We stepped off the sardine can ferry into Cozumel and immediately sighed with relief – until I looked around. We had never had the opportunity to spend any time here and I was a wee bit shocked. This tacky tourist town was exactly what we were trying to avoid. But we were here for one reason and one reason only – to partake in some of the best diving in the world.
Talon of 1Dad1Kid was the one who really convinced us to spend the extra cash and get over to the island from Playa del Carmen. The man is a fish and when he tells you to go to a dive site, you better be ready to head in.
We shivered in anticipation and put on our wetsuits. Both dives we were going on that day were going to be drift dives – or dives that you don’t really have to do much but sit there, enjoy the scenery, and let the current take you. These were the dives I was most looking forward to during our trip to Mexico again, though, I was a bit concerned about the other divers coming along with us.
We shared a boat with 3 guys who had just finished their certification and 2 guys who rolled their eyes and scoffed at the boat as they pretentiously stated their 200+ dives. It was only when we mentioned our dive in Iceland that we got a little bit of cred with them. The 3 newbies were the concern as they aren’t known for air conservation.
We effortlessly glided into the water via James Bond rolls off the side of the boat, a new move for me. As I bobbed in the rough water, I noticed a change. I wasn’t scared anymore. As we descended onto the Santa Rosa Wall, I went down without any sort of panic attack. I was growing as a diver!
This dive was my favorite dive of the day. With massive coral walls, there is so much to look at. Shaun and I glided into swim throughs as though months had not passed between out last dives. We were comfortable. This was our element. I had a HUGE smile on my face… that turned into a giggle as I saw one of the newbies’ tanks stuck in the cave/swim through and one of the pros struggling as well.
And just as I feared, we ascended 15 minutes early. One of the newbies had blown through an alarming amount of air (with no warning) and the divemaster was ready to hand him his extra regulator just in case. The ascent got even more absurd when newbie diver also managed to tangle himself in the line of the buoy telling the boat where we are during the safety stop.
As we hit the surface I turned to the other divers with a grin. “DID YOU HEAR THE WHALE?!” A quick nod from a newbie and I had reached my defining moment of my now brief diving career. Low and long, I had managed to capture something while many of our group did not.
I dive mainly for wildlife and this one topped my life.
For our second drift dive we headed out to Paradise Reef – a super shallow but quite intense drift dive with plenty of fish. The current here was the most intense I had ever experienced, and we couldn’t make any headway if we swam against it. This dive was mainly filled with parrotfish – which, to be honest, are little bitches. They make sure to go out of their way to poop right in front of you, making an unavoidable pooptastic collision.
I did get to see my first live conch. I didn’t believe they were more than bathroom decor until I got to see them in nature.
We did our final ascension (albeit a bit early… AGAIN) and I was floating on cloud 9. Was it worth the extra $25 per person to head over to Cozumel? HELL YES! I think I can deal with the inauthenticity of this cruise port in order to spend time at the amazing dive sites.
….and the only thing we couldn’t stop talking about was returning as quickly as we could for Whale Shark season…
Have you been diving? What were some of YOUR favorite experiences?