Tuesday, Jan. 1st 2008
I rang in the New Year with a dive on Palancar Gardens with Laurie, Leslie, Karen, Ashlee, Clayton, Don and Ashley. We saw lots of turtles. One of the turtles was just a little tiny baby. I looked for the brown seahorse but couldn’t find it.
On Paradise, I scored! I found both of those beautiful seahorses again. One is a deep reddish brown and the other is a yellow-brown. They are both really big. We also saw a docile green moray eel, many large lobsters and a couple of crabs.
Friday, January 4th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Chris, Erick, Diane, Joanne, Courtney and Caitlin. We saw a big spotted eagle ray gliding gracefully beneath us.
At Colombia Shallows we found three turtles for Diane along with a pair of lobsters, hanging out together.
Saturday, January 5th
Steve, Karen, Ed, Jim, Robert, Will and Terra came with me to Palancar Gardens where we saw a big crab hanging on to the side of the drop off and clinging to the reef. It made a beautiful photo because it was surrounded by pretty orange sponges and bright green algae.
Dalila provided a medium sized nurse shark lying aabout and being just lazy.
Sunday, January, 6th
I took just Lori-Ann and Mathew to Palancar Horseshoe that morning. A darling little green moray eel was poking its head out of a hole. It was very shy and tried to hide from us when we got close. We also saw a turtle on that same dive.
Dalila was way cool! Matthew pointed out a pair of big spotted eagle rays. We saw a small turtle and two nurse sharks. One was pretty small, and the other shark was really large with a remora attached.
Monday, January 7th
For a change of pace we went to Palancar Bricks with Will, Steve, Roberto, Jim, Matthew and Lori-Ann. We spotted three turtles. One turtle came down from the surface and swam right up to Jim and me. We saw a golden tail eel with its mouth wide open and a spotted moray.
Cedral Wall had less current than usual. We saw one little baby nurse shark and one larger shark. I found an octopus way back in its den and behind some sea shells. We saw so many turtles that I lost count. There were several big lobsters. Will said that the variety of fish we saw today was fantastic and best of all, the fish didn’t shy away from his camera. We had some very happy divers that day.
Wednesday, January 9th
I went back to Palancar Gardens with Matthew, Lori-Ann, Johan, Sara, David and Linda. We saw small turtle and a golden tail moray eel.
On French Reef a big southern stingray was waiting for us. We also spotted a bunch of lobsters. We had nice calm conditions and it was a relaxing dive.
Friday, January 11th,
I did a resort course near shore at Paradise with Alym, Amin and Ally. We saw a spotted moray eel and we also had an opportunity to swim with the big school of scads.
We went looking for a turtle on Las Palmas reef. We struck out. I looked in every hole and on every coral head but had no luck. We drifted along with the current and the biggest critter that we saw was a rainbow parrotfish. It was about 3-feet long.
Saturday, January 12th
I dived on the C53 wreck with Bart, Toni, Caitlin and Brendan. We swam all around the wreck and through it. I showed Brendan some brittle stars on the bright red encrusting sponges. We also found a few arrow crabs. Brendan said that it was the best dive ever!
Then I took them to Las Palmas. I think Bart was a little disappointed in that dive. We saw two large southern stingrays, two splendid toadfish and some turtle poop. Oh well!
Sunday, January 13th
I picked up David at Casa Del Mar and took him over to Paradise for a couple of training dives for his Advanced Open Water Certification. We practiced Peak Performance Buoyancy Control. After completing his skills, we poked around and found a spotted moray eel and swam through the school of scads. Then I swam him over to the reef to show him the big, brown pregnant seahorse. I am so happy to know that there will be a lot more seahorses on Paradise in the future!
Still on Paradise we practiced natural navigation and compass use. A boat that was over head caused us to get a bit off of course but he did a fine job of navigating. I showed him a splendid toadfish and he showed me a black grouper.
Monday, January 14th
I dived Palancar Caves with Toro, Steve, Jenn, David, Dan, Bart, Toni, Caitlin and Brendan. We saw several turtles. Steve showed everyone a big nurse shark but Toro and I missed it for different reasons. Toro showed us a big green moray eel swimming deep below us.
Then we all went to San Francisco Wall where we saw a few more turtles and some big black groupers.
In the afternoon I did two dives on Paradise with Clay and Barry for their Open Water training. On the first dive we saw a golden tail, a spotted moray, a gold spot eel and a lobster.
On the second dive we saw three big seahorses, two of which were hanging out together again on a soft coral. They never cease to amaze me. We also saw an octopus in its den.
Tuesday, January 15th
I went to my “first day” favorite, Palancar Gardens with Dan, Steve, Jenn, David, Elizabeth, Barry and Clay. That frisky big green moray was out on the hunt. Jenn found a pair of small nurse sharks napping together beneath the reef.
I found all three seahorses again on Paradise. The pregnant one is still nice and fat. I said hello to Spike for Laura. I tortured one of the three splendid toadfish that I found.
A huge green eel was stretched out under a ledge and we could see her really well.
Wednesday, January 16th
Steve, Steve, Jenn, David, Bart, Toni and Caitlin came diving with me on Colombia Deep. Right off the bat we discovered a big green moray eel. January must be green moray month or something. Then we saw a rather large nurse shark lying under the reef near the anchor.
During the surface interval Toni asked to see an octopus. I told her sarcastically, “No problem”. Arriving at the bottom we saw one of the two baby nurse sharks. Then Toni found her own darned octopus and it was huge. It was pretty easy for everyone to get a look. David took a picture of it. It sat so still that the divers accused me of putting a plastic octopus down there to fool them. A big turtle swam right behind Steve. I found another octopus, but this one was hiding in a hole behind its cast off sea shells. We found the other baby nurse shark in the usual hole with the warm water. No one watched their computers on that dive and everyone that had a Suunto computer went into deco! Oops! Guess Mama Alison is going to have to swim around and check computers next time……….
Thursday, January 17th
I went to good old Palancar Gardens with David, Dan, Mike, Mike, Kevin, Erin, Joy and Susanna. Entering the first little canyon we encountered a turtle feasting on a sponge and it was very still for the cameras. Coming out of the first swim-through the big green moray awaited us with its mouth agape. Mike asked me if they always do that. I found Jenn’s little nurse shark in the same hole again.
Then we went to French Reef to see a couple more turtles and some really big black groupers. We petted a furry sea cucumber. It feels really squishy.
Friday, January 18th
Dive one was on Palancar with Denise, Lester, Mary, Holly, Dave, Doug, Janine and Dave. Poor Doug had his mask literally fall apart at 50 feet deep. I was looking right at him when the lens just popped out and went to the bottom. He got mad and just took it off. We went slowly to the surface and got him another mask. He is a Rescue Diver so it totally did not panic him. He just stuck the new mask on and down we went to finish the dive. At the end of the dive, Lester and I saw a huge spotted eagle ray. By the time we got Mary’s attention it was just about gone. When we got back on the boat we checked out Doug’s mask. There was a big crack in the side of it. He couldn’t understand how it would get a crack like that being stored in the box. I told him that it probably got dropped or stepped on 4 years ago, the last time he used it and he probably didn’t notice it.
Our second dive was on French Reef where we found a couple of turtles for Denise and a bunch of southern stingrays.
Saturday, January 19th
I dived Santa Rosa Wall with Joy, Mike, Erin, Mike Sr., Roger, Doug and Kathryn. While still at the surface I looked down and saw a big green eel being followed by two big black groupers. The other divers saw a large nurse shark in the sand. I missed it. When we crossed over to Santa Rosa Shallow we saw a baby turtle.
On Yucab we encountered two huge spotted eagle rays that swam right at us. One had no tail. The other had a couple of big remoras stuck to its belly.
That afternoon I did a refresher dive with Bob and Kitty on Paradise. We saw two octopus, two splendid toadfish, a spotted moray and a big crab. We had more equipment problems with Kitty’s BCD. A little rubber piece fell off of Kitty’s Air 2 and was lost at the bottom of the sea. She had just had the BCD serviced. Hmmmmm…….
Monday, January 21st
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Toro, JF, Louis, Nathalie, JP, Stephanie, Karen and Keith. My group didn’t see any turtles. We were working hard on skills for certification. JF, Louis and Toro saw some turtles.
On Colombia Shallow we swam with a little baby green turtle. Usually we only see hawksbills. The green turtles are uncommon in Cozumel.
Tuesday, January 22nd
I took Al, Gary, Paul, JF, Nathatlie, JP, Louis and Stephanie to Palancar Gardens. We saw a couple of turtles and a large spotted eagle ray. That is so lucky for JP and Stephanie, .who were being certified. Not everyone gets to see good stuff like that on certification dives! Paul said that the big ray came back around later in the dive, but I didn’t see it the second time.
French Reef was like swimming around in an aquarium. I think that the top of French Reef is now the dive with the most fish in Cozumel.
I went diving again in the afternoon with Karen, Keith and Jose on Palancar Horseshoe. Keith finally got a glimpse of the drop off that he was anxious to see. There was a big turtle at the site. We also spotted a crab.
Karen’s certification was completed on Colombia Shallow. We saw one big spotted eagle ray swimming alone. While doing fin-pivots we looked up and saw another pair of spotted eagle rays glide by us. At the end of the dive we saw yet another eagle ray. What a special check out dive for Jose and Karen! It was “eagle ray day” on Colombia Shallow.
Wednesday, January 23rd
Al, Paul, Jose, JF, Nathalie, JP, Louis and Stephanie came with me to Palancar Caves. As we descended, I saw a big green moray eel but I think that JF was the only other person who saw it. Everyone else was just busy getting to the bottom of the reef. We also saw another green turtle, as well as the more common hawksbill.
Dalila was an exciting dive for us. We saw a few turtles and some swimming sharks. The last shark was very large. There were also seven black groupers shadow-hunting along with the shark.
That last shark we saw was bigger than Stephanie!
Thursday, January 24th
Per special request we went to the C53 wreck with JF, Nathalie, JP, Louis, Steph, Paul, Doug and Kathryn. I was surprised that there were no lobsters under the wreck. I guess the poachers are visiting the wreck regularly now. The biggest thorny oyster that I have ever seen lives in one of the open rooms on the deck.
We went looking for seahorses for Nathalie on Paradise reef.. Not only did we find the pregnant seahorse, along with one of the other large ones, but Nathalie found a little baby yellow seahorse. It was perfectly camouflaged with the algae that it was hanging onto.
I did a night dive on Paradise with JF, Nathalie, Louis, JP and Steph. It was a rather uneventful night dive. We saw one big lobster, several crabs and a splendid toadfish. Steph and I saw two tiny octopuses...so the dive was not a complete bore. The new night divers were impressed but JF and I thought that it was one of the less exciting night dives.
Friday, January 25th
I thought that I would WOW JF, Nathalie, Louis, JP, Steph, Stephen, Al, Guy and Martine on Colombia Deep. We saw a small turtle and a big turtle. JP and Steph did the deep dive for their Advanced certification. The impressive thing about that dive is the towering coral formations. It is one of Al’s favorite sites in Cozumel.
Everyone but me saw the swimming nurse shark on Cedral Wall. I did see quite a few turtles. The family of juvenile spotted drums is now 4, not 5. Something must have eaten one……. We also saw a nice big octopus. I kinda forgot about the divers for a minute when the big green moray eel swam by. I just couldn’t resist a little affection for my favorite eel.
I took Joel, Gina, Brandy and Brian to Palancar Caves in the afternoon. We saw 5 turtles! We also saw a southern stingray and another small green moray eel.
The current was going the wrong way on Dalila so it took half an hour just to get to where I wanted to be. We saw a splendid toadfish. Brian found a spotted scorpion fish blending in with the reef. Several southern stingrays glided by us too.
Saturday, January 26th
For a change of pace I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Al, Gary, Andy, JF, Nathalie, Louis, JP and Steph. Gary saw a big shark when we first went down but I missed it. Then we saw a huge eagle ray. Stephanie started to follow it as it disappeared off into the distance so I had to go round her up.
There were loads of lobsters and several crabs waiting for us on Chankanaab. A pair of spotted eagle rays were coming toward us but turned around when JP tried to take their picture. A pair of barracudas hovered behind Andy’s head and they looked like UFOs to me. A big nurse shark slept on the bottom but took off when everyone approached. I was thinking that Al might try the old “touch its tail” trick.
I did an afternoon dive on Palancar Gardens with Joel, Brandy, Brian and Gina since they like to go through caves. We saw another turtle and a big crab. I swam them through as many caves as I could find. Gina loved the yellow-tail damselfish on the top of the reef. Brandy said that she could go back to that dive site every day for the rest of her life!
The last dive of the day was on Paradise in search of seahorses for Brandy. Boy, did they put the pressure on me :-)J Well, I found three of them! The pregnant one looked like it was ready to pop at any minute. We also saw two big octopuses and three splendid toadfish. There were too many goldentail morays to count.
Sunday, January 27th
Chucho and I split the group that morning. I took Norbert, April and Darreyl to Colombia Deep. Chucho took Chuck, Jim, Gary, Andy and Geoff to the Devil’s Throat. I think that we probably had a better dive on Colombia :-)J We got to see a small Caribbean reef shark. We swam through a beautiful cave and we saw a big crab and a large lobster.
We all dived Colombia Shallows together. Andy showed me a tiny octopus. It was the size of a silver dollar. I tried to show Norbert and April a big octopus and a spotted moray, but they never saw them because both of those critters were hiding in holes. Andy found a small nurse shark and saw a small turtle.
Monday, January 28th
My first tank was at Palancar Gardens with Al, Gary, Andy, Geoff, Norbert and April. We swam through tunnels and saw a turtle, idly munching on a sponge.
We dropped down on a turtle at Cedral Wall. I saw the four spotted drums all flitting around, all together. I swam over to pet my sweet green moray eel. I found the baby nurse shark in the mysterious hole filled with warm water. We saw too many turtles to count. Gary showed us a big nurse shark that swam up from the deep.
I did a couple more dives in the afternoon with Bob, Bonnie, Geoff, Jan and Ron. It took awhile to get everyone to the bottom. I found a tiny two-foot nurse shark sleeping peacefully under a rock. I woke the poor thing so that everyone could get a look at it. Geoff found a big crab on that dive.
I saved the best for last on Palancar Horseshoe. The guys found another small nurse shark, hidden way back in a crevice. I found a crab. While Geoff and I were making a safety stop I turned my head to discover three large dolphins right behind us. We swam with them for about a minute but they are fast and we couldn’t keep up.
Wednesday, January 30th
Gary likes that blue water so I took Gary, Al, Geoff, Bob and Bonnie to San Francisco Wall. We saw a big nurse shark with its fat head stuck in a barrel sponge trying to suck out some breakfast. The nurse shark was being followed by an entourage of black groupers that hoped to snatch some table scraps. We also saw a hawksbill turtle down below us.
On Yucab one of the boys pointed out another big nurse shark. I went over for a closer look and frightened it away. Oops. It hid under the reef. I felt bad for ruining everyone’s viewing pleasure.
Thursday, January 31st
I did a deep dive on Palancar Caves with Al, Gary and Andy. Chucho took Barbara, Ben and Jan shallow. We saw a big nurse shark swimming ahead of us at 100 feet deep. I just didn’t want to waste air or exert myself to chase after it.
Next, we were off to Paradise to show Andy the seahorses. We found all three of them! The pregnant seahorse was not pregnant any longer!
We hung out with a large octopus for a few minutes. It would balloon up and try to blend in with the reef. Then it would scoot away and turn aqua.
Friday, February 1st
Dive number one was on Palancar Gardens with Dan, Jeannie, Al, Gary, Andy, Bonnie and Bob. Coming out of a swim=through, Bob almost bumped his head on a turtle swimming above him. The current was pretty swift heading southbound.
Then we went on to visit Dalila. I made poor Al swim against a very mild current for half an hour. When the speed picked up we did an about face and drifted with it. We saw a big green moray eel that Jeannie perceived as “mean”. (It was just opening and closing its mouth to funnel water through its gills.) Al flirted with a spotted scorpion fish. We saw a big southern stingray in the sand. and a treasure....I found an old mask lying in the sand.
Saturday, February 2nd
I went back to Palancar Gardens with Chase, Logan, Terri, Paul, Pablo, Chad and Pete. We saw a lobster in a hole along with a juvenile spotted drum swimming around in front..
We saw a huge puffer fish and a rainbow parrotfish on Paso Del Cedral. Chad got to see the turtle that he requested up close and personal. The turtle was extremely cooperative and just swam slowly beneath us. It made no attempt to get away. It didn’t mind our presence.
Monday, February 4th
I did Pablo’s Deep Dive for his Advanced certification on San Francisco Wall. Pete and Gary came with me. We had planned the dive to 90 feet but Pete ended up chasing a big barracuda down a bit deeper. We saw a southern stingray in the sand. During the shallow half of the dive, I found a spotted scorpion fish, a juvenile drum and a splendid toadfish. Under my favorite ledge lurked a big green moray eel and a grouper.
Our second dive was on the C53 wreck. We had a bit of current and since it is not a drift dive we got our exercise for the day. We earned our desert at dinner that night.
Tuesday, February 5th
I took Bob, Bonnie, Pablo, Andrea, Minna, Nico and Pete to Palancar Gardens. We experienced large waves that day. The first turtle that we saw was a green turtle. Bob was the one who pointed it out. Next, we saw two more turtles but they were the more common hawksbills. The divers had a hard time at the surface when they came up because of the waves.
Bob requested French Reef for the second dive. We saw another turtle but only her rear end was showing. She was wedged head first in a small hole munching on something. She wiggled her back half at us as she ate. It was really very cute. I actually screamed, “Pete!” through my regulator when I discovered the free-swimming green moray eel. That was high up on Pete’s list of critters to see this week.
Wednesday, February 6th
Jeff and Carmen requested Santa Rosa Wall. We saw the first turtle down at 115 feet. Jeff, Carmen and Pete went down there to take pictures. I stayed up at 80 feet with John and Andrea. The second turtle we saw was busy eating and we stared at it for a good five minutes. A large turtle, she couldn’t care less, if surrounded by divers.
Pete needed to see the seahorses. So off to Paradise we went. Pete’s camera stopped working so he never got a picture of them, after all. . We saw two seahorse this time.
We also saw several goldentail moray eels, a bunch of splendid toadfish and a beautiful little nurse shark napping under the reef.
Thursday, February 7th
Carlos took Ed, Rick, Gary, Pete, Andrea and me to our old standby, Palancar Gardens. Pete had not been there yet this week. At the end of the dive I found the little nurse shark that Jenn discovered back in January. When only Gary and I were still down doing a safety stop, a spotted eagle ray swam past us nice and slowly.
We had a great dive on Cedral Wall. First I found the 5th spotted drum that went missing. I had just assumed that it had been eaten but I found the little bugger a couple of meters off to the east of the rest of his group. The big octopus was gone but there were two splendid toadfish in its place. Pete was the first to spot the nurse shark. Later I found the sweet green moray eel hiding together with a nurse shark in Chucho’s old feeding spot.
The poor eel had a big injury on her throat. She was lying sideways so I couldn’t see her right side to check for further injury. She was quite listless and I was worried about her. I will have to go and check on her again very soon. Pete spotted the last big nurse shark in the deep water over the wall. There were several turtles on that dive.
Friday, February 8th
I took Pete and Gary to Bolones de Chankanaab. Pete showed us a turtle and a pair of yellow-headed jaw fish. He took lots of pictures of the yellow stingrays. We saw a spotted drum, a golden tail eel and a balloon fish. We saw five different lobsters. Two of which were enormous and simply out for a stroll.
Pete wanted to go to Yucab. I took lots of pictures on that dive that didn’t come out well at all. !!!
Sunday, February 10th
I took Deke and R.J. to Palancar Gardens. Deke found a very mellow turtle just sitting there having a meal. It completely ignored us as it ate.
We saw another turtle but it was an uncommon green turtle on Colombia Shallow. We also saw a lobster. R.J. loved swimming through the schools of blue striped grunts.
Monday, February 11th
My first dive of the day was on Santa Rosa Wall with Gary, James, Steve, Steve and Travis. I found a splendid toadfish in its lair. We also saw a lobster, an octopus and a big spotted eagle ray.
Per Gary’s request we did our second dive on San Francisco Wall. (Thank you Gary!) We were in the right place at the right time. Twenty minutes into the dive I started getting cold. Twenty five minutes into the dive my feet started going numb. I was just thinking to myself that I still had another 40 minutes to go before I could get out of the water and put my towel around me when I turned my head towards the blue water. Just a little behind me and off of the wall a big hammerhead was going by! It had its very own personal school of fish following it. My fins took over and I just went after it. Gary actually kept up with me. I didn’t really turn around to see what was going on around me. I just chased it. At one point I was thinking, “Maybe this isn’t too smart…?” But the next thought was, “Nah! It is going really fast and it is not interested in me.” Then it stopped to turn around. My feet stopped. My heart raced. Then the big fish continued on its way. I decided to stop chasing it. When I finally stopped to check my divers Gary was right there next to me giving me the thumbs up. We had a great time chasing that beast. After the brief encounter the blood flow returned to my feet and I was not nearly as cold J
Tuesday, February 12th
I chose Palancar Horseshoe with Gary, James, Paul, Paul, Chuck, Jodi, Jean and ReJean. I saw so many turtles on that dive that I lost count of them. A humungous barracuda swam ominously through our little school of humans. I was thinking that the barracuda was probably more dangerous than that hammerhead I had seen the day before. It came closer anyway…….
On Paso Del Cedral we found a big octopus in a hole and the tail end of a green moray eel.
In the afternoon I continued diving on Chankanaab with James, Dennis, Diane, Ken and Candy. We swam through a big school of fish and saw tons of lobsters. The last one was huge and just crawled around on the sand out in the open.
At Paradise we saw a big spotted moray eel and an adorable pair of golden tail eels sticking their little heads out of a hole. We searched for and found all three of the big seahorses and Dennis really liked “Spike”, Laura’s sail fin blenny. James found a big splendid toadfish for us.
Wednesday, February 13th
My first tank was on Santa Rosa Wall with Jean, ReJean, Mary, Mike, Paul, Paul and Gary. The current was a bit strong and most divers felt that the dive was difficult. However, we saw a large turtle sleeping on the wall and a nurse shark at the very end of the dive.
I wanted something easy... so I took everyone to French Reef. Thankfully, the current was normal. We had a nice relaxing dive and everyone was content.
Thursday, February 14th
Liz, Tom, Tim, James, Sam, Jean and ReJean came with me to Colombia Deep. When we first got in the water, we were surprised by the strength of the current. Once everyone got used to it, we drifted along the wall and later, we swam over to the anchor where we visited a turtle.
Colombia Shallows was a lot more calm, thank goodness. We saw a huge turtle, a big lobster out in the open and James showed us a spotted eagle ray. We studied a small yellow stingray and a southern stingray buried in the sand.
Friday, February 15th
Jean wanted to see a splendid toadfish so we went to toadfish heaven at Las Palmas. The conditions were less than favorable that day. I dived with Jean, Dawn, Sam, James, Gary and Pete. In spite of the current, I managed to find three toadfish for Jean. We also saw a giant spotted eagle ray glide by us. There was a fat octopus and a couple of goldentail morays. Everyone managed that wicked current well and I was proud of all of the divers.
The current was improved at Paradise. Dawn is now a champion seahorse finder. I found the first two seahorse, that were easy because I knew where to look for them. Dawn found the third big brown one and also an elusive little beige seahorse, that blended in so well with the algae. We also found another splendid toadfish for Jean.
Saturday, February 16th
Erik, two of Erik’s friends, James, Jean, ReJean, Dawn and Sam came with me to Palancar Bricks. We saw a hawksbill turtle as we came out of a cave. Just before ReJean headed up toward the surface, I spied a nurse shark’s tail sticking out of the reef. When I stuck my head down, I could see the entire shark.
There were several more turtles on French Reef. One turtle was surrounded by a pair of gray angels, a pair of queen angels and a pair of French angels. The angels were eating the scraps that fell out of the turtle’s mouth. We saw a small lobster, a hungry toadfish and a pair of Peterson’s cleaner shrimp. As Dawn and I were making a safety stop, a beautiful, graceful big green moray eel danced around the reef. We went back down for a good look.
Sunday, February 17th
I dived at French Reef with John, Lisa, Helen, Curtis, Carla and Dawn. Right after we all got to the bottom we saw a big green moray eel swimming around with three black groupers in tow. We drifted over a pair of barracudas that proceeded to ignore us.
I spent the entire dive on San Francisco Wall looking for a splendid toadfish for John but I struck out. Oh well, maybe next time….
Monday, February 18th
Chucho came to help me out on Chankanaab with Gary, Sam, John, Lisa, Curtis, Carla and Devon. I saw a couple of dead lobsters along with live ones, as well. I hope that the lobster heads that I found were a result of natural causes and not poaching. At least that is what it looked like to me. A few of the divers saw a crab too.
Chucho, Devon and Lisa got off of the boat and we continued on to Tormentos. We saw quite a few turtles. The current on that dive was pretty tricky but everyone dived really well.
Tuesday, February 19th
The first tank was on Palancar Caves with Sam, Mark, Denise, John, Carla, Curtis and Devon. I found a big huge turtle taking a nap. It was on special order just for Denise.
Sam wanted to go to San Francisco Wall. That dive site is now being requested quite a bit. We saw a 7-foot nurse shark swimming around. I finally found John’s splendid toadfish there, as well. We saw a spotted eel or two.
Wednesday, February 20th
My first dive of the day was on was on Palancar Gardens with Jay, Kenna and Craig. Jay saw a turtle but I completely missed it. We had a nice, easy relaxing dive.
We had plenty of current on Cedral Wall but we saw great stuff as usual there. We saw a splendid toadfish and Jay spent some time with a juvenile spotted drum. An octopus hid from us in his den. William showed us a green moray eel.
Thursday, February 21st
I dived on Palancar Horseshoe with John, John, Lisa, Curtis, Carla, Devon and Helen. We saw a little turtle swim down right in front of us. We stopped to pay our respects to Martin Aguilar at his memorial.
Colombia Shallow was an easy dive where we encountered another turtle, a lobster and a very impressive green moray eel.
Friday, February 22nd
Somebody on the boat asked to go to Yucab so I took John, Lisa, Curtis, Carla, Devon, Cherie, Matt and Gary there. As we headed down, we saw a big nurse shark just lying on the bottom. We saw a lot of big groupers, big barracudas and a school of horse-eyed jacks. We also saw a rather large lobster.
I took them over to visit the seahorses on Paradise, but I only found the two big dark ones. The big yellow seahorse was not around. There were hundreds of divers on Paradise that morning because of the wind and waves.
Saturday, February 23rd
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Tut, Gary, Jay and John. Tut found a mellow turtle for us and I found a splendid toadfish and a lobster.
Everyone wanted to go to San Francisco Wall and look for Gary’s hammerhead. We, of course, did not see it. I have heard rumors of sightings on French Reef and on Horseshoe. So that hammerhead is still around. It was no surprise that we didn’t see it J Tut found us another turtle and Jay declared it a very beautiful reef.
Sunday, February 24th
Per special request we went to Colombia Pinnacles with Tut, Gary and Jay. We actually spent the first 20 minutes on Punta Sur and the last 40 on Colombia Pinnacles. The current was calm and cooperative that morning. We finished that long dive on the anchor at Colombia Deep where we saw a school of barracuda and a turtle.
Then we were off to Paradise to show Tut a live seahorse. I had been showing him only rubber and plastic ones in the past….. I found two and Tut was satisfied that seahorses do indeed exist in Cozumel. (The seahorses are so big that he thought that I was showing him a fake one again.) We also saw a couple of splendid toadfish and everyone loved the baby octopus and the larger octopus in its den.
Monday, February 25th
Al came back and I took Al, Gary, Tut, Jerry and John to Palancar Horseshoe. We saw a few turtles. One swam right over Jerry’s head, another munched on a nearby sponge.
A nurse shark swam past us on Cedral Wall and parked on the bottom out of the current. It was being followed by a pair of black groupers! Al didn’t bother burning up his air to swim over for a looksy. We saw a lot of turtles on that dive. One was just sitting on the bottom, well camouflaged. We also saw Jay’s spotted drum but the family of five spotted drums have now moved on to a new location.
Saturday, March 1st
My first dive after my trip was on Colombia Deep, Al’s favorite, with Gary and John too. We saw a big green moray eel swimming around below us with two black groupers. We were already pretty deep so we didn’t go have a look. The first turtle we saw was an old loggerhead with barnacles growing on its back. Then we saw three more turtles and all were hawksbills.
Our second tank was on Tormentos with a 6-foot nurse shark. When I first saw it, the shark was pulling into a parking space under the reef. When we all got close to take a look at it, the shark took off again. As a treat, there was a dinosaur-sized lobster out marching around.
Sunday, March 2nd
All my buddies arrived and I took Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy, Brad, Sassie Cassie and Gary to Palancar Gardens. We saw a pair of crabs with big claws, a huge lobster in one of the swim through and a also a turtle
Dalila had some current but everyone was an experienced drift diver so it was no problema. We saw TONS of critters. The first was a big green moray eel. Kathy discovered how hard it is to take pictures in a current. Right after viewing the eel, a really big nurse shark was just lying there, resting on the bottom.
Then we saw a bunch of turtles, big and small. I think we saw four of them total. Then I found a baby nurse shark all curled up under a rock. It was so cute that Cassie wanted to reach out and pet it. I told her no because she would scare it off and there were divers with cameras behind us coming up on the shark.
Monday, March 3rd
Patti wanted to go to Punta Sur. Drew, Ron, Kathy, Brad, Cassie, Gary and Patty were game too. That was quite the dive. I swam right past the opening to the Devil’s Throat and we discovered a huge, graceful spotted eagle ray going by slowly without a care in the world. It was out in the blue. Then I saw what the eagle ray obviously did not know was behind it, a big reef shark. It was a hundred feet behind the eagle ray and going the same direction. Sharks are the only predators that eagle rays have. I ventured out in the blue water a bit but not full force like I did with that hammerhead. Gary didn’t follow me. Ron heard me screaming for Gary through my regulator. A couple of the boys saw another smaller reef shark. I guess that I was so fixated on that big one that I never saw the smaller of the two. It was awesome! Oh, and we saw a bunch of turtles and a fat spotted moray eel too.
There was nothing extraordinary on Colombia Shallows. That is Cassie’s favorite spot so we went there for her. She loves it because there is lots of sunlight and schools of fish. Gary saw a bunch of lobsters. I saw a crab with really big claws.
Tuesday, March 4th
Gary loves San Francisco Wall so I took Gary, Patty, Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy and Brad there. Ron showed us a sweet little turtle having breakfast with some angelfish. I found a couple of splendid toadfish. Gary spent the entire dive looking out at the blue water hoping that his hammerhead would come back.
Ron found the first seahorse on Paradise. It is pregnant now and the big yellowish brown one has moved on. Drew found the second seahorse about 50 feet away from Ron’s seahorse. We spent a good 15 minutes floating around in the school of big-eyed scads.
Wednesday, March 5th
The gang requested swim through so I took Patti, Andrew, Ron, Kathy, EJ, Jim and Matt to Palancar Caves. We picked up an extra diver. When we first descended, we almost landed on a group of divers from BlueXTSea. So I sat everyone in the sand and waited for them to pass. Once they had moved on, I proceeded to the first cave. The divemaster from BlueXTSea started banging on his tank and pointing to a lady who was swimming away from us. He motioned to me that I was losing a diver. After scrutinizing the lady I was 100% sure that she was not one of my divers. I motioned to him that she wasn’t mine. I headed into the caves. First I went through two caves and then through a long canyon. Then I hung a left and parked and waited for all to congregate so that I could do a roll call. There was the little lost sheep! She had followed us through all of the caves and the canyon J I checked her pressure gauge and she only had 1000 psi left. Soon she would have to head up. We were just getting started on our dive. I took out my slate and wrote: “which dive shop are you with?” She wrote back the answer. Not long after that, another group went past us and I got the divemaster’s attention. I asked him if he was missing one diver. He took a count and was surprised to discover that it was his diver. He claimed the lost sheep, thanked me and we moved on. My divers found the whole thing quite entertaining.
There were two lobsters huddled together in a hole at Paso Del Cedral. We also observed two splendid toadfish and two turtles. Well, there were just about two of everything except the big barracudas. There were too many big barracudas to count all of them. They were everywhere.
Thursday, March 6th
My first dip of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy, EJ, Jim, Roy and Bob. We had a killer dive. We saw tons of turtles, a green moray eel and a nurse shark. We also saw a few lobsters and a crab. Drew said that the eel was going for Ron’s leg. That sounds scary!
Since it was rough down south, I took them to Punta Tunich for the second dive. That is one of Bob’s favorites. The current was pretty swift. We saw tons more turtles... one of which was a big green turtle. We also checked out two more green moray eels and a rainbow parrotfish. Everyone was pissed at me because we had to swim but they all enjoyed the dive. I have to get Patti a Lazy-Boy recliner for the boat.
That afternoon I took Rick to Paradise for training dives 1 and 2. On the first dive we saw a big, fat golden tail eel, a pair of lobsters, one spotted moray and a seahorse. On dive number two we saw a free swimming spotted moray, a box crab and a pipefish.
Friday, March 7thThe first stop of the day was on Las Palmas with Patti, Andrew, Ron, Kathy and Nick. We saw three hawksbill turtles. I like all of the pretty fans and sponges there. The turtles eat the sponges so that is why we usually see local turtles.
Eric, Josh, Jordan and Rick got on the boat and we all went to Paradise for a training dive. We swam through the big school of fish again before we crossed over to the reef.
Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy and Nick got off and we went back to Paradise to finish up everyone’s certification dives. We had a great dive and all four of the boys were certified divers at the end of the day!
Sunday, March 9th
Toro accompanied me to Palancar Gardens and to help me with my mixed group of divers who were: Connor, Chris, Carol, Frank, Fred, Anne and Peggy. We saw three turtles, one of which was a green turtle and two hawksbill. As I was pointing out a huge lobster, I noticed a nurse shark under the reef. I found a second nurse shark in a hole.
On Colombia Shallow there were three new green turtles awaiting us. Mating season must be starting ... I don’t usually see green turtles in Cozumel. Toro showed us a big nurse shark under the coral. Chris chased a southern stingray over to us for a good look.
Monday, March 10th
I dived at Palancar Horseshoe with Toro, José, Kathy, Chris, Connor, Fred, Anne, Peggy, Paul and Jeff. The first turtle was at the surface and quite distant from our group. Connor wanted a picture of it, but I told him to wait for it to come back down. It did come back down; however, when he returned it was off in the “blue.” Connor never got a picture of that turtle.
Therefore, it was necessary that we find another turtle for him. And guess what? It was sitting on top of the reef and posing for a picture when we arrived.
At French Reef José, Kathy and I hung out with a big, dark southern stingray feeding in the sand.
That afternoon I took Shannon, Jackie, Scott, Kristy and Chad to Paradise for a resort course. We saw a few spotted moray eels and a goldentail eel. There were some lobsters hiding under small coral heads.
It was fantastic when we saw a huge spotted eagle ray just swim right up to us.
Tuesday, March 11th
My first dive of the day was on Palancar Caves with Fred, Chris, Connor, José, Kathy, Paul, Jeff, Anne and Peggy. Upon arrival at the bottom, we were greeted by a hawksbill turtle.
Every time I looked at José, I could tell how much he was really enjoying himself. He said that every time he was diving he could hear the theme song to National Geographic going through his head! Wasn’t that great !
On Dalila we saw a large turtle swim up to the group. Paul asked me where all of the sharks were hiding that morning ... because we didn’t get to see one of them.
In the afternoon I dived at Palancar Gardens with Mike, David, Kristy, Chad, Bohuslav and Kellie. We saw a few turtles and our friend, the nurse shark that is always in the same hole.
Cedral Wall was just gorgeous that day. The first big nurse shark swam by us. Next, I found a medium-sized nurse shark just lolling about. And finally, I found a third small shark that let us get really close.
I saw a small green moray eel in one of those warm water holes. When we stopped by for a visit, a very large eel was hanging out in its usual spot. I was relieved to find that the cuts on her chin and throat are healing nicely.
We also saw a bunch of lobster. I saw a really big one while making a safety stop.
Wednesday, March 12th
I dived on the C53 wreck with Pam, Mike, David, Paul, Jeff, Frank, Carol and Jeff. When we got in the current, it was very mild. However, during the dive, the speed of the current picked up and we had to show some serious exercise. Still, everyone had a great time. in spite of the brisk current.
Tormentos was a nice, easy, relaxing dive for us. We saw a splendid toadfish and a big grouper. I showed Frank a small spotted eel. We all saw a visiting lobster.
Thursday, March 13th
I went to Palancar Bricks with Frank, Carol, Jeff, Mike, David, Pam, Anne and Peggy. We saw a big, fat green moray eel in about 80 feet of water. We got really lucky to find two six-foot long nurse sharks sleeping together under an overhang.
Our second dive was on Cedral Wall, where we were rewarded with three turtles and a group of lobsters. The spotted drum was in the usual spot. We enjoyed and admired a big spotted eagle ray. Frank took off kicking after the big ray to get a good picture.
I did another resort course in the afternoon at Paradise for Diana, Alex, Philip, Philip and Sue. We saw nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular, but it really doesn’t take much to please someone on their very first dive. Everyone was impressed except one of the Philips who had already been down 50 feet the previous month in St. Croix!
Friday, March 14th
My first tank of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Kathy, Alan, Paul, Joe, Brent, Chris, Chad and Lisa. We saw schools of humans everywhere! That is the price we pay during Spring Break ... our busiest time of the year.
My second tank was on Cedral Wall once. (At least we avoided the other schools of humans) We had a fantastic dive! We saw several turtles, one of which sat very still for Paul’s camera. I found my sweet, soft, fat green moray. Chad was brave and gave her a little caress too. The small nurse shark was in its favorite hole ... where the water is at least a good 5 degrees warmer than the outside water. Everyone was very happy.
Saturday, March 15th
I glided along Las Palmas Wall with Kathy, Alan, Paul, Joe, Brent and Chris. We saw a huge hawksbill turtle just perched on its flippers hanging out in 70 feet of water. We saw lots of southern stingrays. Alan found a splendid toadfish.
Troy joined us on Paradise. We found only one seahorse. Well, at least we found one ! Others were presumably on a “Spring Break.”
Sunday, March 16th
Paul, Joe, Kathy, Alan, Bohuslav, Tina, Brent and Chris all came diving with me at Colombia Deep. I missed the big green moray eel that swam through a cave and out to the other side of the reef. I also missed the big turtle under the ledge surrounded by queen angels. All of the divers told me about it when I got back on the boat.
I hate it when that happens!
Per special request, we went to Punta Tunich. Kathy did her 250th dive that day and everyone loved Tunich. We saw tons of turtles and the queen angels were everywhere. I found a hungry splendid toadfish.
Monday, March 17th
I forgot to wear green on St. Patricks’ Day. I took Kathy, Alan, Paul, Joe, Geoff and Brenda to Santa Rosa Wall. I discovered two big nurse sharks sleeping together in a cave. Later, we saw a large hawksbill make a slow pass near us.
There was a splendid toadfish waiting for us on San Francisco Wall. It was a good day for spotted drums. The first one we saw was solitary and very elegant. Then Kathy found a pair of tiny little graceful spotted drums together. We also discovered a spotted scorpion fish and a small goldentail eel.
I took Lisa, Sharon, Josh and Paul on some training dives at Cardona. It was very murky and cloudy. However, we enjoyed seeing a couple large schools of fish.
The visibility was much better at Paradise. I found my little seahorse, an electric ray and a spotted moray eel. It was a good day.
Tuesday, March 18th
We had really, really strong southeast wind ... so we did not enjoy many choices for dive sites. We did our first tank on Tormentos with Kathy, Alan, Lisa, Sharon, Angela, Paul and Gerry. Gerry worked on the Underwater Naturalist and named five vertibrates, three invertibrates and two plants.
The dive on Chankanaab was really crowded. The good news is that at the end of the dive, we saw a big swimming nurse shark and a humungous lobster. A damsel fish kept pecking at the lobster’s tail.
Wednesday, March 19th
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Michael, Annie, Sharon, Lisa, Brent and Chris. We saw enough lobsters to open a restaurant. One was just huge and out on a walkabout.
There was a turtle fest on Punta Tunich. Some were eating peacefully on the bottom. One was just napping in the sand and could not be less impressed by the schools of humans drifting past and “checking him out.”
It was time to teach another resort course on Paradise for Jen, Jen, Maggie, Angela, Taralyn and Philip. Everyone dived so well that I swam all over to the reef. We saw some spotted moray eels and puffer fish.
Thursday, March 20th
I dived Colombia Pinnacles with Michael, Annie, Angela, Gerry, Josh, Paul, Sharon and Lisa. We swam between the towering coral formations. Angela pointed out a small green turtle. I think that the turtle we saw in the sand was the same one that Angela had pointed out while it was going up to breathe. (The second time that we saw that same turtle, it had just come back down from its trip to the surface.)
We enjoyed a nurse shark who did the same thing on Dalila. First it swam past us going southbound. Later Michael noticed it on the return trip northbound. It was a lot of fun following it around the reef.
Then I did a refresher course for Chuck and Moni at the same time that I took Sam on a resort course. We saw two splendid toadfish, a few big crabs, a spotted moray eel and a goldentail eel.
Friday, March 21st
Michael, Annie, Jen, Kim, J.P., Yolanda, Sharon and Lisa came with me to Palancar Horseshoe. I saw a grand total of four turtles on that dive. We swam single file over one of the biggest barracudas in the Caribbean Sea. It made the other barracudas that we saw on that dive seem rather small.
A big lobster was strutting around on the reef.
Then we went to my favorite, Cedral Wall. We saw the same nurse shark as the day before, our and just swimming about. Then it found a good place to settle down for a rest and it sat still for the cameras. We saw a baby nurse shark and my dear, sweet green moray eel sharing a hiding hole with a turtle.
Lisa showed me a spotted moray at the end of the dive. A southern stingray was being pestered by a bar jack swimming around over the top of him.
Saturday, March 22nd
My first dive of the day was on Palancar Bricks with Michael, Annie, Angela, Bill, Wiebke and Malka. I saw four different turtles. Everyone loved the huge coral formations and the blue water.
So we went to San Francisco Wall for more blue water. I saw a medium-sized nurse shark swimming beneath us so I made the signal for shark and pointed down. Everyone’s heart pounded as they imagined the hammerhead that has been spotted all over Cozumel for the last month. They looked around for a hammerhead and were disappointed to see a 5-foot nurse shark swimming around below us in 90 feet of water. But they certainly calmed down.
We also saw a couple more turtles and a few southern stingrays.
Sunday, March 23rd
A big spotted eagle ray was seen on Palancar Caves. I was with Chuck, Moni, Angela, Michael and Mark. The eagle ray was off in the blue water. About half an hour into the dive, the ray came back to the reef and made a slow pass. We spotted it one last time way down deep below us about 10 minutes later.
On Paso Del Cedral we saw a huge barracuda and lots of normal-sized barracudas. I cleaned Nick’s marker stone with a scrub brush. There was lots of stuff starting to grow on it.
Monday, March 24th
My first dip of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Russell, Alison, Annie, Michael, Wiebke, Malka, Mark and Shera. We saw lots of schools of humans and a few turtles .
There was a 6-foot nurse shark on French Reef just perched on it’s curled up pectoral fins. A big green moray eel was out for a swim, cruising the reef in search of lunch.
I took Joe and Alison for some training dives on Paradise that afternoon. During the first dive we scoured the algae beds in search of the seahorse, but it was all to no avail.
I skipped the futile seahorse search on the second tank and we saw a big southern stingray. There were bunches of moray eels, two splendid toadfish and Alison found an octopus in a hole.
Tuesday, March 25th
I did four tanks that day with the first one on Palancar Horseshoe with Mike, Laura, Russell, Alison, Michael, Annie, Mark and Shera. We swam over that humungous barracuda that is always at home in the same spot. We saw a couple of turtles, one of which Laura correctly identified as a green turtle.
Mike found a bunch of big crabs on Colombia Shallow. Laura had fun swimming through the schools of fish there.
I took Joe and Alison to Palancar Gardens. First we saw a southern stingray that was followed by an extra big eagle ray. The small nurse shark was in its usual spot and we saw a hawksbill turtle at the end of the dive.
On Dalila we saw another southern stingray and a big turtle. At 60-feet we found a baby nurse shark resting on the bottom but I frightened the poor thing off.
Wednesday, March 26th
Per special request we went to Colombia Deep with Michael, Annie, Mike, Laura, Jeff and Jennifer. Coming out of the first swim through, I was greeted by a big green turtle.
Later in the dive I found a 6-foot nurse shark lounging under the reef. On the safety stop I drifted over the same big green turtle as it rested on top of the coral.
On Dalila we saw another green turtle and a small nurse shark in a dark recess.
I took Joe and Alison to Palancar Caves. Upon reaching the bottom we swam up to two turtles, one green and one hawksbill. The hawksbill let us get closer than the green turtle. We swam through some caves and saw a few more turtles.
Alison practiced buoyancy control on San Francisco Wall. She mastered her hovering and her air lasted a lot longer following the exercise. There were tons of colorful fish everywhere we looked.
Thursday, March 27th
My divers on Santa Rosa Wall were Chuck, Mark, Mike and Laura. The current was faster than normal and pushing us a little out to sea. Mark thought it was quite the ride.
Moni joined us on Paso Del Cedral where we saw a baby turtle about the size of a dinner plate. A big turtle chewed down on a sponge while the angelfish that surrounded it snatched bits and pieces that fell from its mouth.
Friday, March 28th
My first tank was on Palancar Bricks with Alex, Steve, David, James and Mark. We discovered a pair of turtles. One was casually munching on the reef and the other went up to the first turtle to check out what it was eating. (and/or missing?)
There were a lot more turtles on Cedral Wall. We also stopped to say “ hi “ to the spotted drum. The boys found a sleeping nurse shark at the beginning of the dive but I missed it because I was up on top, above them.
That afternoon Joe and Alison dived Santa Rosa Wall with me. We saw three turtles all hanging out together. That was weird. I guess mating season is in full bore. The turtles are very friendly with each other and hanging out together.
Alison and I petted the squishy furry sea cumcumber and we found two beautiful juvenile spotted drums dancing together.
Saturday, March 29th
John, John, and Chuck came with me to Palancar Gardens. Linda snorkeled over us. We saw turtle after turtle after turtle. Those Thimble Jellyfish are tasty treats for the turtles. When the Thimble Jellies come to town so do all of the turtles. John showed us a small nurse shark. John also saw a small spotted eagle ray on that dive.
I searched for 30 minutes at Paradise for a seahorse for John. I didn’t find one. It was a big bummer. Guess that is the end of the seahorse party. I think that I am going to stop looking for them for a while. It is getting difficult to find them now. We did, however, see two splendid toadfish, a snake eel and a big crab.
Sunday, March 30th
I took Panchito, John, Edmundo and Chuck to Palancar Horseshoe. The first turtle swam right up to Edmundo and smiled for the new camera. Edmundo was already back on the boat when we saw the second turtle.
We saw more turtles on Cedral Wall. We floated around in a good drift. We saw a few lobsters on that dive.
In the afternoon I took David, Lisa and Justin to Paradise. We were only down 15 minutes before Justin’s ears started hurting, so we ended the dive and “saved the ears.”
I went back in with Lisa and David and we met up underwater with John, Lisa’s husband and Adam her older son.
Monday, March 31st
Dive one was on Palancar Gardens with John, Lisa, Justin, Adam, John and Edmundo. Toro came along to help and we split the group. Justin pointed out several large permits. We swam through a school of horse-eyed jacks. A big lobster was on the prowl and we got a good look.
There were two turtles on Colombia Shallow. A dinner-sized crab made John H. hungry and dream of garlic butter.
Tuesday, April 1st
Chucho came along to help me out on Palancar Horseshoe. My divers were John, Lisa, Justin, Adam, Edmundo, Tricia and Gary. We split the group. Edmundo, Tricia and I went deep while Chucho stayed shallow with the Davis family. We saw a few turtles. One turtle wiggled its butt as it tried to get its head in a hole to eat.
The big barracuda was in its normal spot. We also saw a lobster.
There were yet more turtles on French Reef. One was sitting on top of the reef. Gary found one deep down in a hole.
Wednesday, April 2nd
I dived on the C53 wreck with Edmund, John and Debbie. We saw a small lobster under the wreck and a huge lobster patrolling the deck of the ship. I am impressed at how many sponges have taken hold and grown since Wilma passed through Cozumel reef.
Our second tank was on Las Palmas where we saw a big barracuda with a gash on its back. I showed everyone a splendid toadfish. A turtle was swimming well beneath us. Everyone found the sponges and gorgonian sea fans very interesting.
Thursday, April 3rd
I taught a resort course at Paradise for Martha, Hal, Karen, Greg, Heather and Trevor. We saw the usual fish and a group of snorkelers zoomed by us on underwater scooters. Trevor chased after a barracuda that looked to be about the same size as himself.
We did a second dive on Paradise reef. Divers brought their cameras and took loads of pictures. They particularly liked the queen triggerfish and the queen angelfish.
Friday, April 4th
I dived on Dalila with John, Adam, Justin, Phil, Lois and Dan. We saw a swimming nurse shark and a turtle. There was a dinner-sized lobster out in the open/ Adam found a spotted drum.
Cedral Wall was our second stop. We were all greeted by a large turtle as soon as we hit the bottom. Adam got some good shots of a green moray eel in a nearby cave. At the very end of the dive, Lois, Phil and I saw a huge spotted eagle ray. I’ll bet its wingspan was at least 8-feet wide.
Saturday, April 5th
This morning, I took Darlene and Kevin diving on Tormentos. Drew, Shane and Cole snorkeled over us. We saw a splendid toadfish, a peacock flounder and a big grouper. I showed Kevin a normal sized lobster in a hole. Darlene discovered a big lobster that wiggled its antennas at her. She said that it looked like it was challenging her. She waved a pointer finger at it and it took off like a bolt of lightning. We also closely approached a rather large barracuda.
Then Shane and Cole joined us for a dive on Paradise reef. We saw all of the pretty fish and the boys said that it was even better than they had expected! We saw a small spotted eagle ray at the very end of the dive.
Sunday, April 6th
We had rough seas while diving south on Palancar Caves with Gary, Traci, Mike, Elaine, Rich and Roberta. Gary showed us a big crab. I found a lobster on top of the reef. Roberta was the one who spied the little turtle up on top and showed it to all of us.
Cedral Wall had a lot less current than usual. We went there in search of turtles for Traci and Elaine. I saw a grand total of six! One swam right up to Traci and Mike. We also saw the little nurse shark in its warm water hole. We also saw a big spotted eagle ray.
Monday, April 7th
The southeast wind continued, but not quite as strong. We went to Palancar Gardens for our first dive with Phil, Lois, Rich, Roberta, Andy and Gary. We saw a friendly splendid toadfish in a hole and a hungry little hawksbill turtle just before the first cave. After we came up to the shallow area, a southern stingray was seen off in the nearby sand.
Dalila had a big turtle sharing a sponge with a group of pretty angelfish. Raul showed us a 5-foot sleeping nurse shark. We all had a good time.
Tuesday, April 8th
Darlene wanted to go south and I was in the mood for Colombia Pinnacles. No one objected. My divers were Gary, Darlene, Kevin, Cole, Elaine, Rich and Andy. We swam between the towering coral formations with the bottom well below us many times. We saw a couple of little turtles and I hung on the old anchor.
Paso Del Cedral was our second stop. As I was showing everyone the splendid toadfish I looked up to see Rich pointing out a big eagle ray. I showed Shane who had joined us for the second dive - a lobster in a hole.
Wednesday, April 9th
I let Gary pick the reefs this day. Ted, Jeannie, Elaine, Andy and Roberta didn’t have any special preferences, so we did our first dive on Gary’s favorite reef, San Francisco Wall. I think that it is better to do the first dive on the reefs that are usually visited as a second tank. The critters are still out and not hiding yet. We saw a 5-foot nurse shark swimming overhead. He dived down in front of us and continued on swim down deep in the water. The same shark appeared again later in the dive. Elaine discovered a little turtle.
Andy was peering in a hole at something. That got my attention and I went over for a look. By the time that he realized what it was that he was studying, I was calling the group over. It was a green moray eel. I noticed that its bottom jaw was quite deformed, shorter than it should be and lumpy in appearance. Unfortunately, Gary’s camera didn’t work so we couldn’t get a picture. I remember about a year ago, I was saddened to find a green moray eel on San Francisco Wall that had a broken lower jaw and I thought that it would starve to death. It looked so bad that I didn’t think that it would be able to feed it’s self. But I guess that must be the same one. I am very glad and also amazed that it could survive such a wicked injury. They must heal quickly.
The second tank was on Las Palmas. Gary wanted a picture of a splendid toadfish. He changed the battery in his camera during the surface interval and he was all set to go. I found two toadfish. I also found a spotted moray eel and a golden tail eel. We saw a beautiful school of silvery fish that was being eaten by a big barracuda and several large black groupers. During our safety stop, we saw a 6-foot southern stingray in the sand and a large hawksbill turtle.
Thursday, April 10
I dived Palancar Gardens with Rich, Andy, Roberta, Gary, Lee, Jay, Amanda and Jeff. It was Amanda’s first dive after her certification dives in a lake the previous August. What luck...ten minutes after arriving at the reef a huge nurse shark swam beneath us. I grabbed her by the hand and we chased after it. Then I figured that she liked the shark so much that it would be okay to take her down to see the turtle at 70 feet which was happily scarfing down a sponge. Amanda was hooked on diving!
We went to San Francisco Wall again per Gary’s request. We saw a couple more turtles and a splendid toadfish. There were tons of big groupers there too.
Friday, April 11th
My first tank was on Palancar Horseshoe with Gary, Elaine, Roberta, Andy, Kevin and Jay. Hercules was in his usual spot and wowed the divers. He is one of the biggest barracudas in the whole Caribbean Sea! We saw another normal sized barracuda and also that turtle with the weird shaped shell. It kinda looks like a fried egg. It bubbles up on the top and comes in on the sides with the edges splayed out like the egg white on a sunny side up egg. We saw that same turtle more than once during that same dive.
Kevin asked for current so we went to Punta Tunich. There were more turtles there than I could count. I showed everyone the big green moray eel in the pretty cave full of fish. I practically had to push the fish out of the way to see the eel. I saw a second green moray eel as we were going to the surface, but everyone’s computer was maxed out so I didn’t point out the other eel. No one could stay, anyway!
Saturday, April 12th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Ron, Ina, Peter, Larry, Heather, David, Bob and Sylvie. It was Larry’s first ocean dive and he was very impressed. We had a little funky current but not too much to fight with. Ron led the group through my favorite swim throughs.
Dalila had a very rapid current. We practiced “dropping low to go slow”. Ina showed us a tremendously huge turtle that surfaced for air and came back down again. I flew past a tiny little baby turtle. A normal sized turtle floated at the surface near us as we did our safety stop.
Sunday, April 13th
Dennis, Gordon, Heather, Peter, Ina and Bob accompanied me to Santa Rosa Wall. The beginning of the dive was a bit challenging due to the current. At the end of the dive in the shallow water things calmed down and that is where we saw all of the good stuff. Ina pointed out a big green moray eel shadow hunting with a big grouper. Then we hung out with that big, old friendly turtle that lives there. I always come upon that turtle while it is eating. It seems that all that turtle ever does is eat. It doesn’t mind us surrounding it and staring at it. It just ignores us completely.
I chose Yucab for the second dive because I wanted something relaxing and easy. The visibility was not so good there. I am not sure if that was due to the rainstorm that we had waited out during the surface interval. Bob got lots of good pictures of the pretty fish. We saw lots and lots of big lobsters out in the open. I think that the poor visibility coaxed them out. Maybe they thought it was twilight due to the low light conditions.
Wednesday, April 16th
Since we had a few folks snorkeling with us that morning. I chose Palancar Horseshoe for the first stop. Gary, Mom, Ina, Peter and Alex were my divers. Ina spotted the first turtle coming down from a surface dive. Later, I got to show Mom a big turtle. At the very end of the dive, we floated around in the sandy area and I found a tiny little seahorse hanging on to some algae on the bottom. It was probably no more than an inch long and dark brown in color. It played possum hoping that we would go away.
Kathleen joined us on the second stop at San Francisco Wall. We saw that big green moray eel with the injured lower jaw again. She was hunting with two big black groupers. The current got a little crazy on us. We stayed up on top of the reef for the remainder of the dive where I accidentally woke up a sleeping hawksbill turtle.
Friday, April 18th
Dive one was on Palancar Horseshoe with Doug, Gary, Ray, Christina, Mami, Jon and Mom. The current was crazy and it felt like we were in a washing machine because it kept changing directions. We ended up finishing our dive where we had started it. The good thing is that the current was not very strong, so it was no big deal.
Dive two was on French Reef where we were promptly greeted by a big turtle on his way up to the surface for a gulp of fresh air and a snack of thimble jellyfish. We also saw an immense lobster out strutting his stuff, a southern stingray and a big crab.
Saturday, April 19th
Christina loves swim throughs so I took her, Ray, Gary, Doug, Mami, Jon and Mom to the final part of Palancar Gardens. The current was pretty strong and we hid from it in the caves. We saw a turtle or two and had a beautiful dive.
I wanted something easy for the second tank so I picked Colombia Shallows. We saw several turtles and a large brave lobster. We also found the shell of a big crab that had molted and we had fun taking pictures with it. We also saw another large lobster.
In the afternoon I went to Allegro and picked up Terry, Vicky, Marilyn, Allyson and Wanda. They did their first dive for open water certification on Colombia Shallow. When we first got in the current was almost non-existent but after a few minutes it kicked up and we found ourselves running out of reef after about half an hour. We saw a few small turtles and the divers were really stoked up.
We got in at the end of Colombia Shallows for the second dive and as soon as we finished doing the skills for their training, we cut over to Palancar Horseshoe where we found a herd of turtles. Well, at least, that is what we decided to call it! There were so many turtles we couldn’t decide if we should call it a gaggle, a school or a herd. But there were a lot of them, no matter what they were called. The girls had never been scuba diving before, so when we saw the big barracudas they asked me if they were sharks. Sometimes it is hard to keep a straight face J We also saw another friendly lobster.
Sunday, April 20th
We had to drive around to three different dive sites in order to find someplace without much current. I finally gave up and told Carlos to drive around and just stop where there wasn’t much current. Mom, Mami, Jon, Christina, Ray and Gary were quite patient. We had a really nice dive with turtles and swim throughs.
We did our next one on Paso Del Cedral. We saw a big lobster and more turtles. The current was really cooking. We saw some big old barracudas with snaggly teeth.
At 3:00 in the afternoon, I picked up Bobbi, Terry, Wanda, Allyson and Marilyn. We went to Palancar Gardens. It usually has less current than other diving spots. We got really lucky. The area did not have a lot of current. We saw tons of turtles and a big crab.
The last dip of the day was on Santa Rosa Shallow with a ripping current. The girls impressed me with how well they handled it and upon finishing the dive they were officially certified!
Thursday, April 24th
My first day back to work after a lovely three day vacation with Mom. I started off with a dive on French Reef with Marilyn, Terry, Wanda, Ally, David and Joe. We saw lots of big stuff including a turtle, a big black grouper, a big green moray eel and a big barracuda. The current was a more swift than I like, but we all had a good time and the girls were well accustomed to that current anyway.
We did our second dive on Dalila where we saw two more turtles and another big grouper. Thankfully, the current was a lot slower on that dive and it made it easier and more relaxing for all of us..
Friday, April 25th
Per special request David, Joe, Carol and Deanna accompanied me to Palancar Horseshoe. Right off the bat, I spotted a big green moray eel smiling for Carol’s camera. Hercules lurked nearby and we had beautiful diving conditions with very little current.
Deanna wanted to see turtles so I took them to Cedral Wall. We saw many turtles, so many that I lost count. We also saw the small nurse shark in the ‘warm water hiding hole’ and another really big shark just lying about in the sand. There were two big lobsters at the end of the dive. One of the lobsters was out cruising around and showing off for us. Carol got a good shot of the spotted drum. A fun dive was had by all.
Saturday, April 26th
Our first tank was on Santa Rosa Wall with David, Carol, Deanna and Joe. We had a bit more current than I was happy diving with. It was like Grand Central Station at Santa Rosa this morning. Group after group, after group of divers in front of us and in back of us. The highlight of the dive was a huge grouper that was checking out Deanna. It got directly in her face. I thought that it was just being friendly, but Deanna was wondering if it was deciding which piece of her to eat. I told her to just reach out and pet it. I thought the grouper wanted to mate with her. She thought that it wanted a piece of her. (It was quite entertaining.) The most intriguing part was that after Carol and Joe went to the surface, the current slowed way, way down to a slow, almost non-existent, pleasant drift and all of the schools of humans disappeared.
I debated on whether to go to San Francisco Wall or Yucab for the second tank. Yucab is an easier dive and Jim joined us for his first dive in 18 years so I leaned towards Yucab. But San Francisco Wall is a better dive and if the current wasn’t too strong it would be the better choice. So I check the current at San Francisco and it was a “go”.
We saw several different types of crabs. When we were making our safety stop Carlos and Carol saw a large dark animal come up to the surface near us and then go back down again. Carol said that she thought it was a porpoise. I think it was Gary’s hammerhead. Carlos was kinda freaked out and asked me if I saw the big black thing near us and if I saw what it was. Sorry I missed it!
Sunday, April 27th
This day there was a lot of current so I told Carlos to drive us (David, Carol, Deanna and Jim) around Palancar and look for a spot that seemed to be more calm than the surrounding area. Carlos picked Palancar Bricks. It was great when we first got in the water, but during the course of the dive, the current picked up. It wasn’t exactly really fast, going in a single direction; rather, it was swirling a lot and creating tornados of sand on the bottom. Then I watched in horror as this huge cloud of sand started lifting off of the bottom and forming. I grabbed a hold of Jim’s BCD. Since Jim was the newbie of our little group, I didn’t want to lose sight of him for anything. I felt super lucky that when the cloud enveloped us, we could all still see each other and the current wasn’t really THAT strong J
All in all, the dive turned out great since I spent the whole time staying away from the drop off and hiding behind the reef to stay out of the strong current. The turtles and nurse sharks were doing the same thing. Carol got some good shots of the turtles and then David took a few pictures of the nurse shark with Carol’s camera. The nurse shark was under a ledge napping. Deanna and David stopped to look at it and take pictures while Carol, Jim and I did a safety stop swimming hard against the current. When we got back on the boat Carol accidentally bumped Deanna in the head hard. ( OK, so she head butted her…) Deanna complained and Carol laughed and told her, “That’s what you get for making me swim!” I thought that was hysterical. Guess you had to be there.
Anyway, I wanted something easy so we packed up and went over to Cozumel’s easiest dive, Colombia Shallow. That is exactly what we got too, easy! There was hardly any current and we saw the most beautiful tiny juvenile spotted drum I have ever seen. David was fascinated by the schools of yellow fish, to be seen everywhere. It was a nice last dive of the vacation for him. Especially because we were down an hour and 30 minutes!
Monday, April 28th
Don, Elisa, Carol and Deanna requested Dalila. When we got in the current was pretty normal. When I found the first toadfish is when I realized that the current was getting stronger. By the time we saw the first two nurse sharks the current was ripping. Elisa floated after the medium sized shark, taking pictures and almost missed the really big, dark one lying in the sand. It seemed like the nurse sharks were everywhere. Deanna found the biggest turtle on earth and we saw another turtle while making a safety stop. We saw a grand total of five sharks, but the current was so strong that Carol said that she would rather download pictures off of the internet of nurse sharks rather than fight that current for a picture!!!!!!!!!!!
Then we went to Paradise hoping to see a seahorse. Forget it. Even if I had found ten seahorses there was no way that anyone would have been able to swim over to see it. We gave up when we ran out of reef after 35 minutes. We came up too close for comfort to the cruise ship pier.
Tuesday, April 29th
I got in to check the current at Palancar Gardens and the current was absolutely horrendous. We waited what seemed like an eternity and it never calmed down so I got back on the boat and Carlos drove Carol, Deanna, Don, Elisa, Chris, Joyce and I over to French Reef where it looked better. The current was still really fast but better than it was on Gardens, so we dove there. We saw a big turtle and a lobster out on top of the reef. Poor little tiny Joyce was being blown around like a leaf in the wind.
I was fed up with that darn current so I took everyone over to Colombia Shallow for the second tank. We had lovely conditions and a fantastic dive. We saw a pair of nurse sharks huddled together in a hole and they were big, too! We saw that little spotted drum again and I showed everyone a stonefish. Carol found the big crabs with gigantic claws. I pointed out a family of ten lobsters to Chris. Everyone was very pleased with the second dive.
I hope that current calms down soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, May 2nd
I let Don and Elisa pick our reefs...because today is their last diving day. ( Stacie, Jody and Michael didn’t really care where we went diving.) The first dive was on Dalila where the current was OK. We didn’t see any nurse sharks this time but we did see a ton of black groupers and a few turtles. Elisa stopped to take pictures of the school of smooth trunkfish.
The second was on French Reef where I found a sleeping nurse shark. When I saw it I stuck out my hand and dragged Stacie over so she could take a picture. As I did that, I could hear myself talking through the regulator. I said, “Here we go again!” because it wasn’t the first time that I drug Stacie over and stuck her face in front of a nurse shark.
Don found a big turtle sharing a meal of tasty sponge with a few queen angels. That always makes for a good photo.
Saturday, May 3rd
Stacie, Jody, Michael and I tried to dive Santa Rosa Wall, but we were unsuccessful. I asked Carlos to drop us off just a tad south of Santa Rosa Wall to begin. The current was pushing us towards shore. Thankfully, it was mild and we just kind of swam slowly against it to stay on the wall. By the time we had reached the beginning of Santa Rosa Wall, Stacie discovered a big green moray eel. We all ducked down behind the coral to check it out and stayed there a bit.
Finally when we came out of hiding, the current had changed direction and it swept us towards Cedral Wall. That worked out well, because we had a great dive. The green eel came out of hiding, swam right under Stacie and ducked into a hole. It laid down right on top of a sleeping nurse shark. It was cute and funny to see the two sharing a hiding hole together. Oh, we also saw a big turtle.
The current was crazy on San Francisco Wall. The first time I got in to check it, it was almost non-existent. I asked Carlos to drop me off in the middle so that it didn’t matter which way it went. Well silly me, I told everyone to swim slowly so we don’t run out of reef… The current immediately picked up quite a bit of speed until I called everyone away from the wall/drop off. Then it started lifting all of the sand off of the bottom and created a “white out”. We flew blindly over the reef until we hit a big sandy area. Flying over the sand we arrived at San Clemente reef. We flew over that one too, until we came to Santa Rosa Shallow. The current was really cooking. During our ride we saw a couple of turtles, a big southern stingray and a humungous barracuda that Michael and I almost directly smacked right into. When we came up from the dive there were some REALLY, REALLY big waves that were caused by the wind and the current coming together and meeting each other. Getting back on board the boat was difficult.
Sunday, May 4th
I hired Toro to come and assist me with the Anderson family because Kelsey and Jill were doing their first two dives for Open Water certification. Chantal, Kristen, Chris and Dan just came along and hung out for fun. We went to “The student spot” on Palancar. This is in about 20 feet of water on the point of the horseshoe. We saw a small turtle and swam over to the drop off so that they all could see the big coral formations.
I asked Carlos to drop me off on the Gardens for the second dive but the current was going the wrong way and it carried us over all of Horseshoe and part of Caves. Thank goodness that the current was not really strong. I think we really lucked out. We also saw another turtle and a big, gray stingray.
Monday, May 5th
I dived Palancar Gardens with Marc, Chantel, Kristen, Chris, Kelsey, Jill and Michael. The current was not ideal but it most certainly was manageable. We got to swim through lots of archways and we saw two turtles. Marc showed us a coronet fish. Coronet fish are long, skinny fish that look like a giant trumpet fish with light blue iridescent spots.
Then we went to Paso Del Cedral. I tried scrubbing Nick’s marker stone but it is starting to have a lot of stuff growing on it. It is hard to read his name now. We saw a small nurse shark just loafing around and another turtle. Chantel and I saw a big lobster. The barracudas seemed to be everywhere. We almost had to push them out of our way!
Tuesday, May 6th
OK. I am starting to get fed up with the damn current. Mark, Chantel, Kristen, Chris, Jill, Dan and Michael flew along Colombia Deep with me. When we got in it wasn’t too bad, but once again the current really picked up and we went flying through more sand storms. I didn’t let them get anywhere near the drop off. We stayed on the shore side of the reef in 60 feet of water and went with the flow. We did manage to find one turtle and we stopped at the anchor. It was a tough dive.
During the surface interval Tom, Michael’s dad came diving with me in 10 feet of water at Hollywood. We call it Hollywood because it is full of stars. The bottom is sandy and there are starfish and helmet shells all over. It looks like something out of a postcard.
I chose Colombia Shallows for the next dive because I have had such good luck there lately. The current was nice and slow. Marc and Chantel practiced using their new spare air getting ready for their next big trip. Toro’s big nurse shark was solo in his hole. We saw southern stingrays and a turtle as well.
Wednesday, May 7th
By special request Marc, Kristen, Chris, Jill, Dan, Kelsey, Stacie, Jody and I dove the wreck of the C53. We were so lucky that there was very little current! We had to wait about 30 minutes before we got in because there were five other groups on the boat. The wait was worth it because we had the whole wreck to ourselves. A huge, shiny school of silversides were congregating on the top deck and we had fun swimming through them. In the midst of the school there is very limited visibility. It can be disorienting. There is just this shiny, flashing silver wall all around you.
We went to Chankanaab for the second dive and saw lots of yellow-headed jaw fish popping up out of their holes at the bottom. They were feeding on zooplankon. We saw a couple of lobsters.
I did a night dive on Chankanaab with Marc, Chantal, Kristen, Chris, Dan, Jill and Jeff. We hardly saw anything! I only saw one lobster and two crabs. Chris saw a slipper lobster but the night dive was pretty much a dud. The fun part was the dance that Chris did while Dan wiggled his light on him. The best part is that there wasn’t very much current. There was a great benefit however; Chantal got more comfortable with night diving and she said that she would be willing to do it again.
Thursday, May 8th
We drove over to Palancar Caves with Marc, Chantal, Kristen, Jill, Dan, Kelsey and Jeff. I took a look at the reef and it looked bad. I told Carlos to call a friend on the radio and ask how the current was moving. The answer was that the other captain had dropped his divers on Punta Sur but they were currently on Palancar Caves. Okey Dokey, four reefs in 30 minutes. Hmmmmm. I announced that we were turning the boat around and we went to French Reef where there was a nice, safe bottom. We flew around in the current and the Andersons got to practice good drift diving techniques. A humungous turtle was right in Jill’s face. It was kinda fun to fly around with the turtles. Even the turtles couldn’t stop in that current.
I wanted something easy so we went back to Colombia Shallow. The visibility was not so great and even there we had some current to contend with, but it was a walk in the park after the first dive. We saw tons of turtles, including one green turtle and some big barracudas. We also saw a big grouper.
Friday, May 9th
OK, so I was fed up with the current. I had heard the day before that there was little current on Santa Rosa and Punta Tunich. I was willing to try anything.
I took Mark, Chantal, Kristen, Chris, Jill, Mike and Peggy to Punta Tunich. I got in and checked the current. It was OK. During the dive the current picked up and went from OK to swift but it still was a heck of a lot better than the day before. Mark saw two small turtles and we all sat and watched as a big turtle shared its breakfast sponge with a bunch of pretty angelfish.
Then we went to Yucab. When I got in to check the current I looked down and saw a big old nurse shark below. I urged everyone to hurry up and get in to see the shark. They thought that I was joking! We all got a good luck. Chantal was glad that the shark was swimming away quickly. Then about half way through the dive, Jill starts motioning to Kristen and I to come have a look. I swam back as hard as I could against the current. After about 30 seconds I decided to ask Jill what it was. If it was a lousy stingray or something I would just forget it. She made the signal for shark so I kept kicking. Thankfully Marc found a nice turtle at the same time so the other divers just stopped and watched the turtle while Kristen and I worked our butts off to get back and see the little shark hiding in a hole. Hmmmmmmm
Saturday, May 10th
God loves the Anderson family! This was the last day to do the deep dive for the Advanced course and we went to Palancar Horseshoe. Kristen stayed home and babysat. There was NO current at all on Horseshoe for our deep dive. It was heavenly. It was easy and relaxing. Even though we didn’t see any big critters we were soooooo grateful for such a nice dive.
We did navigational skills on Colombia Shallows. We were interrupted by a 6-foot spotted eagle ray gliding past. We sat and watched a turtle chow down on a sponge. Then I heard Marc’s noisemaker. I turned my head to discover that the eagle ray came back and was swimming the other direction. I found Toro’s nurse shark in the usual spot. Both Dan and Chris were naughty boys and they reached out to pet it.
Sunday, May 11th
It was really choppy on Palancar Gardens but thankfully, there wasn’t much current. Toro came with me to help out because I was doing open water training dives 1 & 2 for Cindy and Greg. Toro took Rich, Peggy and Mike on a normal dive over the wall. Aside from a little seasickness everyone had a good time.
We tried to get out of the waves at Paradise but instead we wound up in strong current. I guess you can’t have everything, right? But Cindy had fun and we saw a snake eel and a spotted moray.
That afternoon I got really lucky. I took Bernardo and Mirila to Santa Rosa Wall and there was no current to speak of. As soon as we got on board the boat the current kicked up again and we could see it from the surface.
We drove over to Punta Tunich that usually has a ton of current but there was no indication of current at the surface, so I got in and checked. The current was nice and calm. After the second turtle site, the current picked up and I had to give Mirila a hand to get back to see the sleeping nurse shark. Then we hid from the current in a hole where a big green moray smiled at us from behind a school of French grunts. I kept trying to wave the fish out of the way so that Bernardo and Mirila could see the eel.
Monday, May 12th
Toro hung out with me again and we took Keena, Endre, Mike, Peggy, Cindy, Greg and Rich to Palancar Horseshoe. We got really lucky and there wasn’t much current. Hercules was a wee bit north of his usual spot. We had a nice relaxing dive.
When I want an easy dive I go to French Reef. And that is where I chose for our second tank. Teaching navigation was impossible in the current that we had, but we saw so many turtles that I just lost count. Everyone seemed pretty much at home in the current so the dive was a big success.
Tuesday, May 13th
Derek, Chad, Jenny, Dan and Rebecca were my divers and Derek wanted to go to San Francisco Wall. I got in and checked the current and it seemed just fine. Derek (an instructor) asked if I minded if he went a little deeper and we agreed on a maximum depth. As soon as he got down there the friggin current picked up and stressed me out. Thankfully, the fast current only lasted about 10 minutes and then all was peaceful again. We had a nice dive and saw a big turtle.
I am sooooooooooo fed up with current that I decided to go to Chankanaab for the second tank. There was a very mild current and we just puttered around for over an hour. We saw a pair of lobsters probably doing the wild thing and a huge barracuda with interesting teeth. We looked for small stuff like yellow-headed jaw fish in the sand and we saw Christmas tree worms and feather dusters on the reef.
Wednesday, May 14th
Per special request I took Derek, Muffin, Chad, CC, Brett and Donna to the C53 shipwreck. We saw a huge snapper and a giant barracuda. I showed everyone the bright red encrusting sponges with the brittle stars clinging to the side of the ship. The best part of the dive was taking CC through the school of silversides and hearing her squeal when they made a big, shiny wall all around us and we couldn’t see Muffin anymore.
Derek said that the girls would really like Chankanaab...so we went back there. We saw another big lobster out prancing around showing off. I pointed out lots of clusters of feather duster worms. We were lucky with the conditions because the current was really light on both of our dives.
Thursday, May 15th
My divers were Rich, Brian, Endre, Michael, Keena, Derek, Chad and CC. Rich wanted to go to the shipwreck, so we returned. There was almost no current and we had a really nice dive. The big school of silversides were still there and a pair of good sized lobsters were huddled together under the wreck. The big barracuda was in the exact same spot as well.
We had an amazing dive on Tormentos. At the beginning of the dive CC was having a little trouble with her ears. So I was in about 35 feet of water with her when I saw her husband Chad pointing like crazy towards the surface. I looked up to find two big sailfish on my left heading southbound. The one in back put its sail up. It was so cool! Then I see Derek pointing up to the right. There was another pair of the big sailfish on our right. Since we saw four of them, it makes me wonder just how many fish were there that we didn’t see. It all happened so fast and they were gone in less than a minute. Then as we hunkered down behind a big coral head to get out of the current I waited my turn to see what another divemaster was pointing out. After he took off I went to check it out. It was a bat fish! For those of you who do not know what a bat fish is, well, they are very uncommon to say the least. They are 6 to 12 inches long and kind of tan in color. They perch on their 2 front fins and the 2 back fins are like bat wings. They kind of waddle on the bottom and they have a unicorn like projection sticking out of their head. They are really weird looking and seem kind of rubbery. They are really a fascinating freak of nature to see. It was one of those dives that happen about once every 3 thousand dives. It was very memorable.
Friday, May 16th
In the morning I went to Palancar. Carlos took the day off. Jose Nibardo called the drop off place Tres Palos. My divers were Keena, Michael, Endre, Genelle and Ray. We swam through the archways and I found a couple of turtles for Genelle.
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall because Keena had never dived on a wall before. I pointed out a small nurse shark swimming way beneath us at maybe 100 feet. Keena was thrilled with both dives. She said that they were the best ones yet.
That afternoon I took Andrew and Kathryn on Open Water training dives 1 & 2. First we got in near shore at Paradise. The current was wild. I was so glad that they are young, healthy and not fearful. We flew around for about 20 minutes and then settled in a protected cove to do their skills.
On our second training dive we entered near shore but the current was quiet so after the skills I swam them out to the reef. On the way we encountered a big splendid toadfish, two yellow stingrays, an electric ray that fascinated Andrew and various sea shells. Right before we came up we saw a pipefish in the sand. Kathryn thought that it was a seahorse because the do look like a (straightened out) seahorse. They are very closely related .
Saturday, May 17th
Andrew and Kathryn were ready for their last two certification dives. Bruce and Steve came diving with us at Palancar Gardens. We saw lots of little turtles. I saw the same turtle that I saw the morning before. It is small with a big white splotch on its back. I was so grateful for the lack of current. The ocean was calm and the dive was very easy.
Since conditions were so good I took them all over to Cedral Wall to finish up. We saw several turtles, one of which was napping under a coral ledge/overhang. Kathryn got a good up close look. We also saw two different small nurse sharks and a huge southern stingray munching on something in the sand.
Sunday, May 18th
Doug wanted to dive through some caves. Bruce and Steve didn’t seem to mind so we went to Palancar Caves. We had a nice, uneventful dive and swam through loads of tunnels.
Doug wanted to see a wall so I took them to San Francisco Wall for the second dive. Once again we had good conditions. We saw a big barracuda and a school of black groupers lead by the largest of the group. Right before we headed up I spied a big loggerhead turtle swimming out over the drop off.
Monday, May 19th
Misty, Anthony, Mary and Kevin all arrived on a cruise ship. Kevin wanted to see a drop off so I took them all to Jose Nibardo’s spot called 3 palos and what Carlos calls the place with the grouper, lobster and cave. It’s the end of Palancar Gardens and it is quite spectacular. We saw a couple of turtles and swam through some archways.
I was not in the mood for current so I took them to French Reef on the second dive. There was a good bit of current, but definitely less current than I saw on other reefs on the way out in the morning. We saw a couple of big stingrays, a big barracuda and I dragged Misty into a cave to take a picture of a turtle eating a sponge surrounded by some beautiful queen angels.
Tuesday, May 20th
It was Tammy and Lawerence’s first day of diving. They wanted to see something great... but we didn’t want to do a hard dive so we went to Palancar. First a turtle sort of swam ahead of us off in the deeper area but always seemed to be right there. Then that same turtle stopped and nuzzled up to another turtle on the bottom. Our dive plan was to go to 60 feet. The two turtles were actually in 80 feet and I think it was worth it to go a little deeper so that they could take pictures and get a good look.
During the surface interval I gave Blythe and Peter a resort course. We did a 10-foot dive near shore at Paradise. Then Peter joined us for a 30-foot dive on the reef. Tammy found a splendid toadfish and Peter showed us a yellow stingray. Then Peter went up and I brought Tammy and Lawerence over to the algae beds to look for a seahorse. Unfortunately we did not find a seahorse but we found: a squid, a pipefish, a one dollar bill, a scorpion fish, a magnificent urchin and a lot of sea shells.
Wednesday, May 21st
I did just one dive on Paradise teaching a resort course for Blythe, Peter, Kirk, Dominique, Zane, Travis and Joel. We saw a spotted moray eel, two lobsters and we swam through the big school of fish. A rather large, hungry barracuda hung out just to the edge of the school, protecting his food source.
Thursday, May 22nd
Joe, Anthony Sr., Anthony Jr. and Jonathan told me that they dive in the Gulf and that they are used to big waves. I was not worried about Joel and Zane at all so I packed them up and took them to see something good at 3 Palos. We swam through a zillion caves. After Anthony Jr., Joe, Joel and Zane were already on the boat we saw a small nurse shark hiding under the reef. Then I grabbed their camera and swam up to a big hawksbill turtle and took a picture.
The second tank was on Yucab where we swam past a school of barracuda and found a big arrow crab. Right before ascending we saw another nice sized turtle.
Saturday, May 24th
It was a lot of wind, but thankfully the bad currents seem to finally be over. I wanted to stay away from Palancar because of the waves and choppy condition. I took Tammy, Joel and Zane to San Francisco Wall for our first dive of the day. I promptly spotted a small nurse shark that dove down deep beneath us and off into the abyss. Zane pointed out a small green turtle up ahead of us. Later in the dive, a rather large nurse shark cruised below us in the deep water.
Since conditions were good, I took the divers over to Punta Tunich. We saw a tiny little juvenile spotted drum and a spotted drum. We awaken a sleeping turtle. The boys asked me if they could pet it and I had to tell them no. I was really glad that they asked first, instead of just sticking their hand out!!
Sunday, May 25th
We had beautiful diving conditions on Palancar Caves. My group that morning was Tammy, Zane, Joel, Travis, Bette, Larry and Michelle. Michelle was surprised at how much she liked the swim through(s). I don’t think that she had ever seen anything like that before.
When we had first boarded the boat that morning Joel asked me if we could see dolphins. I told him that we only see dolphins once in a blue moon so if there was a blue moon today, we would see dolphins. :-)
As we were getting in the water at Dalila, Carlos shouted that he saw dolphins. Horacio deflated his BCD, dropped down and swam like mad towards the dolphins. We followed him. We saw two large dolphin that kind of performed antics. One chased a fish like it was going to eat it. Then it came up from 30-feet deep really fast and jumped out of the water within 5-feet of a snorkeler. I cannot imagine how that snorkeler must have felt. The other dolphin passed about 15-feet away from Zane. They stuck around for a couple of minutes. Usually they are gone in seconds. So we got a great show and Horacio captured it all on video.
Next Zane pointed at something off in the distance. It turned out to be a big spotted eagle ray that turned around and swam right past us!
I found a good-sized nurse shark just lying in the sand. When the boys got too close it was frightened and swam off in the distance. We also saw a school of black groupers. Some were fairly large. It was a very exciting dive!
Monday, May 26th
Dive one was on Santa Rosa Wall with Bette, Larry, Michelle and Rusty. I realized that when I went through the cave, that it had been a long time since I had dived at this location. The inside of the cave had a huge mountain of sand in it, almost blocking one of the bigger exits. Since the current had been so wicked for a month...I avoided Santa Rosa Wall. That same current blew literally tons of sand into the cave. It was very, very impressive.
Dive two was on Paso Del Cedral. We had excellent conditions, very mild current. I taunted a splendid toadfish with the new red lure that I put in my pocket. It actually came all the way out trying to get my lure. (no, there is no hook on the lure) We saw loads of barracudas everywhere and I took everyone through the cave because Michelle really likes those caves.
Dive three was on Paradise with Toni, Matt and Max. They were doing dive number one for open water training. We saw a yellow stingray and swam in the school of big-eyed scads.
Dive four was with just Matt and Max because Toni was feeling a little seasick. I swam them over to the big reef. Matt was really amazed.
Tuesday, May 27th
Roland, Lorraine, Jeff, Mary, Eric, Lauren and Brent dived 3-Palos with me. We saw several turtles. We also saw a big grouper and a school of horse-eyed jacks.
Colombia Shallow was a great second dive. We saw a lot more turtles. Toro’s nurse shark was sharing its hole with another smaller shark that I haven’t seen before. It was Lauren that showed us all a big swimming nurse shark. Everyone enjoyed the big schools of blue striped grunts and blue tangs. Brent discovered a pair of funny looking slipper lobsters together under the reef. Some one else pointed out a crab on top of the coral. We saw so much that it is impossible to remember everything.
I was the last one to get on the boat. I still had my mask when some one shouted, “Dolphins!” I put my mask back on just in time to see 6 big dolphins swim underneath me. I shared my mask with Lauren but she only got a glimpse of them disappearing into the blue.
In the afternoon I took Matt, Max, Tatiana and Brenton to Paradise for two more open water training dives. Tatiana brought her camera and is now totally addicted to underwater photography. We saw an eel and an arrow crab. Matt loves Paradise reef and Tatiana said that the diving here is much better than what she saw in the Dominican Republic.
Wednesday, May 28th
Mary, Jeff, Roland, Lorraine, Brenton and Tatiana were my divers on Palancar Horseshoe. We saw Hercules but he has migrated a tad north of his old spot.
Dalila was fun because there wasn’t much current and I convinced a splendid toadfish that he should come out of his hole and say “hi” to Jeff’s camera. The toadfish saw his own reflection in Jeff’s lens port and began to attack the camera ferociously.
Friday, May 30th
I asked Roland, Lorraine, Jim and Jed if they preferred to go to Colombia Deep or to Palancar because we were going to get southeast wind soon and won’t be able to get out to Colombia or Palancar for a few days. They picked Palancar Caves. We had beautiful conditions and a perfect dive.
Since conditions were so nice I took them over to Cedral Wall for the second dive. The first turtle that I showed them was sitting around pigging out but I was too lazy to swim against the current for any prolonged period of time. The second turtle was sound asleep under a coral overhang hidden from predators and protected from the current. It looked so peaceful just napping there.
Saturday, May 31st
The wind was very strong in the Southeast from Tropical Storm Aurthur so I kept everyone on the northern reefs. My first dive was with Roland, Lorraine, Bob, Patsy, Bo, Jaime, Tim and Mike on Bolones de Chankanaab. We saw a small turtle sitting on the bottom and Roland showed us a crab that lost its claws in a battle.
The second dive was on Las Palmas and it was kind of a “fiasco” and kind of a success as well. The current was strong and it whisked us along the wall. I found a digital camera lying in the sand and the battery was still good. I think that it was lost probably within the hour that we were there. We saw two more turtles and a southern stingray. Unfortunately, the current was too fast for me to stop and look for splendid toadfish so we just flew along until we got low on air.
The fiasco part was when three divers got low on air. I made a safety stop with Bob, Patsy, Tim and Mike. The current was pushing us out to sea. When the four of them surfaced I was already pretty darned far away from Roland, Lorraine, Bo and Jaime. I waited for a moment and when Carlos did not show up to pick up my divers I went up to find out where the hell he was. Well, I could not see the boat, so I began waving my safety sausage and blowing my whistle. The first boat that passed us was Dive Paradise’s small fast boat. I shouted to the captain and asked him to call Niño on channel 6 for me. He said that he would and sped off. Then a friend of Carlos (nicknamed Jamonino) who works for Caballito del Caribe came over and I asked him to call Carlos on the radio. He stayed with us for 5 minutes. He called on all different channels trying to get Carlos to answer. By then we were out in the very deep water far from the other divers and the reef. I started getting very mad at Carlos. Jamonino stayed with us until pinche Carlos answered the damn radio and came to pick us up.
That is the second time Jamonino has rescued us. Once before, about 5 years ago, we ran out of gas on a night dive. Well, that is another story. So Carlos finally came over to get us and he was all pissy too. So the both of us were pissy with each other. He said that he was following the wrong bubbles. I think he was not paying attention and need a good slap upside the head. Fortunately for me, he only loses me about once a year or less so I guess I am good to go for a year :-)
I got up on the tower and Carlos drove around where I told him that I had last seen Roland, Lorraine, Bo and Jaime. I wasn’t as worried as I normally would be because three of them are active instructors and one is an active divemaster. I knew that two of them had safety sausages and that two of them know the Cozumel routine well enough to lead dives here. So it was only a matter of driving around and looking for them. Well, that was the good and the bad of the day. A brand new 8.1 mega pixel digital Sony Cyber-shot in a housing and four lost divers and a missing boat. Hmmmmm. Should I be really pissed off or really happy?
Sunday, June 1st
The wind slowed down somewhat so we went to Palancar Horseshoe. It was still pretty choppy but definitely dive-able. We didn’t see any big critters but Gary pointed out a nice lobster in a crevice. The visibility wasn’t great because of the waves but it was a very nice dive and Tim and Mike were really happy that we went there. Bo and Jaime were used to diving in big waves. Patsy and Bob took Bonine and they were good to go.
I took Gary to his favorite dive site, San Francisco Wall. Bo and Jaime were doing video and they just loved all the little critters there. Patsy was impressed by the clarity of the water. I guess in comparison to Palancar it was crystal clear!
Carlos made an extra effort not to leave anyone waiting for the boat for even one second.
Monday, June 2nd
The water was flat calm today on Palancar. I dived the Gardens with Jeb, Gary, Dana and Virg. We didn’t see many critters but all enjoyed the scenery.
The second dive was on San Francisco Wall since it was Jeb, Dana and Virg’s last diving day and Gary’s favorite spot. We saw that green moray eel with the crooked lower jaw and a small nurse shark swimming beneath us. When I got home from work I was determined to find the dive log where I had originally seen that green moray eel with its jaw newly injured. I found it on April 3rd, 2007. I was horrified when I saw the injured eel a year earlier. Now I am utterly amazed at how resilient and hearty those creatures are. I thought that the poor eel would die for sure. Thank goodness she is just fine now.
Tuesday, June 3rd
My first dive of the day was on Palancar Caves with Gary, Bo, Jaime, Eileen, Kelly, John and Heather. We saw our first turtle on the wall seriously devouring a bit of sponge. We had absolutely perfect dive conditions that day. The second turtle was in the shallow area on the top of the reef. It was just a little guy and was a little shy.
The second immersion was on San Francisco Wall of course. Bo and Jaime loved that dive from the previous treip and of course, it is Gary’s favorite. The other four divers had never been there before, so it was all good. I heard Jay shouting for Heather through his regulator. I got her attention and we swam over to see what he was so excited about. Jay had found a big octopus that put on quite a display for us. First, it kind of stood up on the tips of its tentacles. Then it flattened out and changed color to blend in with the reef. Then it turned dark gray and scooted away. Then it repeated the whole sequence. Jaime was able to videotape the whole show.
Wednesday, June 4th
I dived Santa Rosa Wall with Gary, Calvin, Mike, Patsy, Bob, Heather and Jay. Gary found a very large turtle and Gary just paddled slowly against the current observing all of it. We saw a big lobster out cruising about but it was hard to swim back and keep looking, so I just kept going.
We did our second dive on Paso Del Cedral. After cleaning Nick’s marker stone we found a 4-foot nurse shark resting in the hole where the green moray eel used to be. I used my lure to get a splendid toadfish half way out of the hole for Calvin. We saw a baby hawksbill turtle about 45 minutes into the dive.
Friday, June 6th
On the way out to the dive site we had dolphins swimming under the boat and along the side of us.
I went to Palancar Gardens with Akia, Heather and Jay. I was floating around minding my own business when a turtle turd floated down in front of my face. I looked up trying to find the guilty party but after a minute I just gave up. I started heading to the wall and discovered the turtle. It was hiding behind a coral head. I swam my group over to see it and it snuck out of its hiding place and came up right beneath Jay. It startled Jay until he figured out what it was.
I was in the mood for adventure so I took them over to Cedral Wall. As we headed down I spied a large nurse shark lying around doing absolutely nothing. We swam hard against the current for a look. That was when I noticed the huge old turtle just sitting on the bottom. It sat still until Jay got too close and then swam away. As we flew along, I saw another good-sized turtle out to the west of us. It was surrounded by several angelfish all of whom were picking at its lunch. Then I stopped and checked the hole with the different water temperature and found another small shark. Over on the wall I found a 3rd shark but it was hard to see. I think Heather bumped into the hydroids there. She came up with a rash on her ankle. That will itch for weeks……..
Saturday, June 7th
I took Akea, Chris, Margaret, Mike, Sally and Nick to Palancar Horseshoe. We saw a big lobster. Mike swam down to get a good look at the big cross that the Aguilar family placed for Martin.
At paradise we searched for about 20 minutes for a seahorse, all to no avail. I played with Spike and told him that Laura said “hi.” He has a new neighbor. There is now a yellow-headed jaw fish that has built it’s borough right smack dab in front of Spike’s place. I tried to coax out two splendid toadfish, but neither would fall prey to my tricks.
Wednesday, June 11th
It was good to get back to work after three days of a well-deserved rest. I took Philippe, Claudia, Linda and Robert to Palancar Horseshoe. Upon descent, there was a southern stingray in the sand below us which quickly disappeared from view. We saw a rather large lobster out walking around in the sand and a crab hidden in the reef.
Since we had two kids snorkeling over us, our second dive was at Paradise where we saw two splendid toadfish and a whole lot of crabs. I think that the lobsters and crabs were out because the sky was gray and cloudy. They may have thought that it was dusk.
Thursday, June 12th
We had beautiful conditions on Colombia Deep. We swam through some beautiful tunnels. Robert and Linda had an up close and personal experience with a small turtle. Art took pictures of Sergio and Jolei on the anchor.
Since the current was so cooperative I took them to Cedral Wall for the second tank. We saw a huge hawksbill turtle feasting on a leathery sponge surrounded by lots of pretty angelfish. We saw two huge black groupers. The highlight of the dive was the big nurse shark swimming against the current on the wall.
Friday the 13th,
Wes, Mitch, Stacy, Renato and Priscila came over from Playa Del Carmen to dive with me. Since they only had one day to dive here in Cozumel, I took them to 3-Palos on Palancar. We saw a big crab and the little nurse shark was in the usual hiding hole.
Since there was no current to speak of on Palancar, I took them over to Dalila where the current was very mild. We found a 5-foot nurse shark lying in a cave in the sand. Everyone got a good look at that shark.
Saturday, June 14th
I did a resort course at Paradise for Satini Sr., Satini Jr., Sione and Isao. Just as soon as we got started, a big southern stingray swam by and the boys took off after it. They swam so well that I took them over to the reef where we saw another smaller stingray. They had a fantastic time and I am sure that they will be diving again very soon.
Sunday, June 15th
It was Terri, Steve, Jan, Steve, Travis, Chris, Donna and Trevor’s first day of diving of the vacation so I took them to my favorite easy spot, Palancar Gardens. We worked out all the bugs on the weighting and the equipment that they had just had serviced. It did not come back from servicing in very nice condition. We did a few minor repairs and had an easy dive.
French Reef showed us three hawksbill turtles and one small green turtle. We found a big green moray eel on the bottom at a cleaning station. It sat very still while two banded cleaner shrimp cleaned its face and then crawled around inside of her open mouth and cleaned her teeth. Watching the action was fascinating. We saw plenty of pretty fish and all of the divers were very happy when they came up.
Monday, June 16th
Ok, Terri, Steve, Jan, Steve, Travis and Chris were all warmed up and ready to go. Jarrid and Greg had been diving in March so we went straight to Palancar Caves. Surprisingly, we didn’t see a single turtle but we had ideal conditions and a beautiful dive.
Since the current was so slow I took them all over to Cedral Wall. The current was clipping along, but not unmanageable. We all stopped to peak in the hole and see the little nurse shark in its usual spot. Then we saw a nice mellow turtle. After the turtle, we found my sweet green moray eel. It looked like Travis’ eyes were going to pop out of his head when I gave her a little caress on the nose. Then we saw a really big nurse shark swim by below us off the wall. We all went a little deeper than planned to see the shark, but it was worth it.
Tuesday, June 17th
My divers were Jan, Steve, Terri, Steve, Greg and Jarrid. We did our first dive on Colombia Deep and we had a fantastic dive. We saw four different turtles and someone showed me a green moray eel hiding in a dark recess close to the anchor. Right before we went up, I found a small nurse shark napping in a crevice.
I thought that they would like the schools of fish at Colombia Shallow. Toro’s nurse shark was not home but we saw a cluster of feather dusters, a pair of spotted drums and lots of baby lobsters.
In the afternoon I brought Jennifer, Hunter, Alan and Andrew to 3-Palos. My little nurse shark at the end of the dive was not in her usual spot.
Cedral Wall was my last dive of the day. We saw two turtles and a nurse shark in that funny hole with the different temperature water. Now the water in the hole is colder than the surrounding water.
Wednesday, June 18th
That morning I took Greg, Jarrid, Linda, Robert, Donna, Trevor, Travis and Chris to San Francisco Wall. I thought of Gary, as I cruised around down there. We saw tons of really big black groupers.
Dalila was our second tank. We had nice mild current. There were more big groupers. Chris said that he saw a big shark swimming around but I missed it. Oh well…….
Thursday, June 19th
I dived 3-Palos with Terri, Steve, Jan, Steve, Donna, Trevor, Erin and Jim. We had almost no current and a lovely dive.
We did our second dive on Paso Del Cedral. We found a small nurse shark hiding under a coral head with a queen angel. We saw three splendid toadfish all within a hundred feet of one another. The biggest barracuda on the entire planet was hovering over a brain coral getting it’s sharp, pointy teeth cleaned. We saw several other barracudas on that dive but none were nearly that size.
Friday, June 20th
By special request, my first tank was on Palancar Gardens. My divers
were Donna, Trevor, Greg, Larry, Cheri and Kent. Larry asked for lots
of swim throughs and that was what he got. A graceful spotted eagle
ray glided by in the blue water. And fun was had by all of us.
Kent took pictures of all the huge black groupers and discovered Toro’s big nurse shark in a new spot. Now I know of the new location where he has moved!
Sunday, June 22nd
My morning was spent diving Palancar Caves with Larry, Kent, Cheri,
Jason, Shane, Leslie and Steve. We dropped down on a big southern stingray
feeding in the sand and we sat still watching for a few minutes. We
also found a small hawksbill turtle and we swam through lots of caves
Monday, June 23rd
John, Larry, Shane, Jason, Leslie and Steve came with me to Palancar
Gardens. The boys pointed out one turtle. They also spotted four lobsters.
I missed them all of them! What’s up with that? Well, Leslie was
impressed when I showed her a tiny pipehorse that looked just like a
piece of algae.
Maddie wanted to go to Palancar. I told her that she was the queen
of the boat that day and we would go wherever she wanted to go. It
was Bo’s first ocean dive and boy, was he excited!
Tuesday, June 24th
Steve wanted to go to Santa Rosa Wall. Leslie, Shane, Jason, Dennis and Dave were also happy to go there. The drop off is breathtaking. We swam through several caves and everyone enjoyed the dive.
There were two huge groupers swimming together at Tormentos. Both Steve and Dave got photos of them. A pair of lobsters were hiding in a hole. I tried really hard to find that batfish I had seen last month but I had no luck. Those red and orange encrusting sponges certainly make Tormentos a beautiful dive.
Wednesday, June 25th
The Campbell family requested turtles, so I took them and Dennis to
French Reef. We found one turtle and a huge grouper getting its teeth
cleaned at a cleaning station. Bo had an opportunity to try out his
new camera on that dive.
We saw another turtle before we ran into ChactaMono. He gave me a big hug and then headed up toward the surface. Since he was at 15 feet, he could see further than I could. I looked up to wave goodbye to him and he pointed out a huge nurse shark just lying on the bottom. We all swam over and got a good look. (Dave is hopeful that he got some good pictures.) Then that big nurse shark swam away. We drifted over to the wall where we rather followed the shark for awhile. Then the shark met up with a big, huge hawksbill turtle. I couldn’t decide which I would rather look at! After those two disappeared, another small hawksbill turtle swam right up in front of Maddie and she got a good look at it. After surfacing for air, the turtle came back down again. That is when it was time, and we decided to go up.
Thursday, June 26th
I took Dave, Bo, Leslie, Steve, Shane and Jason to Colombia Deep.
Bo completed his deep dive for his Advanced Open water certification.
Jason showed Shane a big lobster located in a crack. We studied a
garden eel as it poked out of its hole in the sand.
Friday, June 27th
Dive one was on Palancar Horseshoe with Steve, Leslie, Shane, Jay
Dog, Tami, Taellor, Jeff and Holly. We all stopped and had a look
at the plaque and cross that Martin Aguilar’s family put down
there for him when he passed away last year. I felt bad when we came
up because Holly asked me how he died. I realized by her tone of voice
that she probably knew him so I asked. She said that she had dived
with him for a week once year ago. What a crummy way to find out that
your old divemaster has died………
Saturday, June 28th
I took Steve, Leslie, Shane, Jason, Jason and Kim to the shipwreck.
We found a pipefish in the sand at 70 feet. I showed everyone the
brittle stars on the bright red sponges. Sadly, the school of sardines
Sunday, June 29th
I let Steve pick the reef this day since it was his last day of diving
with Leslie, Shane, Jay Dog, Drew, Patti and Megan. I was fascinated
watching the divemaster from the group in front of us deal with a
problematic diver. First I watched the problematic diver fiddle with
his inflator constantly. After the divemaster went over to him and
told him to stop the diver started to rise. With one hand on the diver
and one hand used to make the hand signal for “stop” the
pair made a slow ascent towards the surface. Meanwhile down below
the other eight divers in his group decided to go in a cave. That
divemaster had lost complete control over the group and there was
no choice. He accompanied the stressed out diver to about 5 feet below
the surface and then the divemaster went back down to round up his
stray divers. I found the whole show quite entertaining and was grateful
that it was not my group :-) J
Monday, June 30th
Tank one was on Colombia Shallow in search of Patti’s wedding
ring that fell off of her finger the day before. I was accompanied
by Patti, Andrew, Sandy, Paul, Crysta, Charity, JT and Amy. We did
not find the ring but we did get to see some neat stuff. Patti just
loves that dive. Today, there were two juvenile spotted drums where
we had only seen one on the day before. I started spazzing out when
I found a yellow seahorse hanging on the algae at the end of the dive.
Patti thought that I was playing a trick on her until she got close
enough to see it clearly. I could not believe that as soon as Leslie
went home I found a frickin’ seahorse. The exact same thing
happened a year ago with my friend Carol. I found the seahorse the
day that she went home. How frustrating!
Heather kept pointing out turtles. Two were off in the distance and
one was pretty close to us and on its way up for a gulp of air.
Tuesday, July 1st
Taellor, Tami, Patti, Andrew and Megan dived at Colombia Deep with
me. We swam between towering coral heads. We saw a turtle.
Wednesday, July 2nd
dived at Palancar Gardens with Patti, Andrew, Megan, Jeff, J.T.
Amy and Bruce. We saw a big green moray eel free swimming and being
followed by a big grouper.
Thursday, July 3rd
Dive number one was on Palancar with Drew, Patti, Megan, Jeff, Bruce,
JT and Amy. We saw schools of humans everywhere but we managed to
avoid mingling with them. Over all, the dive went well and fun was
had by all.
A turtle swam right under Bruce and beneath the turtle sleeping under the ledge.
Everyone came up saying “Wow!”
Friday, July 4th
I took J.T., Amy, Bruce, Patti and Andrew to Palancar Horseshoe to
look for Hercules. He wasn’t there. We did get to see four different
turtles, however. Patti found a spotted drum and I showed Drew a goldentail
We saw one more turtle, a squid and the spotted drum who was in the same spot as the last two times I visited. It gave me great pleasure to be able to show Amy the big yellow seahorse at the end of the dive.
Thursday, July 10th
After a nice 5-day rest, I did a dive on Palancar Gardens with Don
Ricardo, Craig, Lisa, Lauren, Stephanie, Brad and Brett. Craig and
Don Ricardo had promised Stephanie a turtle and I produced :-)J We
swam through the gorgeous coral formations and everyone was a happy
At the very end of the dive we spotted a pair of nurse sharks. One was just huge and they were acting weird. I think that they were mating. The really big one kept circling Lisa. She was a bit nervous. (I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary about the behavior, however.) The two nurse sharks were definitely hanging out together. One of the sharks hid from Lisa. The other shark just circled. I thought it was muy cool.
Friday, July 11th
Dive one was on French Reef with Craig, Lisa, Don Ricardo, Lauren, Curt, Cheryl and Mark. I saw at least five splendid toadfish but none of them would come out for Lisa’s camera. I showed her a juvenile spotted drum. When Curt and I were making a safety stop I found a turtle.
Dive two was on San Francisco Wall. The current was nice and mild. First Craig and Lisa had an up close and personal relationship with a turtle. Next, I spied the first nurse shark. Cheryl also had an opportunity to see it. The nurse shark was being followed by two large black groupers. When we chased after it, the shark just plunged down into the blue. A second shark was found by Craig. I think only he and I saw it. It was swimming way ahead of our group.
Saturday, July 12th
Since I had only two divers, Paul and Curt and neither needed a babysitter, I told Carlos to burn up a whole bunch of gasoline and take us to Colombia Pinnacles. I wanted to try out the new digital camera that I found a month before. I just got a charger for the battery and it was good to go. I experimented with photos on top of the reef and in a swim through. The colors come out so much brighter when there is no sunshine overhead. I don’t know why...but I will ask everyone I meet until I get the answer! I got some nice shots of a baby turtle and a green moray eel. There was a huge turtle that was too deep to take a picture of. Curt fell in love with that reef. I think that it was the towering coral formations that intrigued him. He said that the terrain was really varied. I just think that it was frickin deep.
I wanted a picture of the yellow seahorse, so I forced them to go to Colombia Shallow with me. Ha ha ha. I rolled in off of the boat and check to see if the boys were OK. I looked down and saw a big nurse shark swimming below. I shouted, “Shark! I am outa here!” and I took off, leaving them both shocked. Curt managed to deflate his BC and come down to see the shark but Paul was still working on his camera and ears when the shark swam away. I got a great shot of it in a school of bright yellow grunts.
We also saw another small nurse shark maybe 4 or 5 feet long and we all took turns posing next to it. A turtle popped out of the reef in front of me and I snapped some more turtle pictures. Well, I took pictures of just about everything. So when we were coming up on the juvenile spotted drum I tried to switch the camera to video mode. Well, I got a low battery sign and the camera went off! Shoot. Poo-Poo. I hadn’t made it to the seahorse yet and my battery was dead! That will teach me to take pictures of every single fish I see. Well it took me two minutes to find the seahorse and Paul took about five shots of it.
Sunday, July 13th
Paul, Curt, Craig, Tom and Brett dived on Palancar Horseshoe with me. Right at the beginning of the dive, where Hercules used to hang out, I looked up and saw a small Caribbean Reef Shark in the blue. I swam wildly around the coral head to try and head it off...but it changed direction and disappeared. I was bummed.
We sat for a long while with a turtle as is had a leisurely breakfast. It didn’t seem to mind us being there and taking pictures. It just ignored us and went about its morning meal.
Next, we all went to French Reef. That place is like swimming in an aquarium. I showed the boys a tiger’s tail sea cucumber and a sea pearl. During our safety stop, Curt pointed to another turtle on the bottom below us.
Monday, July 14th
I took Tom, Greg, Brett and Curt to Palancar Gardens and swam them through all of the caves there. We saw two different turtles. One was really far away and the other was munching on the reef.
Allison, Tom, Lacy and Amanda joined us for the second dive on Colombia Shallow. We found lots of different big conches on the bottom. The spotted drum that we have been taking pictures of all week has moved. Curt was the one to find the seahorse in the algae patch. He has a good eye!
I taught the Drift Diver Specialty course to Janet, Thomas, Chris, Dave and Kerry. I chose Tormentos for the first dive for several reasons. The first reason for this was that the current strength was medium intensity. (Not so fast that it would freak them out but fast enough for them to learn something.) Janet took lots of pictures of the bright red and orange sponges on the underside of the reef.
For the second dive of the specialty I took them to Dalila for a bit more current. We practiced three different techniques for stopping in current, and we saw the world’s largest green turtle. It was an old moss back male and it was a giant. It was the biggest turtle that I have seen in a very long time. We also saw another normal-sized hawksbill. Dave chased after it and wasted some of his air. We also saw a southern stingray in the sand and the boys discovered a yellow stingray too. Chris just liked the fish the best.
Tuesday, July 15th
Per special request we did our first dive of the morning on Palancar Horseshoe with Craig, Lisa, Don Ricardo, Paul, Fulvio, Curt, Chris and Dave. Lisa and I saw a small turtle off in the distance but that was about it for the critter sighting. However, that was the first time that Chris and Dave had seen big coral formations so they were quite impressed.
Lisa loves turtles so we went back to Cedral Wall for the second dive. We saw more turtles than I can count. The show-stopper was the big green turtle that we had seen the day before on Dalila. This turtle is so big that it is unmistakably the same turtle that we had seen the day before. Aside from the gobs of turtles, we saw three more nurse sharks. Two of them, I found sleeping in the little holes that I always peek into and one that Fulvio showed us. Fulvio also pointed out a big green moray eel at the end of the dive. couldn’t resist ducking back down for a close look. I just love those green morays!
Wednesday, July 16th
I did another four tank day starting with Santa Rosa Wall and Craig, Lisa, Richard and Paul. As we arrived on the wall I turned my head to see a big, friendly turtle right in my face. That was really cool. At the end of the dive we ran into a rather large nurse shark.
Karina, Janet, Josh and Joseph joined us on tank two at Colombia Shallow. I showed them some big conches. Lisa found the yellow seahorse. I told her where to look of course, but she spotted it first and got the pictures.
Tank three was on Palancar Gardens with Curt, Janet, Chris and Dave. I swam all of them through the coral caves. Dave found a huge crab. Janet took pictures of a purple vase sponge covered in brittle stars.
Tank four was on Cedral Pass. That was a great dive! While still on the platform we encountered a 6-foot green moray eel. It didn’t want to be petted so I didn’t push the issue. I like my fingers. We also swam past a turtle and we saw three nurse sharks on the dive. The first two nurse sharks were normal sized. The last shark was really big. Curt guessed maybe 8 feet long. I had gone down and laid next to it for comparison’s sake.
Thursday, July 17th
Curt, Sarah and Dave came diving with me on Palancar Caves. We had beautiful conditions. The water was 83 degrees, calm and clear. It was an easy dive.
Dave wanted to see a wall so I took them to San Francisco Wall. Only Dave and I saw the first nurse shark swimming below us at 100 feet. Everyone got to see the big turtle and the second nurse shark beneath us. A squadron of 15 big barracudas passed overhead. A school of long skinny silver fish flooded past us in a rush to get away from two big Spanish mackerel following them.
Friday, July 18th
The first dive of the morning was on Palancar Gardens with Elizabeth, Dave, Victoria, David, Terri, Natalie, John and Debbie. After a few swim-through we found ourselves sandwiched between a big black grouper and a turtle. It was kind of hard to figure out which one we wanted to look at.
I took them to Paradise because it was close to their cruise ship. We had a great dive. We saw a couple of splendid toadfish. I marked the location with a stick so that I could go back and find them later. We saw a 6-foot green moray eel under a ledge.
For the first dive at Paradise in the afternoon I took only Chuck and Ellen. We found two lobsters and one was big enough to feed both Chuck and Ellen. We saw three different kinds of eels: golden tail, spotted and the big green monster were still hanging about. I also showed them the toadfish that I had found in the morning.
Chris, Alaina and Tracy joined us for the last dive of the day. I showed them all the same stuff, plus we found lots of big crabs since the sun was going down.
Saturday, July 19th
Chuck requested Palancar Horseshoe. Ellen, Tracy, Alaina, Chris and John were quite content to go anywhere. We had a lovely dive. I swam right past the first turtle. Chuck had a rattle and he alerted us to the cute critter. I found the second turtle just perched on the reef. A spotted moray eel swam around the monument in search of a meal. The visibility was lower than normal, but no one seemed to notice or care. During the safety stop we examined a big cushion sea star.
Chuck asked for a seahorse so off to Colombia Shallow I went again. We saw several turtles and I showed Ellen a nice big nurse shark resting in a dark recess. We checked out yellow-headed jawfish and sand dollars on the bottom. I searched for 15 minutes and never found the yellow seahorse. I was really frustrated.
Sunday, July 20th
Craig, Lisa, Don Ricardo, Neil, Chuck and Rick were my divers on Palancar Gardens. We had a bit more current than I had expected. Aside from a couple of unexpected trips to the surface all went well. Neil had a minor problem with his regulator. I found the problem when I took it apart. The diaphragm had a tiny little hole in it that caused about a tablespoon full of water to come in to the mouthpiece every once in a while. The problem was solved underwater by just switching to the octopus. Lisa swam back against the current to take a picture of a turtle. Man...that girl can swim.
Paso Del Cedral was our second tank. We saw that big, huge old turtle again. It was resting on the bottom when we floated up, but promptly left when we approached. I found another turtle that bit off a chunk of sponge too big to chew and it spit it out. That was fun to watch. When we came upon the 6-foot nurse shark lounging on the sand the battery in Neil’s camera had gone dead so he didn’t get a picture of it!
Monday, July 21st
After the morning rain let up, Carlos and I took Neil, Tracy, Chris, Alaina and Rick to Colombia Deep. The visibility was a little reduced from the passage of Dolly but it wasn’t bad. I swam them through my favorite cave and on the way over to the anchor, we found a big green moray eel. I found a white nosed pipefish in the sand.
There was more current than normal on French Reef. It was Tracy that kept pointing out the turtles on that dive. The small one was a green turtle, that is very unusual. Chris and Alaina saw a small nurse shark. Alaina said that she woke it up and it swam away. I missed it. Oh well. Rick showed us a big crab with impressive pinchers.
Tuesday, July 22nd
Lisa, Craig, Richard and Lauren requested Cedral Wall for the first tank. We had an action packed dive. The current was medium speed. First we saw the small shark in the hole. While Lisa was taking a picture of a one turtle, another small shark swam by. We found a third small shark. This happened right before we saw the second turtle. The last shark was good size and swimming. A big grey grouper was following Rick around and he took lots of pictures.
Chuck wanted Ellen to see Santa Rosa wall and it was their last day of diving. I normally don’t do Santa Rosa wall for the second tank... but he really wanted to see it, so I told everyone to stay at 60 feet or less. We saw another turtle for Lisa’s camera. Chuck loves those monstrous coral formations.
Wednesday, July 23rd
I took John, Mark, Joannie, Meagan, Chris, Allison, Neil and Tracy to Palancar Horseshoe. We watched as a turtle swam slowly past. I heard a funny sound and turned my head. It was John laughing at 60 feet. The turtle was taking a poop and I could hear John laughing out loud. Neil took a picture of it. Joannie showed me a spotted moray eel. We saw a second turtle and a Caribbean reef shark out and swimming about. Then Tracy discovered a 4- foot nurse shark just lying about in the shallows.
We went to Tormentos for our second dive and descended upon another turtle. The current was clipping along.
I went out again in the afternoon with Sharon, Suzie, Adam, Ryan, Jason and Tracy. We went to Palancar Horseshoe but stayed on top of the reef in 20 feet of water. We didn’t see much until Tracy and I were alone. Then we saw a turtle and a goldentail moray.
My last dive of the day was on Paradise where we did exercises for open water training and we saw a spotted scorpion fish and an electric stingray.
Thursday, July 24th
On the morning trip I dived Palancar Gardens with John, Joannie, Chris, Meagan, Ally, Mark and David. We saw three different turtles. The first one surfaced for a breath of fresh air. The second one was a tiny little baby. Joannie got a picture of the last one. We saw a southern stingray in the sand.
Ally wanted to see a seahorse, so I went back and checked on Colombia Shallow. After another 15 minute search, no seahorse I finally gave up. We did have a great dive however. We dropped down on a spotted scorpion fish and a small nurse shark. Later, I found a big nurse shark under the reef. I also showed David and Joannie a big green moray eel. We had a lot of fun.
In the afternoon I took Charles, Jillian, Luke, Brigitte and Lisa to Paradise near shore for a resort course. We saw some flamingo tongues and pretty fish.
Jillian and Luke got off of the boat and I took Dad and the two girls back out for a second dive. I got another divemaster to show me a bunch of stuff. He found a pipehorse, a spotted moray and a small nurse shark. The only thing that I found was the splendid toadfish. The other divemaster did all the work for me!
Friday, July 25th
I just did two dives with David, Edwin, Michael, Rick and Neil on Colombia Deep per Rick’s request. We saw a big, huge nurse shark hiding under the reef. Everyone got pictures.
Then we went to Dalila and not only did we see another nurse shark but we also saw three turtles. We had quite a successful day!
Saturday, July 26th
Harrison wanted to see a seahorse. David never cares where we go. So we went to Horseshoe because the seahorse at Colombia is gone. But I knew where to find a pipehorse at Horseshoe. Not only did we find the pipehorse but we also saw Hercules the big barracuda and a turtle. A rather large crab with dinner-sized claws was hanging upside down in a cave. It was a cool dive.
I was in the mood for Cedral Wall. The current was clipping along. I had the camera with me and I took pictures of all the sharks. The first one was pretty much out in the open, but the other two were in that hole with the different temperature water. I also found a nice green moray eel. I took lots of pictures. There were several turtles. They sat still for the cameras.
In the afternoon I completed open water training for Adam, Ryan, Jason, Sharon and Suzie. We did some snorkeling exercises and the first training dive took place near shore. The second training dive took place on the reef at Paradise, where we saw a goldentail moray, several tiger’s tail sea cucumbers, donkey dung sea cucumbers and a splendid toadfish.
Sunday, July 27th
I chose Palancar Gardens for David and Becky. We swam through a bunch of caves. David and I took turns taking pictures of each other with a turtle.
There was a good current running on Punta Tunich. The most interesting thing that we saw was a little balloon fish. I was flying along and noticed four queen triggers taking turns at attacking something white and round. I swam over to see what they were picking at and discovered this cute little balloon fish all puffed up and in distress. I waved my hands and made the triggers go away. Then I gently nudged the little guy back to the bottom. Then, just when I remembered that I had a camera and took it out to take a picture, a long came a big snapper and snatched up the little guy in it’s mouth. I whacked the snapper one with my camera and the snapper spit out my little buddy. I grabbed him between two fingers and placed him on the bottom in a protected area and I drifted away. I hope I helped !!
Then I asked David how his computer was doing. Both he and I were running out of time so I swam us over to Yucab where it is more shallow and there is less current. We saw a humungous nurse shark feeding on something below us. We had a very interesting morning.
Monday, July 28th
David and I dove Punta Sur. We asked Carlos to drop us off on the Devil’s Throat but when we got down there I had no frickin idea where it was. When all was said and done I think that we dropped down north of the Throat and had I swum against the current for a little bit we would have gone right to it. Instead I chose to go north. The sandy bottom was about 150 feet deep. The very tippy top of the reef was 100 feet deep and that is where David and I cruised. After about 30 minutes we saw a pair of Caribbean Reef sharks and we took lots of pictures. We also saw a few turtles and a southern stingray.
We did our second dive on Dalila. We had a three nurse shark dive. David got sick of waiting for me as I swam against the current watching a pair of nurse sharks come together and then swim apart, then come back together again and separate. This went on for about 800 psi. Don’t ask me how many minutes. I just know how much air I burned up swimming against the current. I was enraptured with the big nurse shark. As we were doing our safety stop, a small green turtle swam up behind David and went to the surface to breath. Then David looked down and discovered a big, huge hawksbill turtle just sitting on the bottom with a huge barracuda hovering over it. It was comical and interesting enough to go back down for a picture.
Tuesday, July 29th
I dived Palancar Caves with Bryan, David, Sebastian, Juan, Roberto and Gerardo. We didn’t see any big critters but everyone was impressed with the amazing reef formations.
On Paso Del Cedral we saw a small Caribbean reef shark, several barracudas and a normal-sized nurse shark.
Wednesday, July 30th
It was a bit choppy on Palancar Gardens due to Southeast wind. There were no complaints out of David, Chris, Jennifer, Gerardo, Juan, Roberto and Sebastian. We had a lovely dive complete with a turtle and a huge crab. The visibility was not up to par but 80 feet is good enough!
To get out of the wind we went a bit north to San Francisco Wall. I had the pleasure of showing Sebastian a 6-foot nurse shark swimming below us in the deep. The first turtle was fairly far away. It went to the surface, took a gulp of air and came back down. The second turtle was enormous. It sat on the bottom while David and Chris took pictures of it. It was Jennifer who spotted the sleeping giant turtle.
Thursday, July 31st
I took the Dollarhide family snorkeling and diving on Palancar. Tony, my snorkel guide found two turtles, but us divers didn’t see them. Tony said that the first turtle was right over my head when I went into a cave. That is probably why we didn’t see it.
Then we all went to Paradise for our second dive. Tony snorkeled down and a big octopus hopped up on his arm and shoulder. Tony came to the surface with the octopus stuck to him. He couldn’t get it off. Then he snorkeled back down and got next to the reef and the octopus took off. Weird……… Tony was the show because then he started snorkeling down and at the bottom he would blow air rings and then come up slowly through them. He is a heck of a lot of fun.
Saturday, August 2nd
Chucho and I only had four divers total. Two were certified (Bill & Chris) and two (Doreen & Brian) were doing dives one and two of their open water referral. Chucho and I took them to Palancar and split up. Chucho took Bill and Chris down 80 feet and through the caves. I stayed up on top in 35 to 40 feet of water. After completing the skills Doreen, Brian and I saw a couple of turtles. Brian pointed out a spotted moray eel.
On Colombia Shallow we saw another couple of turtles and a crab with scary looking claws! The yellow seahorse was not there. I give up. It must have been eaten by something. ( Boo-hoo.)
Sunday, August 3rd
My first dive of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Brunner, Maryann, Morgan, Ilisa, Johnny, Laura, Doreen and Brian. Ilisa just snorkeled over us since she going to have a baby. We saw a couple of turtles and I ran into my ex (P-Head) down there and I gave him the finger.
French reef was our second dive. Maryann, Morgan and Brunner all bumped into the hydroids. They are going to have an itchy rash for a while…………
Tuesday, August 5th
I dived Colombia Deep with Scott, Kathy, Trent, Chance, Maryann, Brunner and Morgan. Some divers went a little deeper than planned and they discovered the majesty of the towering coral formations. We swam through my favorite cave. A good time was had by all.
Since we did a deep dive I thought it a good idea to chill out on Colombia Shallows. Chance spotted a small Caribbean reef shark. Unfortunately, I missed it. I found a group of divers photographing something and I called the group over for a look. We saw a big octopus blending in with the background. As we approached he scooted off to another coral head and we followed and watched him for a while.
Wednesday, August 6th
Mike had made a list of dive sites and he asked to go to Palancar Gardens. I had a private group of 10 divers: Carmen, Jeff, Cece, John, Amanda, Sarah, Mike, Josh, Zach and Heather. Cece was the most nervous and fresh out of certification with only experience to 25 feet deep previously. I held her hand and took her down slowly. As we came over the drop off I spied a small Caribbean reef shark off in the blue. Sorry Cece! We are there! So I hauled her over to the little shark in the blue and she LOVED it. Then I drug her by the hand back to the reef and WHA-LA! a turtle appeared. Lucky Cece. We had a very fun dive going through the archways.
I made it easy on everyone and booked it over to Colombia Shallow. Mike saw a nurse shark that I missed. Then I saw yes, another Caribbean reef shark, and took off after it. I turned around to call the divers and I was surprised to find Zach, also newly certified holding the rubber mouthpiece of his regulator in one hand and the regulator’s second stage in the other hand. He stuck in the second stage with no mouthpiece on it and was breathing and bewildered. I passed him my octopus and then unhooked his octopus that he had to use for the remainder of the dive.
Then, back to the shark chasing. I went off in the direction that I had lost sight of the little shark and caught a new glimpse of it. I turned around again to call the group and made chase. Well the reef shark disappeared from sight all together but we found a small nurse shark instead and which promptly found a comfortable resting spot on the bottom and it parked there. The boys came over and took lots of photos. We saw five little lobsters under a rock. Carmen showed us a spotted drum and Mike found another big nurse shark.
Thursday, August 7th
Mike, our dive site coordinator, decided on Colombia Deep for Carmen, Jeff, John, Amanda, Sarah, Josh and himself. I took them through my favorite cave and swam over another cave for a photo shoot at the anchor. The only turtle that was spotted was spotted was seen by another group. Carmen and I tried, in vain, but the turtle eluded us.
Cece, Zach and Heather got on for the dive to San Francisco Wall. I found the wonderful green moray eel with the crooked jaw. A big grouper was sitting right in front of the hole in which the eel was hiding, giving away his hiding place.
Lots of large groupers were swimming near us. The largest of them all was in the process of following a large nurse shark around in the area. And incidentally, the shark was accompanied by a pair of huge jacks. The shark was in sight for a good five minutes. We had fun following it around.
The third tank was on Yucab where we experienced a bit of current. It was all I could do to let Cece go and to permit her to become independent. This was a bit of tough conditions to cut her loose. We practiced keeping the group together by hiding behind coral heads and waiting for PhotoBoy to catch up to us.
Friday, August 8th
We all went to the shipwreck because Josh loves shipwrecks. I think that we were pushing Cece to her limits. However, Mike and Josh were wishing that we would do some penetration of the ship. So I kind of went up the middle and we swam through the top deck a few times...but nothing really tough. Everyone was happy. The current was a little whacky. Sometimes it would blow hard and yet, a mere ten over this same spot, the current was quite still.
I tried to find seahorses and splendid toadfish on Paradise but it was like hearding cats in the current. I just gave up and we putzed around looking at little stuff.
Chankanaab had very little current and the dive was oh so much more relaxing. Sarah or Amanda found a big grouper in a hole. The camera boys chased after a small spotted eagle ray that looped around and came back for a second pass. Mike, Jeff and I were floating around on the safety stop, when we looked down to discover a nurse shark lying on the bottom beneath us.
Saturday, August 9th
Our afternoon dive was on Palancar Horseshoe with Carmen’s gang. We saw a bunch of turtles... maybe five or so. John and Cece were coming around a big spire of coral and had a head on with a reef shark. They frightened the reef shark over to Zach, Heather and I. We got a good look, as he swam off into the blue.
We did a night dive on Colombia Shallow. It was a fantastic dive. We saw everything. There were plenty of octopi, lobsters and crabs. We also saw a squid and a slipper lobster. Only John, Cece and I saw the free swimming big eyed toadfish. Everyone was excited when we came up from the dive.
Sunday, August 10th,
Carmen, Jeff, John, Mike and Josh dived the Devil’s Throat with me. The current was not very cooperative, but we managed just fine. At one point on the wall, the bubbles were going in my face and I was quite worried. When we got back on the boat and were talking about the dive, Carmen said that when I was pointing at my throat she thought that I had an itch. I was pointing out the entrance to the cave! She cracks me up.
Amanda, Sarah and Cece joined us for the next dive on Dalila. There was a brisk current so Cece and I dived a bit in tandem. We saw a few turtles and a splendid toadfish. Two big groupers were hiding in a hole that gave away the hiding place of a big green moray eel. The eel was well hidden, so I stole Mike’s flashlight to point it out.
Dive three was on Cedral Wall. Everyone raved about that dive. Not only did we see seven turtles, but one of those turtles was the humungous green boy turtle that was swimming around with Craig and Lisa. We saw one small and one big nurse shark hiding in their holes. Plenty of lobsters to see, however, the current was swift.
Monday, August 11th
The whole gang: Carmen, Jeff, Amanda, Sarah, Mike, Josh, John, Cece, Zach and Heather all piled on the boat and we went to Colombia Deep. The current was bad, but we all managed it very well. We saw a few turtles and swam through my favorite cave. As I swam through the cave, I was thinking that it reminds me a lot of Punta Sur in that cave.
When Carmen, Amanda and I were getting back on the boat, dolphins swam by us. We put our masks and regulators back in and swam over for a look. We saw three big dolphins all happily swimming together!
Their last dive of the vacation was on Cedral Pass. I got to pet my sweet green moray eel. The guys had been asking about that eel all week and I was happy that she made an appearance. We saw a free-swimming nurse shark. Carmen pointed out a turtle at the end of the dive. In summary, that current was pretty darn strong.
After a thorough discussion on the boat, we all came to a mutual agreement to dive Palancar Gardens. My divers were Kevin, Kevin, Era, Dave, Barb, Mark and Eric. The south wind had kicked up and it was a bit rough on the boat. Underwater, however, the current was nice and gentle. We saw lots of turtles. There was a big turtle that swam up to the surface in front of Kevin and Era. Several small hawksbills sat on the bottom having breakfast. Being very cooperative, the turtles let the photographers take as many pictures as they liked.
Kevin and Kevin wanted to go back to Colombia Shallows. Kevin wanted more photos of the yellow-headed jaw fish. Era was having ear trouble so it was easier for her to get down on Colombia Shallow. We saw more jaw fish than Kevin could photograph along with a bunch of lobsters.
Thursday, August 14th
To avoid waves and current we did our first dive on Bolones de Chankanaab. My divers were Kevin, Kevin, Era, Dave, Barb, Mark, Eric and Brian. There was a bit of current at the beginning of the dive, but after 10 minutes the current was almost nil. We saw lots of large lobsters, a few crabs and a golden tail moray. There were fields of yellow-headed jaw fish to pose for Kevin.
Tormentos was our second dive and we immediately found a very patient turtle eating a sponge. It didn’t seem to mind if all of the divers mobbing it and taking pictures. It just ignored all of us and went about the business of brunch. The current was really calm. It was certainly a miracle :-)
Friday, August 15th
Dana and Rick were fresh out of certification class so we stayed really shallow. Jeanette and Garrett didn’t mind. We went to Colombia Shallow first to break ‘em in easy. We saw several very large groupers and three hawksbill turtles. The schools of fish entertained Dana.
We kept it shallow on Palancar Horseshoe too. Dana and I never got deeper than 40 feet. Her comfort level was good. We saw three hawksbill turtles and a small loggerhead. The small loggerhead was actually bigger than the hawksbills and it had barnacles all over its back.
Saturday, August 16th
Rick, Jeanette, Gary, Garrett and Kevin dived at Palancar Gardens with me. It was really cool coming through the first swim through and finding a turtle stuck to the side of the reef having breakfast. Everyone got a really good look. We saw several more turtles and Garrett pointed out a lobster.
Kevin had not been to Dalila yet this trip...so off we went. I found a beautiful full-grown green moray eel lolling about on the bottom. We also saw a few more turtles. One was surrounded by a harem of colorful angelfish sharing their meal.
Sunday, August 17th
I took Rick, Dana, Gary and Garrett to Palancar Horseshoe. The boys were told to stay at 60 feet if they wanted to make their air last. When Dana and I arrived at 60 feet the guys were way below us looking in cracks and crevices with the flashlight. Dana and I were the ones who spotted the pair of reef sharks cruising in the blue. I think that they are about 3 or 4 feet long head to tail. They are soooooo graceful and sleek. They are a marvel to watch. I am always transfixed watching them go by. The one in back swam south and then turned around and swam out in front of us northbound. Then when it reached the cross, it turned around and went south again. Dana pointed out a humungous lobster down on the bottom at about 100 feet. I was worried that our great explorer Garrett would go down and investigate. Luckily he was paying attention and kept us company.
French Reef produced a nice turtle and tons of lobsters. I tried to show Dana a juvenile spotted drum but I am not sure if she had a good look.
Monday, August 18th
My morning was spent with Mark, Collin, Michael, Maureen, Ben and Jocelyn. We went to Palancar Horseshoe. When we got in, the current was nice and mellow, but as the dive progressed, the current got a little tricky. In spite of it all, we had a nice, relaxing dive.
Cedral Pass was exciting. Collin cut his leg right before the dive and he asked me if it would attract sharks. I told him that I hoped so! He said that he didn’t want to see any sharks. Oh well, we saw two of them! The second one was bigger than 13-year old Collin.
We also got to say hello to a turtle. Collin was transfixed. He stayed with those sharks longer than anyone else. We practically had to pry him away, his cut leg and all !
Nellsyn was doing another resort course. Lee and Melissa were doing a refresher course. Midge, Lee D. Ross and Bunker just went along with us for fun. We dived Paradise and we practiced regulator recovery, mask clearing and the use of alternate air source.
We did our next dive on Chankanaab. We saw a bunch of crabs and lobsters. A big southern stingray was buried in the sand. He took off when everyone approached. While Midge, Lee and I were doing our safety stops, we saw a couple of hawksbill turtles on the bottom.
Tuesday, August 19th
The first dip of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Michael, Maureen, Kathleen, Kurt, Ryan and Rachel. The two divers had a depth restriction of 40 feet, but we mostly stayed at 25 feet. We saw lots of colorful fish and had a nice, long bottom time. We saw a couple of turtles. One was napping with its head tucked under a rock. When we all gathered around it, he woke up and swam away from the intruders.
Our second dip of the day was on Colombia Shallow where Maureen found the first nurse shark sleeping under the reef. I found the second nurse shark that was frightened out of its hiding hole and swam away from all of us. The second one was really big, much bigger than Ryan and Rachel. We also saw a southern stingray in the sandy area.
Dive three was with Lee, Midge, Bunker, Ross and Nellsyn. They requested a big reef and liked the idea of going through caves so I took them to Palancar Gardens. Midge came up from the dive and said that was her favorite dive ever. Now that is a big statement considering she has been diving in Palau too!
They wanted something easy for the next dive so we went to Yucab. Divers loved the splendid toadfish that I teased out of the hole with my red lure. Nellsyn showed us a goldentail moray and I found a big fat spotted moray. However, the show stopper was the 7-foot nurse shark with two remoras that swam just past us.
Thursday, August 21st
My divers were Sponge Bob, Jeremy, Michael, Maureen, Bridgett, Laura, John and John. We went to Palancar Horseshoe. I dragged Bridgett by the hand over to see the three little reef sharks out in the blue. As it turned out, Bridgett and I were the only ones that saw them. There was a weird current brewing and schools of humans everywhere, all of which can be frustrating.
We had the reef to ourselves at La Francesa. Sponge Bob pointed out the first turtle. We saw a few more turtles later in the dive. A huge southern stingray was digging in the sand for some chow. Everyone gathered around to watch. Bridgett thought that the stingray was scary and didn’t want to get too close! (Guess she has been watching too much TV.) ?
Nellsyn, Ross, Bunker, Midge and Lee wanted another scenic dive so we went to Palancar Caves and swam through tons of caves. There was not a lot of wildlife but everyone came up from that dive proclaiming that it was their favorite dive.
I picked Dalila for the last dive and what a grand finale for the DeSanders/Hill clan! We saw five nurse sharks and I don’t know how many turtles. The highlight for me was seeing Notchka, the nurse shark with the little circular bite out of her dorsal fin, the huge green turtle that hangs out on Cedral and the baby nurse shark. Every time that I see that humungous green turtle, I think of Craig and Lisa. It was really funny when we came up. The first one up was Nellsyn and she spit out her regular and screamed, “WOW!” Then Midge was the next up (she didn’t hear Nellsyn) and she spit out her regulator and screamed “WOW!” It was funny...like grandma – like granddaughter.
Friday, August 22nd
I went to Santa Rosa Wall with Bob, Jeremy, John, Bridgett, John, Laura, Michael and Maureen. Bob spotted a couple of turtles. I was busy spotting Bridgett. :-) We had a lovely dive and swam through a couple of caves.
We went to San Francisco Wall next and Bob showed us a nurse shark. It was swimming along the wall. We saw a turtle or two during our safety stop. I pointed out another rather large nurse shark swimming way beneath us.
That afternoon I picked up Kathleen, Kurt, Rachel and Ryan. I took them to French reef where we saw a few more turtles. Rachel and Ryan are only 11 years old so we stayed shallow.
The last dive of the day was their Grand Finale. We went to Dalila. The first nurse shark was large and lying in the sand below us. The second nurse shark was just a little baby. It was swimming around restlessly. The third shark was a Caribbean reef shark and it was pretty small. Those reef sharks are so beautiful and graceful. They just mesmerize me. We also saw a couple of big southern stingrays and six turtles. Rachel counted all of them. :-)J
Sunday, August 24th
My divers were Gary, James, Rick, Matt and Eric. We went to Palancar Gardens. The current was a little strange and bit strong, but we had a nice dive. We saw a turtle and I saw a huge lobster out walking around on top of the reef. I tried to show it to the boys but Gary was too far away and James was concentrating on his computer at the safety stop.
Our second dive was on French Reef. This dive went much smoother. We saw a few more turtles, one of which was sitting on the bottom surrounded by a harem of angels and munching away on a sponge. As Gary and I were doing his mandatory deco stop (oops... Gary) he pointed out a nurse shark lying on the bottom in the sand. That is the last deco stop for Gary. He is going to get Nitrox certified, pronto!
Monday, August 25th
I took Gary, James, Rick, Matt, Eric and David to Gary’s favorite site, San Francisco Wall. We had a difficult current but everyone managed it well. Gary saw a big nurse shark at the very beginning of the dive but I missed it. One of the boys found a big octopus spread out on top of the reef. It blended in well. Gary showed us a big green moray eel. We also saw a small green turtle and a very large hawksbill.
I was not in the mood for another difficult dive so we went to Yucab. On Yucab we gathered around a lazy turtle and I showed James a splendid toadfish. Rick came upon the first big black grouper that he had ever seen. He was quite impressed.
Tuesday, August 26th
Gary, James, Rick, Matt, Eric, David, Nikki and Scott came with me to Palancar Bricks. We had a beautiful dive and saw lots of turtles. We had intended to go to Caves but we got dropped off in the wrong place. Everyone enjoyed the impressive coral structures.
David had mentioned to me the day before that he had never seen any type of shark other than a nurse shark. I thought that it would be nice to take him over to Paso Del Cedral to see the little reef sharks. Gary spotted one first. I was totally pissed off to see a fish hook stuck in its little mouth. Damn poachers. We saw two small reef sharks and two big nurse sharks both of which swam around a bit before taking off into the blue.
Thursday, Oct. 9th
Well, finally I am back to work. It felt really good to get back on my boat and back into my beautiful sea after an entire month. I took, Linda, Rob, Flirty Jim, John and Alex to Colombia Deep. We didn’t see any big critters but we had beautiful dive conditions and I took them through my favorite cave.
Rob asked for a toadfish. Linda asked for Cedral. I told Carlos to drop me off on Paso Del Cedral. When we got into the water, the current was really calm so I swam the everyone over to the wall. (There is always better stuff over by the wall.)
The little nurse shark was in her usually hiding hole. We saw three small hawksbill turtles and floated up to a big nurse shark. I found a splendid toadfish for Rob and he dragged Jim back against the current to get a peek. When we returned to the boat someone asked what the nurse sharks eat. I couldn’t resist making a funny...so I told them that the nurse sharks eat people!! The silence was hysterical. Then I explained that they like lobsters and fish. They wouldn’t be anymore interested in eating us than we are interested in eating a sponge :-) J
Monday, Oct. 13th
I had three divers: Rich, Leigh and Monica. Both Monica and Leigh had not been diving for over a year so I took them to Palancar Gardens. It took about 30 minutes...but then I started to see Leigh acting like her normal self. I could tell when she finally felt comfortable. Her darned tank lasted an hour and 20 minutes !!!!! We saw a big southern stingray and a huge school of Japanese divers. (some toting two cameras each) The Japanese divers were photographing a splendid toadfish. After they took off, I tried to coax the toadfish out with my lure but I think it had been blinded by all of the flashes and couldn’t see the lure. When it was just Leigh and I down there on the safety stop, we saw a 6 foot nurse shark swim by beneath us.
Next we were off to French reef. Leigh showed us all the first small hawksbill turtle. Next, I found a pretty little green turtle. We followed it out to the sandy area. When I was bringing Leigh up to the surface, Rich and Monica observed a southern stingray in the sand being followed closely by a bar jack. At the end of the dive I drifted over a nice hawksbill turtle. I had to fight the urge to reach down and pet it.
Tuesday, October 14th
Leigh, Monica, Rich and I had a lovely dive on Palancar Horseshoe. The little Caribbean reef shark is still there and getting bigger. It started to take off to the blue water as we approached. We were careful not to charge it and/or frighten it off. As it was disappearing into the abyss, a medium sized eagle ray came right up to us. I think that since it was sandwiched between the shark and the school of humans, it chose the lesser of two evils and glided on over to us.
I could see the faint outline of the shark lurking in the distance. After the eagle ray had passed, the shark came back for a brief visit. We also saw a couple of small turtles at a distance. The visibility wasn’t any more than 70 or 80 feet due to all of the rain that we have had, but the conditions were calm and we got to see everything available to us, so that is all that mattered.
I took everyone to my favorite spot on Cedral Wall. I found an octopus in a hole where I had seen it before about a year ago. I tried to show it to Rich but it was so far into its den that he couldn’t get a good look at it. Then we drifted over and checked the shark hole. The little nurse shark was right where it always was, snug as a bug in a rug. We then crossed over to the wall where I spotted two hawksbill turtles frolicking together. A minute later...we came upon a rather large hawksbill that was backed into a hole. It was sticking its head out and watching us swim by. The best part was the big octopus that I found in a hole surrounded by a mound of its discarded conch shells. The shells totally gave him away. Everyone got a peek at the second octopus.
Wednesday, October 15th
Leigh asked about the shipwreck. Rich and Monica said that it was OK to go there...so we proceeded. I brought some flashlights so that they could see the beautiful colors of all the sponges growing on the ship. The sponges are red, orange, yellow, green and lavender. Everyone really enjoyed the dive. Leigh asked to go back there again next week. We saw a big spotted moray too.
Rich picked Paradise for the second dive. We saw quite a few big groupers. Leigh entertained herself with the Christmas tree worms. I could not find a seahorse nor a single splendid toadfish. Hmmmmmm
Friday, October 17th
Leigh, Bernardo, Corinna and Robin went diving with me on Palancar Caves. We saw turtle after turtle after turtle after turtle. Well at least Corinna and I did. As we were coming out of the 3rd cave a big turtle swam right over her head. We also saw a jumbo- sized lobster out and on top of the coral available for viewing.
I let Bernardo choose our dive site for the second tank. He picked a Grand Slam on San Francisco Wall. Just as we reached the bottom a big eagle ray swam by. Then we immediately drifted over to a sleeping 6-foot nurse shark. Later in the dive I pointed out a lobster and a splendid toadfish. Leigh said that she could hear me scream when I discovered what was hiding behind the sleeping turtle. It was the big green moray eel with the crooked lower jaw. Everyone was impressed with the dive and no one complained about the strong current or poor visibility because we saw so much good stuff!
Mike and Laurie requested a private divemaster so Chucho and I both went out. Chucho took Leigh, Kyle and Bernardo and I hung out with Mike and Laurie. We went to Palancar Gardens. I showed them a small turtle that went to the surface for a breath of air and then came back down again. We also saw a spotted drum in the intermediate stage and a splendid toadfish. We watched as a yellow fin grouper got its teeth cleaned by a scarlet lady cleaner shrimp.
Our second tank was on Yucab where the current was clipping. A good-sized turtle swam right up to Chucho as he sat in the sand patiently waiting for it. They almost looked like old friends. Carlos had taken the day off and Nibardo was driving the boat. He left me waiting just a tad too long and I got a wee tad irritated with him. I really missed my Carlos.
Sunday, October 19th
Leanne joined Bernardo, Leigh, Kyle and I on the boat that morning. I asked her where she wanted to go and it didn’t take more than a split second for her to shout, “Santa Rosa Wall!” We saw a lot of big, huge black groupers. Three of them were shadow feeding with a large nurse shark at 110 feet. I went as far as 90 and drew the line. I think that Kyle and I were the only ones that saw it. We also saw some lobsters and swam through the big cave.
Leanne said that she had a sprained ankle and that she couldn’t do the second dive so we dropped her off and went diving at Las Palmas. Of the three splendid toadfish that I found, I only succeeded in coaxing one of them to come out for viewing. A pair of lobsters huddled together under a small coral head.
I found a spotted moray and Kyle got a picture of it. Then we swam over to the wall and Leigh basked in a big school of shiny silver fish. When we came up we had tremendous waves. It was hard work getting back on board the boat. Leigh was thrilled and thanked me for another day of beautiful diving.
Monday, October 20th
I took Leigh, Kyle, Craig, Millie, Bob, Liz and George to Palancar Horseshoe. We saw loads of turtles right up close. We had really nice dive conditions. The current was light and the visibility had improved.
Per special request we did our second dive on Dalila where we were greeted by a 6-foot nurse shark upon descent. We saw another hawksbill turtle and a small green turtle.
Tuesday, October 21st
I dived the C53 wreck with Kerry, Dave, Blanca, Leigh, Kyle and Leann. Leigh and Leann looked like they were having the time of their lives checking out every single little critter on the wreck. They were particularly fascinated with the brittle stars on the encrusting red sponges, and the pipehorse I found in the sand along with the garden eels. I also showed everyone a spotted moray eel. For a final shot, we went inside the wheelhouse for a photo.
Kerry and Dave wanted no current so we went to Chankanaab. We had a blast. Kyle found a crab in a dark crevice. Leigh found a pair of hermit crabs getting ready to do the nasty. I showed them yellow-headed jawfish and Leigh showed us a beautiful little blue and orange nudibranch. Leigh delighted in swimming through the schools of fish.
Wednesday, October 22nd
Dive one was on Colombia Deep with Kyle, Leigh, Leann, Craig and Millie. We had a bit of current but everyone managed fine. We swam to the anchor first, then down through my favorite cave. Kyle LOVED that cave and it showed all over his face when he came out. We saw one big turtle and some more garden eels.
Dive two was on Colombia Shallows and WOW! What a dive! As we fell in the water, I looked down to discover a full grown nurse shark swimming below us. We all got a good look before it took off. After we swam through a couple schools of blue striped grunts we came upon a 5-foot nurse shark lying on the bottom. The nurse shark got up and started to swim around. It disappeared and reappeared many times over a 20-minute period. It looked like it was hunting for lunch. We also happened upon several turtles before we encountered the baby nurse shark lounging about. When we arrived at the reef we were greeted by three spotted eagle rays all swimming together. We got to hang with them for about five minutes. It was ecstasy. Throughout the rest of the dive, we saw a couple more lone spotted eagle rays, a small green turtle. Craig was mesmerized by a pair of southern stingrays along with a large black grouper. Oh, can’t forget to mention the tons of lobsters everywhere.
Thursday, October 23rd
Leigh, Kyle, Millie and Craig scuba dived with me on Palancar Gardens while German and Valeria snorkeled above us. It was rainy and overcast so it was a bit dark down there. It was hard to see the big crab just sitting in the open in the cave due to lack of sunlight. It was still a very pretty dive, however. The coral formations there are breathtaking.
Millie wanted to go back to Colombia Shallows since we had such an amazing dive there the day before. I gave German a class and he joined us for our dive at Colombia. As soon as we arrived on the bottom we found a large hawksbill turtle. German took a picture. Then we drifted over a sleeping nurse shark. Carlos did not drop us off on top of the reef so after a while I went swimming around looking for it. On the reef we saw two crabs. One was dead and one was alive. I guess when there is no sunshine they come out and walk around and sometimes they are eaten…….. We saw a huge green turtle and followed it around for a bit. We then saw a smaller turtle off in the distance.
After the turtles I spied a tiny nudibranch in the sand and we all missed Leann at that moment. I discovered a spotted moray eel completely out in the open...kind of coiled up with its head tilted upward and its mouth open. It almost looked menacing. We saw the same nurse shark from the day before right at the end of the dive. The nurse shark is distinctive because it has a white spot at the lower mid-body right in front of the pectoral fins on both sides. It was Leigh and Kyle’s last dive of the vacation and Kyle refused to come up until he had sucked every last breath out of the tank. He finally ascended after more than an hour and a half!
Saturday, October 25th
Finally the rain let up and the sun came out all day long. It was hot outside and I got a little bit of sunburn on my back. My divers were Craig, Millie, Don, Elisa, Steve, John and Jeff. The boys wanted to go to a wall so I took them to Santa Rosa. I found two splendid toadfish and a couple of turtles. One of the turtles was so close that it almost bumped me in the head! We also saw some lobsters and a peacock flounder.
The boys voted for Tormentos on the second stop. We saw three different fat spotted moray eels. I discovered a baby nurse shark sleeping behind an orange elephant ear sponge. I think it was only about 2-feet long but Millie said that it looked big. I think that it is the same baby shark that I was seeing on Las Palmas and Paradise a while back. We saw a few more lobsters and everyone enjoyed the colorful sponges encrusting the underside of the overhangs.
Sunday, October 26
Everyone except John and Steve cancelled so they had the whole boat to themselves. They chose the C53 wreck for the first dive. We had a lot of fun looking at the garden eels and the spotted moray. There was a huge dog snapper with very pointy teeth patrolling the top half of the shipwreck. We swam down some narrow hallways and into the wheelhouse. I think John really enjoyed the little stuff like the banded cleaner shrimps and arrow crabs.
John and Steve asked for a shallow coral garden for the second tank, so I took them to Paradise. I found four different splendid toadfish. I coaxed one out of its hole. In a desperate attempt to hide itself, it swam right into a hole with another splendid toadfish. A brawl broke out and I had to break it up and send the first guy home again. I felt terrible for ruining their day.
The guys also enjoyed the secretary blennies and flamingo tongues.
Thursday, October 30th
Finally the North wind let up a bit and the surface of the sea calmed down enough for us to go diving again. I took Craig, Millie, Don, Elisa, Scott, Daniel and Samantha to French Reef by special request. As soon as we hit the bottom we came upon a southern stingray.
At the end of the dive I saw two different turtles. I think Don got one on video. Back on the boat, Elisa told me that she had found a big green moray eel. I was very disappointed that I had missed it.
Then we went to Millie’s favorite spot, Colombia Shallow. Carlos dropped us off too far to the North so I swam everyone some way back so that they could see the schools of grunts and a turtle. Then I turned the group around and went the correct way. I showed them a small nurse shark and some hermit crabs. We found a pair of sand dollars. I gave one sand dollar to Elisa and one to Millie.
Friday, October 31st
My divemaster, Tony, took Bambi and Eric on a 60-foot dive at Palancar Gardens. I stayed on the boat and gave a class to Kyle, Austin, Megan, Nate, Michelle and Shay. When Bambi, Eric and Tony returned, we all went over to the pier at Playa Palancar and I put my resort course divers in 5-feet of water and taught them how to use the equipment. Everyone caught on and took to the exercise very quickly.
I asked Carlos to take us to Colombia Shallow. Wow! We got soooooo lucky! First everyone was excited about the big turtle and they all took pictures. Then we saw a small turtle. As soon as that little turtle went to the surface, Tony pointed out a 4-foot nurse shark lying on the bottom. Once again, the cameras all came out.
As we swam a bit past the schools of yellow fish one of the kids showed me a 7-foot nurse shark on the bottom. As soon as we approached...it swam off. Of course, I followed it. The shark led us to a feeding frenzy of huge (4-foot long) amberjacks feeding with a couple of smaller nurse sharks. All of the fish were very agitated and the predators were having at it. The divers went wild! We had such a good time that everyone could not stop talking about it on the boat. Shay fell in love with the juvenile yellow tail damsel and Bambi was very impressed with the 4-foot long rainbow parrotfish.
Saturday, November 1st
I took Bambi, Eric, Kyle and Austin to Palancar for a shallow dive. We saw a few turtles and a lobster or two. The boys did very well and we had perfect conditions underwater. It was a bit choppy at the surface.
The second dive was on French Reef where we saw about 5 more turtles. I guess it was turtle day. One of the boys pointed out 5 lobsters huddled together in a hole. We drifted over a large southern stingray at the end of the dive.
Monday, November 3rd
It was a nice sunny day. Nikki wanted to see big coral formations...so I took her, along with Bryan, Roy, Jeannie and Carrie to 3-Palos. As we approached the reef I came upon a good-sized octopus in a hole. Everyone took pictures. As we came out of the first set of caves, a pair of hawksbill turtles were overhead. We later saw another couple of turtles on the top of the reef. We swam through lots and lots of caves. There was a pair of lobsters sharing a hiding hole nearby.
Rhonda and Lyn joined us and we all went to Colombia Shallow. We saw a group of small nurse sharks. Some were lying on the bottom and some were out swimming about. We also saw two spotted eagle rays and a huge crab. The schools of yellow fish were fun to swim through.
Tuesday, November 4th
Jeannie, Amanda, Roy, Nikki, Bryan, Dan and Barry came diving with me at Palancar Bricks. We had such calm water that I actually had to kick most of the dive. I am not used to having to swim… We saw a couple of turtles and I pointed out a brick on the bottom so that they would understand why we call it Palancar Bricks J
Our second stop was on French Reef. First of all, we saw a swimming turtle and next we saw a second hungry turtle munching on sponge. Luckily, we saw a beautiful 4-foot Caribbean Reef Shark for a minute or two. It was surrounded by a school of small shiny silver fish. It took off and then came back around again about 5-minutes later. I was enthralled. I just could not tear my eyes away from it. The shark is so graceful and sleek.
Wednesday, November 5th
Jeannie requested Palancar Caves for the first dive. Amanda, Deanna, Carol, Roy, Bryan and Nikki were happy just be in the water anywhere. Coming out of a cave a gianormous (my spelling) spotted eagle ray made a slow pass right over my head. Only a couple of the divers got to see it because they were all in the cave. As Carol was taking a video of a turtle the little guy made a poo poo. Carol got it on video.
Bryan wanted to see big stuff so we were off to Dalila for our next stop. There were tons of divers everywhere and I think that they scared off the big critters. We saw a couple of splendid toadfish and a pair of Goldentail eels sticking their little heads out of a hole, all together. The only big critter we saw was a 4-foot nurse shark hiding in a cubby hole.
Thursday, November 6th
Dive one was on Santa Rosa Wall with Amanda, Jeannie, Carrie, Roy and Barry. We saw schools of humans everywhere and even a few lobsters. The group in front of us had 16 divers and I didn’t bother counting the group behind us. I crossed my group over to Santa Rosa Shallow to excape the crowds.
Dive two was on Paso Del Cedral. We sure had some happy divers that trip! We saw a rather fat 6-foot green moray eel that almost seemed to enjoy my caresses. Then we got to hang out with a 6-foot nurse shark lounging about in the sand. The last nurse shark was smaller and swimming about.
Dive three was on the top of Palancar Gardens with Deanna, Carol, Kieren, Lyn and Rhonda. Deanna showed us a big old hawksbill turtle perched on the reef. Later we saw another turtle swimming around. Deanna asked me if she had ever been to that reef before. I told her many times. The reason that she didn’t recognize it is because she has never dived on it at 30 feet deep! It looks entirely different.
Dive four was on French Reef and Mike joined us for that one as well. It was getting dark and we saw many big crabs and some lobsters. At the end of the dive, Carol and Deanna spotted another turtle swimming away from us.
Friday, November 7th
Amanda chose Palancar Horseshoe. It was a great choice! My divers were Jeannie, Carrie, Roy, Deanna & Carol. Immediately after descending, we saw a large spotted eagle ray which was quite timid and disappeared over the reef and off into the blue. Then we cruised over three Caribbean Reef sharks that were patrolling at 130 feet. I dropped to 97 feet to get a better look. Everyone else behaved and stayed up around 80 feet. The sharks put on quite a show.
Deanna got to see a small turtle and I also pointed to a small lobster. We played in the big underwater sandbox for the last 10 minutes where we observed a pike blenny and an electric ray swimming in mid water.
Deanna asked for a turtle and a splendid toadfish. The logical place was Cedral Wall. As a matter of fact, I outright promised Deanna a turtle before we even got in the water. The first turtle took two minutes to find as it sat very still munching away on a sponge while everyone took photos. I found an octopus hidden behind a pile of seashells and a splendid toadfish right next to it.
A small nurse shark swam by us before we arrived at its usual shark hole. The little nurse shark was right where it was supposed to be. Then I found a darling turtle, sound asleep, in a dark cubby hole. It looked so peaceful with its eyes closed and not stirring. I found a third small nurse shark in the place where Chucho used to feed the big nurse shark 10 years ago. The grand finale was the big turtle snuggled into a niche on top of the reef. Deanna practiced using Carol’s camera on the turtle.
Saturday, November 8th
In the morning I took Amanda, Jeannie, Carrie, Bob, Kay, Ken, Deanna and Carol to Colombia Deep, per special request. Deanna found the first nurse shark sleeping under the reef. Bob found the second. I found the third one. All were about 6-feet long. It was a really interesting dive. We swam through my favorite cave and Deanna lagged behind us taking pictures of another turtle.
Then I took all of them to Colombia Shallow. The schools of fish there are just stunning. We had such a good shark day. We saw four more nurse sharks out swimming about. After a while it got to be pasé. We saw five more turtles and an electric ray. We also looked at a few lobsters and a crab.
In the afternoon I did two dives with Lisa and Liam on Paradise for their certification. On the first dive we saw a couple of spotted morays, a big lobster and a splendid toadfish.
On the second dive we stayed down until sunset. That is when the good stuff comes out. We saw a fat spotted moray eel and a six-foot green moray. We saw a big crab up on top of the reef starting its dinner. We saw another electric ray. I am wondering if it is mating season for the electric rays.
Sunday, November 9th
Bob, Ken, Tom, Julia, Carol, Deanna, Liam and Lisa dived French Reef with me. We saw a big turtle eating a sponge. When everyone except Bob, Deanna and I were on the boat, we saw a pair of rather large groupers that gave away the secret hiding place of a 5- foot nurse shark. Deanna couldn’t get a picture of it...due to its position in the hole. At the very end of our bottom time, we saw another turtle. It headed up to the surface for air but saw the boat and detoured.
Every one loved Paso Del Cedral. I suspect that I will be going back there later in the week. We saw a nice splendid toadfish, tons of lobsters and a swimming 6-foot nurse shark being followed by a 70-pound black grouper. It was really cool!
Monday, November 10th
My divers were Jo Anne, Rich, Tom, Joe, Carol and Deanna. We went to Palancar Gardens. As we came out of the first cave Joe pointed to a turtle swimming overhead. I looked down to discover a big green moray eel swimming around. It swam back into the cave and right at Deanna. Carol took off after it to get a picture. Before the second cave I spied a local divemaster pointing out a pipehorse. We also saw a lobster in a hole on the top of the reef.
Three people wanted to go to Cedral Wall so that was our second dive. The current was a bit swift but all dived well. I stopped at all of the usual hiding holes and found three different small nurse sharks throughout the dive. We also saw several turtles. The first one was swimming. The second one was nestled into a perfectly sized turtle hole. The 3rd was at the very end of the dive in deep water swimming off towards the wall. That 3rd turtle was the largest. Deanna is the one who found and pointed it out to us.
Tuesday, November 11th
Joe, Tom, Bob, Kay and Ken all had different ideas on where they wanted to dive this day. The only reef that they could agree on was Cedral Wall. I think that Cedral Wall is even better as a first dive, so that is where we ended up. Right off the bat we saw a couple of small nurse sharks. The 3rd nurse shark was a good 15 minutes into the dive. I cannot remember exactly how many turtles we saw but they were all fully grown. The big green moray eel was in Chucho’s old feeding spot. Tom drifted over a big nurse shark and scared the you-know-what out of it.
Wendy joined us for the second dive after a refresher course on the beach. Wendy had not been diving for 20 years. We took her to Colombia Shallow of course. We saw more nurse sharks and turtles than I can remember. Two huge spotted eagle rays were off in the distance and disappeared as Joe approached. The most amazing thing happened during that dive. I was searching in a hole for an octopus and I heard another divemaster banging on his tank. I looked up to discover a 7 or 8-foot hammerhead swimming between the two dive groups very quickly. Only Bob, Ken and Kay also saw it. We were mesmerized. I kept hoping that it would come back. They eat rays you know………
Wednesday, November 12th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Tom, Joe, Jim and Barrett. Just as we were over the school of Caribbean Reef sharks Jim got low on air and I had to bring him up. Joe and Tom got to stay down and check them out.
Tom asked to go back to Colombia Shallow and since Jim and Barrett’s wives were snorkeling over us we thought that would be a good idea. We started seeing stuff as soon as we began to descend. We saw a big stingray and a tiny baby nurse shark. Then I swam everyone over to the reef and we saw three more small nurse sharks. The first turtle was big and Joe pointed it out to us. The second turtle was small and hunkered down for the afternoon in a hole. I am surprised that I actually saw it in the first place. The third turtle was swimming around. We saw a lot more big southern stingrays together and a small school of rainbow parrotfish.
Thursday, November 13th
The first tank was on Colombia Deep with Joe, Bob, Kay, Ken, Tom and Mary. The first turtle was just hanging out eating a sponge and it was Joe that discovered it just sitting there. Then we swam up through a few beautiful caves and at the top of the reef we ran into two turtles together. Everyone got close to the bigger one.
The second tank was at French Reef that is like swimming in an aquarium. Wendy joined us for that dive. We saw a couple more turtles. At the end of the dive I chased a rather large nurse shark out of its hole and everyone got to see it. There were a few lobsters around and about.
Friday, November 14th
I went to San Francisco with Bob, Kay, Mary, Tom and Joe. We saw a small nurse shark swimming really fast below us. I started to wonder what would be a natural predator for a nurse shark.... As we were drifting over a nice turtle, I looked at Mary to get her attention. At that exact second, I saw her accidentally knock her own regulator out of her mouth. It didn’t take more than a split second for her to get it back in and the turtle helped her to forget about that incident for the moment.
Later in the dive I found a small nurse shark hiding from the current.
Bob and Kay requested Punta Tunich. The current was quite strong as usual. We swam against it to look at a green moray eel that Joe pointed out. Later we had to fight to stop and look at the huge green moray eel in the hole. But it was worth the effort. She was gorgeous. The boys saw a bunch of lobsters, however, I missed seeing them.
Wednesday, November 19th
The north wind finally calmed down a little and the harbor master let us go out. It was still pretty rough and we went way south to dive. The first tank was at Palancar Caves with Todd, Pam, Allen, Tracy, Mike, Mari, Tim and Kathy. The water was a little cloudy but other than that, the conditions were pretty good once we got underway. Allen accidentally dropped his weight belt on the entry and got to practice putting it back on again at the surface. Being his first time ever in the ocean and diving in waves it was quite a challenge. We saw two turtles swimming together. One was large and the other was small. Todd showed us a big green moray eel and I discovered a big crab under an overhang.
The second dive was on San Francisco Wall. We saw loads more turtles and many pretty fish. The drop off was particularly dark and mysterious on this particular day.
Thursday, November 20th
Laura, Jules, Jim, Mary, Kristen and Tom were my divers at Palancar Gardens. We had nice, light current and a calm surface. Coming out of the first set of caves we encountered a big hawksbill turtle peacefully chowing down on a sponge. Everyone got close to it and hung out for a couple of minutes. I found a big crab and used Tom’s flashlight to see it better.
Someone had asked for turtles, so we went to Dalila. We saw a few turtles and some nurse sharks. The first shark was only about 5-feet and curled up on the bottom. The second was at least 7-feet long and stretched out in the sand. I found a green eel in a nook. Not everyone get to see it. I took my rental camera from Jules and stuck it in the hole and took a picture of the eel so that he would see what we were looking at. The look on his face was priceless J. After everyone else was up, Mary and I stayed down until she was low on air. We saw a few more turtles, a big swimming nurse shark and a large midnight parrotfish.