and a swimming nurse shark on the safety stop.
Sunday, August 25th
I did a beach dive with John, Samer, Jenny and Ray. We saw three spotted eels and there was a huge crab in the hole with the cluster of lobsters. Jenny pointed out a yellow stingray.
Then I did another beach dive with Dieter, Jenifer and John. We found a couple more eels, the same lobsters, but no yellow rays. John says he saw more stuff on the first dive.
Then I did a night dive at Paradise with Kristy, Todd, Jen and Dieter. We saw a bazillion crabs everywhere. There were big ones and little ones and one with its claws sticking straight out ready to do battle with us. We saw only a few lobsters but we saw two different type octopuses. One slid into a hole about 1 inch in diameter and made me think of Houdini. The best part of the night dive was the two different large, green morays that we saw. I think that is one of the first times that I have seen a big, green moray at night.
Monday, August 26th
My first dunk of the day was on Palancar Gardens with John, Terry, Dieter and Jen. We found three big, fat lobsters hidden in a hole and everyone took pictures. During the safety stop I found a small southern stingray buried in the sand.
Our second dive of the day was at San Francisco Wall. We saw more of the same...lobsters and a southern stingray.
Tuesday, August 27th
I did a resort course for Andre, Tessa, Todd and John. Terry and John came along for the fun of it. We saw lobsters, of course. Terry pointed out a big crab hanging out with them again. Terry also showed us a peacock flounder. I found a yellow stingray and various spotted eels.
Wednesday, August 28th
Terry, Todd, Tessa and Andre came with me to Palancar Horseshoe. I stayed up around 40 feet with my resort course divers and my certified divers dipped down a little deeper to explore. We saw another southern stingray with a bar jack following it around. I think Terry must attract them!
Our next tank was on French Reef where we saw yet another southern stingray, Terry's signature animal. We also got to see a couple of hawksbill turtles. Todd floated right over one and woke it up. We didn't even see it until it swam away. Terry spotted the 6-foot nurse shark. Andre pointed out a big grouper. On the safety stop we saw two more turtles and one of them was really big.
Then I did a night dive with Kevin, Jen and Dieter on Paradise again in hopes of finding the two big green eels again. It was supposed to be a coral spawning night but we saw no such orgy going on. We did see three octopuses, two spotted eels, many big crabs and a snake eel. Dieter got a photo of a splendid toadfish. The green eels were no where to be found.
Thursday, August 29th
The first tank of the day was on Chankanaab with Hailey, Heather, Lily and Stu. A big lobster came out and pranced around in front of us. You could almost here him singing, "Na na na na na, you can't touch me!" The three barracuda impressed the girls. Paradise was our second dive. We saw way too many little lobsters to count. I bet Lily was thinking, "Cat food!” We also saw a fat spotted moray eel.
Friday, August 30th
Terry, Todd and John came diving with me to Dalila. Todd almost bumped into a big female turtle. When I turned around I was startled because it was right in my face! We saw a nurse shark swim by on the safety stop.
Then we went to my favorite spot. Todd found the first turtle nestled down for a nap in a hole in the reef. I had to swim back against the current to see it. Later we saw a baby hawksbill swim up to the surface for his gulp of air. When it came back down again, it was right next to a HUGE green turtle that swam slowly away. Terry went after a pufferfish to get a picture, but he couldn't get close enough. Those puffers are shy creatures.
Saturday, August 31st
I brought my camera this day because it was just Terry and I. We dove San Francisco Wall. We saw lots of fish and lobsters. There was a splendid toadfish in a hole with a shrimp. Too bad I didn't have the macro lens with me.
Tormentos is one of my favorites too and that was the next stop. I love the dark red and orange sponges there. We saw enough lobsters to open a restaurant. Terry got a picture of a stonefish and a spotted moray.
Sunday, September 1st
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Terry and Axel. We visited the local lobster colony and Axel pointed out queen angels and trumpet-fish. I petted a snake eel.
Then I went back in on the beach to dive with Crystal, Kyle, Janet and Chuck. On two separate occasions an eagle ray swam by. The first time we followed it while it fed on conch shells in the sand.
That afternoon we arranged a shallow, easy dive on Chankanaab for everybody: Terry, Axel, Anet, Chuck, Crystal and Kyle. I found a fat lobster hidden away in the reef. Chuck pointed out a big barracuda lurking under the ledge. It had lots of sharp, pointy teeth. Terry found a huge crab.
Monday, September 2nd
Rob, JD and Greg came with me to Palancar Horseshoe. There was a small hawksbill turtle swimming up toward us, but only Greg and I saw it. A big lobster climbed down into a hole to hide from us.
The second immersion was on Paso Del Cedral, where we saw another hawksbill turtle. This time only JD saw it! We saw more lobsters and a spotted moray eel. There were also several barracuda getting cleaned at the local cleaning station.
Tuesday, September 3rd
Back to Palancar with JD, Greg and Rob. This time we chose the Gardens. A good size turtle swam down and disappeared into the reef. We swam through a tunnel and found the turtle had ducked into a cave and settled down for a nap. We followed her in and had to swim up and out a chimney to get out! Later on we saw another turtle swimming far beneath us.
Greg wanted to see San Francisco Wall for the second dive. We saw lots of pretty fish and some lobsters.
Thursday, September 5th
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with JD, Greg and Rob. We saw a big crab and some little lobsters.
Our second dive was on Cedral Wall where we saw a swimming nurse shark, of course. We also saw a small turtle and a big green moray. Then we crossed over to Santa Rosa Shallow and there was "Stubby" my shark! He was feeding on something. It is extremely impressive to see an animal that large hunting. JD and I were spellbound. Then JD pointed out another big green moray. I never have a dull dive on that spot.
That night we went to Paradise to dive. We saw too many lobsters to count. There were also tons of crabs with really big claws. I counted three different octopuses, a couple of spotted eels, one snake eel and a splendid toadfish.
Tuesday, September 10th
I took John on a refresher from shore at Paradise. I must have showed him 50 or more lobsters. We also saw three or four spotted eels and a yellow stingray.
Wednesday, September 11th
John and I dove on Santa Rosa wall where we swam through those pretty tunnels. John was a little disappointed at the lack of big critters. But the reef formations really are quite scenic.
Then we did Punta Tunich where there is always quite a bit of current. Jaime, the divemaster, stopped the group for a few minutes while he and I searched for seahorses. We didn't find any, but now I know where to look next time! It was right over the first big hill on the wall side. I will
be looking for them there from now on. They always hang out in the same spot. Jordan, the divemaster, used to show me a mated pair in the same spot several years
Friday, September 13th
Being Friday the 13th I don't think that it was a good idea to go out and rent a boat, but the Enigma II was still out of the water with it's fresh, new paint. We had nothing but problems with the rented boat. The good news is that Eric, Diana, Dave and Karen all had a good time and a good sense of humor. We went to Cedral Wall first where we saw 4 or 5 turtles and one swimming shark. The best part of the dive was when we saw the 2 octopuses. I saw a big pile of clamshells and thought it quite odd. So I looked in the hole and there was a little octopus staring right back out at me. Eric starting shouting through his regulator, because the octopus' mate was plastered all over the outside of a barrel sponge. We frightened the hell out of the poor thing. It squirted its ink and scooted away.
Then we went to Las Palmas. I always see weird critters there. We played with sea cucumbers and arrow crabs. Diana found us a good-sized splendid toadfish. The most interesting find for me was a white nosed pipefish. I have never seen one before. It is closely related to the seahorse. It was about 7 inches long and its body was segmented like a seahorse. It was dark brown with a white snout. I was absolutely fascinated with this little creature.
Saturday, September 14th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Brian, Chrissie, Ken, Diana and Eric. We swam through the tunnels in the reef. We saw a big hawksbill turtle that swam right under us on the safety stop.
Our second tank was on Dalila but Brian sat this one out. Oops, that was not the one to skip. The first nurse shark was about 6 feet long and swimming in the deep area. The second one was sleeping under the reef and I went around the back and scared it out so everyone could get a good look. I also "shooed" out the 3rd shark so no one had to swim against the current to see it. There were 2 enormous lobsters on the top of the reef and one chased Eric around. Then Chrissie tried madly to get Ken's attention to show him a turtle. I never saw it. There was a 4th shark swimming under us when we surfaced.
Sunday, September 15th
The first dive of the day was on Santa Rosa Wall with Eric, Diana, Brian, Chrissie, Red and Destiny. As soon as all hit the bottom we woke up a big turtle and it swam off. We also saw a goliath size barracuda and a southern stingray. Red's favorite part of the dive was the cave. Yucab was our next site where there were some giant lobsters. The current was more forgiving on this dive.
Tuesday, September 17th
I did a resort course for Danielle and Ben. We saw one big, fat, spotted moray eel that came out and swam for us. We also saw the usual clump of lobsters wagging their tentacles at us.
Wednesday, September 18th
I dove Palancar Horseshoe with Bruce, Chrissie, Brian, Red and Destiny. Destiny was very curious about the plaque remembering Dr. Rusty Morgan that apparently died there some time ago. His family left the marker at the base of the cement block where the statue of Christ used to be. It was nice to see the lobster in his same ol' spot too.
Dive two was on Dalila because Brian missed out on it last time. A good sized hawksbill turtle wound up right in the middle of our group. Bruce and Red took pictures of it. I thing that the huge lobster we saw this day was the same one that we saw on Saturday. We also found a small nurse shark and I am pretty sure it is the same one from Saturday as well.
Thursday, September 19th
Chrissie, Brian, Bruce, Sally and Terry came with me to Palancar Gardens. We ran into my old co-worker Gustavo on the reef. He pointed out a small hawksbill turtle napping on the coral. Later we saw a big turtle off in the distance swimming away. Then we went to my favorite spot on Cedral Wall. The 1st shark we saw was good sized and everyone got a good look. Then we saw a little turtle. There were several groupers and later in the dive we saw "Stubby" my favorite shark.
Thursday, September 26th
This was my first time back in the water after a week. The port was closed due to the tremendous waves passing through from "Isidore" the hurricane that just missed us. I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Derek, Muffin, Tim, Diane and Bruce. On the descent we saw a big, fat nurse shark just sitting in the sand. Later during the dive we saw another one just like the first one. It was about the same size doing the same thing. The visibility wasn't so bad. Then we went to the shipwreck. There was no current at all. This left plenty of silt from Isidore’s passing. Under the boat were loads of big lobsters and a big crab. We saw a big barracuda hanging around the top of the ship. We did a third dive to make up for lost days of diving. We went to Yucab where the current was truckin’! We practiced different ways to stop in the current to learn more control while drift diving.
Friday, September 27th
Derek, Muffin, Tim and Diane opted for Palancar Horseshoe as the first tank. We had the pleasure of spotting a medium sized turtle swimming slowly up to the surface for a breath of fresh air. Derek got a silhouette of the turtle against the surface. We found a little cluster of lobsters too. The most dramatic thing about the dive was that the big cement block that used to be the base for the statue of Christ was completely buried under an avalanche of sand. I was mortified! Then we went to Muffin’s favorite site, Colombia Shallow. Tim found us the first little turtle. At the end we found a baby nurse shark nestled under the reef napping. Right next to it was a small hawksbill turtle wedged under the reef. Then we went back to Colombia Shallow where Tim found yet another nurse shark. I missed the second shark altogether. But I did find a stonefish. Derek took off after various turtles.
Saturday, September 28th
Dive one was at Dalila with Derek, Muffin, Tim and Di. There were 2 big nurse sharks and a couple of lobsters. Tim is getting really good at showing us stuff. Our second tank was on San Francisco Wall. At the very end of the dive when we were all low on air, a good-sized eagle ray swam up the wall and posed while Derek took a video!
Sunday, September 29th
I went to the shipwreck with Hays. That big barracuda was hovering around under the crow’s nest. Only small lobsters were under the boat that day.
Then we did a shallow, easy dive on Chankanaab so Hays could learn to take pictures. I went around picking up garbage that blew in with the storm. I had folded up a big white sack and carried it under my arm to bring up with me but I lost that and an extra mask on the ascent.
Monday, September 30th
I did a shore dive with Hays, Amie and Greg. We saw a goldentail moray, loads of lobsters and a rainbow parrotfish. Then I went back in with just Hays to practice navigation for his Advanced Certification. That night I did a shore dive with Hays. Well, the reef dives at Paradise are 100 times better than the shore dive at Paradise for a night dive. It was a really dark night so I expected to see more marine life than I did. I was actually a bit disappointed. We did see a lot of little lobsters, but that was about it. There was only one octopus and it was so small it was almost microscopic! The most interesting critter that we saw was a huge “big eye” toadfish completely out in the open.
Thursday, October 3rd
I went back to Horseshoe, but this time with Darcy, Tom, Sherry, Okkie, Ronald and Nelly. That cement block was still completely buried. I wonder how long it will stay that way. I found a conch that was so far buried under the sand avalanche that only his little eyes poked out. The poor thing couldn’t move. I dug him out and set him free. We also saw a hawksbill turtle too.
Then we went to Dalila. Our first shark was swimming around another group of divers. The second shark was very small and sleeping on the sand. The third shark was very big and laying under a ledge off in the distance. The fourth shark was small with a large fish shadow hunting on the platform. We also saw some lobsters and a big crab. There was a big puffer fish hiding from us in a gorgonian.
Friday, October 4th
The first tank was on French Reef with Amie, Greg and Darcy. Greg really liked that big barracuda. Then we went to my favorite spot on Cedral Wall. First we found a baby hawksbill turtle and Greg took a picture. Then we saw a medium sized nurse shark up close and personal. Later while we were looking down over the drop off at a shark, Amie spotted a big green moray eel free swimming. I never would have seen it if Amie hadn’t been taking it’s picture. The last 5 minutes of the dive were spent in the company of another frisky nurse shark. She swam in front of us everywhere we drifted. There is never a dull moment on that dive site!
Saturday, October 12th
I did a check out dive on the beach with Paul and Ankie. We had plenty of time and little current so I could look for the little stuff. We saw three goldentail morays and one spotted moray. Two cute little blennies poked their heads out of a hole in the coral. We also spotted a splendid toadfish and tons of lobsters. The lobster's usual hangout was completely empty, and at first I thought that poachers had taken them. But later I found a group of about 15 lobsters hanging out under a different rock…. so, I guess they changed locale for some reason.
Sunday, October 13th
Paul and Ankie came to Palancar Gardens with me in the morning. We saw a small baby turtle and a medium-sized hawksbill turtle. Paul and Ankie were identifying vertebrates, invertebrates and plants for their Underwater Naturalist Specialty certification.
Our second time down that morning was on Cedral Wall. Paul requested turtles and sharks. The first shark was the best one. It had its head in a hole and was thrashing around getting something to eat. It was a perfect example of the predator/prey relationship that Paul and Ankie were to find for the class! The second shark had a remora and 2 small groupers following it around "shadow feeding". We also saw a green moray eel and a huge black grouper, who followed us around for most of the dive. Paul got a picture of me petting it. Ankie found an octopus feeding on a true tulip shell. We caught sight of a small turtle on the safety stop.
Monday, October 14th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Sophie, Tony, Paul and Ankie. Coming out of the last swim through, Ankie pointed to a turtle swimming up to the surface to breathe.
We saw lots of lobsters. We taunted a poor damselfish into biting us. It was trying to protect its algae patch. It is amazing that a creature so small would be so fierce with a creature as large as we are.
Our second stop was Paso Del Cedral per Paul's request. We were rewarded with 3 nurse sharks and a spotted moray eel. While we were at the surface after the dive, Tony looked down and spotted my old buddy "Stubby" swimming under us. He was far North of his normal territory. "Stubby" is my nickname for my favorite nurse shark. His dorsal fin has been nothing more than a nub as long as I have known him. He was only about 3 feet long when I first met him. Now he has got to be at least 7 or 8 feet and fat as a pig!
Later that day I started confined water training for Gary and Janet on the shore.
Tuesday, October 15th
I did a shore dive with Sophie to complete the Navigation dive for her Advanced Certification and she did a mighty fine job of navigating. We saw lots of the usual lobsters and a yellow stingray.
That afternoon I did more confined water training for Gary and Janet who were working on their full Open Water Certification course. After about 2 and 1/2 hours Gary commented that he had been in the water all afternoon and had not seen one fish! I felt like an idiot slave driver! I was so involved in teaching skills, I forgot to make it fun too! So we took a nice one half-hour tour and saw lots and lots of fish.
That night I dived on Paradise Reef with Tony, Sophie and 2 divers from a cruise ship. That was most definitely the best dive of the day! We saw at least 5 octopus, a moray eel and countless crabs and lobsters. I got right up close and personal to a squid. Their eyes are just amazingly colorful and intelligent looking.
Wednesday, October 16th
I went back to a different part of Palancar Gardens with Paul, Ankie, Sophie and Tony. We had a bit of current and that made some of the narrow passages not such a good idea, so I just led the group around or over them.
Dalila was our second dive site, where we encountered 2 nurse sharks swimming around, joined by a few lobsters.
In the afternoon I worked on the beach with Gary and Janet for the confined water training.
Thursday, October 17th
The first dive of the day was on Santa Rosa Wall with Paul and Tony. A group of 3 other divers descended directly on top of us so we scooted into the cave to get away from them.
There were 2 different southern stingrays. Paul showed me the one at the beginning of the dive and Tony saw the one at the very end of the dive.
Ankie joined us for the second dive on Santa Rosa Shallow. Paul found both of the sharks that we saw on that dive. I heard him shouting through the regulator to get our attention! We also saw another southern stingray, which I suspect, could be the same one from the first dive since we were so close to the same dive site.
Friday, October 18th
I dived the wreck with Sophie, Paul, Tony and Ankie. This time I didn't see any lobsters or crabs under the ship. I was quite disappointed. It makes me wonder where they all are. The good news is that I noticed some small patches of star coral about 1 centimeter to 1 inch in diameter starting to grow on the aft deck of the ship. It will take many, many years to cover it!
Our second tank was at Paul's favorite, Chankanaab. We spent most of the dive looking at macro stuff. I found lots of yellow-headed jawfish for Ankie. I found a Peterson's cleaner shrimp and a banded coral shrimp for Sophie. We also saw a couple of big crabs, a lobster and a barracuda, and I think Paul got a picture.
My third and fourth dives were at Paradise from the beach with Gary and Janet for the open water training. We saw loads of colorful fish everywhere. My favorite one is the light blue and lavender parrotfish.
Sunday, October 20th
I did 2 shore dives with Gary and Janet for their final certification dives! Yeah! All the skills were done! We saw the local lobster population, a fat spotted eel and a yellow stingray. We also played with an arrow crab. Gary took pictures of the queen angels, parrotfish, squirrelfish and butterfly fish.
Monday, October 21st
I dived on Palancar Gardens with Donna, Tony, Gary and Janet. Right off the bat, we saw a small hawksbill turtle. Later we saw a big lobster hidden under a ledge. At the very end of the dive we saw 4 southern stingrays all hanging out in the sandy area together.
Tony liked Chankanaab so much the other day that we decided to go on back. We saw lots more yellow headed jawfish and the same spotted drum we had seen previously. The special treat was the big green moray eel that stuck its head out to say "hi".
Wednesday, October 23rd
I did a resort course on the beach for Laurie, Michele and Marco. We had really nice, calm conditions that were perfect for a first time dive. The big bunch of lobsters waved their antennas at us and we discovered a yellow stingray tucked away under the reef. T
Thursday, October 24th
I did 3 shore dives at Paradise to finish up Virna's referral. On our first dive we saw a big, fat spotted moray. Then we played with a white short spine sea urchin, which made Virna scream and me smile when it stuck to her hand.
On the second dive we saw a viper moray, which is something that I haven't seen in many years. I stared at it a long time just to be really sure that it was indeed a viper moray. On the 3rd dive a goldentail moray came all the way out and swam for us. We saw more lobsters than we could count.
Sunday, October 27th
Andrea and I did a couple of beach dives to complete her Open Water Referral. On the first dive we saw a snake eel, lobsters, 2 moray eels and a golden-tail.
On the second dive the current was calm and Andrea was doing very well so we swam out to the reef. She was really impressed. We saw a big puffer fish and she seemed to really enjoy watching the juvenile smooth trunkfish. It looks like a little brown bubble with white spots. Its fins are so small and transparent that you can hardly see them. It kind of bobs around in the same spot all of the time and it is a curious thing to see. She enthusiastically pointed out the trumpet fish too. She made sure I didn't miss a thing!
Monday, October 28th
I did a last minute resort course for cruise ship divers Chris, Kelly, Dennis, Barbara, James, Kurt, Brad and Rob. What a fun bunch! Everyone was very into the class and we had a good time. The boys would sit down at the bottom and practice blowing "air rings" which made me a bit nervous. They commented on the "snake thing" when they got out. I don't know if what they saw was a moray eel or a snake eel, but they were fascinated.
Tuesday, October 29th
I took Andrea for her first boat dive to Chankanaab. We saw several big crabs and few large lobsters too.
We had an interesting encounter with a lost diver who was swimming fast against the current towards us. We had been hearing an instructor banging on his tank for a quite a while and when I saw this guy, I knew why. I stopped him because his instructor was swimming as fast as he could to catch him. When the instructor finally caught up to him he turned him around and brought him back to his group.
The lost diver had been oblivious to the instructor's tank banging. I got a good giggle out of the whole thing. I was surprised to see that a diver could swim so fast in rental fins.
Then we went to Paradise where we saw yet more anthropoids. I also pointed out a splendid toadfish, but I am sure that Andrea didn't know what it was. I will have to bring the fish ID book next time.
Wednesday, October 30th
Andrea and I did our first tank on Cedral Wall, my personal favorite. About 5 minutes into the dive I spotted a big, fat nurse shark swimming across the bottom in the distance. I got Andrea's attention and we went over for a closer look. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it was not alone. "Stubby" was swimming by very close to the first shark. Now, that is at least a mile south of where I saw "Stubby" 2 weeks ago. I am starting to get the feel of the size of his territory.
he next thing we saw was a green moray eel that Corinne showed us. Andrea poked her head in the hole but couldn't see it. It was dark in there. I took a picture so when she gets them developed she will finally get to see the eel. There was a particularly large, gray southern stingray grubbing in the sand for a meal and later we saw a third large nurse shark swim by.
Our second dive was on Paso Del Cedral. Rance pointed out a large shark swimming way off in the distance, but it really looked more like a shadow to me. We saw an immense crab with impressive claws duck into a crevice to hide from us. Andrea really enjoyed going through the cave.
I did a check out dive on the beach with Paul and Ankie. We had plenty of time and little current, so I could look for small stuff. We saw 3 goldentail morays and one spotted moray. I found 2 cute little blennies poking their heads out of a hole in the coral. I also spotted a splendid toadfish and tons of lobsters. Because the lobster's usual hangout was completely empty, at first I thought that poachers had taken them. Later I found a group of about 15 lobsters hanging out under a different rock so I guess they changed local for some reason.
November’s dive conditions for the first two weeks.
Water temperature 82 degrees.
Visibility about 80 to 150 feet.
Current light 0 to 1 knot.
Surface conditions calm like a swimming pool to extremely rough.
Friday, November 1st
I did a shore dive at Paradise with Pam and "Carlos" just so they could get acclimated to the water again after a year of not diving. We had a nice long dive and saw at least ten eels! Most were the spotted morays, but we also saw a few goldentail. We saw more than one yellow stingray and too many lobsters to be counted.
I found a splendid toadfish in his borough.
Later that morning, I hopped on a large rented boat to take two families out. Dane, Scott, Kim, Greg, Brian, Ferd, Claire and Allison came with me to do a resort course. We returned to the same spot on Paradise that I had dived earlier in the day.
Claire showed us a big, fat spotted eel. We saw a lot of lobsters, and I found a large crab. When I tried to show it to everyone else, they couldn't see where I pointed.
We did another dive, this time on Chankanaab. Kim saw a tiger's tail sea cucumber. I tickled it and it went back into the hole. We saw more fish on the second dive. The boys had fun swimming through the schools of snappers and grunts.
Saturday, Nov 2nd
I went to French Reef with Bill, Lynn, Charles (Carlos) and Pam. upon reaching the sandy bottom, there was a large southern stingray buried in the sand. Lynn almost landed on it, because it was very hard to see…until it swam away.
We saw three different turtles. One small turtle stayed on the bottom eating sponges near some angelfish. We saw a larger turtle way off in the deeper water and the third turtle was a small one at the end of the reef.
When I was looking at a good-sized lobster in a hole, Lynn pointed down to a giant lobster right below us.
Next, we went to Palancar Gardens with Bill, Pam, Charles, Lee and Midge. We saw three more turtles there!
The last dive of the day was at my favorite site, Cedral Wall. There we saw yet another three turtles. What luck!
It was a good turtle day!!!
It was also an amazing lobster day. We must have seen at least 3 or 4 dinosaur-sized lobsters and maybe 5 big ones just out in the open, cruising around. In addition to the large guys, there were many small lobsters, as well.
An octopus was hidden behind some conch shells. Unfortunately, I was the only one who saw it.
The highlight of the dive was the huge nurse shark that I woke up from his nap. It swam out of its hole and right under Lee. He could have reached down and petted it. Then it swam right at Midge. She said that she looked right into its eye.
Sunday, November 3rd
The first splash of the day was on Santa Rosa Wall with Bill, Lynn, Pam and Charles. A frisky nurse shark kept swimming around and around looking for something to eat.
Santa Rosa Shallow was next with Pam, Charles, Bill, Lee and Midge. As soon as we hit the bottom, we saw a good-sized shark with its head in a hole. As we got closer, it became agitated and swam away.
I also found an octopus hidden deep in his den surrounded by his garbage of empty seashells. Those shells are a dead give away!
The last time down on this day was at French Reef with Lynn, Bill, Midge and Lee. There was a small turtle gliding over the reef at the beginning of the dive. Later, we saw two different big turtles swimming slowly past us. Nearby, a little baby turtle was wedged in a hole sleeping.
Midge discovered a big clump of lobster.
Tuesday, November 5th
Robert, Charles, Lisa, Kevin, Pam and Charles came with me to French Reef. Lisa pointed out a huge crab that had lost one of its claws. Sometimes that happens when large crabs battle. Robert showed us a medium-sized nurse shark as it nervously swam away from us.
Later we found 2 big turtles just hanging out. I saw one bump its head on a sponge. Our second dive started out on my favorite reef, Cedral Wall. The current was a bit strong, so about 20 minutes into the dive I decided to cross over to Santa Rosa Shallow.
Right before we crossed Charles discovered a weight belt on the bottom and I brought it up. As I was ascending I saw a small hawksbill turtle, but I could not get the attention of the group to show them…because my hands were occupied with the 20 pound belt.
When we had almost reached Santa Rosa Shallow, "Stubby" my dorsal-fin-less shark was escaping our company. That's OK, because Robert found us another shark to play with. We saw another turtle too.
That evening I did a night dive on Paradise with Robert, Charles, Charles and Pam. Charles counted 4 octopi. The crabs and lobsters were just too many to count. Some one pointed out a snake eel, which I petted a little.
Pam and I studied a big-eyed toadfish. Those things are really ugly!
Sunday, November 10th
I dived Palancar with Lee, Lance, Ken, Jeff, Terry and Tracy. I took Ken and Tracy on a shallow dive to complete skills for Tracy. Chucho took the 3 advanced divers to 90 feet and they saw a huge barracuda, snapper and 2 hawksbill turtles.
We all went to Paradise for the late afternoon dive. Poor Terry had to sit that one out because she hurt her ear on the descent at Palancar. We got such a late start, that it turned into a twilight dive! The lobsters and crabs were out walking around and Chucho found 4 different toadfish.
Monday, November 11th
The first tank was on the shipwreck with Jane, Karen, Martin, Steve and Jacque. Unfortunately, all of the big lobsters and crabs are gone now. There is evidence of poachers too. I found an empty spool of fishing line on the bottom. It makes me mad that the Marine Park sends it's boat out all day long to collect tickets or count the number of divers in the park to collect money, but they don't send the boat out at dawn to watch for poachers!
Chankanaab was where we did our second tank. Our goal was finding macro stuff. We found lots of tiny blennies and yellow headed jawfish. There was even a male jawfish with a mouthful of eggs.
A big lobster was hiding deep under a ledge and Steve scared off a barracuda.
I did a third tank in the afternoon with just Steve and Jacque for Navigation practice as part of their Advanced Open Water certification. After all the navigation was completed, we saw a golden-tail moray eel, a splendid toadfish and 2 big nurse sharks chasing each other around.
Tuesday, November 12th
The first dive of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Steve, Jacque, Martin, Jane and Karen. We did a deep dive for Steve and Jacque's Advanced Course. Just as I was about to duck into the first archway, a hawksbill turtle swam by and the group followed the turtle, not me. So I just followed them!
Then we all went to Cedral wall where the current was unusually mild. I saw a very small turtle that was kind of "perched" on the bottom. We also saw a large nurse shark glide by in the distance.
That afternoon, I finished up Tracy's last two certification dives. The "Big Boys" went diving on Santa Rosa Wall with Chucho and I took Tracy over to the shallow area. Tracy and I saw more "good stuff" than the boys!
While we were still on the surface, we looked down and there was a little turtle at the bottom. Then once we got to the bottom, we saw a large nurse shark go by.
I think the part that Tracy liked best was the big southern stingray feeding in the sand.
Tormentos was the fourth dive that day where Tracy got certified! Yeah!
Thursday, November 14th
Paso Del Cedral was my first dive of the day with Karen, Martin, Jane, Steve and Jacque. Coming out of the cave, I saw 2 small eagle rays swimming side by side. It was all I could do to get the macro lens off of the camera and reset the dials to get a picture of them! Then Steve tapped me on the top of the head when I looked up. He was pointing to a passing nurse shark. We saw another shark later when we were on our way up. I also found a red lipped blenny a few days late, but per request.
Then we all did a fantastic night dive on Dalila. I saw 8 octopi. Who knows how many crabs and lobsters we saw? I also saw a slipper lobster which looks like a big cockroach.
Friday, November 15th
I dove the Devil’s Throat at Punta Sur with Steve, Martin, Janie and Karen.
There was a bit of miscommunication between Chucho and I, so my briefing didn’t make much sense. But what the heck! We had a great dive. We slid right down that Devil’s Throat and Chucho showed us a turtle during our safety stop.
Then we went to French Reef and everyone really liked the site. We saw 3 different turtles, one cruizin’ nurse shark and a stingray with a bar jack on top. Graham, Karen, Jane and Martin braved the weather and we did a night dive on Paso Del Cedral.
There was a really big octopus that Graham almost landed on and that is why I noticed it! We saw a few lobsters and a free swimming spotted moray eel. We found a full sized adult phase spotted drum as well.
We all could hear tons of toadfish croaking but none of us saw even one.
Saturday, November 16th
The first tank of the day was on Santa Rosa Wall with Graham, Steve, Jacque, Karen, Jane and Martin. Martin pointed out a big turtle way down the wall beneath us. We saw several groups of 5 or more lobsters, right after we came out of the caves.
Next was San Francisco Wall, which I thought Karen would like because there are so many fish there. It is a very colorful and lively site with lots of biodiversity. I saw a strange thing on the bottom that kind of looked like tentacles but I have no idea of what it was.
That afternoon Graham rented the boat for himself! We went to my favorite, Cedral Wall. He said it was the best dive yet. We saw a turtle swim up for air. Then we saw a spotted eagle ray, which was swimming right at us against the current. When it saw us it veered off to the east and Paso Del Cedral.
Then Graham spotted a 5 to 6 foot nurse shark sleeping on the bottom. I tried to “shoo” it out so Graham wouldn’t have to swim against the current to see it. But it just wasn’t afraid of me! I didn’t want to poke it or tweek it because it didn’t even seem nervous with my presence!
Our last tank was on Chankanaab. I wanted to be close to the marina because there was bad weather coming. As a matter of fact, the storm blew in one hour after we pulled in to the marina! Thank God we weren’t out in it. Chankanaab was crawling with lobsters and crabs. We also got a really good look at a splendid toadfish.
Monday, November 18th
It was just Virve and I on Bolones de Chankanaab. We had an incredible dive! First I saw one large eagle ray gliding towards us. I turned to see if Virve had seen it and then two equally large rays swept down over the reef and joined the first ray.
Later during the dive, a fourth eagle ray passed by us.
Virve found a big lobster and we finished the dive by waving at all the people in the submarine.
We then went to Las Palmas, where we were greeted by a magnificent school of shiny bogas. Virve showed me a big hawksbill turtle. I, in turn, showed Virve a splendid toadfish.
During our safety stop we chased another eagle ray from above.
Tuesday, November 19th
I took Virve on a private tour of Punta Sur. We went to the "Devil's Throat." This time we went through all of the caves, except the "Throat" itself. The walls are beautifully decorated in yellow, orange and white sponges.
When we came out of the cave system, we ran into another group of divers. I saw their divemaster pointing down so I looked too. There was a nice big eagle ray swimming under us.
I think Virve was more impressed by the 60 pound cubera snapper with fangs.
We didn't get to make the second dive, because when we came up Manuel and Carlos told us that the port was closed and we had to go back to the marina. No one else seemed to be going back in, but I am a chicken. Better safe than sorry!
Saturday, November 23rd
I did a shore dive just North of Chankanaab in front of Villa Coronado. Dani and Dave wanted to check out their weighting and practice with the camera. We did some exploration in front of their rental home for the week. We found two good sized spotted morays and I got a shot of Dave showing us a starfish.
Sunday, November 24th
I dived on the shipwreck with Dave and Dani. At least one big lobster has found its way under the wreck. We saw a spotted eagle ray swim straight up towards the surface and just before it reached surface, it leveled off and glided away at about two feet beneath the surface. Carlos and Manuel said they saw it leaping out of the water.
Our next stop was at Las Palmas. I saw a splendid toadfish about one-half way out of its hole. Dani showed us a sharp tailed eel and several yellow fin groupers.
Monday, November 25th
Dave and Dani came with me to Santa Rosa Wall. We all sat down in the cave and looked at all of the pretty sponges growing on the roof and the walls. That little group of lobsters outside of the cave is living there. A big school of horse eyed jacks appeared at the end of the dive. A barracuda was preying on them.
The second dive was on San Francisco Wall. Dani had great time swimming around, taking pictures of all the colorful fish. My camera didn’t work…again! I thought about dropping it over the abyss!
Tuesday, November 26th
I went to Planar Horseshoe with Dave and Dani. The current was back to normal and moving right along.
Then we went to my favorite spot, Cedral Wall. There we saw a really large eagle ray with no tail and a large remora stuck to it. We also saw a small sleeping nurse shark. Later, another big eagle ray swam by us.
That afternoon I did a resort course for Sean in front of the Villa Coronado. Dave and Dani came along for fun and to take pictures. We saw two more eagle rays scavenging in the sand for a meal. There was a third ray off in the distance, but I couldn’t really see it too well.
We also saw a couple of eels, one spotted moray and a sharp-tail eel.
Wednesday, November 27th
I rented a big, slow boat and took Dave’s whole family out on a combined snorkeling and diving trip. Sean, Dani, Dave and I dived at Palancar Horseshoe again, but in a different part, just a bit north of the last dive. I always get really sentimental when I see the base of the statue completely buried in the sand so we did a little digging that day. I would imagine that in a year of so, we should have it uncovered again!
Then we all went to Colombia Shallow for the second stop. The highlights were the southern stingrays and a small turtle.
Thursday, November 28th
Scott, Charlie, Delisa, Dani and Dave came with me to Palancar Gardens. Delisa and I stayed down a bit longer and saw a couple of southern stingrays at the end of the dive.
Dave should have been the divemaster on the second dive. He is the one who found all of the good stuff at Dalila. He showed me a big green moray eel; a huge crab and I found a couple of lobsters.
Friday, November 29th
The first tank of the day was on Colombia Deep with Dave, Dani, Vlad, Charlie and Delisa. About 15 minutes into the dive, a big eagle ray came swooping up from the deep and showed us his big, white belly as he flapped to the surface. On the trip home Charlie saw one leap out of the water. We also saw two different, very large turtles. One was sitting still on the bottom posing for Dave’s camera. The other one was pigging out on a sponge just as we came out of a cave.
Our next spot was Paso Del Cedral, where we saw a couple of lobsters. We swam through a cave and I tried to show everyone a splendid toadfish…but it was shy and it hid in its hole.
We also picked up an extra diver for about 20 minutes. When her divemaster decided to come and get her, I guided her back to him.
That night we dived at Paradise reef. There were loads of lobsters and crabs out walking around. Two sharp-tail eels were out hunting as were a couple of octopi.
Sunday, December 1st
This was to be a day off for me. Chucho offered to take me out to the north end of the island in the yacht to see the schools of eagle rays. I almost never get in the water on my day off, but this trip was worth it! This is an advanced dive. We roll in and kick hard to get to the bottom fast. Usually there is a very strong current in this spot but Sunday we were lucky and it was not too bad. The top of the wall is about 70 – 80 feet deep. We just hang on and watch the big rays go by! Sometimes there are only one or two, but they also came in groups of 5 or 6. They approach and then turn in formation and disappear. There are no words to describe the experience. The serenity and grace of these big creatures leaves one speechless.
Monday, December 2nd
That morning I was off to Tormentos with James and Nancy. We got lucky with the conditions and there was very little current and plenty of lobsters to drool on. I also showed them a crab with huge claws.
Paradise was our second stop where there was almost no current. We were rewarded with a nice sized spotted eagle ray that promptly joined up with another very large eagle ray. The grace and beauty of a swimming eagle ray cannot be described!
Tuesday, December 3rd
I dived at Palancar Gardens with Spicer, Gaby, James and Nancy. We swam through the archways and found a big lobster.
The second time down that day was on Santa Rosa Shallow. I was looking for a nurse shark for Gaby but I was disappointed. It seems that the harder I looked, the less luck I had. We did see a really big eagle ray and a southern stingray buried in the sand.
Wednesday, December 4th
My first tank was on Santa Rosa Wall with Jenny, Dale, Shalynn, Mark, Gaby and Spicer. We went through caves and drifted with the current. Everyone really enjoyed the towering coral formations.
The second tank was on Cedral Wall where we saw two big crabs, a couple of lobsters, an octopus and two turtles. This dive was more exciting than our first tank of the day!
Thursday, December 5th
I dived on Palancar Horseshoe with Shalynn, Mark, John, Candy, Nancy and James. We saw lots more marine life than usual on Horseshoe. First, I turned around and saw James pointing at a spotted eagle ray gliding by in the blue water. Later, I saw a free-swimming green eel…and lots of lobsters. Mark found a goldentail moray. Shalynn pointed out a big southern stringray eating mollusks in the sand.
Then we went to Dalila where we saw a nurse shark and I showed Shalynn and Mark an octopus hidden in the reef.
Friday, December 6th
Santa Rosa Wall was our choice that morning with Candy, John, Ken, Judy, James and Nancy. I was quite pleased to see stubby at the end of the dive. I haven’t seen him in quite a while. After the dive everyone took turns trying to guess how big Stubby is. I think that he is at least 6 to 7 feet long.
Next, we were off to Paso Del Cedral, where the current was really moving. Nancy described it as a Disneyland ride. That is my favorite description of strong current. There was a lot of stuff floating around in the water because of the current. Everyone loved the huge rainbow and midnight parrotfish.
Saturday, December 8th
I went back to Palancar Horseshoe with Ken, Judy, Cathy, Steve, Steve and Pete. We swam through the tunnels and saw several lobsters.
Then we went to Dalila where we practiced stopping in current. We saw a small (5 foot) nurse shark swimming under us at the safety stop.
Monday, December 9th
We did a deep dive on Palancar Gardens for Steve, Cathy and Steve’s advanced certification. Pete hung out with us down deep, but Judy and Ken stayed up in the shallow water where there is more light for taking pictures.
We had a very strong current for the first 15 minutes that added another level of difficulty to the dive. Good thing we had the class on diving in current the day before! Towards the end of the dive, Ken almost bumped into a turtle that came right up to him. I am sure that will make a great photo.
Colombia Shallows was our second stop. Steve, Cathy and Steve were learning to navigate. While they were navigating , we encountered a cute little hawksbill turtle. After the class I found another turtle, an octopus and an 8-foot eagle ray. I almost pulled Judy’s fin off I was so excited.
Tuesday, December 10th
Todd, Tom, Steve, Steve, Pete, Cathy, Judy and Ken were my dive team on French Reef. We saw lots of turtles. One turtle fell in love with Steve and followed him for 10 minutes. Then a big snapper came over and started bugging the poor turtle. We also saw a green moray eel at the end of the dive. She was out swimming around on the hunt. We also saw a good-sized southern stingray buried in the sand.
Then we were off to Santa Rosa Shallow where I immediately saw a turtle. Tom spotted a big nurse shark and half of the group kicked against the current to see it.
Wednesday, December 11th
Our first tank was on Palancar Gardens with Ken, Judy, Steve, Pete and Cathy. Since we had been working on the Advanced Certification all week, it was time to so something for Pete. I went into every cave I could find! I saw a green moray eel hiding in the coral on top of the reef.
As we were ascending, a nurse shark swam by underneath us and I saw a small hawksbill turtle. Ken said that there were two turtles, but I didn’t see the second one.
Colombia Shallows was a favorite for several of the divers aboard, so we went back there to work on the Underwater Naturalist Specialty. We identified predator prey relationships, symbiosis and the effects of man on the reef. We also saw a big eagle ray in the process!
Thursday, December 12th
Billy, Robert, Ann, Bronwyn and Scott came to Cozumel for just one day aboard a cruise ship. We went to dive on Yucab reef. Upon reaching the bottom, a 6-foot nurse shark swam right beneath me! I guess it wanted to be noticed!
During our surface interval, they asked me what they would see on Paradise reef. They asked if they could see an eel and a big ray. I told them, “Maybe” and I showed them the signal for spotted moray. Guess what we saw……..both! A spotted moray - and an eagle ray. It was so cute when we were floating at the surface and Ann asked me, “How did you do that?”. I told her the truth. I am just lucky!
Friday, December 13th
I did the eagle ray dive with Steve, Chucho, Pete, Jackie and Glen. We saw two groups of 5 or 6 but the last group put on quite a show. They swam around in circles and one kept swimming up and diving down. There were also quite a few individual rays.
We went to Paradise reef next, where we found two splendid toadfish, a perfect juvenile spotted drum, loads of lobsters and one eagle ray minus its tail.
Monday, December 16th
Dan, Larry, Glen and Jackie dived at Palancar Gardens with me. The current was a bit crazy in and around the swim throughs and we had a very close encounter with a big hawksbill turtle.
And there was a little bit of everything on our second dive at French Reef. We saw another couple of hawksbill turtles. I was the only one that saw the nurse shark swimming in the distance. A pair of spotted eagle rays visited us 3 different times. They are very shy animals, and when they saw us, they took off. Later, they wandered back again.
Tuesday, December 17th
Jason, Bo, Xiancheng and George took a resort course with me from the shore at Paradise. They were visiting for the day from a cruise ship. There was a photographer at the beach, taking pictures of the snorkelers and divers as he fed the fish for us. It made quite a show!
Wednesday, December 18th
I did another resort course for Shelly, Michael and Heather. Melanie (my sister and webmaster) and Michael came along too. Mel saw her first eagle ray and was mesmerized. I can tell that she loves them just as much as I do.
Sunday, December 22nd
I went to Paradise with Loralei, Derrek, Melanie and Michael. Loralei was taking the resort course. We had quite a current on the first dive.
For the second dive, we went over to the reef. Thankfully, there was less current. We found a really huge stonefish and a large snapper, hiding under a ledge. We saw a lot of lobsters.
Monday, December 23rd
I dived at Palancar Gardens with Melanie, Michael, Ray, Janet, Lindsay and Dani. The current was just nuts! Carlos dropped us off at Palancar Gardens, but when I put my face in the water I realized the current was going south…which is not it's usual direction. So, instead of diving Palancar Gardens we dived on Palancar Horseshoe backwards! Fourteen minutes into the dive we arrived at the beginning of Horseshoe. Then the current just stopped for a couple of minutes. It then changed direction and brought us back to where we had started.
While I was diligently digging out the cement block, where the statue used to be, I didn't notice that the current got crazy again. It was pushing us out to sea. We all took shelter in the coral
formations. Dani and Lindsay pointed out two immense lobsters dueling over a hiding hole. There was a southern stingray with a bar jack following it around. It drifted alongside of us for a while in the strong current.
Dalila was the second stop that day where the current was nice and normal. Dani's eyes were bothering her, so she aborted the dive early. We drifted by a very large barracuda. I haven't seen that barracuda for a very long time. I was glad to see the he returned to his old spot. Later, we saw a small nurse shark napping behind a ledge, out of the current. During our safety stop, I looked down and saw a good sized nurse shark swim under the reef to hide.
Tuesday, December 24th
we made Santa Rosa wall our first dive site. Dani, Lindsay, Ray, Janet, Melanie and Michael were the dive crew again. A pair of brightly colored queen triggers fascinated Melanie. She also saw a huge crab. We took lots of pictures.
Then we went to Santa Rosa Shallow. On the descent, Michael pointed out a large nurse shark resting on the bottom. Later, I spotted a cute little baby shark from a distance. It was asleep under the reef. I was very excited to see "Stubby,” my favorite nurse shark. I have been very worried about Stubby because there has been a lot of poaching going on lately in that area. We
saw loads of big barracudas and one of them had a fishhook and line dangling from his mouth. We also saw a couple of southern stingrays with accompanying bar jacks.
Thursday, December 26th
I went to Colombia Deep with Craig, Ray, Janet, Dani and Lindsay. The girls put in a special request to see turtles, so Colombia was the natural choice. We saw two little hawksbill turtles, located almost together…and one larger turtle at the end of the dive. It gave me great pleasure to see the girls excited and clapping when they saw the turtles.
Ray asked for an eagle ray on the second dive and I let him down. I looked and looked. At least I found another turtle for the girls. French Reef always has a turtle or two. We saw loads of southern stingrays too. It must be the season!
Friday, December 27th
Palancar Caves was the choice by special request. Ray really likes the big coral formations there. We saw three different hawksbill turtles, pleasing the girls. At the end of the dive, the girls and I saw a large eagle ray…off in the distance.
The last dive of the family vacation was on Cedral Wall where the current was flying. Right off the bat, we saw a small nurse shark swimming against the current. Next, we saw a baby turtle that Lindsay and Dani went after. At the very end of the dive, Janet pointed wildly at one of the biggest eagle rays I have ever seen. Ray went after the ray to get a closer look. Janet drifted right over a napping turtle. Lindsay was making the turtle sign and pointing to it. It was an exciting finish to the week of diving.
Saturday, December 28th
Uli, Volker and Craig came with me to San Francisco Wall. The current was ripping. When we parked behind a small outcropping of coral, I looked down and saw hammerhead swimming below us! I was so excited that I burned up 700 psi swimming against the current to get the other divers attention. That was only the 2nd time in 10 years that I have seen a hammerhead shark here in Cozumel.
Our second tank was on Yucab. We saw a pair of spotted eagle rays at the beginning of the dive. Later, I found an octopus hidden behind a mound of empty seashells. The guys pointed out a 3rd eagle ray on our safety stop.
Sunday, December 29th
The first immersion was on Palancar Horseshoe with Todd, Heather, Matt and Evan. We had almost ideal conditions that day. Todd was quite impressed by the statue's cement block base, now buried so deep under the sand.
Next we went to French Reef, where the current was quite swift. I found three turtles for Todd.
Matt did a good job as a dive buddy. Evan's weight belt came off during the dive and Matt was right there to help out.
Monday, December 30th
Evan, Matt, Todd, Tom, Katherine and Dan came with me to Palancar Gardens. We practiced Peak Performance Buoyancy Control for the Advanced Open Water certification. We practiced hovering and swimming through tunnels without touching or kicking sand. We did a check for neutral buoyancy at the end of the dive.
The end of Cedral Wall and Santa Rosa Shallow is where we went looking for sharks for Todd. Sadly we saw no sharks, but I did see a spotted eagle ray and a large southern stingray in the sand. We had a close encounter with a large barracuda too.
Tuesday, December 31st
There was lot of South wind, so I chose Santa Rosa Wall for the first dive.
Karin, John, Greg, Tom, Katherine and Dan were with me today. Tom, Dan and Katherine were working on the deep dive for the Advanced Certification.
Tom really liked the caves.
Yucab was a logical choice to get out of the big waves caused by the south wind. John commented that the current seemed really strong, but it seemed normal to me. Maybe that's because it had been so strong and crazy in past weeks. We saw tons of lobsters on that dive.