Come on, scuba dive with me! So many of my readers say they could never dive, but actually…you can, at least vicariously! I am so happy that many appear to enjoy my photos and my endless enthusiasm for all things aquatic, but on this wordless Wednesday, enjoy the dive with me. Take 2 minutes and sit back. Relax. It’s all good, I guarantee it!
Villa Blanca is a reef north of the cruise ship port, and one does not see many dive boats in the area. Most of the “dramatic” dive sites are in the south, so Villa Blanca gets much less credit than it deserves. Villa Blanca is a wall dive, filled with sponges and soft corals rather than towering mountains of hard coral. There is abundant life on the reef…if you look closely!
So don’t be afraid to venture out of the “usual” reefs…the dive boats like to go to the more familiar spots that everyone asks for, especially Palancar. I can assure you that Villa Blanca is worth the dive off the beaten path, and the best news? You’ll probably be the only boat there, and that is a rarity on Cozumel’s dive sites. Enjoy the leisure of this unusual wall dive…and by the way, it is an incredible night dive.
Randy and I decided a trip to Cozumel was in order after our daughter’s wedding on October 3. The plan was to relax, and enjoy the Caribbean. The plan came to fruition.
The first week I went diving with Albatros Charters, a great company with three boats. They will do dive trips, snorkeling trips, and they also do fishing charters on their larger boat. Robert was the dive master for the week, and I very much enjoyed diving with him. My diving buddies were David and Kyle, a father and son. Kyle was doing his certification for his Open Water, the first dive certification. I asked him after a dive, “so do you just like diving, or is it fucking awesome?”. “It is awesome,” he said. Another diver and ocean lover in the tribe. Yes!
Video has been my main focus this trip. I bought a GoPro Hero + with an LCD screen so I could see what I was filming. My old GoPro had no LCD screen and I missed my subject with it more often than not. Fortunately, I am starting to get steadier with the camera. I still took some stills, but mostly video. The video of the Hawksbill Turtle at the beginning of this post might clue you in as to why Kyle voted “awesome”! We had some pretty amazing dives.
Our first dive was Palancar Gardens, which is always beautiful with its mounds and hills of coral. Palancar is a very large reef, and one cannot dive it in just one dive. The gardens are named aptly, for the coral is especially colorful and plentiful. There is Palancar Horseshoe, Palancar Caves, Palancar Pinnacles, Palancar Gardens….all the same reef system.
Next, we went to Francesa, always a favorite dive site. The opening video of the flying Hawksbill was filmed on La Francesa, or French Point. Francesa is usually viewed while flying over the reef tops, as it is known as a fast current dive, however during my two weeks here, there was virtually no current, so I was able to really explore Francesa for the first time. It is one of my favorite dive sites.
There is always so much to see on a reef…coral, sponges, shrimps, crabs, fish, lobsters, big fish, little fish….you just never know what you are going to see! It keeps diving fresh and exciting every time! Just check out this video on YouTube of a lobster on the reef…I love watching them move…they have arms and legs and antennae and I don’t know what else…fascinating! (I know it’s a little shaky here and there…but hey, I’m just learning!)
Why haven’t I blogged in a whole week? My car broke down and I was stuck for a week waiting for a tow truck? I’m in Mexico and the internet has been down? (that one is true, actually!) My dog ran away and I’ve been chasing him? What other lame excuse can I come up with? The truth is: I’ve been so busy diving and snorkeling and going out to dinner I just haven’t made time. I sleep, eat, dive, dive, eat, dive, sleep. The perfect existence for me!
Oh, wonderful Mexico! How I love ya, how I love ya! We arrived in Cozumel last Monday and had no internet. Now, I wouldn’t mind being off line so much, but when you are a blogger trying to build your brand and your traffic, it can be rather inconvienent. I’ve been to both Starbucks on the island. One cannot spend the day there, though, how depressing would that be? Too much for me to deal with, especially when there is an ocean full of fish and coral and all kinds of wonderful things just outside my door. I just can’t stay out of the water. I’ve only had one day off from diving, but I am taking the next two days off. Too many divers on the boat…and Randy and I have errands and other things we want to do.
The diving has been nice and easy, with hardly any current, which is unusual for Cozumel. Instead of flying over the reefs, I’ve been able to stop and look around. That’s my favorite!
The food has been rather wonderful…and I will get to that in another post! In the meantime, check out the photos and see what I have been up to!
So, what have YOU been up to?
What a crazy year! Most of my years seem to be crazy…are yours crazy too?
My son married in May, and my daughter married just two weeks ago! The weddings were both wonderful, and friends and family joined us for both, which is always a blessing.
Now…perhaps some relaxation? Well, that is sort of the plan. We are supposed to go to Cozumel on Monday…and I’m hoping we get there, but Randy’s dad is in the hospital, and we have to be sure that he is taken care of 24/7 before we leave town. It is a bit tough to see our parents age and leave us as we head into our midlife. Life is always full…and the cycles remain. Every age has its benefits and its worries.
So…today, I am Cozumel dreaming…with photos. Fingers crossed that I will be blogging and reviewing from our home, Villa Coronado, in Cozumel next week!
Oh yes, Cozumel dreaming….
My favorite part of the Ultimate Dive Experience at the Occidental Allegro in Cozumel? The diving of course! Let’s turn the dives into Fab Photos Friday, and check out Pro-Dive Mexico!
The dive experience at Pro-Dive is friendly, efficient, and quick! Gear is placed in bins with your name on it, and when it is time to board, simply take your gear to the boat and put it together. They have both air and nitrox (no extra charge for Nitrox!), and a Nitrox Analyzer on board. All dive guides are fully certified Master Scuba Diver Trainers, Instructors, which is part of the safety standards for ProDive. I found the dive guide, Louis, from France, to be helpful and professional. Not to mention that I loved his accent. It didn’t take long to get organized and off we went to Palancar Horseshoe Reef.
Pro-Dive’s website is fantastic, giving you all kinds of information on Cozumel diving. Palancar Reefwas made famous by none other than Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s, and it is so large it has to be dived in sections.
Since I was a lone diver I was buddied up with Martin, who turned out to be an excellent diver. It was a pleasure diving with him and the dive master.
After our first dive, we went to dive one of my favorite reefs…Francesa. Francesa Reef is full of life…you never know what you might find, and we found quite a bit!
The greatest finds on the dive were these two Porcupinefish! They are usually very shy, but obviously they are in love and weren’t going anywhere. At least, not during mating season!
The two of them were together, and would not be separated. So sweet!
Travels with Tam gives Pro-Dive Mexico two thumbs up for their professionalism, friendliness, and dive skill. From top to bottom, they are a smooth operation. (Plus, all Nitrox is free on both Cozumel and the Riveria Maya! No extra charge!)
If you are looking for a great dive vacation, be it with your family, your dive group, or just you, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Dive Experience at the Occidental Allegro in Cozumel. There is something for everyone!
Let them know that Tam sent you!