Such beautiful dives, Santa Rosa Shallows (always a favorite) and Cedral Wall.
Such beautiful dives, Santa Rosa Shallows (always a favorite) and Cedral Wall.
Ah, I’ve been diving with We-B-Divin’ in Cozumel longer than it has been We-B-Divin. It was originally owned by our friends Tony and Suzanne. Life tends to change, change, and then change some more, but one thing never changes: awesome service from great divemasters and the best lunch on the island!
Our first dives were Palancar Gardens, followed by Santa Rosa Shallows. Palancar Gardens is just that: a garden (a mountainous garden) of corals, sponges and sealife. Santa Rosa Shallows runs right along a wall…I love wall dives, the drop off is so dramatic. Anyway, here are the creatures I found at these dive sites!
Santa Rosa Shallows:
Did I mention I was traveling to Cozumel? Well, I haven’t been here since last July, and Randy became so critically ill right after we got home (glad he didn’t go critical in Cozumel, he wouldn’t be here), and many things have just been put to the side because of Randy’s recovery. The need to find new management prompted the visit, but a lot needs to be done. So, now painting is scheduled, I’m oiling some furniture (yes, OILING it, it is wood), I bought new appliances, and new outdoor furniture, and new kitchen stuff, and lamps…etc. A lot of other things are in the works. I’m spending tomorrow making sure we all have our duckies in a row.
What struck me when I arrived was the quiet. The Cozumel government decided (finally!) to enforce the one way only coastal road between the ocean and our home. Now the traffic is southbound only, and no taxis allowed. The other lane is for walkers, bikers, runners, scooters, segway tours, and things like that. It is so quiet! I hear my chimes in the breeze, the birds, the wind through the palms, and even the ocean once in a while! (we are on the leeward side of Cozumel where the water is very calm). I’ve just been mesmerized by it! Today is Sunday, so the locals are on the beach, but they will leave southbound instead of northbound! Awesome. This is just fantastico!
So, the first day I arrived I jumped in the water to snorkel right away. It was very peaceful….and I’m staying shallow because I am alone. But shallow is fine. I met with our new managers the next morning, and it went very well, even though I was so distracted by the quiet and the blue of the water. Then I had things to do, like go over to the mainland and buy stuff. I hate taking any time away from the water, but I forced myself on the ferry. Of course, as I pulled out of our palapa to leave, I accidentally hit the rear view mirror driver side and busted it. Ever tried driving without it? I do NOT recommend it. I ended up taping it on! So off to Playa del Carmen. I found a cab, told him I wanted to go to Liverpool *(department store) spend 30 minutes shopping and rush back to catch the next ferry back. So that is what we did. It took a little more than 30 minutes…even though I had all the model numbers ready, it takes them a while to figure out the sale. Whatever, just hurry it up! After 45 minutes or so I was finished, so back to Playa. I needed water so I stopped into an Oxxo, and left my Liverpool bag in the store. Don’t worry, I got it back. I also realized on the ferry over that I had forgotten to bring my cell phone. Oh, and I also forgot to lock the door to my house. It is so true: I would leave my head behind if it was not attached. Idiot!
I had a couple of nice, easy going dive days, then scheduled a day of the cursed shopping. I went to the lighting store, Boxito, which is a big retailer here for home decor. The light I want is hanging on display. But I was informed it does not exist. It’s in the 2014 catalog. Oh. Well, it is no longer available. Anywhere in Mexico. Sorry. OH! There are two in Playa del Carmen. I said great, I’ll take those two and the light on display at the store, and that will make the 3 lights I need. THAT was an issue. Special permission would be needed. The next thing I know, the lights are not in Playa, they are nowhere to be found in Mexico. Period. My head was spinning. Then it was off to Sam’s with Laurel, our next door neighbor and former manager. Now, when I shop, I walk in, tell them what I want, then I get OUT. I hate shopping, especially here. It took over an hour for me to buy the things I needed. The salesperson had to check with his superiors a million times. Anyone not familiar with the 3rd world would have an attack if they went shopping down here for anything other than souvenirs.
Now, there may be people who bristle at my calling Mexico a third world country, the now PC term “developing nation”. But it is. And here is why, I have one criteria for whether or not a place is 3rd world. If the country still uses carbon paper to make copies, it is 3rd world. End of story. And yes, they still use carbon paper down here. It has come a long way, but they still use carbon paper. It is also the truth that in every 3rd world country I have visited I have noticed the lack of problem solving skills. There must be a study on this, I will have to look. But from Mexico to Zimbabwe to Mozambique to Nairobi…no one seems to be able to solve a problem. And when YOU come up with the solution, they look at you as though you just grew 3 heads. And of course, they don’t do it. They just pass you on to the next person who will not be able to help you.
Ah. As I sit in my dining room, looking at the bluest of Caribbean seas, I have to admit it is worth the aggravation to be here. I snorkeled once today, but I need to go back out at sunset and hunt for octopus. Today I looked for seahorses. No, I did not find any, but I know they are there! Well, back to oiling my table, then heading out to see what is going on in MY ocean. I’ll let you know.
It has been quite a trip! The first week my cousin Kathy came to dive with me, followed by the boys, my son Wes and his musketeers Cooper and Charlie, followed by fellow volunteers from my trip to Mozambique last year, Felix, Marcel and Daniela, and last but not least, my daughter, Alexandra.
It has been fun, but exhausting! I was constantly in the water.
Randy and I spent our last evening at Primas, one of our favorite restaurants in Cozumel. It overlooks the ocean and is on the top floor of a condo complex. Primas used to be one of the most popular restaurants in Cozumel, located on the town plaza. It moved five years ago or so. Most of the waiters are still there, but we sadly discovered that the former maitre d, Juan Carlos, passed away recently. He was only in his 40s, far too young to die of a heart attack. Matteo is our buddy at Primas, he brings us our drinks, and certainly knows my dinner order, every time we walk in. What was the Cheers saying, where everyone knows your name? Well, they certainly know our drinks and food.
We enjoyed dinner with Mark and Lyn, our next door neighbors, and our new Cozumel attorney and his wife, at La Cocay on Calle Ocho. La Cocay has the best food on the island, bar none. The meal was so enjoyable, Felipe and Maria are from Merida and love Cozumel, and their company was delightful. Maria was fun to talk with, she certainly has a mind of her own, an admirable quality in my estimation. Felipe told us stories of the Yucatan’s history, and it was fascinating! Apparently, the Yucatan (like Texas) was its own country for quite a while. In the 1840’s Mexico tried to conquer the Yucatan, so the Mayan workers (much like slaves in America) were armed, and Mexico was defeated. The Mayans were tired of their treatment and wanted their freedom, so they made a deal with Mexico: Yucatan would become a part of Mexico if they would help the Mayans gain independence and better conditions. Many of the Yucatan’s leading families were murdered, and the Yucatan went back to Mexico. This was 15 or 20 years before our Civil War. Interesting, right?
I confess myself ready to go home, which is strange for me. It will be a full house: my daughter has moved back home for a while in order to save up to buy her own place, and my son and his girlfriend are planning to move to Austin, but first, they will stay with us. Wes just graduated college, so they are coming to us from California with their dog, Layla, and cat, Gibson (can you tell my son is a guitarist?) to join our two dogs, Luke and Lucy, and our daughter’s dog Remy, and her two cats, Strider and Bella. A zoo, right? Absolutely! I’m looking forward to it, though. It will be far from dull. It will probably be the last time the four of us live under the same roof. They leave the nest, but they do come back to visit!
Well, we received our First Class upgrades on our flights (travel hint: travel mid week if you want to be upgraded!), but though I have worked like crazy today, there is still packing to do in the morning. See you stateside!
Seriously, Seriously! Really? Really. I think I just had the best dives I’ve ever had on Cozumel. Thank you, We-B-Divin-Cozumel and the best dive master, Yasser Rosado! My daughter came into Cozumel, and she hadn’t been diving in two years. Off we went to Palancar Caves, and Cedar Pass, her LEAST favorite dives on the island. Allycat really does not care for too much current, and Cedar Pass is usually a high current dive. Yasser knows we don’t like going through the “swim throughs” at Palancar Caves, so we stayed above the corals…and we are so glad we did! We sighted 2 Black Tip Reef Sharks above us! They were small, and darting around the top of the reef. I took video of them, they were just a little too far away to take photos. We saw them several times on the dive, always above us. During the next part of the dive I sighted a glorious Eagle Ray across the reef, and began swimming toward it. I was ready with video because usually Eagle Rays see divers and head the other direction, but this one just kept on coming and kept on chewing whatever it was it was eating, and I ended up swimming right next to it for a bit. They are so incredibly beautiful, with beautiful wide wings with Cheerio shapes, and a long, beautiful tail. What a gift, just to be with it for a little while.
We also saw two big Green Moray eels, and one of them was sleeping! Kind of spooky, they look dead lying there with their eyes open.
A nurse shark made an appearance, as did turtles who were awake! Also, Southern Stingrays. Really, just incredible, wonderful, perfect dives at Palancar Caves and Cedar Pass. Cozumel is generally what I term, “relaxation diving”. Yes, all dives are drift dives and sometimes the current can be a little strong, but for the most part, the dives are easy going, with incredible visibility (100 ft plus) with gorgeous coral, tons of fish, and some exciting animals once in a while. It is not challenging diving (very rarely, anyway), and in 20 years I never saw any shark except Nurse Sharks (though last year we did see a Black Tip Reef Shark’s head with no body floating around). Pilot Whales and False Killer Whales made a one day appearance last year as well. No humpbacks, whale sharks or Manta Rays. It is always a true pleasure to dive Cozumel, but if you are looking for big Pelagic action, this is not the place to look for it.
The follow up to these dives were the next day, when I took photos of a family posing with a large-ish Hawksbill turtle. Rays, sharks, eels….great dives. Francesa and Santa Rosa Shallows never fail to delight with its variance of color, fish, and animals. Not to mention all the cool little things like shrimps, Christmas Tree Worms, Fireworms….you could spend forever under the ocean and never get bored.
Never been diving in Cozumel? THAT is something you should rectify immediately! Check out Villa Coronado!/