COZUMEL WRAP-UP…

Greetings All!

Well, after a bit of a shaky start, compliments of Isidore, we finally made it to Cozumel…
For those of you that are trying hard to forget (because you didn’t/couldn’t go) a hearty band of adventurers had planned to trek into Mexico Sunday Sept. 22. However, Hurricane Isidore and Continental Airlines had other ideas. Finally able to depart Orlando on Tuesday, we arrived on the overcast island of Cozumel – with about a 40-knot crosswind as the wheels tried to grab the tarmac… talk about a wobbly landing! Needless to say, the storm lingering over the western Yucatan was doing us no favors!

We checked into the Costa Club, our home away from home for this trip. Extremely pleasant staff, great rooms – some had more of a “view” than others did, but they were sizable, quiet, the A/C cold and the beds spacious enough to provide comfort to even the largest of cover-hogs.
After a quick overview of the facility, we wandered into the Plaza area, to the main shop where we met our hosts from Dive Paradise (we can’t seem to say enough good stuff about this bunch!) The usual paperwork, then the long faces appeared as plans for “hopefully” diving Wednesday were discussed. A quick loop through the storefront and street vendor area, and we made our way back to the hotel. By the way… Bill was dubbed “Mr. Whiskers” by some of the vendors during the loop…
Back at the hotel… well, all I can say was the beer was good and cold!

Wednesday, we checked in with the Dive Shop and it was conveyed that we would not be able to get out then as well… still a bit too rough (3-5ft???) BUT, they were pretty emphatic about our safety, our comfort and our enjoyment, so I can’t really spite them for their position. That said… the First Annual J2 Diving Pool Volleyball Tournament began. While there were no screaming fans, no ESPN cameras or, quite frankly, even a disinterested iguana watching, four of our group frolicked in the slightly chilly pool with a flat volleyball displaying the grace, elegance and agility of some of the finest professional athletes. Jerry Lewis would have been proud!
Did I mention the beer was cold?

So, after a night of sleepless anticipation (kind of like Christmas), we get a report back from Bill, who has already been over to the shop harassing the local manager that diving is on the agenda for the day… WooHoo! Imagine Bill dancing around like he had to go to the bathroom, singing “we’re going diving… we’re going diving…!” Not a pretty sight, but a visual I thought I needed to share since we all had to see it. Sorry!

Waiting anxiously at the dock, our boat arrives where we are greeted – with some reluctance – by our crew (I think they knew to be afraid right off the bat). Once loaded, we were amazed at the water conditions and the changes that had occurred (weather-wise) over the last 24 hours. Off we head to the Santa Rosa Wall…

I won’t bore you with graphic detail of the incredible wall dive, huge coral swim-thru’s, 100+ ft visibility, warm water, giant grouper, snapper and lobster… (go to the website www.j2diving.com instead.) Some great photos… But I will tell you that Cozumel is correctly ranked as being in the Top 10 dive locations in the world!

We ended up doing 4 dives Thurs, 4 Fri and 2 Sat… and a good mix of dive sites they were. From a fast paced night dive with lots of cool critters, to the Palancar Bricks with it’s massive 60+ feet of relief to a Minesweeper sunk three years ago that was set up for the most perfect Intro to Wreck class we could ever think about teaching!

 


Our evenings were spent either overlooking the water or in the hotel lounge laughing with our crew and hotel staff members or recapping the dive events of the day. For me, it was a great blend of friends both local and from farther away and family. The different views offered by all on the dives, the different sights, descriptions and emotion that emulated during these discussions was what pulled the entire trip together for me. Don’t get me wrong… I was impressed once again with the locations, but I appreciate seeing the world of diving through the eyes of others as well.

Did I mention the beer was cold?

Saturday night turned into a somewhat raucous night… guess we were due for that… Strange and unusual drinks AND drinking games were observed by a group from Texas somewhere. I think there are some pictures “to be released”, but they may have to be placed on another website… for those that may be faint of heart. Did I mention the beer was cold??????

The diving, the hotel, the staff of both operations, the dive sights and eventually the weather were all great. I think we made some new friends that will gladly welcome us back again, with the promise of new adventures and stories.

My thanks to Kris for her hard work on coordinating everything. Our appreciation to Bay Adventures who helped Kris greatly, Costa Club and especially Dive Paradise… Apple and her Crew! You made it an absolutely great week!
That being said… I’m off to work on some video editing. Hopefully, some good film to go with the pics!

Stay tuned for some date potentials for:
COZUMEL 2: The Return of Montezuma’s Revenge…