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More Diving in Puerto Morelos

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We’d had such a great time learning how to dive in Puerto Morelos, that we couldn’t resist making a return trip to see our friends at WetSet and to get back into the water.

Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market

It’s hard to imagine a better spot for a novice diver than Puerto Morelos. The reefs are a perfect depth, at around fifteen meters. Not too shallow, not too deep. The water is generally calm, with good visibility. The amount of underwater life is stunning, and you don’t have to venture all that far off-shore. My only worry is that by learning how to dive here, we’ve spoiled ourselves. Future dives at other locations are almost guaranteed to be more difficult and less amazing.

We showed up early, happy to see the team at WetSet, whom we got to know fairly well during the certification process. Today, though, there would be no books nor studying involved; we would just be diving for fun. After picking out a couple routes with promising names, Aquarium and Fish Market, we donned our gear and set off in the boat.

Aquarium and Fish Market. You might assume that with names like these, we’d be seeing a lot of fish. And you would be correct. On our first descent, I almost came down right on top of a stingray and just a few meters away, a giant puffer fish was nervously monitoring our incursion into his underwater home. The most exhilarating sighting of the day was a massive moray eel… without exaggeration, it had to be three meters long. (The great thing about diving? When terrified, you can go right ahead and pee yourself).

We can’t recommend WetSet enough. Such cool, relaxed and fun people. If you want for an excellent shop with whom to do some easy and affordable diving in the Caribbean, head to Puerto Morelos and look them up.

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Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
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February 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm Comment (1)

MUSA – An Underwater Museum Off Isla Mujeres

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We’ve been to plenty of strange museums during our travels around the world. An optical illusion museum in Busan. A bordello museum in Idaho. The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul and a phallological museum in Iceland. But there’s a new contender for the title of most unique: the MUSA, an underwater museum found off the coast of Isla Mujeres.

Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere

The MUSA, or Museo Subacuático de Arte, is the brainchild of Jason DeCaires Taylor, a British artist who was motivated to act after the devastation wreaked by 2008’s Hurricane Wilma. By designing sculptures and placing them on the sandy bottom of the sea, Taylor was fulfilling two purposes. First, he was creating an artificial reef onto which coral would grow and within which sea life might flourish. Second, he was diverting human attention away from the overtaxed natural reef.

Both of these aims have been met. Visiting the museum requires an easy dive of just 8 meters (24 feet), or you can choose to see it from above while snorkeling. The sculptures include a miniature house, a Volkswagen Beetle and a haunting collection of human statues, frozen in time. If you look closely, each person in this group is different, from a pregnant woman to a kneeling priest, and they’re all slowly being claimed by the coral.

Our visit to the MUSA was the first of two dives we made on the same day. The second was to a nearby reef called Manchones. It was another shallow dive, during which we swam along with an incredible array of fish. Our most exciting encounter was with a Stonefish. It was shifting a little as I passed over, otherwise I’d never have spotted it. The fish was so well camouflaged that Jürgen had a hard time seeing it even though I was just a foot away, pointing frantically. I dared not get closer; these are among the most poisonous fish in the world, and a single sting can prove fatal.

Location of the MUSA on our Map
MUSA Museo Subacuático de Arte – Website

My Underwater Camera

More images from the underwater museum:

Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere

More photos from the Manchones Reef:

Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere
Manchones Reef Diving Isla Mujuere

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January 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm Comments (9)

An Underwater Paradise Off Cozumel

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With iridescent waters and one of Earth’s best reefs just offshore, it was no coincidence that we choose to spend a week on Cozumel immediately after obtaining our scuba certifications. The Caribbean island has long been regarded as one of the world’s premiere diving destinations.

There’s an almost unlimited variety of diving possibilities at Cozumel, with spots along the reef that are suitable for any skill level. Although we had been invited to join an advanced dive, descending to 30 meters with the goal of watching a migrating group of spotted eagle rays, we decided on a much more shallow excursion. This would be our first real dive, and we wanted to take it easy. And besides, this easier dive was to a place called “Paradise Reef”. With a name like that, it’s hard to go wrong.

Stretching from the tip of the Yucatán all the way to Honduras, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the world’s second-longest reef system, behind only the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. And Cozumel is home to a great section of it, protected since 1996 as the “Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park”. The number of possible dives around the island is amazing; just take a look at Reefs of Cozumel, an excellent online resource which describes 38 of the most popular sites.

After a short boat ride, we dropped into the water and sank to the ocean floor. Jürgen and I were the only newbies among a large group of lifelong divers, and I had been worried that they’d be bored at this “beginners” section of the reef. But the minute I saw the coral formations, those fears vanished. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been there; something as beautiful as this reef simply can’t get old.

How many fish did we see? Hard to say… hundreds? Thousands? There were large, colorful fish that seemed content to float along with us, a school of snappers performing a synchronized dance, moray eels and big black groupers. And what’s that whiskered beast hiding under a rock? A splendid toadfish! Totally endemic to Cozumel, I had never even heard of it before. And there… hovering comfortably in the distance with a school of smaller fish swimming around him, a barracuda, at least a couple meters long and terrifying to behold.

We stayed down for about 45 minutes before our tanks ran low. Not bad for our first real dive, though I was shocked to learn how much air the experienced divers still had left in their tanks. We’ve still got some learning to do. But it was a memorable day out; and we didn’t have to wait long before the decision to become certified divers paid off.

Video and pictures taken with this underwater camera!

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December 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm Comments (2)

Learning How to Scuba Dive

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One reason Jürgen and I chose the Yucatán Peninsula as our home for 91 days was our desire to learn how to scuba dive. This is one of the best places in the world to do so. After some research, we decided on the four-day certification course offered by Wet Set, a scuba-diving shop found in Puerto Morelos.

We were introduced to scuba diving almost ten years ago, when we participated in a two-hour beginners-level course offered on a cruise ship. Being able to breathe underwater was an exhilarating experience; the course gave us a tantalizing sample of scuba diving, and we immediately wanted more. But the years passed by, and we never found ourselves in a position to properly learn.

Until now. Puerto Morelos was the perfect spot to complete our certification. Just offshore is the world’s second-longest reef, and the town itself is peaceful and quiet, ideal for studying. Most importantly, the pros at Wet Set couldn’t have been more helpful. This small shop near the Ojo de Agua Hotel, run by an American/Scottish husband and wife team, boasts a tremendously friendly and qualified staff.

Under the watchful, critical supervision of our instructor, Lisa, we went from clueless scuba newbies to certified divers in four days. Scuba is a lot more knowledge-based than I realized. There are a lot of facts and skills with which to become familiar. Now that I’m certified, I can tell you what nitrogen narcosis is and, without any problems, could calculate your post-dive pressure group. I can confidently assemble your diving equipment and communicate potentially important phrases like “I’m out of air, give me yours”, using my hands.

Of course, the classroom was just part of it. A huge chunk of our time was spent in the water, practicing and demonstrating necessary skills. Things like taking our masks off underwater, recovering our regulators, providing air to our buddies, ascending to the surface in one breath, and hovering mid-water without moving a limb. These skill checks were not just important, but kind of fun. Upon completing each, I felt a little less anxious about diving. It’s a relief when you know that you can now deal with a situation as serious as running out of air.

We made four dives as part of our course, visiting various spots along the reef. These initial underwater forays were split between fun and work; we had to practice specific tasks, but also had time to sight-see. We swam past a giant sea turtle, trumpet fish, and even found a moray eel staring at us from his cave. And with each dive, our confidence grew.

After four exhausting days, we received our Open Water Certifications with a feeling of accomplishment. If you’re looking for a great place to learn how to scuba dive, make your way to Puerto Morelos and find Wet Set. If you’re already certified, they offer good-value dives in various spots along the reef and, for those not into scuba, they do snorkeling, as well as something called “snuba” diving: a hybrid between scuba and snorkel.

Location of Wet Set on our Map
Wet Set – Website

Great Place To Stay In Puerto Morelos

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December 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm Comments (7)
More Diving in Puerto Morelos We'd had such a great time learning how to dive in Puerto Morelos, that we couldn't resist making a return trip to see our friends at WetSet and to get back into the water.
For 91 Days