Our first family dive trip


These pictures are from our first trip to Cozumel, July 310, 2001. We stayed at the Plaza Las Glorias (PLG), a nice property, but in need of a facelift. It seems that Hurricane Gilbert left a lasting impression. Arrangements were made by Debra Welch, of http://www.welchtravel.com. Air service was with Continental out of Nashville. Welchtravel did a first rate job. This was the first dive trip our family had put together after I finished my certification dives in the Bahamas. Everything clicked, there were no loose ends. Our dives were booked through Dive Paradise; we used their fast boat 2 tank morning dive option. This was a good choice. Most boats had only 2 or 3 divers in addition to Elizabeth and myself. Take advantage of the free shore dive on your first day, the artificial reef behind the Hotel Barracuda is not very pretty in and of itself (see tire carcass in picture below, BUT, the animal life on the collection of junk is quite nice.) The diving was great and the divemasters very willing to let us dive our own dives. This was a little intimidating; however, the trip Elizabeth and I had taken to Panama City in June had allowed us to get our skills in shape after the Bahamas trip, the first ocean dives for either of us. We used an MX-5 for these pictures. 


The fast boat option is, in my opinion, the best way to go with Dive Paradise.  You get to the reef early and back in time for lunch.  The boats are small, fast, and WET, so be sure to use a dry bag for anything you don't want to get soaked.  Soft drinks are provided; I'd recommend a bottle of water for additional hydration.  Drinking tapwater is not recommended.  Cozumel, like Bonaire, uses osmotic desalinization which, at the production plant, results in very pure drinking water.  Unlike Bonaire, the distribution pipes have failed in places, allowing groundwater contamination.  Go to one of the many supermarkets (a big one right across the street from the PLG) and stock up on bottled water.  We  had no problems at all.


Some diving notes.  I had a table of our dives up, lost'em in the switch to a new server, pretty typical profiles; you'll fine lots of reports up.  Divemasters call the first dive depth at around 80 feet (they use tables) but everyone ends up a bit deeper.  I recommend a computer.  It is drift diving.  Learn to hover for the safety stop, horizontally is best.  Visibility can vary a bit; it was never bad.  Wave action is usually light.  Carry a highly visible safety tube/sausage and a whistle as it's possible to surface away from the boat and other divers.  I'd also recommend a mirror, I saw some folks using CD's - never thought of that.  Entries from the small boats is by back roll.  Hang your butt far enough over the gunwhale and pull your lower legs up or you might bump your lower legs going in.  DM's will hand camera gear down to you.


Night dives weren't a lot of fun for us.  The boat (big, not small), was crowded, lots of divers bumping into each other, very poor buoyancy control was exhibited by some.  Other operators may provide a better experience.


I also recommend renting a car and driving to the east side of the island - great sand beaches, breakers, and a few watering holes. 


















Results varied using the MX-5.  Its small flash firing along the lens axis made backscatter an ever present issue.  However, satisfactory results could be obtained when care was taken to shoot at the proper distance at an appropriate target, like the sponges to the left.