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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)

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)

Cozumel – Island of Swallows, Scuba and Cruise Ships

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Almost ten years ago, we took a cruise leaving from Miami. Turns out, and we might have suspected as much, Jürgen and I are not cruise-people. We found it to be a week-long exercise in boredom, and even the scheduled stops were agonizing. Pushy vendors in Jamaica, Margaritaville in the Caymans, Bingo on-deck. Luckily, there was one bright spot on the itinerary: Cozumel. We had a fantastic time during our day on the Mexican island, and vowed to return one day. A decade later, we made good on the promise.

Found just a few kilometers off Mexico’s Caribbean coast, straight across from Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is home to 90,000 people. But the population swells to twice this number almost every day, thanks to the cruise ships which call into port. While arriving on the hour-long ferry from Playa, we counted six gargantuan boats lining the island’s shore.

The name “Cozumel” comes from the Mayan Kùutsmil, which means Island of Swallows. Associated with the fertility goddess Ix’Chel, the island was famous across the Maya world as a place of pilgrimage and worship. But by the time of the Spanish Conquest, the culture had already fallen into ruin and there remained but a handful of indigenous people to greet the newcomers.

Today, Cozumel has been invaded by a different kind of conquistador: pleasure-seeking cruise-shippers, tens of thousands of whom arrive every morning, then leave as the sun goes down. The crass commercialism which goes hand-in-hand with this kind of tourism dominates the ocean-side streets of San Miguel, the island’s main city, but we had very little to do with it during our week on the island. Cozumel revealed itself to be much larger and more diverse than we had reason to expect.

The island is perhaps most famous for its scuba diving. With healthy coral reefs and crystal-clear water lining its shores, the diving at Cozumel is some of the best and most accessible in the world. We would take advantage of this, and also be introduced to some of the island’s other, lesser-known sights, including lagoons, horseback riding, jungles, Maya ruins, incredible restaurants, and even a working pearl farm.

We spent seven days on Cozumel as the guests of the island’s tourism commission, who were eager to show off how rewarding an extended stay on the island can be. Cozumel gets plenty of tourists, but not many stick around for more than a day. And that’s a mistake.

Cozumel Hotels! Book Now!!

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December 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm Comments (0)
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.
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