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Flight from Albuquerque left on time at 6am, stop and plane change in Dallas, then arrival in Cozumel at 1pm-ish. Of course, the Red-Light-Green_Light game tagged us again! After the bag search and purchase of shuttle tickets, we arrived at Scuba Club Cozumel around 2pm. After a quick check-in at the office, we headed to lunch as our room was not quite ready. It was good to be HOME at Scuba Club!
We were given an oceanfront room on lower level just as requested. Room #70 is actually on two levels. Entering the front door, the room has two double beds and a seating area, small fridge and table. Stairs lead up to the bathroom area which has a long sink counter with blow dryer, then a room to the left with the toilet and a large tile shower.
We checked into the Dive Shop, paid our Park Fee for the week, filled out Nitrox paperwork, then grabbed our weights and headed to the dive lockers. The lockers down by the shore dive entry works best for us, so we grabbed a locker and brought down our gear. Ron grabbed two tanks and off we went for a nice check out dive in the front yard.
Ron took in his camera for the dive but I left my GoPro video rig in the room this dive.
The SCC shore dive never disappoints! We saw 3 scorpionfish, a large spotted moray in a hole as well as a small one out hunting next to the pier. Tons of fish were schooling out by the old pier rubble as well as a dozen small lobsters and several arrow crabs under a ledge. We also spotted a sailfin blenny out of his hole but he darted back in before Ron could get a photo.
After the dive we rinsed gear, put it in the locker, then returned to our room to download photos. We showered and changed for dinner. Since the resort was only half full, the upstairs restaurant was closed and meals were being served downstairs in the breakfast/lunch restaurant.
Breakfast is served promptly at 7am but coffee is available at 6am. When the line is opened for breakfast, you give the lady your Room number, tell her if you want the Lunch Special (posted in the day's menu she gives you) or if you will order off the regular lunch menu. Then she gives you the Dinner menu and asks you which entree you want. There are always 3 entrees ( usually a fish dish, a beef or chicken dish, and a pasta dish) as well as a Vegetarian entree. By ordering like this, it means the cooks will be able to purchase the correct foods with less waste, and also have prepped the food before dinner starts.
Breakfast always buffet style, consists of pancakes and french toast, several egg dishes as well as local favorites, bacon and hash browns, plus other foods that rotate through the week. There is also a fresh fruit bar set out, yogurt, cereals, and various juices. All of this food is part of the "Inclusive" package for everyone and all you can eat.
After breakfast, we headed over to the Dive Shop to analyze our nitrox tanks for the day and check our boat assignment. We were listed on the board on the Observer with DM Tony along with 6 other divers. One couple showed up late to the boat and had forgotten to analyze their nitrox tanks. We finally left the dock about 20 minutes after planned.
Dive #1: Palancar Gardens = turtle, pipefish in a swimthru, huge cowfish and amazing coral formations, mild current
Dive #2: Yocab Reef = moderate current, huge angelfish and grouper, cowfish and scrawled filefish, sargassum triggerfish, lobster and tangs
Dive #3: Shore dive at SCC = 6 SQUID!!!
Dinner - I had the seafood kabob and Ron had the filet steak. Both were delicious as usual.
Boat crew and Divemasters load the boats with tanks, snacks, and safety gear between 8-8:15am and then boats depart from the SCC dock. Divers bring their gear and wait, then load when allowed. It is between 45 minutes and an hour to most of the southern dive sites so divers are able to setup their gear and relax on the way out. Each boat has a bathroom (head) as well as a place for all cameras, a rinse tank for cameras, and a mask rinse bucket. A crew of boat captain, and Mate are present on the boat to help divers don gear and then enter/exit the water. A Divemaster is assigned for 8 divers or less in a group. Some of the larger boats will hold two groups and will have two divemasters. Those boats will dive the same dive site but enter the water about 10 minutes apart.
Our five boat dive days we were assigned to the Observer boat with Tony as our Divemaster. Boat captain Victor and Mate Eduardo were awesome as usual and took special care of Ron's huge camera. It is always nice to have the same boat and crew for the week as they can learn your likes and dislikes, handling instructions for your camera gear, making all the dives will run smoothly.
DM Tony suggested Palancar Caves for our dive today and that worked for all of us - lots of deep coral pinnacles and swim-throughs. Along on our boat would be a diver finishing his OW certification with his instructor, Jose. So as we did our dive in and out of the reef, they settled over the sand in a shallower spot to do skills. When we returned to the boat they were already onboard. The diver was friends with 3 divers in our group for the week so once he finished dives this day he was officially certified OW and continued to dive with us the rest of the week.
Dive 1: Palancar Caves - 2 turtles!
Dive 2: Chankanaab reef - another turtle!
We returned to SCC, rinsed gear, changed to dry swimsuits, then headed to lunch. Due to ear problems on the previous two dives, I decided to sit out my afternoon shore dive so Ron headed in alone.
Dive 3: SCC shore - lots of eels out as well as the squid
Dinner was delicious again, broiled fish for me, chicken in mole for Ron. Afterwards we download photos and video for the day, reviewed, sent e-mails to the kid, then off to bed.
My ears were feeling better which was a good thing... plan for the day, Cedral wall which is known for its wild current which means sharks and turtles!
Dive 1: Cedral Wall - nurse shark and 5 turtles!
Dive 2: Paradise reef
Dive 3: SCC shore dive - found the chain moray!
We ate an early dinner (drunken chicken for me, Beef kabobs for Ron), right at 6pm, so we could make the 7:15pm departure time for the NIGHT boat dive. There were only 5 divers signed up but the told us the boat would definitely go out. Yeah! The Coral Diver was the boat and Ariel the divemaster. It was our first time with him leading a dive and we were very impressed. Ariel is wonderful at explaining what he wants to find for us and then finding it. He found things I have never seen, as well as special macro critters for Ron for photos. Large channel clinging crabs were out everywhere and I lost count at 12. We found two octopus out, as well as several types of eels, other types of crabs and fish sleeping inside or next to every sponge. Great dive!
Saturday is usually turnover day in Cozumel. Most of the divers from the previous week left and two large groups arrived. At SCC, when there is a group, they are given their own boat. Most groups also have been to SCC before so they request a specific boat and their favorite DMs for their stay. The boat assignment board noted this for both of these groups.
Two divers who had been on our boat the previous three days left so our group was now just six. Tony suggested Santa Rosa wall for our first dive. This wall is known for its color and dramatic dropoff. For dive two he suggested Villa Blanca wall, one of my favorites due to its low profile sea of soft coral and sponges. Great choices!
Dive 1: Santa Rosa wall - Huge grouper, parrotfish, and a school of 100+ jacks!
Getting back on the boat after Santa Rosa, I sat down to clean off my camcorder and noticed a crack right over the front lens. Oh no, what had I done? Fearing a full flood, I opened the housing and found no water. Whew, no damage to camcorder BUT this meant no more video of my dives.
Dive 2: Villa Blanca wall - color, color, and more color!
Dive 3: SCC shore dive - hunt for seahorses!
No luck finding the seahorses but we did find a mantis shrimp and a baby scorpionfish.
Dinner early again so Ron could do a shore night dive. Ron ordered the seafood platter and I had the drunken chicken.
Dive 4: SCC shore NIGHT dive - Ron solo
Our LAST day of boat diving!
Since this was the last day of boat diving for the whole group on our boat, we decided to return out to Palancar reef and do a deep dive with coral pinnacles.
Dive 1: Palancar Horseshoe - gorgeous coral formations, swim-thoughs, and big groupers
Dive 2: Punta Tunich - wild current ride with 3 turtles and a huges school of oceanic triggerfish!
Dive 3: SCC shore dive - no photo or video
Ron forgot to take the lens cap off so we entered the water and realized it. No photos meant we could both concentrate of finding critters though. There were two large spotted morays, one of which came out and was free-swimming, acting like he wanted to fight with someone. Very bizaar! There was also a small one out. The large school of sennet and another school of Sgt Majors were swimming out in the middle again, quite fun to watch.
Dinner - chicken fajitas or linguini with mussels. Of course, we ordered one of each as well as one of each of the desserts.
NO boat diving today for us, so we ate breakfast then stood on the deck watching the boats load. After they all pulled away, we went to the dive shop to check out a pair of tanks for a shore dive. We geared up and headed in at 9am. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this shore dive? Every fish was getting its morning cleaning. Stations were over each little bit of rubble, fishes in line with Spanish Hogfish doing the job. It was so much fun to just hang there and watch. An Oceanic Triggerfish showed up at one station as I was watching, and he had 2 suckers stuck on his cheeks. He was very aggitated and twitched and wiggled around seeming to ask for help. Wish I could have helped him out, but he darted off after a few minutes. Ron found a cluster of yellowhead jawfish just to the right of the old pier rubble and got some shots of one that had eggs in his mouth. Unfortunately, Ron had his intermediate lens on the camera, so he had to get fairly close to them which caused the jawfish to dart back into their holes.
Dive 1: SCC shore dive - jawfish with eggs!
As we made our circle around, we noticed a large commotion coming from the Hotel Cozumel dock. The scooters were coming in! LOL
As soon as we got out of the water, Ron said he had to go change lenses and try to get photos of the jawfish! I was done for the trip, ending on a perfect shore dive but Ron wasn't. He had to get the shots. So off he went to the room to change the camera lens while I dried off and started rinsing gear. He got back in the water and I took gear to our room to set on our patio to start drying.
After Ron returned from his dive, he showered and changed and we headed to lunch. Next we walked to town to shop for various gifts. We returned to SCC by taxi (yes, it was really HOT when not diving!) before dinner.
At dinner we saw the other divers who had shared our boat for the week and snapped a few photos. It was a great trip for everyone, I think.
Departure day! Boo. After breakfast, we returned to the dive shop to say goodbye to our DMs from this trip and our previous trips to sCC. After lots of promises to return soon, we sat in our room enjoying the air conditioning. With all our bags packed, to went to the front gate, had the guard flag us a taxi, and off we went to the airport.
Our flight left on time, well Mexico time, and customs in Dallas went fairly smoothly. We got to our connecting flight with enough time to grab a quick dinner, then we were off to Albuquerque.
|Dive||Day||Type||Site||Gas used||Max Depth||Time|
|2||Thursday||boat||Palancar Gardens||33%||74'||50 min|
|3||boat||Yocab reef||33%||50'||63 min|
|5||Friday||boat||Palancar Caves||32%||97'||53 min|
|6||boat||Chankanaab reef||36%||54'||61 min|
|7||shore||SCC - Ron solo||21%||23'||74 min|
|8||Saturday||boat||Cedral Wall||33%||67'||49 min|
|9||boat||Paradise reef||36%||46'||65 min|
|11||boat- NIGHT||Paradise||21%||42'||61 min|
|12||Sunday||boat||Santa Rosa Wall||33%||76'||53 min|
|13||boat||Villa Blanca wall||33%||59'||54 min|
|15||shore - NIGHT||SCC - Ron solo||21%||23'||53 min|
|16||Monday||boat||Palancar Horseshoe||33%||88'||50 min|