Saturday, January 2nd
The first dive of the New Year was on Palancar Gardens with Chelsea, Mike, Mark, Justin, Brent, Rob, Tom and Amanda. We saw a couple of little turtles. One went to the surface for a few breathes of air and came right back down again. We had strange current that kind of pushed us towards the shore but thankfully it was not strong.
There were a lot of waves from the north so we went to Colombia Shallows for the second dive. We saw so much stuff that the divers were amazed. We saw 2 humungous eagle rays, several small turtles, a big green moray eel and a sleeping nurse shark. Not to mention the usual crabs and lobsters too!
Sunday, January 3rd
The ocean calmed down and I brought Mom diving along with Brent, James, Dan, Chuck, Mike and Heidi. Brent wanted to go to the Devil's Throat which is also Mom's favorite dive but it was Heidi's first dive after her certification so Brent had to settle for Palancar Caves instead. Orlando weaved them in and out of all the caves. At the entrance to the first cave Orlando showed Mom a turtle snuggled in on the bottom. After the third cave a 6 foot nurse shark swam by. That was weird but fun.
I wanted an easy dive so I brought them all over to French Reef. Arriving at the bottom Orlando spotted a 4 foot nurse shark curled up in a ¨U¨ shape under the reef. Then as we were drifting along I stayed with James at the back. I turned around to find him photographing a turtle right behind everyone. We were the only ones that saw that turtle but there were several more along the way. I also found a small lionfish which we removed. Back on the boat Mike told me that the dive was marvelous.
Monday, January 4th
I got in at the end of Cedral Wall with James, Dan, Brent, Mike and Heidi and we finished our dive half way down Santa Rosa Wall. They asked to see rays and all we saw was a nurse shark sleeping in a cubby hole. Well, we also saw a ton of lobsters and some big groupers too! One 80 pounder swam right up to us. I thought it was going to kiss Brent it was so close.
They wanted to see seahorses so I thought I would have a go at Tormentos. There was a lot of current and we were not able to stop completely and search so I bombed out on the seahorses. At the end of the dive Brent and I were checking out a baby turtle when I noticed a really big lionfish in a hole. The turtle scared it and it disappeared into the reef.
Wednesday, January 6th
It was cold and choppy from the cold front that passed through and we got a late start waiting for the Harbor Master to let us out. My divers were Mark, Sarah, Justin, Kelly, Stephen, Amanda, James and Dan. It was not so choppy down on Palancar Gardens. There was hardly any current and we saw a nice turtle. Amanda pointed out a pair of huge crabs in a hole in the reef.
The divers requested Colombia Shallow where we saw 2 swimming nurse sharks. One was about 6 feet long and one was about 4 feet long. There were several turtles. One was very small and one was pretty darned big. The big one had a funny shaped shell. We saw more crabs and lobsters and the schools of grunts seemed bigger than normal. Amanda was impressed to see baby grunts in the schools.
Friday, January 8th
I let James, Dan, Amanda, Mike, David, Will and Terra vote on the dive sites and they picked Santa Rosa Wall. We had wonderful conditions and we saw loads of lobsters. Terra saw a big lionfish but I was unable to go back and have a look so we had to let that one go. Bummer.
San Francisco Wall was a very colorful spot. We saw a big turtle down below us and more lobsters. Two strange things were on San Francisco Wall this day. First, Amanda pointed out the grouper with the large bite out of it's back that is normally in the exact same spot on Colombia Shallow and has been in that spot for over a year. She and I have decided that the grouper has gone on vacation! When we got back to the marina another group of divers that was just a little behind us on that dive said that they had seen a big hammerhead. We were very disappointed that we had missed seeing that hammerhead!
Tuesday, January 12th
I went to Palancar Gardens with Annie, Michael, Clark, Terri, Nikki and Kerrison. We were greeted by some strong current. Fortunately everyone was up to it. We got down and swam through lots of caves and saw a bunch of turtles. The best part of the dive was at the end when Nikki and I looked down and saw a pair of turtles nuzzling up against one another.
Annie told me to take them somewhere that would be easy for me. I picked Chankanaab. There was almost no current at all. Clark pointed out a small green turtle right at the beginning of the dive. We saw a few lobsters and crabs and I found a big green moray eel. We all stopped and got a good look at it. Annie showed us a stone fish. A gigantic barracuda swam up under Clark and I. Nikki got a picture of it. It was a very exciting dive.
That afternoon I took Paul, Sean and Amanda to Yucab. The current was clipping right along but not really strong. We drifted over a big turtle on the bottom. Amanda found a spotted moray eel. Everyone saw a huge southern stingray after Sean and I went up.
The current had picked up at Chankanaab but it wasn't really strong. The big green moray was in the same spot. Amanda found a big lionfish. I went up to get the nets but Carlos was really far away and couldn't see me between the waves so I just gave up before I lost the group. Amanda also found a juvenile spotted drum. Chankanaab has a lot of good stuff on it right now!
Wednesday, January 13th
It was still choppy when I took Paul, Sean, Carol, Brad, Mark, Helen, Annie and Michael to Palancar Horseshoe. Everyone's stuff was dry and it took a while to get them down. Once at the bottom we swam along the drop off in a weird current. Everyone went a little deeper than the planned depth and I sent Orlando down to bring them back to the top of the reef. We didn't see any big critters but the dive was very scenic. Overall it was a success.
I was not into current and hard work so I took them over to Colombia Shallow. I was pleased when Annie said that she loves that dive. Mark got a longer bottom time too. There were no big critters strangely enough on that dive but we did see some nice small things like flamingo tongues and yellow headed jaw fish. The schools of grunts are always impressive.
Thursday, January 14th
Finally the surface had calmed down and I took Amanda, Fulvio, Paul, Sean, Mark, Helen, Zach and Laura to Palancar Gardens. It was Zach and Laura's first real ocean dive. Everything went very smoothly and we had a nice dive. All the critters were seen at the very end of the dive. First Orlando pointed out a small turtle swimming around. Then Orlando pointed out a huge spotted eagle ray in the sandy area. It promptly swam away. By the time we got everyone's attention the eagle ray was gone but there was a southern stingray that took it's place.
We went looking for that hammerhead on San Francisco Wall. No hammerhead was seen. I did point out a juvenile peacock flounder in the sand and we saw a few lobsters.
Friday, January 15th
Dive one was at Dalila per request. My divers were Paul, Sean, Julian, Lanna, Art, Jolie and Rob. Chau snorkeled over us. They wanted to see a shark and I thought that Dalila would be the best place to find one. We didn't find a single shark but no one complained. A big crab had shed it's shell and left it on the bottom for us to play with. We drifted past an 80 pound black grouper doing a good job of blending in with the bottom.
Dive two was on Cedral Wall also by special request. There we saw a couple of really big hawksbill turtles. Everyone took pictures of the huge barracuda. We also finally found that shark but it was too late because only Paul, Rob, Orlando and I were still down when it went by. It was being followed by a grouper.
Saturday, January 16th
It was my day off but I took Chuck and Amanda to Canterell to look for the schooling eagle rays. The current was not as strong as it usually is and it took 15 minutes from the time that we dropped down until the time that we arrived underwater to the place where we usually see them going by. We drifted over 3 big spotted moray eels along the way. The only ray that we saw during the entire dive was a small yellow stingray in the sand. We did not see a single spotted eagle ray. The current was unusually light. We hovered in the same spot for about 10 minutes. My maximum depth was only 85 feet. C huck went as deep as 95 feet but our bottom time was only about 35 minutes since we were that deep. Chuck's computer was only one tick mark in the yellow. My computer was only one tick mark in the yellow too. It was nice to be diving somewhere different even if we did not get to see the eagle rays.
Tuesday, January 19th
I went back to work after a couple of days off. Chase requested the dive with the cement block with red stuff growing all over it. The only cement block that came to mind was the block on Palancar Horseshoe with Martin's cross on it. Joe asked for a wall dive. Chuck, Pam, Angela and David didn't care where they went. So Horseshoe it was. We had a nice, easy dive. I found a scaly tailed mantis shrimp with its head out of the hole in the sand. We also stopped to look at a spotted moray living right up against the cement block memorial to Martin.
We satisfied Joe's wall request at San Francisco Wall. Soon after arriving on the bottom we glided past a pair of green turtles. We ended up seeing another big turtle. Two southern stingrays swam past us and didn't seem bothered by our presence at all. Black groupers swam by periodically. At the end of the dive Orlando stopped to show Angela a big octopus that took shelter in his den when Orlando approached.
Wednesday, January 20th
I asked Chace, Rich, Mary, Mike, Terri, Jennifer and Angela where they wanted to go. Rich said that he wanted to go somewhere with a lot of fish. I picked French Reef for the first dive. There were plenty of fish everywhere. Rich and Mary were a little bummed out when they heard Chace and Angela talking after the dive about the turtle that Orlando found. Rich and Mary had already gone up and they didn't get to see the turtle. I think it is a good excuse to come back!
For more fish we picked the fishiest dive in Cozumel, Paradise. We saw several splendid toadfish and tons of lobsters. Jennifer, Terri and I saw a big crab on the reef. Chace, Angela, Orlando and I stayed down longer. We drifted up to the big cement block at the end of the dive and Chase went over and checked it out. When we came up she said, ¨That was the big cement block that I was talking about yesterday!¨ We both got a good laugh out of that one but laughing is pretty much all we ever do when we hang out together.
Thursday, January 21st
Annie, Michael, Angela, Terry, Jennifer, Chace, David, Bob, Orlando and I headed south in hopes of diving at the Gardens. The south wind was just too strong so I decided to have Carlos turn the boat around and take us to Tormentos instead. At least we didn't have big waves there. Annie really enjoyed the colorful sponges on the underside of the coral overhangs. Orlando pointed out some lobsters and I showed everyone a sail fin blenny.
The next dive was on San Francisco Wall. When we first got in the current was pretty strong for the first 15 minutes. Then the current calmed down and it was a beautiful dive. There was a king sized southern stingray and as we drifted up to it a turtle swam past going the opposite direction on the wall. Chace wanted to know if we did the entire dive on San Francisco Wall because we saw so much stuff at the end of the dive.
Friday, January 22nd
The wind calmed down so I took Gary, Chace, Angela, Peter and Denise to Palancar Gardens. The current waxed and waned and we drifted along and swam through tunnels. At the end of the dive we saw a big stingray in the sand and a few small turtles. It was a nice, relaxing, easy dive.
Someone requested Yucab for the second tank. The current was fast, then slow, then fast again like it was on Palancar. The visibility was a poor from the south wind the day before . But we still had a nice dive. We looked at all the small stuff. My favorite was a red lipped blenny on a leathery sponge.
Saturday, January 23rd
OK, so Orlando finds everything. He and Gary took off and did their own thing while I hung out with Chace, Angela, Peter and Denise on Colombia Deep. We only saw a couple of turtles. Gary and Orlando found a pair of extra large nurse sharks lying side by side in a dark corner. I saw the pictures…… They also saw a spotted eagle ray, a bunch of lobsters and countless turtles. Orlando trapped and killed a big lionfish on that dive too. If they hadn't been so deep on the first part of that dive I should have gone with them. Oh well.
Orlando continued to find good stuff on Colombia Shallow. The dive started off kind of slow but we saw some turtles and Gary the Grouper back at home on Colombia Shallow but in a different area than he used to hang out in before I saw him over on San Francisco Wall. It was Gary who found the sleeping nurse shark. Orlando went off looking for a seahorse and actually found one!!!! It was about 2 inches tall and black with white bands. I paid attention to where it was so that we could probably find it again.
Sunday, January 24th
Once again the wind determined our dive site. It was blowing hard from the south. We heard a discussion on the marine band radio about how it was unsafe for smaller boats to go south of Allegro hotel. I took Peter, Denise, Paul, Angela, Jennifer, Terry and Gary north to Villa Blanca Wall. It was like a swimming pool up there. The dive was easy and we saw an enormous octopus out in the open. It was kind of bluish green and spread out over a coral head. Everyone took turns photographing the octopus and it didn't move an inch. Peter asked me if there was something wrong with it.
I kept things easy over on Chankanaab. There were tons of other divers there too because the southern sites were undivable. We saw the usual lobsters. Jennifer loved the lizardfish although I am sure she doesn't know the name of the fish that entranced her. Orlando and Gary found two lionfish, a big one and a small one. They tried to catch them but they zipped into a hole and then couldn't get them out.
Tuesday, January 26th
The wind was from the north so we headed all the way south to Punta Sur. My divers were Gary, Chace, Paul, David and Dan. Upon arriving at the bottom we were greeted by a huge turtle. The current was a bit strong and we had to kick a little. At the end of the dive Gary and Chace took pictures of a spotted eagle ray as is cruise along the top of the wall.
Gary picked French Reef for the second dive. We saw a bunch of turtles and we chased a huge spotted eagle ray around. The eagle ray didn't have a tail and I told Gary that a hammerhead had bit it off. I wonder if he believed me J
Wednesday, January 27th
It was an interesting day starting at Palancar Caves with Gary, Chace, Paul, Peter, Denise, Kathy, Cameron and Kim. We had a washing machine type current but at least it was not strong. We swam through tons of tunnels. A hawksbill turtle swam right up to our group making for some wonderful photo opportunities. Orlando pointed out a southern stingray in the sandy area. He also pointed out some crabs that I didn't bother to go over to look at.
Tormentos was our second spot per request. When we got in the current was moving right along in a normal direction. I took Cameron and Kim up early and while I was taking them up the current came to a dead stop and the visibility got to be a bit murky. The group searched for the orange seahorses but they were not around. I am going to give up on them again. I think that they have relocated permanently.
Thursday, January 28th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Gary, Paul, Kelvin, Sandra, Peter, Denise and Bob. We had really good conditions. The surface was calm and there wasn't much current at all. Twice I saw a turtle. The first time was when I was all alone searching for Gary. The second time was when only Gary, Denise and Orlando were still down. Denise found a big stone fish and I showed her a yellow stingray.
We did the second dive on Paso Del Cedral. I parked Kelvin and Sandra in a sheltered area. As we waited for the group to catch up we watched a big black grouper get it's teeth cleaned at a cleaning station. I took Bob, Kelvin and Sandra up and when I came back down I found Gary but the rest of the group was gone. They had stopped to look at a 7 foot nurse shark. They also saw a free swimming spotted moray eel. They had quite the show put on for them.
Friday, January 29th
We had quite the dive on Palancar Gardens with Gary, Kim, Brian, Margie, Bruce, April, Kelvin and Sandra. There were some waves at the surface so I was in a hurry to go down. Thankfully, there wasn't much current. Gary saw 3 spotted eagle rays over the wall. I drifted over a turtle hiding behind a coral head. The turtle was feasting on a tasty sponge.
I chose Yucab for the second dive because I wanted to get out of the waves. Well surprise! I got current instead. I am not sure which was worse. I spent the first 30 minutes of the dive trying to keep the group together. I finally got a bit of rest the last half of the dive. I found a big pipefish in the sand and everyone got lots of photos.
Saturday, January 30th
Although the conditions were very similar to the day before, we had a much better dive on Palancar. My divers were Brian, Margie, Sandra, Kelvin, Janet, Lauren and Pete. The surface was choppy but this time Sandra went right down. Once we were down it seemed like we were fighting the current a little but we saw loads of turtles throughout the dive. We started by swimming through canyons and graduated to the tunnels by the end of the dive. We also saw one southern stingray swimming and one big ray buried in the sand hiding. It was a good dive and everyone came up happy.
Margie loves Dalila so that is where we did our second one. The current was pretty darned fast. There was no time to putter around and look for toadfish. Lauren wanted to stop and look at the smooth trunk fish. She described them as looking like beautiful mosaic tiles. Dalila is the only place that I can think of that the trunk fish actually school. I told her that the juveniles are even prettier so now she will just have to come back!
Sunday, January 31st
I asked Margie, Brian, Pete, Rob, John, Kevin, Tina and Heidi where they wanted to go. They said anywhere that there is no current. Hmph! The current had been swift for the last few days and I doubted that we could find anywhere with no current. We went to Palancar and I told Carlos to drive around and find a spot with less current. He dropped us on Bricks. When we got in the current was slow and easy which made for a good decent. I didn't trust that the current would stay slow so I just kind of avoided the wall and looked for protected canyons to swim around in. We saw several turtles and we had a very pleasant dive.
Keeping it easy we went to French Reef. There we saw tons of turtles. It was just an overall good turtle day! John found a stonefish and someone else pointed out an eel. They stopped to take pictures of the eel. Everyone was very happy when they got back on the boat.
Monday, February 1st
I asked Pete, Margie, Brian, Rob, Kevin, Heidi, John and Tina where they wanted to go. Someone shouted out, ¨The Wall¨. So I took them over to Santa Rosa Wall. We didn't have much current when we first got in but it didn't take long for that current to pick right up. We drifted past a hawksbill turtle and I pointed out several very large groupers as we floated past. When the current was pushing us down and out, we all swam over to the inside part of the reef over the sandy bottom. That is where I found a nice parking spot out of the current. A small green turtle had parked there as well and it entertained us as we sat around in the sand.
Everyone agreed that the second dive should be somewhere with less current. I took them to my ace in the hole: Chankanaab. We had beautiful conditions there and we saw tons of groupers. The highlight of the dive was a pair of spotted eagle rays that were swimming right on over to our group. Everyone took pictures of a big lobster. Pete stopped behind a coral head to wait for the group to catch up and he just happened to look down and find a juvenile spotted drum. Everyone hovered around that pretty little drum for a while. It was a pretty dive and everyone was very pleased.
Tuesday, February 2nd
I dived Palancar Gardens with Carol, Susan, Rob, Kevin, John, Tina and Heidi. Finally we got a break from the darned current! It was a relaxing, easy dive complete with turtles, lobsters, crabs and a stingray.
Somebody said that they wanted to go to Colombia Shallow. Wow! What a great dive we had. The first nurse shark that we saw was just a little baby sleeping under a coral head. I saw a big one swimming off in the distance. Then we saw a few turtles but I can't remember how many. There were more crabs and lobsters but the best was at the end. First I found a 5 foot nurse shark huddled under a rock. Then we searched for that black seahorse that Orlando had found. Instead I found a big yellow one and John got lots of pictures.
Wednesday, February 3rd
Tank one was on Colombia Deep with Bill, Debbie, Pete, Rob, Kevin, Tina, John and Heidi. We had fantastic diving conditions with light current and good visibility. As I was pointing at a cave Bill got my attention and showed us all a huge green moray eel swimming around deep below us. We chased it for a little while and then a turtle appeared. After the turtle took off we saw that green eel again and again and again. It was like our dive was parallel to the eel's route. It was the coolest thing!
Tank two was on Colombia Shallow again per special request. We only saw one shark and we never made it back to the seahorse but we were down an hour and a half again. Rob and I spent the last 10 minutes watching a spotted eagle ray feed in the sand.
Thursday, February 4th
We all talked it over (Pete, David, Mike, Pam, David and Sarah) and we decided on Palancar Gardens for the first dive. It was a bit choppy at the surface but once we were down we had a good time! Orlando gave us the grand tour of his favorite caves. He caught a big lionfish and brought it up. Pete saw a couple of turtles but I missed out on them.
Everyone was enthusiastic about a dive on Cedral Pass. We saw enough lobsters to open our own restaurant. Pam, Mike and I marveled at the teeth on a big cubera snapper lurking under a dark ledge. Then I took Pam by the hand and dragged her over to see the swimming nurse shark. She told me thank you when we got back on the boat J
Friday, February 5th
Can you say, ¨Bad day at the office¨? First of all, we had strong south wind so we had to dive up north. I asked Carlos to drop Pete, Earnie, Vern and I at the mid-way point on Yucab with the intention of diving half of Yucab and all of Tormentos. Much to my surprise the current was going the opposite direction and it was not exactly slow. I knew that if I just let them fly around that we would run out of reef in about 15 minutes so I tried to keep them low and behind the reef so that we could stop a lot. It only took about 20 minutes to get to the end of the reef. Instead of swimming over to Punta Tunich where I knew that the current would be ripping I decided to ask them to try to swim back against the current slowly. We sucked a bunch of air. Pete found a spotted eel. The dive was not a complete loss but it was certainly not one of my better dives.
It went from bad to worse. I apologized to my divers for the swim against the current and I promised them that they would not have to do that on the second tank. No one seemed too bent out of shape. So when we arrived at Paradise Carlos called a friend on the radio to ask which way the current was going. We were told that it was going north. I told Carlos that I was going to get in and check the current anyway. At the surface I was a bit unsure so I let the air out of my BCD and went down to get out of the current at the surface. When I figured out that the current was going south I headed up to get back on board the boat and move to the other end of the reef. Well on the way up what did I find? All of my divers on their way down! So against the current we swam AGAIN! I was pissed. We did see lots of lobsters and the current wasn't really that bad but it was not what I had planned. I asked Pete later on in the day if the divers just rolled in or if Carlos told them to go in. Pete said that Carlos told them to go. That pissed me off even more. Well, what can we do? We are all human and we all make mistakes. Oh well.
Saturday, February 6th
The north wind did not blow in as strong as anticipated. None-the-less most of my divers cancelled anyway. I ended up with only Earnie, Vern and Kevin diving that day. Vern asked for Palancar Gardens which turned out to be an excellent choice. We had a lovely dive complete with a turtle and a lobster and plenty of swim throughs.
We let Carlos pick the second spot. We had a Grand Slam! I really felt like I made it up to Vern and Earnie after that dive! We saw oodles of turtles, too many to count. Some were sleeping (Vern woke one up) and some were eating on the bottom surrounded by a harem of angelfish. I heard Earnie shouting in the regulator and I turned around to find him pointing out a 7 foot nurse shark swimming by. We found the big shark again later in the dive too. Earnie swam off into the blue while watching a barracuda. Meanwhile Vern, Kevin and I stopped to pet a friendly 6 foot long green moray eel. Kevin described it as a MONSTER but I think of it more like a little pussy cat. When Vern's Suunto computer said that he only had 10 minutes of NDL left I swam them over to Santa Rosa Shallow to get more bottom time. That is where we bumped into the spotted eagle ray feeding in the sand. What can I say? That dive could not have been any better!
Sunday, February 7th
It was very choppy out there and docking on the pier at Fiesta Americana was tough. I picked up John, Mike, Joe, Jefe, Don, Gary, Pete and Bob and took them to Palancar Gardens. When we first went down the current was super calm and we had a nice easy decent. About 10 minutes into the dive the current went wild and everyone was sucked upward to the top of the reef. We all kicked down and got in a hole to wait it out. A huge group of divers passed us and then we came out. We tried to stay out of the current as much as possible but most of the time we just went with the flow. Everyone on that dive ranged in experience from Advanced to Expert so there were no problems at all. We saw a ton of turtles and a huge southern stingray buried in the sand.
One of the boys suggested that we go to Dalila and fly around in the current. Actually the current was pretty slow for Dalila. I was expecting a wild ride but we had a very pleasant dive and drifted over a few turtles and a couple of nurse sharks hiding under rocks. It was an easy dive.
Monday, February 8th
We had lovely conditions and John talked me into taking them to Chunchacaab. Bob, Mike, John, Jefe, Don and Joe did a square profile in a medium current down there. There were beautiful sea fans and gorgonians abound. We saw 4 or 5 different turtles but there were no fish any bigger than a Bermuda chub. The boys stopped to check out a big crab and I saw a small lobster. That reef is totally fished out by the fishermen. It was nice to go there for a change of pace but I wouldn't want to dive there every day.
Mike wanted to see a seahorse so we went to Colombia Shallow for the second tank. There was no current at all and I ended up swimming and swimming and swimming to try and get to the end of the reef to find the seahorse. By the time that we got there Miguel was out of air so we didn't have much time to look for the little bugger and I never did find one. I was obsessed with the idea of finding one and disappointed when I couldn't.
Tuesday, February 9th
Dive one was on Colombia Deep with Mike, John, Jefe, Don, Joe and Pat. We saw a bunch of turtles. Orlando found a small lionfish and disposed of it properly during the dive. The boys described it as a lionfish pancake.
Dive two was on Paso Del Cedral. The constant theme was more lobsters! Every minute someone was pointing out yet another lobster. One rock had 6 lobster all huddled together. It was a crustacean dive.
Dive three was near shore at Paradise with Joe and Shelly. They took the resort course. During our tour we saw a pair of lobsters and a couple of spotted morays. One spotted moray was completely out in the open.
Wednesday, February 10th…….Carlos'birthday
The boys (Mike, John, Don, Jefe and Joe asked for a couple of shallow dives so we decided on San Francisco Wall for the first dive. We stayed at 40 to 60 feet deep and there was not much current at all. We drifted by a lot of southern stingrays. The first turtle was seen while we were making the safety stop.
Since the current seemed to be at a dead stop I took them to Punta Tunich. There we saw lobsters, a rainbow parrotfish, a 7 foot nurse shark and another turtle. The turtle was napping in a cubby hole and we woke the poor thing up. It was a really nice dive.
Thursday, February 11th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Mike, John, Don, Jefe and Joe. While John was checking out a sand diver he noticed a stonefish well camouflaged on the reef. Orlando found another stonefish which kind of waddled across the bottom. I have never seen one do that before. John was quite entertained by the attack-damselfish that ferociously defended its territory.
I took them to Cedral Wall for the second dive. Just upon reaching the bottom we were greeted by a really big eagle ray with a 3 foot remora attached to its underside. We saw several turtles, big and small. We saw several lobsters but one might have been the biggest lobster in the world! It was out standing around in the open without a care in the world.
Friday, February 12th
The boys (John, Mike, Joe, Don and Jefe) wanted to go somewhere with a bunch of fish. Warren and Andy don't mind where we go so we went to French Reef. We saw plenty of fish and Orlando caught and killed a lionfish. When we came up the wind had picked up and was coming from the south. That influenced my decision on where to do the second dive.
To get out of the waves we went to Chankanaab. We had a fantastic dive. We saw a humungous lobster out walking around. We saw a couple of big crabs. Someone found a juvenile spotted drum. Another guy found a big lionfish which promptly hid in a hole when we approached with the nets so it got away. I pointed out bouquets of white feather dusters and big gorgonians.
Saturday, February 13th
We left the marina at 11:00 am with Brad, Cassie, Ronnie, Dave and Andy because the port was closed due to a north wind and didn't open until 10.30 am. Other than the bumpy ride we had a great day. The first dive was on Palancar Gardens and a 4 foot nurse shark swam right up to me and then turned around and swam away. Later it parked in the first good cave and we saw it again. I think we saw 4 or 5 turtles and a very, very large lobster. Ronnie was thrilled with her first ocean dive!
The furthest reef to the south would have less waves so we went to Colombia Shallow. That dive was excellent! We saw several turtles and I found a pair of small nurse sharks sharing a hole taking a siesta together. Everything seemed to be in pairs. There was a pair of squid, a pair of big gray southern stingrays feeding together in the sand and a pair of lobsters parading about in the open. At the very end Andy, Cassie and I watched a spotted eagle ray scavenge for a meal in the sand. I bet it was the same one that Rob and I watched a week or so ago. Everyone was very excited when we got back on the boat.
Sunday, February 14th
Our Valentine's Day dive was on Paso Del Cedral with Brad, Cassie, Dave, Ronnie, Ann, Andy and Tracey. I found a huge lionfish and I screamed in my regulator while Orlando killed it. I hate to watch it. It is necessary but I just can't watch. They are so pretty. I feel like I am telling Orlando, ¨Kill the big spider!¨ We saw lots of groupers everywhere and a pair a cute little turtles at the end of the dive. One was that baby green turtle that I always see around there and the other was a small hawksbill the exact same size.
Brad requested San Francisco Wall. A big turtle swam up to the surface, spent about 3 minutes up there breathing and then swam down again right into our group. Everyone got a good, close look. I pointed out a baby peacock flounder in the sand. We saw several lobsters and a big crab. I showed Dave a spotted moray. I don't know if anyone other than myself saw the goldentail moray swimming around.
Monday, February 15th
We had a nice, easy dive with plenty of sunshine on Palancar Gardens. Orlando took Tim, Erika, Andy, Nate, Tracey and Andy down to 60 feet and swam them through caves. I took Shelly and Joe on a 20 foot dive at the top of the reef. The divers below had an up close and personal experience with a turtle. They also saw a big lobster. I missed it all being up on top……….
We went to Andy's favorite reef, Colombia Shallow for the second dive per his request. He doodled around and took lots of photos. We saw another turtle, a big crab, a lobster and the pair of nurse sharks were still together in the same hole.
That afternoon I took Brad, Cassie, Ronnie, Dave, Warren and Jon to Santa Rosa Wall per Brad's request. We saw some huge groupers on that dive.
There was a storm getting ready to blow in and the sky was getting dark so I decided it wise to do the second dive on Paradise. We concentrated on the little stuff there. Since it was dark and overcast the splendid toadfish were all poking their heads out of there hiding holes. One flittered about half way out of his hole in an attempt to eat a little yellow fish that tempted him by passing in front of his hole repeatedly.
Tuesday, February 16th
The storm didn't stop us from going diving so I took Andy, Ann, Tim, Erika, Lisa and Mike to Colombia Deep. We stayed in the shallower area and found an 8 foot fat nurse shark just kicking back under the reef right next to the big anchor. Erika got some good shots of a turtle munching a sponge. Later Orlando found another big nurse shark but this one was harder to see because it was in a small, deep hole.
Since Andy was picking the reefs we went back to Colombia Shallow again for the 3rd day in a row. I bet they will ask to go there again too. At the very beginning of the dive a pair of spotted eagle rays glided by off in the distance. The first one was a monster. It was a brief encounter and not everyone saw them both. Then we chased a turtle as it swam away from a big school of grunts. There were a few more turtle encounters throughout the dive and another big lobster impressed Ann. Then a good sized eagle ray came right by us and started foraging for lunch on the bottom right in front of us. I counted 5 stingers on its tail. We said hello to the pair of nurse sharks in the same place again right before we went up.
Thursday, February 18th
It was still cold and windy and wavy when I took Andy, Jon, Ann, Bob, Tim, Erika, Lisa and Dave to French Reef. I picked it because it can be dived shallow and deep. Right as we hit the sandy bottom a big spotted eagle ray swam by to greet us. The eagle ray was followed by a parade of black groupers. The first one was huge. Ann showed me the biggest lionfish that I have ever seen. Orlando my lionfish hunter did not come to work this day and I had forgotten the nets on the boat because I had a chaotic morning. So unfortunately I had to just leave it there. I think that I can find it again with Orlando though. We saw another good sized lionfish only a little distance from the first one. I asked myself honestly if I had the nets with me would I have had the guts to catch that big lionfish without Orlando. I really don't know. It was so big it scared me. We also saw more turtles than I bothered to count.
Chankanaab was our second tank where we saw another beautiful spotted eagle ray. There were lobsters and crabs on that dive as usual and a couple of groupers too.
Friday, February 19th
Dive 1 was on Palancar Caves with Andy, Bob, Chris, Scott, Kathryn, Dave and Tracey, along with about a hundred other divers! I spent the first 30 minutes of the dive zigging and zagging to avoid the other dive groups. It was a gorgeous dive but it seemed like everyone who was at the Carnival parades was on that reef that morning. We saw numerous turtles and a pair a big lobsters hanging out together. It was a great dive but a little crowded. I guess I did a good job of avoiding the other dive groups because no one complained or even seemed to care.
Dive 2 was on Alison's secret spot. Carlos dropped me off in the wrong spot the other day and I asked him to take me back there. Orlando showed us a tiny little baby nurse shark in a hole, a turtle and the good find was the octopus. Chris really liked that spot and wanted to know if I ever do night dive there.
Sunday, February 21st
I went to Dalila with Rich, Elaine, Dave, Tracey, Dewayne and Renee. We saw 3 turtles. One of which swam right below Elaine. It was so close that she could have reached down and petted it if she had wanted to. We also saw a big lobster.
Then I went to Colombia Shallows. We saw more turtles than I could count. There were big turtles, medium sized turtles and one little baby turtle. There was only one nurse shark in the hole this day. It's dive buddy seems to have moved on. Dave and I discovered a big nurse shark at the end of the dive. I think that the highlight of the day was the big spotted eagle ray we saw. Dewayne had asked to see one of those when he got on board so I think that he was very happy about that.
Monday, February 22nd
There was strong south wind as Clyde, Mary, Julie, Ashkim, Dave, Nelson, Orlando, Carlos and I headed out to pick up Andy and Roberta on the pier at Iberostar. We passed a couple of dolphins on the way and Carlos stopped the boat to point them out. It was really rough docking on the pier at Iberostar. I decided to take them up north to Chankanaab for our first tank because the waves were pretty big. We had a chaotic descent but once we all got down we saw a big barracuda and lots of schools of fish. There were several lobsters along the way and we saw plenty of pretty fish.
To avoid the waves and wind we did our second dive on Paradise. Once most divers were up on the boat Orlando started looking for critters. He showed us a spotted scorpion fish, a lizard fish and a yellow stingray. We scoured the algae bed for a seahorse but only found a big hermit crab. Mary had a great time on that dive and said thank you when we got back on the boat.
Tuesday, February 23rd
The wind had shifted so I got to take Clyde, Mary, Julie, Ashkim, Dave, Nelson, Rich and Roberta to Palancar Gardens in the morning. The conditions were nice and we swam through lots of caves. Julie liked the big crab with impressive claws. Clyde highlighted a lobster that he found with his new dive light.
I took them to Alison's special spot with the hopes of finding that huge lionfish. Rich asked to see a turtle. I found 3! We also saw a big green moray eel out swimming around and couple of big groupers in the area. We had a great dive. I had no luck in finding that big lionfish though.
Wednesday, February 24th
The morning started out cloudy and it rained on us (Clyde, Mary, Julie, Ashkim, Dave, Nelson, Rich and Roberta) on the way out. No one seemed to mind because we were planning on getting wet anyway. We did our first dive on Palancar Caves and saw lots of turtles. Everyone had lots of fun.
We did our second dive on French Reef and the waves had kicked up. Another Norte was blowing in. Someone found a tremendous turtle sleeping in a cave. Clyde lit the turtle up with his new flashlight. We saw several other turtles but the first one was just immense. Orlando pointed out a big green moray eel swimming around up on top of the reef and he also found a big lionfish. He had forgotten to bring his nets so it is still there. Orlando swears up and down that he knows where to look for it again so we will try and get back there when the weather is better.
Friday, February 26th
The first tank was on Palancar Gardens with John, Dean, Patty, Melissa, Laura, Meagan, Andy and Roberta. The visibility was a little murky but thankfully the current was light. We swam through lots of caves and we saw a big crab. There was a turtle at the very end of the dive and Laura swam over and took a good look.
I let Laura pick the second tank and she chose Dalila. It was an excellent choice. I pointed out the first turtle which was a HUGE male loggerhead. I wasn't paying attention but Laura was and she told me that it was a boy. Then Andy found a nurse shark hunkered down for a nap. Then we drifted over a hawksbill turtle too. There were several very large lobsters out walking around which was strange to see. The best part of the dive was the big spotted eagle ray that glided by. When I first saw it Orlando had his mask off again. I screamed at him and he put his mask back on just in time to see the big ray go by.
Sunday, February 28th
I picked Palancar Gardens because it was Josh's first ocean dive. My divers were Ken, Anita, Loren, Josh, Jennifer, Bill, Charlie and Monte. The current was a little weird like a washing machine but thankfully it was not strong or fast. Josh did really well for his first time out. We took him through some swim throughs and his buoyancy control was pretty good.
I wanted something easy for the second one so I took them to French Reef. We saw a couple of turtles and a few lobsters. It was a good first day of diving for everyone.
Monday, March 1st
Lauren suggested that we do a wall dive. The current at Santa Rosa was very mild and absolutely perfect for us that morning. My divers were Anita, Loren, Josh, Jennifer, Bill, Charlie and Monte. We saw a family of lobsters snuggling together in a hole. We saw a pair a big, black groupers go by. As I was doing a safety stop with someone I looked down and saw another group of divers below us on the wall making the seahorse sign. Orlando still had 4 divers down there with him so I made a signal to him to go check it out. I was bummed out because I didn't get to see the big brown sea horse. But I know exactly where to look for it next time I go there. It is under a big sponge in 75 feet of water. Orlando said that because it is brown it is really hard to find.
San Francisco Wall was where we did the second dive and Orlando pointed out a really big nurse shark swimming below us in the depths. The shark was being followed by a pair a black groupers which were ¨shadow hunting¨ with the shark. Jennifer showed Josh a tiny little eel. Everyone had a great dive.
Thursday, March 4th
We got a late start in the morning and I took Ken, Anita, Jennifer, Josh, Loren, Chris and Karen to Palancar Caves. We had a gorgeous dive and swam through some tunnels. Loren found a big lionfish in a cave and I went to get the nets. Orlando got over excited and didn't wait for me to cover up the escape route and he tried to just scoop it right up. He had it in the net but it scooted out from the bottom. The nets are getting a little bent out of shape from too many dives and they don't work as well. I have to get some new nets or a spear gun.
We went to Anita's favorite reef for the second dive, Colombia Shallow. We saw a nice turtle and only one of the nurse sharks was in that hole.
I did a night dive on Paradise with Josh, Loren, Chris and Karen. I was surprised that I only saw one lobster but we saw a ton of big crabs. It was Chris that found the opalescent baby octopus and Karen got lots of photos. Orlando showed us a slipper lobster and we also saw a few spotted morays.
Friday, March 5th
The diving conditions were absolutely perfect for John, Melissa, Charlie, Bill, Harvey, Dave and Jeff. We had sunshine, flat, calm seas and no current. We could not have asked for anything nicer. We went to Palancar Gardens so that Janet would have something nice to look at as she snorkeled over us. At the very beginning of the dive we were greeted by a pair of small turtles. Harvey got a really good photo of it smiling for the camera.
Janet joined us for the second dive after a class on the beach so we went to Columbia Shallows, Orlando's favorite reef. He found, caught and killed a lionfish. Since I had told him that he missed the others because he was impetuous he decided to slow down, analyze the escape route and allow me to assist. I can't watch him kill them though. I grabbed Janet's hand and swam her away so we would not be watching the kill. I showed everyone a big spotted eagle ray swimming past us on the shallower side of the reef. Orlando and I looked for the other lionfish from the previous day but it was gone.
Saturday, March 6th
Dive one was on Alison's special spot with JF, Nathalie, JP, Stephanie, Catherine, John and Melissa. Orlando took JP, John and Melissa down 70 feet and I stayed up top at 40 feet everyone else. Orlando showed them a turtle. I found a huge crab with big pinchers. Later we saw a big lobster out prancing around.
We did dive two on Paso Del Cedral. We saw lots of crabs and lobsters. I guess that is because the day was cloudy and overcast. Melissa and I hung back and played with a splendid toadfish and we took our time watching a pretty little spotted drum flit around in circles. During the safety stop Orlando and I observed a pair of excited black groupers. We signaled to each other to look for a nurse shark. I found what the groupers were hanging out with. It wasn't a nurse shark, it was a big green moray eel on the hunt. JF went down to take a picture.
Dive three was with JF, Nathalie, JP and Louis. We went to Chankanaab. There were yet more big crabs and lobsters out and about. Orlando found another spotted drum. At the very end of the dive Orlando went exploring. He led us off of the reef and towards shore. I suspect he was hoping to find some lionfish. Instead we found a furry sea cucumber which is his absolute favorite sea creature in the world.
Sunday, March 7th
I did 4 dives this day starting on Palancar Gardens with J.F. Nathalie, Stephanie, Catherine, Louis, J.P. Barb and Danna. We had a bit more current than I would have preferred. J.F. was working with Catherine on her Advanced so he took her down a little deeper. I stayed in 40 feet of water with Barb and Danna. Orlando took the rest of the divers down through the caves at 60 or 70 feet. We saw lobsters all over the place out and about. Some were very large. I think it is lobster mating season because throughout the course of the day we just kept seeing more and more huge lobsters parading about.
Our second dive was on Yucab. We had very nice conditions. Everyone just drifted along and enjoyed the fish. J.F. showed us a southern stingray and a big barracuda came over and smiled for the camera.
That afternoon J.F. and I went to Allegro and picked up Patti, Drew, Ron and Kathy. They wanted something shallow and easy for the first day so back to Palancar Gardens we went. The current was heading southbound and we went with it so J.F. got a tour of a different section of reef than he had seen in the morning anyway. We came up to a big grouper and a green moray eel hiding behind the grouper. What called my attention was the pair of groupers swimming off. It looked like the hunt had just finished. Then the current shifted direction. We headed back to where we came from. I swam into a school of silversides and we played like little kids in the shiny, moving mass.
I chose Cedral Wall for the last dive. There seemed to be big turtles all over the place. We also saw a small (maybe 5 foot long) nurse shark swimming away. We found 2 splendid toadfish and another big southern stingray. When we came up Kathy said, ¨You did good Alison!¨
Monday, March 8th
Wow! The current was ripping at Colombia Deep. Well, I have heard that it was like that everywhere. Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy, Alan and Kat were my divers and the dive was chaotic to say the least. Kathy had just had her regulator serviced right before the trip. It started free flowing badly on the descent. She and I went to the surface and got separated from the group in that current. Thank goodness Orlando was with the other divers. Patti experienced a problem too and aborted the dive. The remaining four divers stayed together and I went back for them. We saw a huge nurse shark and Orlando found a darling little turtle hiding in a hole to get out of the current. The dive turned out to be pretty good despite the rough start.
I wanted an easy dive of course so off to Colombia Shallow we went. I found a couple of small sleeping sharks and a few turtles. Lobsters were just about everywhere and it was a welcome relief to just take it easy.
The current calmed down a lot for the afternoon divers and I took Nathalie, J.P., Louis, Stephanie, Catherine, Murray, Cindy and Garrett to French Reef. I lost count of the turtles that we saw. Nathalie showed us a huge green moray eel out swimming around. It went in a cave and I was gonna kill Orlando if he went in there after it. I think he could hear me thinking and opted not to go after it. We saw a huge crab and a lobster on that dive too.
Stephanie requested a shark and we found 3 sharks at Dalila. The place was loaded with big turtles too. The current was swift but there were so many good critters no one complained. They were excited when they got back on the boat.
Tuesday, March 9th
I asked Patti, Drew, Ron, Kathy, Alan, Kat and Chace where they wanted to go and someone said Horseshoe. So off we went. We had great conditions and we saw a couple of turtles. The dive was uneventful which is a good thing J
They all seemed to agree that Dalila would be the second dive. It turned out to be spectacular! We saw a splendid toadfish, a pair of lobsters which looked like they were doing some kind of mating ritual and a crab with dinner sized claws in a hole. Everyone got to hang out with the big nurse shark. A six foot green moray eel swam past us and right up to Chace and Alan. I was almost worried as it swam right for him. On the safety stop we saw lots of turtles. It was just an amazing experience.
I picked up J.F. Nathalie, Stephanie, Catherine, Louis and J.P. in the afternoon and we did our first dive on Palancar Caves by special request. I let Orlando lead the dive because it is his favorite dive site. I followed behind and brought up the rear. We saw a turtle or two.
Nathalie asked to see a sea horse so we took her to Colombia Shallow. We didn't find a seahorse but Orlando found a small pipefish while searching the algae beds and that seemed to suffice. We saw one very large nurse shark and one cute little baby shark. What Stephanie really wanted to see was an eagle ray. I found one that was chewing on a conch shell. I could see it's mouth working on the meal. We saw a turtle and so many southern stingrays that we didn't bother to count. I am guessing that we saw at least 20 of them.
Wednesday, March 10th
We had strong south wind so I brought Drew, Ron, Kathy, Alan, Kat, George and Julie to Chankanaab to stay out of the big waves. We had a pretty easy dive. Kathy showed me a golden tail eel and Orlando found a big spotted moray. There were plenty of lobsters and crabs but the exciting find was the big eagle ray that glided by the group.
The most exciting thing that happened on Paradise was at the surface after the dive. There was a group of divers that drifted into the cruise ship and came up right at the bow. The boat that they were diving from had broken down and was being towed by the National Marine Park's boat. I was amazed and transfixed. I don't know how they managed to get everyone on the broken down boat as it was being towed by the little marine park boat. I was very impressed by how the captain of the Marine Park boat maneuvered the broken down boat without bumping into the cruise ship. It was a spectacle.
The afternoon dive was on Bolones de Chankanaab with JF, Nathalie, JP, Louis, Stephanie, Catherine, Murray, Cindy and Garrett. When we first went down the current was blowing us out to the drop off so we had to kick our asses off to get to the reef. Ten minutes into the dive the current slowed way down and we could thoroughly enjoy ourselves. We saw a splendid toadfish half way out of it's hole that JF pointed out. We saw a big lobster our patrolling and a bunch of crabs. I missed the best thing. The boys saw a big spotted eagle ray and they said that it had a shark following below it. I suspect that it wasn't a shark at all. It was probably a cobia which looks a lot like a shark and follows those eagle rays around sometimes. None the less, I missed it!
We did a night dive on Chankanaab. I picked Chankanaab because it always has less current than Paradise and usually much less divers too. Well we had a bit of current anyway. To the newer divers it feels like strong current but during a night dive even a little current is a bit overwhelming. Then 2 cattle boats seemed to straddle us. One was in front with a huge group of divers and the other was in back of us with a huge group of divers. My divers were great! They followed us and stayed together. I didn't have to go pluck them out of any other groups. However, Orlando and I spent a good amount of time sending other divers back to their own group that had strayed and joined our group. It was chaotic to say the least. But we saw a lionfish. There were lots of eels and crabs and lobsters and Garrett said that it was totally cool! So one happy kid can make it all worthwhile
Thursday, March 11th
The wind quieted down a bit and I took George, Julie, Drew, Ron, Kat and Alan to Palancar Gardens. We had a lovely dive with beautiful conditions underwater. Orlando led the tour and I just swam around and followed everyone.
For a nice shallow dive we went to French Reef. I stayed up on top in 30 feet of water so I missed the free swimming green moray eel that everyone else saw. I did get up close and personal with the turtle and we saw some southern stingrays too.
Thursday, March 12th
Everyone loved the dive on Santa Rosa Wall. Everyone was Chace, Kristi, Charlie, Kat, Alan, Kathy, Ron, Drew and Patti. We looked for that black seahorse but couldn't find it. Everyone apparently liked drifting over the big blue abyss. Chace finally found her juvenile spotted drum. It was a good thing that she brought her camera with the brand new strobe.
The second dive was on San Francisco Wall. Pedro Pablo was just in front of us with 6 divers and he showed us a big green moray eel. Orlando pointed out a big spotted eagle ray swimming a good 20 feet below us. The conditions were fantastico. There were no waves to speak of the current was so mild that we hardly moved. Everyone went really slow and checked out the small stuff.
Saturday, March 13th
Our unusually cold and windy winter continued in the same fashion. It was really choppy when we set out in the morning with Brent, Troy, Chris, Kristi, Charlie and Chace. We went to Colombia hoping to get out of the waves. It was still very choppy when we got in but the bottom was nice. We saw a ton of big southern stingrays. Orlando remembered where he had seen that big nurse shark and it was still in the same hole. Charlie and Chace got pictures of it. Orlando finds everything. He found a pipefish and a seahorse too. The seahorse was mixed in a big clump of algae and blended in perfectly. I have no idea how he even saw it. He was so excited that he found it that it was funny to watch him. He couldn't contain his excitement. Then to top it all off he found a furry sea cucumber too which is his favorite sea creature of all.
After a surface interval on the pier we went to Dalila. I think that Kristi and Orlando enjoyed that dive most. We saw several turtles, one of which was huge. Once again, it was Orlando that found everything.
Sunday, March 14th
I went to Palancar Caves with Kathy, Alan, Chace, Kristi, Charlie, Keith, Ian and Eric. I let Orlando lead the dive and I just followed everyone around. We had perfect, easy dive conditions. We were lucky and got very mild current, good visibility and almost no waves. The first turtle was really small. It was swimming up over everyone's heads and no one saw it but me. The second turtle went to the surface for a gulp of fresh air and we all watched as it turned head down and paddled back to the bottom.
Alan picked Cedral Wall for the next one. After drifting over big sponges and angel fish for half an hour the action started. First an 8 foot wide spotted eagle ray glided by. Then I found the first shark. It was way back in a hole and everyone kicked each other trying to get in the hole at the same time to see it. The second shark was in a much better place and everyone could spread out to look. The third shark was after everyone was up except for Chace, Kathy and I. We had that big boy all to ourselves :) When we got back on the boat Kristi told me that she had found a lionfish. I missed it! I should have swam back. She said that as soon as they got close it went back in a hole so I would not have been able to catch it anyway. They do that when they have experience with divers trying to catch them.
Monday, March 15th
First I tried to take Charlie, Kristi, Chace, Brent, Troy, Chris, Keith and Terry to the shipwreck. Two things changed my mind. Just as we were arriving another boat pulled up and got the rope that we tie off to and use as a down line. So I got in and checked the current. The current was OK but not ideal. We would have had to spend some of the dive kicking against it which makes the dive no fun and causes us to burn up air. So I decided to take them over to the wall. We saw a huge spotted eagle ray and everyone was excited. We also found a pair of turtles together. The big one was a loggerhead and the smaller one was a hawksbill. The loggerhead was a little freaked out by us but the hawksbill didn't seem to mind us at all. At the end of the dive Orlando found a seahorse in the algae patch. Chace's batteries were dead on the camera so she didn't get a picture. We marked it's location with some old conch shells.
Chankanaab was dive two. I don't know how Orlando finds all this stuff but he found a tiny little octopus in the sandy area. He also found a pipe horse. He was so excited when he found it. I needed a magnifying glass to see it.
Tuesday, March 16th
I went back and checked the wreck again with Kristi, Charlie, Chace, Josh, Eric, Jordan, Angela and Keith. We were the first to arrive and we got the down line. The current was really, really light so we went for it. We saw a beautiful school of silvery fishes overhead with a big barracuda right in the middle of them. A 60 pound snapper smiled at us from under a dark overhang. We swam through the bigger openings and had a good time.
We thought that we were going to Tormentos but ended up diving Yucab because the current was headed southbound. We dodged several other groups of divers. I discovered on very hungry toadfish and another toadfish that just would not come out of the hole for us.
I took Chace, Charlie, Kristi, Terry and Keith on a night dive at Paradise. I can't use the words that Kristi did to describe it because this dive log is rated ¨PG¨. It started out just like any other night dive. I saw a dive master get in and check the current on the north end of the reef and he got back on board his boat and drove to the south end of the reef to start the dive. He said that the current was heading northbound. I told Carlos to follow him and that I would get in and check the current anyway. When I got in there was no current at all. We started heading northbound. It didn't take more than 10 minutes before I realized that the current had changed direction and was going southbound. We didn't have much reef at all behind us so we just kept going northbound. About 20 minutes into the dive Orlando starts signaling that the current is going the other way. I tell him to keep going against it. We did until no one could swim against it. When it got strong enough that we had to go with it we turned around and started heading back. By then there were several other groups of divers around us and Orlando and I concentrated on keeping our divers together and trying to keep them from kicking one another. We couldn't look for critters and manage divers at the same time. During the first 30 minutes of the dive we had seen some lobsters and a spotted moray eel out swimming about. Then we ran out of reef and we were over sand. I asked Charlie if he wanted to stay down or go up. He told me that he still had 1100 psi so we stayed down. We flew over the sand dunes and the only marine life we saw were a bunch of electric rays. When the first person signaled up we all went up. Carlos was nowhere to be found. I later found out why he took so long to pick us up. It was because he was rescuing a friend of mine and his divers out in the blue water at Las Palmas. I guess he saw divers out there, realized they were in trouble and went to investigate. Orlando and I got another boat captain to call Carlos on the radio and get him over to pick us up. We were all happy to be on the boat. After the dive I heard some stories that made me realize that WE HAD THE GOOD DIVE! Ha! It was actually a little comical. It was a very good learning experience for Orlando. One group of divers wound up against the rocks at Presidente.
Thursday, March 18th
I told Carlos to take Beau, Steve, Chris, Kristi, Charlie, Keith, Doug and Laura to Palancar Gardens. When we got there and we were suiting up Carlos noticed that the current looked strong. He called a friend on the radio and asked how the current was and the answer was extremely strong and headed northbound but also towards the beach. I was in no mood for a struggle so I announced that I was not taking them to Palancar after all and that we would be going to French Reef instead. French Reef has a hard bottom so no one can get sucked down and the current is usually a little weaker there than in other places. We flew along but had a great dive. We saw 2 hawksbill turtles and one green turtle. The highlight of the dive was the free swimming green moray eel. I also drifted over a lobster that could feed 2 people.
Of course the easiest dive in Cozumel is on Colombia Shallow so that is where we went. I was surprised that we did not see any sharks at all, not even the one that was always in that same hole. We didn't even see one turtle either. We did see a lot of southern stingrays. It was not as exciting as usual but it was RELAXING. That is what was important to me.
Friday, March 19th
Dave, Cynthia, Maddie, Stephanie and Beau came on a cruise ship and were in a bit of a hurry since the ship had respected Daylight Savings Time and Cozumel had not ¨Sprung Forward¨ yet. Kristi and Charlie didn't really care and were easy to get along with. My cruise ship divers requested Santa Rosa Wall for the first dive and the current was cooperative so that is where we went! We didn't see anything noteworthy except quite a few schools of humans everywhere. Other than that it was an easy dive.
I took them to Tormentos for the second dive. I was waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting for the group in front of us to move on (that is the norm during Spring Break) so that I could check out the splendid toadfish that they were taking pictures of. All of a sudden I felt a yank on my right side. I look back and find Orlando sucking on my octopus. Yipes! So I take him up, stick him on the surface and go back down to finish the dive with my group. Silly boy, he forgot to change out his tank from the first dive. Duh! I balled him out 2 weeks ago for doing everything half assed and now this was a perfect example. I am hoping for a change in his bad habits. He needs a kick in the behind every so often.
Saturday, March 20th
I let Beau, Steve and Chris pick our first reef. They requested a wall so we went to San Francisco Wall. The current was kind of fast but Terry and I completed the deep dive for his advanced certification. At the very end of the dive we saw my favorite green moray eel with the crooked mouth sharing a hiding hole with a grouper. We also saw a few lobsters along the way.
I let Kristi and Charlie pick the second reef which was Palancar Gardens. We saw a small hawksbill turtle and a southern stingray. As we were checking out the school of silversides Orlando discovered a big lionfish. Charlie probably got some good pictures of it. I went for the nets. The lionfish escaped the first swipe into a shallow hole. It was easy to poke him out with the end of the net. Then we made another attempt and it got away by going way, deep under an overhang where we couldn't even see him. It was frustrating to say the least. I have to buy some harpoons when I go to California.
Tuesday, March 23rd
I had 7 divers and 2 snorkelers so I chose Palancar Gardens for the first tank. My divers were Chris, James, Paul, Rhondda, John, Tim and Levi. The current was a little crazy. First it was headed southbound and we swam up to a southern stingray. Then after about 15 minutes it changed direction and went northbound. We ended up at the school of silversides. There were about 7 or 8 yellow fin groupers feeding on them. The groupers were swimming in and out of the school and causing them to shimmer. That made for some good photos for John. Then the current started pushing upward and we ended up in the shallow area for the rest of dive.
I wanted to go shallow and easy and we had snorkelers so Colombia Shallow was the obvious pick. We had a great dive there. We saw a couple of turtles and a pair of huge black groupers. Then we found a big green moray eel in a hole. I think John and Rhondda saw a nurse shark but I missed it. It was a nice, easy dive with tons to see.
Wednesday, March 24th
Isaac, Rob, Chris, Levi, Evan and Holly were my divers. I had another go at the Gardens to get to the swim throughs but when I checked the current it was doing the same thing as the day before so I told Carlos to get me back on the boat and take me over to French Reef. We had good conditions and a Gran Slam. First we saw a turtle. Then Orlando showed us a big green moray eel. We saw another turtle and a few big crabs. On the safety stop I sent Levi back down to check out the 4 foot nurse shark that Orlando found. After the shark while Levi was getting on the boat Evan started pointing to a humungous spotted eagle ray that made a slow pass. It was a fantastic dive!
Everyone asked why we didn't go through the swim throughs so I took 'em back to Gardens for another try. By then the current had calmed WAY down and we were able to do the cave tour. The divemaster of the group in front of us shared a green moray eel with us. That was very nice of him. We had another really nice dive.
Thursday, March 25th
It was a wall day because Tim asked to go to the wall. I just told Chris, Holly and Evan that we were going to Santa Rosa Wall and that was that :) We had a really nice dive. We saw a really big turtle go up to the surface and I lost track of it when it was up there. We saw several lobsters too.
The dive on San Francisco Wall was great. At the beginning of the dive I spied a very, very large spotted eagle ray swimming slowly against the current along the edge of the wall. Tim must have burned up 1000 psi swimming against the current to check it out. We saw another nice eagle ray at the very end of the dive too. Orlando found it over the algae patch in the shallows. The eagle ray veered off to the wall to avoid us. Orlando showed me the yellow finned grouper with the big bite out of it's back. I realized that it is not the same one at Colombia Shallow. It was a strange feeling to ponder what sea creature goes around taking BIG bites out of the groupers. I haven't seen anything that could do that to a grouper lately. In the past I have seen hammerheads but that is rare. Twice I have seen hammerheads on San Francisco Wall and I have seen a big one on Colombia Shallow so that is all that I can imagine that might have done that to the poor groupers.
Friday, March 26th
I took Chris, Levi, Mark, Mary, Debbie, Bob, Sandra and Chad to Palancar Horseshoe. We had ideal conditions and we really enjoyed the dive. I found a big lobster and Bob rubbed his tummy thinking of what it would taste like on a plate. I pointed out a pair of turtles together off in the distance but I think that only Debbie saw them. Later Debbie showed me a small hawksbill turtle nestled down for a nap.
Tuesday, March 30th
After a 3 day break I picked up Bob, Sally, Don, Dave, Hunter and David and took them to Palancar Gardens. Bob, Sally and I stayed up on top of the reef and Orlando took the boys through all the caves. I saw a turtle but Bob and Sally didn't see it. I heard the boys talking about all the good stuff that they saw on the boat but we were in the sandy area for a good while and didn't see the same stuff.
We all dived together on Colombia Shallow. We saw several more turtles and a very small nurse shark lying under a rock. David pointed out a moray eel. What pleased Sally most were the schools of fish everywhere.
Wednesday, March 31st
The wind had calmed down and we had beautiful conditions on Palancar Caves with Mike, Bob, Sally, Don, Dave, Hunter and David. We split the group again. Orlando took the guys through the caves and I stayed out in the shallow area with Bob and Sally. This time it was ME that saw all the turtles. I asked around and everyone said that they saw one or two turtles. I saw maybe 5 or 6! It was such a relief not to have any current.
Dave requested Dalila which is always a fun dive. We saw a few more turtles and 2 sharks too! The first shark was pretty big and it was napping under the reef. The second shark was swimming around underneath us while we made a safety stop. Bob checked out a barracuda that was fairly close. Another big barracuda parked at a cleaning station and opened wide while a juvenile Spanish hogfish got in there and cleaned his teeth. That was interesting to watch!
Thursday, April 1st
On our last day of work before OUR vacation we took Michael, Matthew, Steve, Jenny, Susan, Jay, Dave, Hunter and David to Palancar Horseshoe. Once again we had fantastic diving conditions with a flat, calm surface and very little current below. We swam around and between the spires of coral. Orlando took them through only one swim through and I brought up the rear. On that dive everyone swam after a turtle. When only David, Dave, Orlando and I were still down we snuck into a cave full of silversides and groupers. David borrowed Dave's camera and videoed the whole thing.
We went to French Reef for the second dive and we saw a few turtles. I think it was Susan or Jay that pointed out the huge green moray eel. Orlando pointed out a small lobster and no one even bothered to stop and look
Friday, April 16th
Well, Orlando, Carlos and I went back to work after a 2 week vacation. Carlos took his wife and kids to the Yucatan and visited family members. Orlando worked hard on his vacant lot that he someday plans to build his first home on. I went to California to visit my family.
It was pouring rain most of the morning but all the divers (Steve, Phil, Bob, Greg, Ian and Bill) were all in high spirits anyway. I let them know that it didn't matter that it was raining because we were going to get wet anyway. We took them over to Palancar Gardens. I hung out in 20 to 30 feet of water with Ian and Steve. Orlando took Bill, Bob, Greg and Phil down to 70 feet and swam them through those caves that he loves so much. Me and the boys saw a little turtle. It was Steve that pointed it out. Then I showed them 5 small lobsters in a hole. Since it was overcast a splendid toadfish came half way out of the hole for us and it made me think of Rick because I have been promising him lately to show him a toadfish in May.
Then we all went over to Paradise. Orlando took our certified divers over to the reef. I stayed near shore and did mask clearing and controlled emergency swimming ascents with my boys. Then Troy showed up and took me over to see a tiny orange sea horse. Troy had a big hole in his wetsuit in a place where there shouldn't be a hole. I couldn't resist reaching out and giving his butt a squeeze. When I did that he turned around and gave me a hand signal that is Mexican for let go drink a couple of beers after work. I snuck out of the marina early that day after work J
Saturday, April 17th
The sun came out and I took Jen, Chuck, Steve, Phil, Bob, Greg, Ian and Bill to Palancar Horseshoe. As we were dropping down over the edge of the reef a small hawksbill turtle came up from below to greet us. It swam right up to Greg and Ian. I think that they were a bit surprised. We had a beautiful dive.
Jen wanted to go snorkel with the stars in ¨Heaven¨. We never did find that little reef that Carlos likes so much but everyone saw plenty of starfish and sand dollars. We proceeded over to Colombia Shallow. The water was a little murky after so much rain. I found a spotted scorpionfish and Chuck took a video of it. They don't move much so I am not sure how that is going to come out :) We saw a huge barracuda and a southern stingray too. Orlando spent half an hour searching for seahorses in the algae but he couldn't find a one.
Sunday, April 18th
It was rough and choppy. I took Greg, Ian, Bill, Jen, Chuck, Brian, Tom, Nola and Robin to Palancar Gardens. Once we were at the bottom we had beautiful conditions. Orlando pointed out a juvenile spotted drum and I discovered a turtle swimming above us. Orlando led us through all the gorgeous caves. Fun was had by all.
The surface calmed down quite a bit and the current was mild at Dalila. It was Robin who began signaling wildly when she spied the big nurse shark loafing around under the ledge. Everyone got as close as they wanted to and lots of photos and videos were taken. We later saw 2 big hawksbill turtles. One was on it's way up for a breath of air. Tom waited for it to come back down again. It was worth the wait because it then posed for his camera. On our safety stop we saw a small green turtle in about 30 feet of water below us. Green turtles are my favorite.
Monday, April 19th
We had perfect, sunny weather and flat, calm seas. It was a perfect day. Dive one was on Palancar Caves with Brian, Tom, Nola, Robin, Chris, José and Misty. Orlando led the tour and I bobbed around above with Misty as she worked on clearing her stubborn ears. We saw a small turtle glide over the top of everyone below. Misty and I were the only ones who saw it because we were above the group. Later in the dive another turtle swam by and posed for the cameras.
I took them to Cedral Wall for the second dive. The current was unusually calm and we had a really nice dive. Just when things were starting to get a little repetitive a huge 6 foot green moray eel swam by. It was heading right for Brian and his camera but then the eel was detoured by a pair of French angel fish. Brian later admitted that he was almost a little worried with the eel swimming right at him. I would have never guessed. He just aimed the camera and shot. Then a rather good sized hawksbill paid us a visit. At the end of the dive we all parked around a 6 foot nurse shark lounging around in the sand. Orlando came up excited about what a great dive it was.
Tuesday, April 20th
We had another bright, sunshiny day and our first dive was on Colombia Deep. My divers were Nola, Robin, Tom, Brian and Craig. We had light current. Tom was very interested in the swim throughs. We didn't see a whole lot of fish or critters but the reef is always impressive there.
We did an hour and 23 minutes on Colombia Shallow. We dropped down on a small shark and a small turtle under matching coral heads. We saw another nurse shark swim by right before the medium sized hawksbill settled down to have it's picture taken. When we got to the bigger reef formations I found a very impressively sized nurse shark taking a nap under the reef. The girls swam through the big schools of blue striped and French grunts.
Wednesday, April 21st
Dive one was on Santa Rosa Wall by special request. It was Brian who requested the wall. Tom, Robin, Nola, Sandy, George, Darlene and Kevin didn't seem to care where we went. We had a nice dive with good conditions. We saw a big grouper and a small lobster. The highlight of the dive was a huge southern stingray that Kevin pointed out. Brian found the yellow seahorse but when he tried to get everyone's attention his fin fell off and he couldn't swim back to show it to us. So Brian was the only one who saw the seahorse and he didn't even get a picture of it!
Also on Brian's list of ¨to see¨ was Tormentos so that is where we went for the second dive. We saw several very large barracudas. One barracuda was at a cleaning station getting his teeth cleaned. Orlando, Darlene and Kevin saw a baby turtle but I missed it.
Thursday, April 22nd
Tom, Nola, Brian, Robin, Al, Maria, Mark and Paul came with me to Palancar Horseshoe. We had swimming pool like conditions and the dive was really relaxing. We witnessed a turtle surfacing to breathe and then returning to the bottom. We saw a dinner sized lobster on the reef and I showed Mark a rather large southern stingray swimming around with a permit.
Our second tank was on Paso del Cedral. We did get mixed in with another school of humans but they showed us a pipehorse so it's all good! We checked out a yellow fin grouper at a cleaning station with a huge scarlet lady cleaner shrimp eating all the dead scales off of him.
Friday, April 23rd
It was Tom's birthday and he wanted to go to Punta Sur. When he Nola, Robin and Brian got on board we talked it over and settled on diving the Cathedral. We split the group. I took Deanna, Tom, Nola, Brian and Robin through the cave system while Orlando stayed up on top with Carol, Sandy and George. I was really pleased to be able to find Nick's marble marker. They took photos and videos of me wiping the dust off of it. I wished that I had thought to bring a scotch pad with me. We also saw a few turtles.
We did our second dive on French Reef and Brian really enjoyed it. We saw another turtle that swam through our group. Orlando played a trick on Robin. He planted Deanna's plastic seahorse on the bottom and told Robin to come see the seahorse. Robin laughed so hard that her mask filled up with water. Then Carol got Orlando. When he wasn't looking she swam up and ripped his fin off and then swam away. I thought that was so funny! As he was swimming after her I came up from behind him and ripped off the other one. Usually it is Orlando goofing around down there playing with us. It was fun to surprise attack him.
Saturday, April 24th
I picked the reef this day because George and Sandy had not seen Palancar yet. Carol and Deanna don't care where they go as long as it is in the water and Craig was easy to get along with. We saw a couple of nice turtles and 2 big crabs too. Deanna got to film the last one for a while.
The girls kept asking about nurse sharks so I took them over to Dalila. Not only did I find 2 nurse sharks for them but there were a couple of nice turtles too. One little turtle dived down from the surface and swam right in front of Carol's face but she was looking down and didn't see it until after it started to swim away. The best part of the dive was when Sandy grabbed me, shook me and spun me around to show me a spotted eagle ray right behind me! By the time that I got my noise maker out of my pocket and got everyone's attention the eagle ray was just about gone. Deanna filmed a huge lobster waltzing around in a big crack after everyone was already back on the boat.
Sunday, April 25th
We had South wind and it was pretty strong. I chose to take Carol, Deanna, Gigi, Birgit, Alex, Jen and Bill to San Francisco Wall so that no one would get seasick. Carol and Deanna took pictures of a white, spiral egg case that was wrapped around a hydroid. It held eggs from a horse conch. The day before Deanna had asked about splendid toadfish. I found one for her and she filmed it. Then she went and found her own toadfish later in the dive. We also saw a couple of nice sized lobsters.
I continued north bound and dived the last bit of Yucab and all of Tormentos. There Bill took pictures of a huge lobster. Deanna filmed a baby green turtle. It swam right in front of her video camera and it posed for her. It's shell was about a foot in diameter. Everyone practiced hiding behind the reef to get out of the current and to take pictures of the red, orange and yellow sponges.
Monday, April 26th
Once again it was sunny and hot. The wind allowed for us to go to Palancar Bricks. My divers were Carol, Deanna, Bill, Jen, Alex, Gigi, Birgit and Joel. The surface was calm and there was almost no current. It was such a pleasant and relaxing dive. We saw a total of 5 turtles on that dive. The last two swam around each other in circles while everyone took pictures. I was the only one who saw the nurse shark swim off and duck into a hole. Every loved that dive.
We went to Carol's favorite place, Colombia Shallow. The first baby nurse shark was discovered by Joel. I found the second one. Both were no longer than 2 feet long and very cute. We also had a few visits from turtles. Carol found a big crab. We were down for 90 minutes again.
Tuesday, April 27th
I dived Palancar Gardens with Carol, Deanna, Gigi, Birgit, Joel, Bill, Rod and Cindy. Carol and Deanna wanted to take pictures of the silversides. We saw several turtles before we got to the silversides. Deanna showed us a big crab too. Bill was brave and he swam right into the cave with the silversides and the groupers. Gigi passed me her camera and went into the dark hole and took pictures for her so that she could see what it was like in there.
Bill picked French Reef for the second dive because he said that he had never been there. Joel was the first to spot the big green moray eel but it swam into a cave and disappeared. Deanna and I searched for a few minutes and just as we shrugged our shoulders and gave up, out popped the big eel. It swam around us for a couple of minutes. Deanna chased it around and burned up all of her air. Carol got some good shots too. Bill was concentrating on a spotted scorpion fish when the eel swam right up to Bill and got between his camera and his face. It was startling but he managed to get a photo of the eel too. After Deanna wore that poor eel out it laid down and let Bill and I go take it's picture. We also saw a few more turtles on that dive the green eel stole the show!
The night dive was on Paradise with Deanna, Carol, Bill, Ali and Curt. We had a full moon and I think that is why we didn't see any octopus. We saw the usual crabs and lobsters. The highlights were the splendid toadfish and the pair of fighting eels. They told me that the toadfish was all the way out in the open but I missed that. One big spotted moray swam around for a while before it went into a hole. Then another spotted moray came out and they went at it mouth to mouth while Bill took pictures. The thing that I liked best was a crab with a big chunk of vase sponge on it's back as camouflage.
Wednesday, April 28th
I took Carol, Deanna, Bill, Joel, Gigi, Birgit, Rod and Cindy to Colombia Deep for the first dive. We went through the caves. Deanna's video light illuminated the reef and it felt like we were just continuing the night dive. It was strange not to see a single turtle or nurse shark the entire dive.
We found another splendid toadfish at Paso Del Cedral. I looked for the little pipefish but couldn't find it. We saw several lobsters and I imagine that was because it was a cloudy, overcast day. The lobsters must have thought that it was still night time too.
Thursday, April 29th
I did my birthday dive on Palancar Horseshoe with Jodi, Douglas, Bill, Joel, Gigi, Birgit, Rod and Cindy. We didn't see any big critters but the reef sure was beautiful. The most excitement that we had was when a lady in a neighboring dive group panicked and bolted. She was fine when she reached the surface and I never did find out what went wrong with her. We just continued on………
We did the second dive at the end of Cedral and on Santa Rosa Shallow. My intention was to cross over to the wall after an hour and go look for the seahorse. There wasn't much current and we did not arrive at the seahorse with enough air to properly search. However, we did see a pair a tiny juvenile spotted drums and later a solitary spotted drum in a sheltered spot on the reef. We saw a few lobsters and several big groupers. Cindy enjoyed the schools of fish.
Friday, April 30th
I dived Santa Rosa Wall with Graham, Gigi, Birgit, Douglas and Jodi. We decended upon a 6 foot nurse shark on the prowl. We followed it around and Douglas took pictures of it. We encountered several schools of humans all around us. One was wearing an old yellow dive skin. That diver was very distinct looking. While we looked in the algae for the seahorse we found a pipefish. Gigi saw a lionfish at the end of the dive but when she tried to show it to me it had hidden in a hole.
The wind picked up from the south. Gigi requested a site with no current so Chankanaab was a no-brainer. The first lobster was huge and it was prancing about without a care in the world. The second lobster was out as well but promptly backed into a hole when we approached. We saw a pair of crabs together. We saw that same diver from the first dive in that old yellow diveskin. A divemaster from another group had 2 baby lionfish in a bag that he caught. Later in the dive I heard banging and turned around to find Jodi banging on her tank with her dive knife and pointing at a spotted moray eel. It was a nice, easy dive.
Saturday, May 1st
Dan, Mary, Mike, Cindy, Douglas and Jodi were my divers on Palancar Gardens. There were big waves at the surface but underwater we had calm water. The visibility was not up to par due to the waves but we had an easy first day of diving for the four.
We wanted somewhere with less waves for our second stop so I took them to Tormentos. Everyone loved the colorful sponges and fish. However, we had a good bit of current on that dive and we all practiced hiding behind the reef to get out of the current. I found a big lionfish in a dark recess. I didn't have my nets with me so I called over my friend Pedro Pablo. He quickly assembled a Hawaiin sling and went after it. The lionfish had obviously been hunted before and knew how to escape predation. It darted into a hole and got away. After seeing Pedro Pablo's Hawaiin sling I have decided that I want one of my very own. Disassembled it fits into a BC pocket.
Sunday, May 2nd
The fierce south wind continued so I took Dan, Mary, Mike and Cindy to Yucab for our first dive. It was still pretty choppy and we also had some current. By then they had caught on about hiding behind the reef to get out of the current and we looked at little stuff like arrow crabs and banded cleaner shrimp. We saw a couple of lobsters and schools of assorted fish.
I wanted to be out of the current so we went to Bolones de Chankanaab. We saw the mandatory lobster but it was Cindy who spotted the green turtle napping on the bottom. I had swum right past it. We also saw several spotted eels. One was swimming around looking for something to eat. I also pointed out a golden tail moray. Even though the visibility was only 40 or 50 feet we made the best of it and still had a great dive.
Monday, May 3rd
After Cindy pointed out the hawksbill turtle 15 feet below us we swam past another group of divers. One diver in that group was pointing madly below so we all went over for a look. As it turned out it was a pair of large lionfish swimming around each other in what looked like a mating ritual to me. I didn't have my nets with me and I didn't have my lion fish slayer Orlando with me so I checked everyone's air and made a decision. Bob had 700 psi, George had 1000 psi. Mike and Cindy had 1200 each. So I made a note of where they were and took the group up. By the time that we got to the shallow area and Bob made a safety stop, George was low on air too. I surfaced with them and Carlos passed me the nets. Then I grabbed Mike and Cindy and went back down after the lion fish. I studied possible escape routes and decided which fish I would take a swipe at. I couldn't get them both and once I made the first swipe the other would bolt. So I used one net to block a possible escape route and then swiped with my left hand. The one on the left did escape my net and the one on the right backed itself up against the wall. I didn't know it but there was another divemaster right behind me that came up to see what I was doing. He passed me a light and asked me to point it on the fish on the right that was backed up against the wall. Then he took out a 2 foot long sharp stick and jabbed it once and caught it. Then he had me hold it down with the nets while he jabbed it repeatedly until it was dead. I told him that there was another one but we couldn't see it. By then my divers were low on air and we were pretty darned deep so we left the second one there. I know exactly where it is and I will have a go at it. I am also going to start shopping on the internet for a speargun and a good light. The nets just aren't cutting it anymore.
I was in the mood for Cedral Wall. Finally it was me that spotted the turtles. The first one swam at us and up to the surface. Then I found a 5 foot nurse shark on the move. After the boys were up I found a green moray eel finishing up a hunt and another turtle making a meal out of a sponge. It was an exciting day!
Tuesday, May 4th
I only took the certified divers on the first dive to Palancar Horseshoe. Tony snorkeled over us with Crystal, Courtney and Josh. We saw loads of turtles on that dive. Sometimes there was more than one within sight of each other. Dan encountered a big lobster out prancing around. It made Dan think of garlic butter as he rubbed his stomach.
Courtney and Josh joined us on the second dive at Paradise. We saw tons of fish and a big crab too. As we searched the algae for seahorses we found lots of little yellow stingrays all over the place. I wonder if they eat seahorses………..
Thursday, May 6th
After a nice day off I took Charman, Doug, Gary, Jorge, Roberto, Ken and Judy diving at Palancar Gardens. We stayed nice and shallow. Jorge found a big crab. I found a very cooperative turtle that let us take tons of pictures with it.
Then we went to Ken and Judy's favorite reef, Colombia Shallow. We swam through the usual schools of fish. I found a big magnifying glass on the bottom. That was interesting to play with. At the end of the dive I woke up a really big nurse shark that was snoozing under a coral head.
That night I took Jorge and Roberto to Paradise for a night dive. We had ideal conditions with no current and we saw the usual crabs and lobsters. I thought it strange that we didn't see any spotted morays out swimming around like we usually do. I found one big octopus that put on a nice show for us. It changed colors and bubbled up to make itself look bigger.
Friday, May 7th
I took George, Bob, Ken, Judy, Tom, Mike, Todd and Kristin to Palancar Caves. We saw tons of turtles. I found a tiny, baby lionfish in the first swim through. I went up to get the nets and caught it. It was the first time that I smashed one myself on the bottom. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
On Dalila I found another lionfish. This one was bigger but it was not full grown. It was big enough so that the divers could see what it was. I caught and killed that one too. I was missing Orlando because that has always been his job. We saw several more turtles and I found a splendid toadfish for George but it wouldn't come out of it's hole.
Saturday, May 8th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Ken, Judy, Tom, Mike, Eric and Jim. I had 6 really good divers and I hardly had to do a thing on that dive except sightsee. We saw a huge lobster out prancing about. It was Tom who pointed it out. Then I found a crab with immense claws just walking around on top of the reef.
Judy wanted to go to Paradise for the second dive. We spent the dive checking out flamingo tongues, Christmas tree worms and I found a juvenile spotted drum. It was very exciting when a grouper swam by with a blue tang in it's mouth.
Sunday, May 9th
Judy, Ken, Eric, Jim, Mike and Tom came with me to Palancar Caves again. I wanted to keep looking for that big lionfish that got away. I didn't find it. We had swimming pool like conditions and we saw plenty of turtles. No one seemed very interested in the swim throughs.
Mike's dad Tom joined us for the second dive on Colombia Shallow. It most definitely was turtle day. After the 5th turtle I just stopped counting. Judy loves the schools of yellow fish. I found a 5 foot nurse shark at the beginning of the dive and Mike got a couple of good shots of it.
Monday, May 10th
Dive one was on French Reef with Ken, Judy, Mike, Mike, Eric, Jim and Tom. We saw tons of fish and some turtles. There were a couple of big crabs and a lobster too. The highlight of the dive was a baby octopus that I found on the top of the reef.
Ken and Judy got off and we went to Chankanaab without them. We saw more crabs and lobsters. One looked like a dinosaur ? Another divemaster pointed out a tiny juvenile spotted drum. It seemed like there were barracudas everywhere.
Tuesday, May 11th
My divers were Judy, Todd, Kristin, Craig, Mike and Chris. Tony took family members snorkeling over us. We went to Palancar Gardens. We saw a little turtle and the snorkelers got to see it too. It was an interesting dive for Judy because she got a whole new perspective on the reef down at 60 feet. She normally hangs out up on top in 30 feet of water.
Thursday, May 13th
I had a nice day off and went back to work with Rick, Susan, Chris, Craig, Steve and Bruce. We did our first dive on Palancar Horseshoe. We had perfect diving conditions and we saw a few different turtles. The most interesting thing on that dive was the pair of huge crabs huddled together in a crevice eating something off of the reef. After everyone was up and we had finished Horseshoe, Steve and I continued on at Gardens where we swam through the cave with the sardines.
I took them to San Francisco Wall for our second tank. First we saw a solitary 5 foot nurse shark cruise by off in the sandy area. Then we stumbled on a pair of nurse sharks lounging in the sand. One was jumbo sized (at least 7 feet long and fat ) the other was smaller and petit. They took off as we approached. There were loads of big black groupers and at the end of the dive I found the green moray eel with the crooked mouth. The eel had a huge gash circling it's body under the head. It looked like it had been in a fight. It seemed to be healing well and it really was nothing in comparison to the condition it was in when it's lower jaw had been torn off. So I am not particularly worried about that eel. I am sure that the eel will be just fine and quickly.
Friday, May 14th
Dive one was on Palancar Caves with Rick, Susan, Chris, and Brian. We saw only one turtle. Rick and Susan practiced Peak Performance Buoyancy Control for their advanced certification. They did fin pivots, hovered and practiced swimming through the caves without touching anything and not stirring up the bottom.
We had a good current on Cedral Wall. It was like ¨turtle city¨ down there. We just drifted over turtle after turtle. The divers really loved all the angelfish that surrounded the turtles. The angels love to eat the soft insides of the leathery sponges. The angels can't bite through the outside of the leathery sponges but the turtle's sharp beak tears the sponges apart and the angels join in the feast.
Rick, Susan, Chris and I had an adventure on the night dive. When we first got in we had perfect conditions. For the first 30 minutes we saw loads of lobsters and crabs. The dive was going well. Then as we crossed from one section of reef to another I got sidetracked by first a spotted moray eel, then a hermit crab and lastly a lobster walking in the sand. I realized that I was lost! I got out Susan's compass, found north and then headed for the wall. We swam for a while but saw nothing but sand and algae. Then Rick's flashlight went dead. After switching to the backup I continued the search for the reef. Then Rick's backup went dead. I switched his flashlight to my light and took my back up. Then in frustration I decided to head to the shore. I wrote on my slate, ¨I'm lost!¨ and started heading for shore. Two more lights went dead and I started getting pissed. We stayed down and finished the dive. The barracuda was pretty interesting too. But it just seemed like everything was not going my way. Oh well. It can't always be perfect!
Saturday, May 15th
I dived French Reef with Rick, Susan, Chris, Kory, Teresa, Kristen and Robby. Before we got in someone had asked to see turtles and boy, did we ever! Kristen and Robby only saw the first three. There were several more after those too. Someone pointed out a big crab along the way and Rick was curious about a big sea cucumber.
I wanted something easy with no current so we went to Chankanaab. We dropped down a huge barracuda and I saw Robby back paddled to get away from it. It was very impressive. We saw several lobsters. One was gigantic and out strutting around on top of the reef. There were so many big crabs that I started to feel like the night dive was not necessary. Everyone loved the big midnight parrotfish. I think it was Teresa who showed us the spotted moray eel. We all had a lot of fun on that dive.
Sunday, May 16th
Rick, Susan, Chris, Teresa, Pam and Linda came diving with me at Palancar Gardens. We swam through a lot of the archways. Linda marveled at how beautiful and majestic the reef was while she floated around. At the very end of the dive Susan brought to my attention a big, slow moving turtle and she took lots of photos.
On Dalila the ladies got to experience their very first drift dive. As we were gliding along we saw 2 different good-sized nurse sharks go swimming by. We also saw a turtle go up for a breath of air at the very end of the dive.
Monday, May 17th
I had a nice dive on Colombia Deep. Rick, Susan, Jordan, Steve, Pam and Linda were all very impressed with the huge coral formations. Linda was even brave enough to go through the first 2 swim throughs. The third swim through was long and dark so I just told her to go over the top and meet me on the other side. Susan and I saw a turtle at the end of the dive.
Rick wanted to see a splendid toadfish so I took him to Paso del Cedral. I bombed out. I searched like crazy for the first 10 minutes of the dive and then I gave up. We did see a couple of lobsters and a turtle. Linda said that she felt like she was swimming around in an aquarium.
Tuesday, May 18th
My divers on Palancar Point (between Gardens and French Reef) were Rick, Susan, Paul, Laurie, Mike, Greg, Linda and Pam. All of the action was at the end of the dive when first we saw a big spotted eagle ray scooping up mouthfuls of sand in search of a meal. We followed the ray with our eyes as it disappeared off into the blue. Then an immense lobster crawled around in front of Susan's camera and let her take as many pictures as she wanted. It seemed like the lobster was just showing off.
I decided to make it easy on myself and I took them all over to Colombia Shallows. They had fun swimming through the schools of fish. Two turtles were seen on this dive. One was way off in the distance and the other was sleeping under a rock. As we drifted over the turtle it woke up and went to the surface for a much needed breath of air. We found a 6 foot nurse shark and mustered it up from it's nap too. The animals are sleeping peacefully on the bottom and our mere presence seems to disturb them.
Wednesday, May 19th
After much thought and discussion I asked Rick and Susan if they would mind going back to Palancar Gardens for Lindsay, Jason, Boots, Haley and Paul. Jason and Haley were doing their first open water dives after training and they had finished their training a year ago. It was Haley's first time in salt water. I wanted an intial 20 foot descent. Everything went smoothly and everyone enjoyed themselves. I sent Susan in the cave to get pictures of the sardines.
I did the second dive on Paradise where Paul tried out his full face mask. I found 3 different juvenile spotted drums. Susan found a gold spotted eel. I bet everyone thought that it was a snake. I showed Susan the big banded cleaner shrimp that live in the cement block. They make spectacular photo subjects when they are sitting on the bright red encrusting sponges.
Thursday, May 20th
I took Paul, Rick and Susan to Palancar Bricks to do their deep dive for the Advanced certification. We sat around at depth and did depth gauge comparisons and math problems. We saw a few turtles on the way up. When we were on the boat everyone was asking where the bricks were.
Rick had asked to see a splendid toadfish and I spent a lot of time everyday trying to find one. So I took them to Las Palmas. We found 3 toadfish. Both Susan and Rick got some good pictures. We also saw spotted morays and a golden tail eel. I was surprised that we didn't see many lobsters.
Friday, May 21st
Dive one was on Palancar Gardens with Valerie, Walter, Paul, Boots and Haley. Valerie found a huge lobster hiding in the coral. Walter pointed to some huge groupers that were hovering out on a corner in the current. Paul said that he just loved the swim throughs.
Dive two was on Dalila because Valerie had asked to see a shark. I got lucky and found her a big one. It was lying in the sand. When Walter got too close it got up and swam away. I think Valerie really enjoyed the big turtle sharing a sponge with a queen angel. Later we were visited by another smaller turtle.
Well, I am off for a week to visit my family in California. More later.
Friday, May 28th
We went back to work after a week off. Carlos had the bottom of the boat painted and the truck fixed while I ran off to California to visit my family. On our first day back to work we took Misty, Danny, Andrea, JW, Tim, Kim, Randy, Kourtney and Howard to Palancar Gardens. Boy, did we have a bunch of happy campers on the boat after that dive. We saw a big spotted eagle ray upon arrival at the bottom. Randy really, really liked the caves and asked to do more caves on the second dive.
There really aren't many caves at Dalila but we had a stellar dive! It started off with Tim pointing out a hawksbill turtle which is what Kourtney had requested to see. Then we promptly found another one. There were big groupers everywhere and a few large barracudas. One 80 pound black grouper was face to face with a 6 foot green moray eel in a tandem hunt. That was really exciting. Then we drifted over a 6 foot nurse shark which sat still for Randy4s new camera. While we were doing a safety stop we glided over a rather large loggerhead turtle. It was resting on the bottom. Misty asked me if it was dead. I told her no, (It4s just sleeping(. I have seen them do that before. It is strange the way that they just don't move at all. Then Misty pointed out a small hawksbill turtle on the bottom which made a total of 4 turtles on that dive. So we had a (Grand Slam Day( complete with one spotted eagle ray, one nurse shark, one green moray eel and a bunch of turtles. Those are our (big four( in Cozumel.
Saturday, May 29th
Per special request I took Misty, Danny, Andrea, JW, Tim, Matt, Max and Candice to Colombia Deep. The current was cooking and it kept pushing us out away from the reef. Everyone had to kick hard. I pretty much tried to stay off of the wall and I also avoided the swim throughs for the same reason. It was Misty who pointed out the first big hawksbill and Tim who showed us the second little hawksbill in a cave. The second one was feasting on a sponge and let Candice and I sit below it and watch for a while. We saw a southern stingray at the end of the dive.
It was only Matt, Max, Candice and I on the second dive at San Francisco Wall. We had less current and it was a relaxing drift dive. At the very end of the dive we observed a pair of turtles cavorting below us right before we had to go up.
Sunday, May 30th
Kim, Randy, Kourtney and Howard wanted to go through some caves so I took them to Palancar Caves. I didn't even bother asking Patsy and Bob where they wanted to go. I knew that they would be happy just getting in the water and seeing a fish or two ? The current was reversed and it was flowing from the north to the south so we just dived it backwards. That is kind of fun for me. I saw a few lobsters on that dive but I was surprised that we didn't see any turtles.
The ladies wanted to avoid current on the second dive so I took them to Chankanaab. Even at Chankanaab there was significant current so I got to wondering what the current would have been like in another spot. We saw loads of barracudas on that dive. One got right in Patsy4s face and she was totally unfazed. She just shot away and took loads of photos.
Monday, May 31st
The current was ripping on Cedral Wall. Patsy had asked for Santa Rosa Wall but the current was too strong there. The current seemed fast on Cedral Wall when I got in to check but it was diveable. Patsy had some problems at the surface. Bob, Matt and Max dropped straight to the bottom while Patsy floated on top. I stayed with Patsy until she had the problems straightened out. Then we dropped down and held on until the group caught up. After about 15 minutes I decided to cross us over to Paso Del Cedral where the current was a bit slower. We saw a swimming nurse shark and a yellow stingray.
Alex joined us at Paradise for the second dive. The current was going the opposite direction and we dived Paradise backwards. We saw lots of hermit crabs and a big spotted moray eel.
Tuesday, June 1st
Keith and Jackie asked for swim throughs. Jeff and Mary didn't comment but decided to go over the top and meet us on the other side. Patsy and Bob were happy to just get in the water. We had a beautiful dive with ideal conditions. We saw one lovely turtle surrounded by a harem of assorted angel fish dining on a sponge. We saw another hawksbill turtle go up to the surface for a gulp of air and then later dive back down again.
I was looking for big critters on Dalila. The only big guy I found was another turtle that sat still for the cameras. I found a small lionfish and tried to stab with my new spear. I missed it on the first go and it darted into a small hole. I poked around in the hole with my spear but I could get it to come back out. I wonder if I got it anyway I found a splendid toadfish for Patsy. Actually, I found 3 but the first 2 were very uncooperative. Thankfully the current was mild on Dalila and we had an easy day.
Wednesday, June 2nd
First I tried to take Peter, Denise, Patsy, Bob, Matt and Max to the Cathedral at Punta Sur. When we got there the current seemed to be changing and Carlos said that the visibility was poor. We opted to turn around and go to Colombia Deep instead. The current first took us southbound, then promptly changed direction and we drifted northbound until we arrived at the anchor. Then the current turned again and we finished our dive going southbound again. The current was slow and easy and made for a nice tour. Peter shot video of a turtle with its head buried in the reef after a meal. The dual strobes lit up the bright orange sponges and made the colors really vibrant. Patsy saw another turtle but I was too far ahead to see it.
Patsy wanted Bob to see San Francisco Wall so that is where we did our second dive. We had good conditions and a nice current. A six foot nurse shark swam by but Peter missed it. While I was bringing Patsy and Bob up I looked down and saw my favorite green moray eel swimming around below us. After ensuring that Carlos had come for Patsy and Bob I went back down for a good look at my crooked mouthed friend. The huge gash on her port side is healing nicely. It is no longer an open wound. It is now a deep white crease that is closed and almost healed.
Thursday, June 3rd
Keith, Jackie and Christian asked for swim throughs. Peter, Denise, Jeff and John seemed pleased with the idea. I took them to the end of Palancar Gardens. When we started off the current was very light. We had a nice time swimming through the caves. When John got low on air I brought the group up to the top of the reef and the current started picking up. We finished the dive at a good clip.
Since the current was moving right along I chose French Reef for the second tank since it has less current than other reefs. The current was a good 2 knots when we started the dive. Twice we drifted past pairs of turtles. It is obviously mating season. In all we saw a total of 6 turtles and some lobsters. By the time Denise and Jackie came up the current was 4 knots easily. Good thing they were all experienced divers and comfortable in that current.
Friday, June 4th
I asked Eduardo to come and help me with my dive this day. I had one diver that was not quite certified yet so Eduardo took charge of her. My divers were Paul, Sheree, Sean, Matt, Max, Ruth and Martin. We went to Palancar Gardens because Ruth wanted to see Palancar and it was the easiest one. We were blessed with almost no current to start off and when we did get a little current it was mild. Eduardo pointed out lots of good stuff including a lobster, a turtle and a pair of baby lionfish. I went to the surface, got the nets and came back down. I succeeded in catching and killing one. I caught the other one and while I was trying to kill it the little bugger slipped out from under my net and into a hole. It got away. Oh well.
Sticking with the (easy( plan I went to French Reef. We had a wonderful dive. The current was light and the first turtle we saw swam past us. Matt chased after it taking photos. Then I caught a glimpse of a small turtle heading up over the top of the reef. After I pointed out another lobster a rather large loggerhead turtle swam right at us. I think that it may not have very good vision because I saw it long before it saw us. When it got about 20 feet away from us it turned around and took off. The last turtle was a big hawksbill but nowhere near the size of the loggerhead. The turtle swam slowly into the current as we did our safety stop.
Saturday, June 5th
We had south wind and Patsy asked about Tormentos reef so that is exactly where I took Patsy, Bob, Peter, Denise, Alan, Kathy and Karen. We had almost no current at all. Karen showed us a baby hawksbill turtle paddling around on top of the reef. We hung out with her for a little while and later found an enormous lobster standing around under a big coral overhang. I found a tiny baby lionfish and caught it in the net. I think some of the divers were horrified when I killed it but some were clapping and others were just fascinated. It is hard to kill such a cute little animal.
Peter and Patsy wanted a photo of a splendid toadfish out of the hole so of course I took them to Las Palmas. As soon as we arrived at the first little coral head I found a medium sized lionfish. I caught it with my nets and then used my Hawaiian sling to kill it. It felt awful killing such a beautiful animal but I understand and know that the invasive predator will decimate the fish population if left to propagate. So kill it is what I did. Peter filmed the whole thing and watching him play it back was like watching a bad horror movie. There were tons of baby lobsters under the rocks. Some rocks had 10 or more underneath them. Denise found the splendid toadfish and I convinced it to come out and swim around for Peter4s video camera. I asked him to send me 1 to 2 minute clips of everything when he gets home. I want to post it on my website.
Sunday, June 6th
I asked Patsy, Bob, Sheree, Paul, Sean, Mike, Kathy and Alan where they wanted to go. Alan said, (Horseshoe!(and Patsy agreed. So off we went. There was south wind and the current was heading south but it was very gentle. We had a beautiful dive. I was very pleased to see that someone had cleaned up the junkyard from the cement block. I had been embarrassed to take divers by there before because of all the memorial markers and bobbles collecting algae making it look tacky. At the end of the dive the current changed direction and picked up speed.
The current at Horseshoe is what caused me to choose Colombia Shallows for the second tank. I knew that there would be big waves at Colombia Shallow but the other option was a 4 knot current at Cedral. No thank you! Despite the high waves we had a good time. I checked all my usual shark holes and found 2 small ones in different hiding places. Sheree pointed out a small turtle. My heart pounded a little when a rather large barracuda charged me and then swam through the group. We saw several barracudas.
Monday, June 7th
Finally the wind calmed down a little and I was able to take Kathy, Alan, Peter, Denise, Kathy, Stacey, Karen and Mike down south to Palancar Bricks. Upon reaching the bottom we were greeted by a rather large hawksbill turtle. Peter spent 10 minutes filming it because it didn't swim away from us. Another small hawksbill joined us for a minute or two. While we were hiding from the current in the valleys of coral we ran into 5 other groups of divers that were doing the same thing. A humungous lobster wiggled it4s antennas at us. One divemaster was carrying around 2 rather large lionfish on a spear. The divemaster had been stung and the divers later told me that he was screaming and rolling around in the sand on the bottom. OUCH! We also saw a big southern stingray and a pair of peacock flounders.
The current was strong on Dalila. The first shark swam right past us and I didn't even see it until it was heading away. The second shark was lying in the sand and we all got a good look at it. We saw several turtles. Denise found one and shared it with Kathy. It was big and it had wedged itself under a coral head. That dive was an adventure!
Tuesday, June 8th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Peter, Denise, Mike, Adam and Charlie. Layle and Andrea snorkeled over us. We had some current at first but it quickly died out and we had a nice, relaxing dive. We saw 4 different turtles. It must be mating season.
Layle and Andrea joined us for the second dive on Paradise. We saw lots of good stuff at the end of the dive. Peter found a splendid toadfish and I assisted him at getting footage of it out of the hole. Mike was amazed at how irritated the animal got.. Peter also shot video of a large grouper under a coral ledge and some footage of a queen trigger turning over an old conch shell to get at some crustacean in the sand underneath. There was a competition between the queen trigger and a couple of coneys to snatch up the morsel. Just as Peter signaled up I found a beautiful juvenile spotted drum flitting about so he got that on camera as well.
Wednesday, June 9th
I asked Peter where he wanted to go and he said that he wanted to go get some pictures of those silversides so we went to Palancar Gardens. Kathy, Alan, Denise, Denise, Mike and Layle didn't seem to mind where they went. We saw a huge loggerhead turtle swimming out in the blue water. For me it was quite impressive. The silversides had moved. I was shocked when I arrived at the cave and they were gone. I only had to swim about 200 feet to the south to find where they had relocated to. Peter got lots of good video footage of Denise swimming through them.
So as not to be repeating the same spots I took them to Paso Del Cedral. The current was a bit fast at first but after 10 minutes it slowed down to a comfortable speed. A lovely green turtle swam right up to Layle. Kathy found a small nurse shark for us. I used my new Hawaiian sling on a lionfish. I hit it but for some reason it got away. Everyone was low on air so I couldn't stay down and have another go at it. Oh well.
Thursday, June 10th
Kathy and Alan had been asking for Santa Rosa Wall and finally I only had 2 other divers, Layle and Adam so that is where I finally took them. When we first pulled up it looked like there was no current. As we suited up and positioned the boat it appeared to pick up. When I got in to check the current it was pretty fast but I decided that there was no point in going elsewhere because it would probably be strong where ever we go and then what? So there we dived. The current was so strong that I decided for safety4s sake to keep everyone on the inside of the reef away from the wall. I was worried about divers going WAY down the wall. We finished Santa Rosa Wall in 18 minutes. There were tornados of sand 3 feet high. It was like a Disneyland ride.
I decided that since Andrea was joining us on the second dive that we had to go to Colombia Shallow. That is the easiest dive on the island. Carlos called ahead to a friend there and checked to see if the current was strong. It was reported to be normal there. When we arrived and got in there was no current. Then the current started pushing us to shore but very gently. After 45 minutes the current picked up speed and we were clipping along but by then Andrea was super comfortable and it was not a problem. We saw tons of turtles on that dive. I did not even bother counting them. When I showed Andrea the nurse shark in the hole her eyes looked like 2 saucers. It was her first shark and it was very exciting!
Friday, June 11th
I took Kathy, Alan, Layle, Wendell, Jeff and Jena to the 3rd point on Palancar. I am not sure exactly what the name of that section is but it is a great spot. Layle said that it was the best dive yet. Carlos took the day off to watch the Soccer game and Titino dropped me in a spot that I never dive. It sure was beautiful ? Wendell got to see plenty of turtles and the coral there is spectacular. Better yet, we had very light current!
The second tank was on French Reef. We saw more turtles and Jeff found a goldentail moray which made him very happy. We saw a few lobsters and a couple of huge crabs too.
Sunday, June 13th
It was Peter, Amy, young Peter and Andrew4s first day of diving so I wanted to take them somewhere easy. Wendell, Jen and Alex had been diving the day before and said that the current had been very strong. Layle wanted to go to the wall and I told her that we would have to wait until the currents calm down. So I took them all to Palancar Gardens. We had very light current and we saw a couple of nice turtles. We also saw the huge cubera snapper that lives at the end of the Gardens. Andrew was very excited about every little thing because it was his first dive in the ocean.
I asked them if they were willing to put up with current to see more fish or if they preferred to stay out of the current and dive on a reef with big coral formations. They picked the fish. I took them over to Paso Del Cedral but when we arrived Carlos advised me to go back to Dalila because the current looked very strong at Cedral. So Dalila it was. The current was indeed strong ranging from 2 knots when we first got in to 4 knots by the time that we headed up as we approached Cedral. We saw a few more turtles and a swimming nurse shark on the safety stop.
Monday, June 14th
My divers on Palancar Caves were Layle, Paul, Alex, Jen, Peter, Amy, Peter and Andrew. We swam through tons of caves and saw a few turtles too. The current was not too strong and we had a beautiful dive. There were 2 spotted drums and I remember where they are for the next time. One is right out of the first cave. The other was at the inside of the third cave.
I played it safe for the second dive and had Carlos drop me off on the point at Palancar with the intention of finishing the dive on the southern end of French reef. We saw several turtles on that dive. Paul and Jen went a little deeper than planned trying to get a photo. The best turtle was the one that Peter found. It was just sitting on the bottom eating something and my photographers had a field day with it. Someone pointed out a big lobster too.
Tuesday, June 15th
Paul, Peter, Amy, Peter and Andrew followed Aresteo through all of the caves on Palancar Gardens while I stay shallow with Sherry for her very first open water dive. Sherry mastered all of her skills and then I took her over to show her the divers below. I pointed out a turtle but I don't think that she saw it. She enjoyed the beautiful fish everywhere. Aresteo found a big lionfish and took a shot at it but it got away. Paul captured the moment on video.
Nancy did the resort course and joined us for our second tank on Colombia Shallow. Aresteo did a wonderful job of finding tons of nurse sharks everywhere for our entertainment. I lost count of the turtles too. We did a lot of swimming after the nurse sharks and we wore poor Paul out ?
Wednesday, June 16th
The first tank was on Palancar Horseshoe. My divers were Peter, Amy, Peter, Andrew, Sherry and Mike. Amanda, Nancy and JT snorkeled above us while we dived. It was Sherry that pointed out the turtle up over our heads. She started after it but I brought her back down to join the group. She really liked that turtle! I could not have asked for nicer dive conditions. It was a nice, easy dive.
Everyone agreed that it would be OK to go back to Colombia Shallows so that the snorkelers could all see some good stuff too. We saw a big swimming nurse shark and a few turtles. Peter found a lionfish in a dark recess and I needed a flashlight to see it. I went and got the nets because it was not a big one and when I tried to get near it scooted into a crevice and got away. It has obviously been hunted before and is practiced at escape!
Thursday, June 17th
I dived Chankanaab with Peter, Amy, Peter, Andrew and Nancy. We had absolutely perfect dive conditions. We saw a dinosaur sized lobster just cruising the reef. An immense black grouper hovered at a cleaning station. Peter has really good eyes and he showed us a juvenile spotted drum. Darwin swam over from another group and showed me a tiny lionfish. I went to get the nets and I caught it.
Nancy had a little trouble with her ears so she stayed on the boat while we dived Yucab. Peter found a bunch of good stuff again. He showed us a crab with big claws in a hole. He found a baby lionfish and I caught that one too. Amy was pointing out a really big grouper when I recognized a large nurse shark4s head under the same coral formation. Amy took a closer look and discovered that there was actually a pair of nurse sharks together. The first one was at least 6 feet long. The second was smaller and maybe 5 feet long from the head to the tip of the tail. I really enjoyed watching them swim off together looking for another resting spot.
Friday, June 18th
Paul, Layle, Neil, Howard, Pete, Amy, Peter and Andrew were my divers on Santa Rosa Wall. Finally the conditions were good enough to take Layle there. Layle loved drifting out over the deep blue water. We saw lots of really big groupers and swam through lots of caves.
We took Layle to San Francisco Wall for the second dive for more blue water exploration. Amy found the first lionfish but after 4 people went for a look it darted into a protective hole. While I was taking Andrew, Amy and Neil up for a safety stop Peter found another lionfish but I couldn't go back for it. Oh well. I did get to show them a big splendid toadfish in a hole. I highlighted it with my flashlight so that they could get a good look.
Saturday, June 19th
Peter, Amy, Pete and Andrew wanted to go to the shipwreck. Paul is always game for the shipwreck. We had a bit of current at the beginning of the dive and getting to the bottom was a bit of a challenge but once we were down the current was mild. We were greeted at the bottom by a rather large spotted moray eel completely out in the open on the sand. We swam through clouds of silversides which were being preyed upon by huge 60 pound snappers with big pointy teeth. The snappers were quite impressive. By the time it was only Paul and I the current picked up and we had to swim hard to get back to the anchor line.
Tormentos had very light current and we had a very pleasant dive. Peter found another baby lionfish and I smashed it with my metal stick. Back on the boat Andrew asked me if he could smash the next one. I informed his father (since he just turned 13) that lionfish are venomous and if I have his father4s permission I would let him smash the next one. Dad said yes.
Sunday, June 20th
On our first dive at Chankanaab with Peter, Amy, Pete, Andrew, Nancy and Julie we saw an enormous black grouper and a bunch of lobsters. Peter found another baby lionfish and I let Peter smash it.
Tony, Judith and Valerie joined us for the second dive at Paradise. Tony came along to help me out. It was Tony that found the nudibranch and the 5 foot nurse shark. Peter found another baby lionfish and when I passed him the stick he gave it to his little brother so Andrew got to smash a lionfish too.
Monday, June 21st
My morning dives were on Palancar Gardens with Pete, Amy, Peter, Andrew, Kim, Kelly, Mike and Julie. Tony took the certified divers through the caves at 60 feet and I stayed up on top with Kelly and Kim. Kelly did some skills for her certification and Kim hung out with her for moral support. We saw a really big lobster out walking around. After Kelly got on the boat I showed Kim a turtle that had been taking a nap under the reef. The boys killed another baby lionfish.
Tony took us to San Clemente to show me the seahorses. OMG! It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! We saw 6 seahorses and half of them were pregnant! After the seahorses we saw a huge southern stingray, we had a close encounter with a rather large barracuda and Tony found another napping turtle. At the end of the dive I pointed out a swimming nurse shark. I will be back there again muy pronto!
In the afternoon Tony and I took Pam, Coty, Andrew, Kami, Nicole, Eleni, Drew, Julie and Pat to Paradise for a resort course. The current was tricky which made the dive a little difficult but everyone managed the swim all right. Sometimes we had to go against the current if we wanted to have something to look at. Sometimes we just ducked down into a protected area and hung out. Some of them said that it was the best thing that they had ever done in their life! Wow! Now that was exciting for them ?
Tuesday, June 22nd
Dive one was on Colombia with Kim, Kelly, Mike, Julie, Pete, Amy, Peter and Andrew. We had nice calm seas and light current. The current was just right and it made it easy to just hover and not kick much. There were big lobsters all over the place. I found a matched set of nurse sharks snoozing together under the reef. I took Julie4s camera and stuck it under the ledge to get pictures of the sharks. I also took pictures with Julie4s camera of she and Mike at the anchor.
The current was unusually light on Dalila. A hawksbill turtle swam right up in front of Mike and Julie4s cameras. Mike didn't take any pictures but Julie snapped away. Andrew found a juvenile lionfish. I didn't bother to get the nets so I tried out my new Hawaiian sling. I took a couple of shots and missed. One shot grazed the fish but then it darted into a hole. I think the spear tip was just too big for the little bugger. Oh well.
Pete, Amy, Peter, Andrew, Mike and Julie did a night dive with me on Colombia Shallow. Boy, what a great dive we had! We saw 3 nurse sharks. They were all just lying out in the open sleeping. We woke up and disoriented one poor hawksbill turtle and one poor green turtle. I had a go at one of the biggest lionfish that I have ever seen but it got away. A second big lionfish was found by Andrew and I stabbed it with my Hawaiian sling. I totally nailed it but it got off of the spear and swam off. Those fish are sooooo hard to kill. Wow. We also saw big lobsters and crabs. Andrew and Julie saw octopuses but I didn't see any.
Wednesday, June 23rd
We had a mixed group of snorkelers and divers so I took them all to Palancar Horseshoe where the reef comes within 15 feet of the surface while we dived the wall. (We(were Peter,Nancy, Pete, Andrew, Mike, Julie and John. We enjoyed the sun streaming through the holes in the reef above. Peter found another baby lionfish and I let Andrew smash it but I cautioned him to keep his fingers FAR away from the fish.
We saw a ton of turtles on French Reef. I stopped counting after four or so. As I was taking Pete and Andrew up, we saw a pair of turtles frolicking below on the bottom. Peter found a baby octopus too.
Thursday, June 24th
Pete, Amy, Peter, Andrew, Julie and Mike were my divers on Colombia Deep. We had ideal conditions for the dive. A rather large hawksbill turtle emerged from the depths and made a slow ascent to the surface for some fresh air. Peter found the first lionfish and I had a go at it with my new Hawaiian sling. I missed and it got away. Amy found the other one and I missed it too. I guess I will just have to keep trying until I can teach myself how to use the darned thing. I still feel like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Radar when I pull the sling off of my back and assemble my weapon. Even if I miss it still feels like the stuff that movies are made of.
I wanted to go to Cedral Wall for the second tank. We had a grand total of 3 splendid toadfish due to the overcast skies. Amy found 2 and I found 1. When I pulled Andrew over and stuck his head in the hole to see the big green moray eel I could hear him shout when he realized what was staring him in the face. He could hear me laughing too. Then I drug Julie over for a look and when she discovered that the eel was staring her in the face her whole body recoiled. It cracks me up because those eels look so intimidating but to me they are just soft little kittens. I couldn't keep my hands off of the second 6 foot green moray. She was soft as silk. I was bummed out when I had to stop petting her and take Andrew up. If they had let me I would have spent the rest of my tank caressing that soft eel.
Friday, June 25th
After we picked up Sue and Chris we were on our way to pick up Don, Laurel, Pete, Amy, Peter and Andrew we got caught in a deluge. The rain was coming down so hard that we were surrounded by curtains of water and could not see land. The only way that we could determine our direction of travel was knowing which direction the wind had been coming from and the little compass mounted on the dashboard of the boat. We had to slow the boat to almost a stop until we could make out which direction land was and familiar buildings appeared magically through the gray. By the time that we arrived at Palancar the rain had stopped and the sun wanted to peek out from behind the clouds. The surface of the water was calm and flat. There was almost no current at all and we had a nice dive. Andrew pointed out a huge lobster walking around on the bottom below us. Amy showed us a goldentail moray. I found a crab on top of the reef. There was less ambient daylight and the critters were acting as if it were dusk.
The second dive was on Paso del Cedral. I cleaned up Nick4s marker stone with a scrub brush. We saw a cluster of lobsters in a hole. They waved at us as we went by. We saw a swimming nurse shark being followed by a grouper. As I was pointing out a southern stingray feeding in the sand Andrew banged on his tank to show us a jumbo sized barracuda going by.
Saturday, June 26th
I dived Palancar Caves with Sue, Chris, Don, Laurel, Pete, Amy, Peter and Andrew. There were several problems on this dive. Chris4new mask was leaking constantly and his new dive computer didn't turn on. Laurel returned to the surface momentarily while my regulator started to free flow. My high pressure port in the first stage is worn out and needs to be changed. I tried an old trick that usually works, I took off my BCD and put it in front of me. I turned the air off, breathed all the pressure out of the hoses and turned the air back on. Sometimes that re-seats it and it starts working. No such luck. My regulator kept free flowing. How frustrating! Peter found all the good stuff. He found a juvenile spotted drum, 2 baby lionfish, a stone fish and a spotted moray eel. I had forgotten the nets so there was no lionfish smashing that dive.
The regulator seemed OK before we got in and it was not free flowing. As soon as I hit the water it started free flowing again but more than on the previous dive. After 3 minutes I had lost 200 psi and realized that I would have to cut everyone4s dive short if I continued on like that. So I went to the surface and had Carlos change my regulator out for the spare and went back down to dive. When I got there we saw a big, huge turtle cruising by. Peter found another lionfish. When I tried to block off it4s escape route with the end of the net it darted in a hole and I couldn't get at it. There were 3 lionfish that got away that morning.
Monday, June 28th
There was strong south wind and big waves on Palancar Gardens which is where I took Krystal, Brian, Gerald, Grant, Mike, Marissa, Sue and Chris. The reason I took them there is because Krystal had not been diving in 6 years and has ear trouble. I wanted a shallow descent. It took her 10 minutes to get down and once we were down there was little water movement. The waves which were left over from tropical storm Alex caused poor visibility but we all enjoyed the swim throughs. We had a very nice dive.
I took them back up north to Chankanaab for the second dive trying to get out of the waves but they picked up there too. We saw a barracuda big enough to frighten a couple of my divers while others took pictures of it. Gerald showed us a fantastic lobster. Marissa and I discovered the crab at the exact same time. Chris says that we had to come up because we ran out of reef but that was just because they were swimming the wrong way ?
Tuesday, June 29th
Mike, Marissa, Sue and Chris requested the C-53 wreck. JF and Chace had already been there before but said that it would be fine to dive there that morning. We had ideal conditions. There was no current at all. While we were all checking out the propellers and taking pictures Chace found a big old lionfish under the hull. The fish had no hole to hide in. It could only squash down into the crack between the sand and the hull but could not get behind anything to get away. I got out my Hawaiian sling and took my first shot. I know that I hit it on the first shot but it swam away. It didn't get far, just wedged back a bit against the hull. I took another shot and hit it again. It still swam away. I guess what I need is something with barbs on it. Well after the 2nd and 3rd shots the fish started to swim slowly and then upside down so I just used the sling as a spear and stabbed at the fish until I could get it against the sand and push it far enough down onto the pointy ends that it could not get away. I carried it around the whole rest of the dive on the end of my spear. Yuck.
I took them to Las Palmas for the second dive. Marissa said that it was her very favorite dive ever. She liked it because it was like a treasure hunt. We found 30 little lobsters under a rock. Marissa found a goldentail eel. I found a spotted moray. I also killed another baby lionfish. Two big southern stingrays swam by us. At the end of the dive JF found a splendid toadfish. He and Chace took turns taking pictures of it.
Wednesday, June 30th
I had the same group of divers again. Marissa asked about Palancar Bricks. I knew that it would be really choppy down there but I took them anyway because JF and Stephanie had 3 more days of diving to go and getting down south was going to be difficult in a smaller boat. We did battle with the waves and saw more turtles than I could count. Also, as we hit the bottom Marissa showed me a 5 foot nurse shark just lying about. It was a gorgeous dive once we got down and out of the waves.
Our second dive was on San Francisco Wall. We saw a moray eel and a splendid toadfish. Twice a good sized nurse shark swam by. One shark was at the beginning of the dive and one at the end. We had a good current and I didn't have to kick at all. I just got neutrally buoyant and floated around. It was an easy dive.
Sunday, July 4th
I dived Colombia Deep with Linda, Peter and Karyn. We had a lovely dive. I took them through my favorite swim throughs. We saw a couple of turtles and one big green moray eel. The green moray was swimming around way below us at around 110 feet so we observed from above. It was very graceful to watch.
Since conditions were good we went to Cedral Wall. We saw tons of turtles. One of which was the less common green turtle. We also saw a 5 foot nurse shark lounging about out in the open next to a big leathery sponge.
Monday, July 5th
We got a late start that morning due to a fuel line problem. My divers were Chace, Mike, Jim, Marie, Karyn, Peter and Linda. I took them to Palancar Gardens where we swam through some more arch ways and tunnels. Chace found a lionfish on top of the reef and I went to get the nets. I thought that I had caught and killed the little bugger but when I went back it was in a hole. I am sure that if it was not dead then it would be soon but it is amazing just how hard it is to kill those little guys. I also pointed out a lobster in a hole. Marie and Jim followed a hawksbill turtle for about 10 minutes up on top of the reef.
We tried to go to Dalila but the current was going south so we ended up diving the area between Dalila and French reef. Marie found a big green moray but when she got my attention and brought me back to see it the moray was gone. Chace found 2 more lionfish and Linda found 1. I succeeded in netting 2 of them but the one that was in the small recess had to be harpooned and I missed. That one got away. Oh well. Three out of 4 in 1 day is fine.
Wednesday, July 7th
The port was closed on the 6th due to bad weather and it was wavy when I took Chace, Tim, James, Greg, Linda, Peter, Charlie and Suzy to Palancar Horseshoe. Everyone was a good diver and we had a nice, relaxing dive. We enjoyed the towering reef formations and the scenery but we didn't see any big critters, just a crab.
On Dalila we did get to see the critters. A big hawksbill turtle swam right up to me. Peter found a rather large nurse shark that swam away when we gathered around for a look. Later we saw another nurse shark but another group of divers had arrived first so we didn't stop and check it out. As I was about to bring Linda, Peter and Chace up, I found a big green moray eel hanging out with a black grouper. I couldn't even tear Chace away when a small turtle swam by. She took a video of the green eel. It was a really cool dive.
Thursday, July 8th
I dived Palancar Gardens with Esther, Kevin, Tim, James, Linda and Peter. Julie, Ryan and Caleb snorkeled over us while we dived. Linda found a stonefish and a lionfish which are closely related by the way. I was busy taking someone up to the boat when Linda found the lionfish so I didn't have a chance to get it. We went really slowly and check out the yellowheaded jawfish and I found a tiny little pipehorse hanging on a bit of algae.
Our second dive was on Paso Del Cedral. The current was light and we had an easy dive. Right after we arrived on the bottom I spotted a 5 foot nurse shark swimming off in the distance. I think that Linda is the only other diver that saw it. Esther found the other nurse shark swimming around in an agitated manner. At the same time that Esther was pointing out the shark I was pointing out a turtle so we didn't know which critter to watch. Later we found another small turtle that went up to the surface, breathed and came back down to join us again. We saw 4 immense barracudas swimming in formation together and several lobsters and crabs. It was a really good dive.
Friday, July 9th
Linda, Peter, Julie, Brandon, John, Brooke, Esther and Kevin came with me to Palancar Caves. We had beautiful, ideal conditions for diving. We only saw one turtle which was off in the distance. I swam right past a crab with huge claws and Linda called me back for a look. I found a really big lionfish and used my Hawaiian sling to catch it. I got it on the first shot. Kevin looked impressed. It is hard for me to kill such beautiful creatures but I know that if I dont the fish population on my beautiful reef could be decimated in a few years.
We did our second dive on French Reef. We drifted along in the slow current and enjoyed the fish all around us. One turtle parked on the bottom to eat a sponge and John went down to take photos. Linda found a small lionfish and I used my nets to catch it. We saw several big groupers. There was a squadron of big barracudas and they looked a little agitated. I decided that I didn't want to be in the middle of that and I swam around them. It was a really cool dive.
Saturday, July 10th
I only had 3 divers on Palancar Gardens (James, James and Debbie). We had a great dive. We saw a dinner sized lobster just walking around on top of the reef. James and Debbie got to see a small hawksbill turtle cruise by in 20 feet of water. We saw a 200 pound loggerhead turtle swim over to the shallow area. At the end of the dive we watched a midnight parrotfish chomp on a brown encrusting sponge. The colors on the midnight parrotfish graduated from turquoise blue to navy. It was at least 3 feet long.
James requested Colombia Shallows for the next stop where we saw a few turtles and a couple of swimming nurse sharks. One was about 6 feet long and the other was 5 feet long. We swam through schools of yellow and blue striped grunts.
Sunday, July 11th
Danette and Steve dived Palancar Gardens with me while Aden and Darlene snorkeled over us. It was fun to be able to look up and wave at them. Danette pointed out a huge school of creole wrasse with a big black grouper floating around in the middle of it. The grouper had it4s very own school of juvenile bar jacks. The little silver fish shimmered all around the big grouper. Then the grouper joined another black grouper and the schools sort of intermingled. It was fascinating.
On Colombia Shallow we found a swimming 6 foot nurse shark. It was wonderful for Aden to see that shark because it was so much bigger than Aden. I think Aden weighs 70 pounds soaking wet so the shark was much bigger than him. We chased a green turtle and found a second swimming shark. Then I checked in Toro4s shark hole and found a big green moray eel. That was really cool. There seemed to be lobsters everywhere and they pointed out a lobster shell from a lobster that out grew it and molted.
Monday, July 12th
I asked Craig, Lisa and Don Ricardo where they wanted to go and Craig picked Cedral Wall. Farish, Danette and Steve were very pleased with Craig4s suggestion. He picked a winner. We drifted slowly over a humungous boy turtle just sitting on the bottom having something to eat. We saw a docile nurse shark sleeping behind a coral head out of the current. There seemed to be lobsters everywhere. It was a beautiful dive.
Craig picked Dalila for the second one. I turned my head and saw Lisa taking a picture of something. Then I realized what it was. It was a spotted eagle ray that had been swimming right up to us but decided to veer off when it got close. A five foot barracuda patrolled the reef and came eerily close to Ricardo. I found another nurse shark lying around and at the end of the dive 2 turtles cavorted and then surfaced together to breathe. Craig sure knows how to pick them!
That night I took Farish, Danette, Steve, Tim, Kathleen, Ed and Maura to Dalila for a night dive. Farish was really lucky that she got to see so many big octopi on her very first night dive. We saw 3 full grown octopi. The first of which grabbed something to eat and crept off with it4s meal. There was fourth small octopus but not everyone got to see it. We saw loads of lobsters and crabs. Some of those lobsters looked big enough to feed an entire family. The little wormy things that surround the dive lights were bothering Maura a lot.
Wednesday, July 14th
I took Danette, Steve and Farish down on Palancar Caves while Sharon, Andrea, Laura, Aden and Darene snorkeled over us. We saw one lone turtle and a handful of lobsters. It was a good dive.
On Colombia Shallow Sharon, Andrea and Laura joined us for the second dive. A turtle sat still on the bottom having a meal. Steve found a small nurse shark hiding in a cubby hole. On the shore side of the reef we found tons of sand dollars and heart urchins scattered around on the bottom. It was very interesting.
Thursday, July 15th
It was a rainy day with thunder and lightning. Sharon, Andrea and Farish were unsure about going diving with the lightning. By the time that we picked up Steve and Danette the thunder and lightning had ended and it was just a little rainy. We got wet anyway on Palancar Horseshoe. We saw a turtle right off the bat and because it was cloudy and gray out the lobsters were abundant.
The next one was on French Reef where we saw more lobsters and a big shell from a crab that had molted. The action started after everyone else had gone up and it was only Steve and I down there. First we saw a turtle and then a 6 foot nurse shark swam below us while we made our safety stop. After my 3 minutes were up I didn't want to ascend. Steve and I followed the shark for a few more minutes before we drifted over a second shark lounging under the reef. The first shark swam right past it for about 100 yards, it turned around and went back to where the sleeping shark was and parked right next to it under the reef. That was really fun to watch.
Sunday, July 18th
After a couple of days off we got a fresh start on Palancar Horseshoe with Bethany, Robin, James, Corbin, Rick, Brenda and Michael. Michael was doing his very first open water dive after certification at the ripe old age of 11. He got to see his first turtle on Palancar. He absolutely LOVED the turtle. He reached down and gently touched the turtle4s shell. I told him at the surface that it was nice to pet the turtle but it is not allowed and that we weren't going to do any more turtle petting this day. He was OK with that. He was thrilled just to have seen a turtle at all J
We found another turtle for Michael on French Reef but he didn't pet it. The ladies saw a huge crab with big claws and said that they were going to go back to the condo and cook one up for dinner. Tony was along with us to help me out and he killed a small lionfish.
Monday, July 19th
My divers were Bethany, Robin, James, Corbin, Jon and Nathalie. We went to Palancar Gardens first because Jon and Nathalie4s daughters snorkeled over us while we dived. We saw 3 turtles. I was checking out one small turtle as it ducked under the reef and out popped a HUGE turtle with the little guy. I screamed with delight through my regulator. What a surprise! I was fascinated by the clouds of tiny baby fish everywhere.
Logically we took everyone to Colombia Shallow for the second stop so that the girls could see good stuff too. We saw another really big turtle and the clouds of baby fish got me to thinking about the lionfish and wondering how many of those tiny little fry were going to survive the lionfish invasion?
Tuesday, July 20th
On Palancar Caves with Bethany, Robin, James, Corbin, Sean and Robin I saw more clouds of those tiny baby fish. It really is intriguing. It is like a massive spawning has just occurred and the reef is alive with babies everywhere. We saw a bunch of turtles again and we swam through plenty of tunnels.
Bethany wanted to see a seahorse so we went to San Clemente. I spent 45 minutes in the algae patch searching and never found a one. I was crazy with frustration. I felt totally blind and stupid. We did see a huge grouper, a gorgeous coronet fish and Robin found a lionfish. I went up and got the nets and killed the poor thing.
Wednesday, July 21st
Steve, Dianna, Elise and Morgan were completing their first dives for Open Water Certification with me on Palancar Gardens while Tony took Sean and Robin down through the caves on their own. I stayed up top with the family in 20 to 40 feet of water. Our first find was a small lobster and then we saw a big, gray southern stingray in the sand. A hawksbill turtle swam below us for a while and Elise pointed out a smaller turtle just napping on top of the reef. What great check out dives for them!
The second stop was at Paradise where I completed lots of skills with the family. Tony toured Sean and Robin around the reef while we did the skills. Tony pointed out a couple of moray eels and we saw a barracuda.
Thursday, July 22nd
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Sean, Robin, Steve, Dianna, Elise and Morgan. We had a very relaxing, lovely dive. We saw a big crab sitting on the bottom. I think his claws could have fed the whole Hart family! We swam with a small turtle on our safety stop.
I took them to French Reef for the second dive where we had excellent conditions. We saw a big lobster and there were so many fish it was like swimming around in an aquarium.
Friday, July 23rd
Steve, Dianna, Elise and Morgan, Frank, Joseph, Sally and Bob came with me to Palancar Caves. It took a little while to get everyone settled in and ready for the swim throughs. At the end of the dive we were joined by a friendly turtle. I think that Morgan might have been tempted to reach out and pet it because it was so friendly but he didn't.
They wanted to go to the wall so I took them to San Francisco. There was a bit of current. We bumped into another group of divers. The divemaster had just killed a small lionfish. Then he let it out of the bag and it floated around in mid water. I was really worried that one of my divers would bump into it or would touch it. That would mean a trip to the hospital! Aack! I cautioned them all not to touch it and then I made a big deal of swimming away from it. We saw lots of big black groupers and I was very pleased to be able to show Sally a couple of really large barracudas. I found a big lionfish under a ledge. By the time that I got my Hawaiian sling out and all set up the lionfish had dodged for cover. Oh well.
Saturday, July 24th
I took Sally, Bob, Gordon, Chris, Ashley and Loree to Palancar Gardens. We had kind of green water which looked like run off from the rain. Upon reaching the bottom I saw a huge lobster out prancing around but I think that I am the only one that saw it before it ducked under the reef. After everyone but Gordon was up I took him in my favorite cave. I asked him to loan me his flashlight and after he handed it to me he just whipped out another one. It was fantastic so I explored the cave deeper than I ever have before since I had a light. I went way in the back to check out the school of glassy sweepers and we found a medium sized lionfish splaying out its fins, fluttering about the roof of the cave. I got out my Hawaiian sling and shot it in the head on the first shot. We got out of the cave and I found a large rock to use a tool to get the lionfish off of my spear. When we got back on the boat Gordon told me that I was a good shot! Wow, in just ?_jio month I have gone from shooting myself in the leg to shooting a bunch and missing and then finally getting them in the head on the first shot! Guess I am a fast learner.
Our second tank was on Colombia Shallow. I can not believe that we did not see one single turtle or nurse shark. Oh well. There were plenty of schools of fish to entertain everyone.
Tuesday, July 27th
My divers were Rikke, Dave, Allyson and Jeff on Palancar Caves. It had rained very, very hard the day before and the water was pretty green and murky. I am guessing that the visibility was around 60 to 70 feet. I think it was Jeff who pointed out the big lobster at the beginning of the dive and we saw a small turtle at the end of the dive after Ally was already on the boat.
Ally was disappointed that she didn't get to see the turtle so I took her to Cedral Wall in search of a turtle. I was surprised at how fast the current was. I was not expecting a fast current but everyone seemed to just kick back and enjoy the ride. I did get to find a turtle for Ally but it was very hard for Dave to take photos in that current.
Wednesday, July 28th
The first dive of the day was on Palancar Gardens with Fred, Flor, Scott, Allyson, James and Dave. I took Dave down to 100 feet for his Advanced certification and Orlando came along with us and led the tour at 60 feet for everyone else. Dave experienced no effects of nitrogen narcosis at 100 feet, in fact he seemed a whole lot quicker and smarter down there. Maybe that was due to the elevated partial pressures of oxygen at that depth. Orlando found a lionfish. I got out my new Hawaiian sling to show off for Orlando. He hadn't seen it yet. He moved aside and gestured that this one was all mine. I put together the spear, took aim and fired. I missed. The fish scooted into a hole. When we came to the surface Orlando gave me a hard time and said that I wasn't even close! Ha! Let the war begin J
We went to French Reef for the second dive. Orlando pointed out a turtle and an enormous lobster that was out walking around. I worked on navigation with Dave. Orlando couldn't resist taking everyone through that long cave. We had a very nice dive.
Thursday, July 29th
Jeff, Ally and Flor wanted to go to Santa Rosa Wall. Fred didn't care just as long as it wasn't the shipwreck he was happy. I guess Dave might have been a little disappointed because I know that he wanted to go to the wreck. Scott and Vladimiro didn't even try to get in on the discussion. So off to the wall we went. We had a bit of current but we saw some cool big stuff. Arriving on the bottom a southern stingray (about 5 feet wide) was feeding on something in the sand. We dodged several big schools of humans along the way before the 70 pound grouper drew my attention to the 6 foot nurse shark lounging on the bottom. As we did our safety stop we observed another big southern stingray below us.
We declared it (wall day( and did the second dive on San Francisco Wall. I looked up and saw a big spotted eagle ray gliding past us overhead. Jeff saw a small turtle but I missed it completely. A dinner sized lobster crawled around and hid under the reef and then Ally spied a good sized hawksbill swimming right up the wall at us.
Friday, July 30th
I dived Palancar Horseshoe with Fred, Flor, Scott, Vladimiro, Dave, Colleen and Kevin. The visibility was starting to return and clear up. We saw a lobster and a crab with huge claws. Flor was really impressed with the coral formations there.
Our second dive was on Tormentos. I showed everyone a splendid toadfish in a hole but no one was impressed. No one knew what it was. There was just a bit too much current to stop and get it out of the hole. We saw another lobster and a baby turtle at the end of the dive.
Saturday, July 31st
The first tank was on Palancar Caves with Vladimiro, Fred, Jen, Alex, Brad, Neil and Dwayne. I followed a small turtle around to the drop off and found one more just hanging out having breakfast on a sponge. Then a second turtle came up from below and I didn't know which one to look at. When we were doing our safety stop first we drifted over a big turtle also having something to eat. Jen spent a good 5 minutes with that turtle taking pictures. Later Jen, Fred and I found a baby turtle and she got some good shots of that one too.
Once the boat I announced that we were going to Dalila and Jen piped up, (Oh good! We are going to see a nurse shark!( I put my finger to my lips and made a shhhhhhh sound. I didn't want to jinx the dive. It worked J Jen was too far back to see the first nurse shark. As we approached the shark swam off. A small barracuda started coming at me and I stuck my fin out at it and it took off. Then I found another shark (it may have been the same one in a new spot) and called Jen over so that she could be the first one there and get a picture. At the end of the dive a six footer was swimming just in front of Fred and Neil while the rest of us watched from above doing a safety stop. Then I turned my head and saw another one swimming the opposite direction. Now that is my idea of a good time! (Swimming in shark infested waters) After all, they are just nurse sharks.
Sunday, August 1st
It was a sunny day with flat seas. After a bit of debate I ended up on Palancar Gardens with Jen, Alex, Dave and Mark. Elena and Theresa snorkeled over us. We saw several turtles and Jen of course got loads of pictures. Mark rubbed his stomach when he saw the big lobster crawling around on the coral. He was having delusions of melted garlic butter. They thought that the formations were awesome.
I promised Jen to take her to Colombia Shallows. Elena and Theresa joined us on that dive so most of my focus was on them. I didn't have a chance to hunt for turtles or sharks until they were both back on the boat. So I settled for pointing out sand dollars and heart urchins to Jen and Alex. When only Jen and I were down there I found a turtle. She spent the rest of her air swimming around taking pictures of the turtle. She probably got more turtle pictures in 2 days then in all the other previous dives combined!
Monday, August 2nd
We split the group between Eduardo and I. I took Jeff, Deb, Dave and Lindsey and Eduardo hung out with Fred, Monte and Sharon. We all stayed shallow on Palancar Gardens. I did a bunch of skills in the 20 foot area on the sandy bottom with Dave and Lindsay. Eduardo, Fred, Monte and Sharon went over the drop off for a tour. Later I took my group down there too. They commented on all the pretty parrotfish that they saw.
We did our second dive on Colombia Shallows. Eduardo pointed out a turtle way off in the distance but I think that I was the only one that saw it besides Eduardo. Fred showed us a big crab in a hole but mostly all that we could see was it4s big pinchers.
Tuesday, August 3rd
Dive one was on Horseshoe with Dave, Mark, Neil, Dwayne, Jeff, Deb, Dave and Lindsey. We had perfect conditions. At about 60 feet I heard Mark shouting for Dave through his regulator. I came back to discover a very large lionfish. I got it in the head on the second shot. I didn't want to drag it around with me for the rest of the dive so I found a big rock and smashed it on the head. I took it off of my spear and the darned thing started to swim away. So I shot it again. This time I really smashed it with the rock and then I left the rock on top of it so that it could not swim away, if for some incredible way it was still alive. I really hate killing those beautiful fish but I just keep reminding myself that if I dont they are going to eat all of our beautiful angels, triggers, tangs, damsels, snappers, groupers, grunts and every other fish that I love down there. So I kill them. I hate it but I do it. After I did the dirty deed we saw a turtle which made Lindsey very happy.
Our second dive was on French Reef where we swam through the caves and Lindsey got to see another turtle. This time the turtle swam right up to her and she got a good look. Dave got up close and personal with it too.
Wednesday, August 4th
Judy, Rich, Chris, Lee, Suzy, Jane and Dy wanted to see turtles so I took them to Palancar Caves. We didn't go through any of the caves. As soon as we hit the bottom the group scattered and everyone went in a different direction. Jane laid down in the sand and checked out a little fish. Suzy and Dy took off into deep blue chasing one of the many turtles that we saw and Rich paddled on ahead in search of good wide angle photo subjects. So I just did my best to figure out where everyone was and try and point out turtles.
The group kind of stayed together on Tormentos. We had 2 divers taking photos and the red, orange and yellow sponges growing on the underside of the reef there makes for very colorful shots.
Thursday, August 5th
The visibility at Palancar Gardens was about 80 feet due to all the rain water that ran off from previous days. My divers were Judy, Rich, Chris, Lee, Suzy, Jane, Steve and Nick. We swam through a few caves. I found a white nosed pipefish in the sand and used my magnifying glass to show everyone. Lee picked up a pair of huge claws that were left over from a crab that had been eaten. Later we saw a live crab in a dark recess. We saw a couple of black grouper with a school of baby bar jacks.
The girls wanted to see a seahorse so I took them to San Clemente. I bombed out again. I couldn't find even one seahorse. It was very frustrating. Suzy almost put her hand down on a spotted scorpionfish. Jane got a video of a helmut conch devouring a heart urchin. It was really cool.
Saturday, August 7th
After a quiet day off I took Rich, Judy, Suzy, Jane, Lee and Chris to Colombia Deep. We all stayed together in about 70 feet of water near the top of the reef. A very large turtle ducked down into a big hole in the coral. Jane and I were the only ones who saw it. We went through the 2 best caves and had a good dive.
Rich asked to see lots of fish and turtles so I took them to French Reef. I found a small turtle and Rich had to swim back against the current to photograph it. There were several black groupers and a few big crabs. I found 2 medium sized lionfish in a hole. I took a shot at one and missed. They went deeper into the hole and I couldn't get at them. Chris found a 3rd small lionfish on the other side of that same coral head. It was too small for my spear tip.
Sunday, August 8th
It was Rich4s birthday but I didn't know it until Suzy, Judy, Lee and Chris started singing (Happy Birthday( to him. Rich had asked for turtles, nurse sharks and lots of fish. That is exactly what he got on Dalila. We saw several nurse sharks, a couple of big turtles and an amazing green moray eel down there.
Dive number 2 was on Cedral Wall. It was a drift dive and we saw another nice nurse shark.
The sea was flat and calm when I took Katrina, Jon, Tricia, Mauna, Marla, Tommy and Lee to Palancar Horseshoe. On that dive we saw 5 turtles!!!!!! They were everywhere.
We did dive number four at Dalila again. We saw a nurse shark, a couple of turtles and that huge green moray eel.
I asked Katrina, Jon, Tricia, Steve and Nick where they wanted to go. Jon asked for Cedral Wall. We had a bit more current than I was prepared for but it was worth it because we saw 2 of the biggest turtles ever in Cozumel. Jon got a picture of one of them. Jon, Katrina and Tricia saw a 5 foot nurse shark but it was out in the blue and I was over the reef so I didn't get to see it.
I picked the second dive on San Francisco Wall. We were greeted by a gorgeous green turtle with a pristine shell. I found a lionfish and shot at it but missed. Then John found a lionfish and I shot at it and hit it. The fish got off of my spear and swam away. At the end of the dive Katrina and I saw the big green moray with the crooked mouth that I love so much.
That afternoon dived Paradise with Midge, Lee, Bunker, Ross, Nellsyn, Roxanne and Maddie. We saw a tiny little goldentail eel and I showed them some Christmas tree worms. We saw a couple of big lobsters and a ton of fish.
Then I took them to San Clemente. I didn't bother looking for the seahorses. I just kept them in 20 feet of water. When Roxanne and Maddy were back up on the boat I went down deeper and found another lionfish. By the time that I got my Hawaiian Sling out and set up the fish had gone deep into a hole. That was frustrating.
Tuesday, August 10th
The first tank was at Palancar Gardens. I stayed shallow with Carlos doing skills and Alex took Valerie, Brandon, Lee, Tommy, Katrina, Jon and Tricia on a normal dive through the caves at 60 feet. We saw a big gray southern stingray.
The second tank was on Colombia Shallow where we had an AMAZING dive. Alex pointed out a big nurse shark swimming around and a then a couple of turtles. Things were going great and then we saw another nurse shark which was cool. Then after another turtle I noticed a school of cotton wicks obviously disturbed and fleeing something so I start searching. I discovered 3 medium sized nurse sharks and one really big nurse shark all racing around together with a few huge jacks accompanying them. It was really exciting to say the least. We were all mesmerized. I don't know if it was Alex or Jon who found the little lionfish. I went up to get the nets and came back down. I caught it easily. Alex carried it around until he found an anemone and fed it to the anemone. I don't know if the anemone can deal with the venom or not. I don't think that I would do that unless a marine biologist told me that it was fine. I know that Julio cuts the spines off first before feeding them to the anemones. After everyone was up Jon, Tricia and I saw one more small nurse shark. It was a great day. I think we saw all that stuff because everyone had a dead battery on their camera.
The third tank was on Palancar Caves with Midge, Lee, Bunker, Ross and Nellsyn. We saw 7 turtles. They seemed to be everywhere. Once when I was pointing out one small turtle to Nellsyn, Ross pointed to another one right below it.
The fourth tank of the day was on the C53 shipwreck. They had all begged me to take them there J Every one just loved that dive. Ross said that it was his favorite dive ever.
Wednesday, August 11th
Carlos, Mauna, Marla, Lee, Katrina, Jon and Tricia were my divers on Palancar Caves. At the very first cave we merged with another group of divers and no matter how many times I zigged and the other divemaster zagged we still seemed to wind up almost intermingling. That is when my divers learned to appreciate my lovely fashion sense with mismatched fins and a screaming yellow and orange beanie. We saw a few turtles and we had a fun dive.
I didn't want a lot of current so I took them to French Reef. Mauna found a lionfish and was pointing it out to Lee when I went over there and snatched it up in my nets and killed it. I was wondering if she was sorry for having pointed it out. We saw a few lobsters on that dive.
My first afternoon dive was with Midge, Lee, Bunker, Ross, Nellsyn and Roxann. We went to Colombia Shallow. We saw more southern stingrays than we could count. One was buried in the sand and Midge was fascinated with that behavior. That last small nurse shark from the day before swam right by us. I can tell it was the same one by the little notch in the dorsal fin. It got me wondering what ever happened to (Notchka(. I haven't seen her in a while.
Roxann decided to sit out the last dive so I took them to Punta Tunich. The first turle was huddled under a ledge resting. The second turtle was huge and it was feasting on a leathery sponge with 2 gray angels joining in on the buffet. It was really exciting when a six foot green moray eel swam right underneath Bunker. I thought that he would follow it right down the wall into the abyss! I was really impressed with how many midnight parrotfish there were on that dive. Midge was impressed with how much they pooped!
Thursday, August 12th
We had perfect weather to take Carlos, Katrina, Jon and Tricia to Colombia Deep. We didn't see any big critters which I thought was very strange but the dive conditions were fantastic. It was enough to just see those majestic coral formations towering up from the deep.
I had to figure out where they hadn't been yet so I took them over to Paso Del Cedral. After scrubbing Nick4s marker stone we glided over to the little cave where the green eel used to be. There we found a cluster of lobsters instead. Carlos had a very surprised look on his face when a six foot nurse shark swam right beneath him. We saw a bunch of big barracudas on that dive too.
My afternoon divers were Midge, Lee, Bunker, Nellsyn and Ross. I took them to San Francisco Wall for their first dive of the day. We saw a nice big nurse shark swimming around. We also saw an 80 pound black grouper and schools of barracudas. Nellsyn showed me a small lionfish. They asked me when we came up what that green stuff was that came out of the fish when I killed it. I explained that blood looks green at depth and they were very surprised.
Carlos joined us for the last dive on Chankanaab. There were tons of barracudas on that reef. Some barracudas were huge individuals at cleaning stations and a lot of barracudas were small and in schools. We saw a spotted moray and also a golden tail eel. I pointed out a beautiful spotted drum. We checked out the polyps on the giant gorgonians with my magnifying glass. I showed Nellsyn a bouquet of feather duster worms.
Friday the 13th
I took Carlos, Jon, Katrina and Tricia to the Cathedral at Punta Sur per Jon4s request. We were swimming through a beautiful cave when I discovered a small lionfish with my flashlight. I didn't think that I could catch it with my Hawaiian sling because it was kind of small. I looked around for it4s escape route and discovered another lionfish but the second one was really big. I called Jon over to help me out by holding the flashlight while I shot at the fish. When he came over I started sweeping the flashlight around looking for them and discovered another one! While I was assembling my Hawaiian sling Jon saw at least 5 lionfish in that one little spot. It was a friggin4 school of lionfish! Well, I got the big one in the head on my first shot. I swam around looking for a rock to kill it with but all I could find was a big conch shell with a hermit crab in it. After I killed it and took it off of the spear I looked over to see Carlos swimming out of the cave. I dropped everything that I was doing and rushed over to see if there was a problem. He showed me his computer which said that he had 5 minutes of NDL left. I asked him to please wait just 2 more minutes and that is when I saw Katrina waving to Jon and pointing to her computer. OK. Game over. Up we went. On the way up we saw a big turtle. I really, really want to go back there and get those lion fish!
Since we used up all of our NDL on the first dive I thought it prudent to do Colombia Shallows on the second dive. We saw a couple of big turtles, a bunch of lobsters and I killed 2 more baby lionfish that Katrina and Jon found. We had fun with the heart urchins and sand dollars at the end of the dive.
Saturday, August 21st
My first day back to work after vacation was spent with Steve and Nikole on Palancar Caves. The first turtle that we saw a was a bit deeper than our dive plan on the drop off but we went over for a closer look anyway. The second turtle that we saw was on its way up to surface for a breath of fresh air and it was off in the distance.
When we got back on the boat Nikole told me that the turtle was what Steve really had wanted to see so I took them to Cedral Wall for the second dive to find more turtles. First we saw a small green moray eel that was about 3 feet long. We saw lots of big black groupers, a couple of splendid toadfish, a huge rainbow parrotfish and a second green moray eel that was about 6 or 7 feet long and really fat. Since Steve didn't swim back to stick his head in the hole to see it, I took his camera and stuck it in the hole and took a picture of the eel so that he could see what we were looking at. Over the drop off a 6 foot nurse shark swam past. I was just about to give up on finding a turtle when we drifted over a huge one having lunch on a sponge. I was really relieved. Steve and Nikole were excited and took lots of photos.
Sunday, August 22nd
I had a beautiful day on Palancar Bricks with Nikole, Steve, Rick, Mathew and Eric. We saw a bunch of nice turtles and a spotted eagle ray. That was really cool!
The current was pretty calm so I took them to Punta Tunich. We saw more turtles and a swimming nurse shark. Everyone loved the big rainbow and midnight parrot fish too. I pointed out a splendid toadfish.
Monday, August 23rd
I stayed shallow with Chuck, Moni and Vonnie on Palancar Gardens. Eduardo took John, Paula, Andy, Nikole and Steve down through the caves at 70 feet while I hung out on top of the reef. We saw a green moray eel, a huge grouper and a southern stingray up there. Chuck found a golden tail eel too but I missed it.
Vonnie got off of the boat and we all went to French Reef. Eduardo took everyone through a long cave. After we had seen a few turtles Steve stopped swimming over for more pictures. I wonder if we finally satisfied his desire for turtles. Moni and I had an encounter with a remora looking for a host. First it stuck to her leg and then to mine. So we chased it over to Chuck4s leg ?
That afternoon I took Rick, Mathew and Eric to Palancar Caves. I think that was Rick4s very favorite dive ever. He loved the scenery and we saw tons of turtles. I looked for that lionfish that I missed the other day but it was gone.
My last dive of the day was on Cedral Wall where we saw both green moray eels from the other day in the exact same spots. We also saw 3 nurse sharks. The last one scared the pants off of Mathew when it came shooting out of a hole and right at him. It was a big, fat one too. We saw a turtle gorging itself on a sponge with a few angelfish snapping up the scraps.
Tuesday, August 24th
My morning dive was on Santa Rosa Wall with John, Paula, Rick, Eric, Mathew, Nikole, Steve and Andy. We scared the poop out of a sleeping nurse shark, literally. It was at least 7 feet long and when it swam away in a hurry it left behind a cloud. I think that may be the first time that I saw a nurse shark poop. I wasn't the only one who noticed it either. Then we drifted up to a big black grouper hanging out with a small green moray eel. We had a really nice dive.
Per John4s request we dived the C53 wreck. Nikole was surprised that she liked it so much. We swam through all the big open areas and checked out all the little critters that have made a home of the artificial reef.
I did a couple of private dives at Paradise with Vonnie. She got lots of personal attention and learned a lot. I knew that she was afraid of sharks so when we saw the barracuda at the cleaning station I pointed to a school of French Grunts in the opposite direction so that she wouldn't see it.
On the second dive she did see the barracuda and looked a little nervous but not scared or anything.
Wednesday, August 25th
Dive one was on Colombia Deep per Nikole4s request with John, Paula, Nikole, Steve, Jen and Andy. We saw a couple of turtles. I toured everyone through my favorite caves there.
Vonnie joined us for the second dive on Colombia Shallows. I was so excited it almost felt like Christmas! Jen and I saw a Caribbean Reef Shark! It was only a little one, maybe 3 feet long at the very longest but for me it was special treat because it has been at least a year since I have seen one. Jen didn't look very impressed. She has seen tons of sharks like that one but much bigger in the Bahamas. Jen was our turtle finder too. I drifted right over a baby turtle on the bottom and Jen got my attention and showed it to me. Then she found 2 more turtles later on in the dive and showed them to everyone. At the end of the dive Jen found a lionfish. I went up and got my nets but by the time that I came back down the fish was stressed so as I approached it, the lionfish retreated into its hole for protection.
Thursday, August 26th
I picked the reef that day. My choice was Palancar Horseshoe. I dived with John, Paula, Rick, Eric, Mathew, Nikole, Steve, Jennifer and Andy. We had gorgeous conditions, clear water and very light current. Everyone was a really good diver so I didn't really have to do any work. It was a relaxing dive for me.
I picked Dalila for the second stop. We saw a bunch of different turtles on that dive and a 6 foot sleeping nurse shark. It swam off when everyone gathered around. When we got back on the boat Mathew told me that it was his favorite dive ever. I told him to put that in his logbook so that when they come back next time they can remind me to take them there!
Friday, August 27th
Dive one was on Palancar Gardens with Rick, Eric, Mathew, Jennifer, Mark, Carol, Andy and Vonnie. We had really good diving conditions. A tremendous lobster came out and pranced around for us. It was showing off because it knew that we were in a National Marine Park and that we couldn't catch him ? I missed one of the turtles while I was doing a safety stop with someone. When only Eric, Mathew and I were still down the boys found another big turtle having breakfast.
Dive two was on French Reef where we saw a big southern stingray and a black grouper. We saw another dinosaur sized lobster. Jennifer showed me a lionfish and I tried to catch it. Just when it was escaping my net my arm came down in a hydroid and started stinging. I couldn't wiggle the net around without some serious suffering so the lionfish got away. I was irritated to say the least.
Dive three was on Santa Rosa Wall with Justin and Tara. We saw a rather large grouper and another really big southern stingray. I spotted another medium sized lionfish and this time I decided to use my Hawaiian sling. I took slow and carefully aim. Just as I was about to shoot the fish turned and faced me for some reason so I fired and it was dead on. Literally. I was worried that I had freaked Tara out but after talking to her on the boat I realized that she didn't even know that I had killed it.
Dive four was on San Francisco Wall with Justin only. We had a great dive! We saw: a huge black grouper, a bunch of lobsters, a bunch of crabs, a 6 foot nurse shark, a splendid toadfish and a spotted moray eel. The best part of the dive for me was when we found my crooked mouthed green moray in her usual hole accompanied by a big grouper that had been shadow hunting with her. The big gash along her side was completely healed and there was no trace of a scar. I always love seeing that eel.
Saturday, August 28th
Carol wanted swim throughs and Jennifer loves turtles so I took the girls and Mark to Palancar Caves. First we saw a swimming nurse shark below us. Then they found the turtle nestled down inside of a cave napping. As I was pointing out a pair of lobsters I turned my head and saw a nurse shark lying under a small outcropping. I called Mark over for some photos. Then Jen showed me a baby lionfish. I tried to net it but it got away. I was starting to get embarrassed because Jen keeps showing me lionfish and I keep letting them get away. Oh well..
Jen asked me why we hadn't seen any green moray eels. So I asked Carlos to take us to Cedral Wall. I was hoping that the same morays would be in the same spot. The current was clipping along and by the time that we reached the bottom we had past the hole where the first green moray was. So we skipped that and drifted with the current. The first big critter we saw was an immense turtle completely still on the bottom. What a nice subject for photography! The Carol pointed out another swimming nurse shark. I found the big green moray eel in the usual spot and Jen was impressed. When we came back up she accused me a planting it there. She said that it was probably a stuffed moray eel! Ha! I almost forgot Carol pointed out a second swimming nurse shark. We followed it a bit until it stopped. I parked next to it and it took off again, disappeared into the distance and later returned and swam around underneath us for a while. It was really fun!
Monday, August 30th
Dive one was on Palancar Horseshoe with Mark, Mike, Tina, Joe, Rick, Kevin, Jessica and Jon. Everything went pretty smoothly for a first day in the water. There were minimal problems and the current was very, very light. Mark pointed out the first turtle which I swam right over. It was nestled under the reef eating something. The second turtle was swimming up to the surface to breathe and later came back down to join the divers at 40 feet. We had a very successful and easy day.
For a fishy dive I took them all over to Dalila. Mark got off and Carol got on. For the newbie divers the 4 foot nurse shark seemed huge. I explained later on that it was only a baby and that they get to be twice that size! The divers were impressed. We saw a gigantic lobster out patrolling the reef. The first turtle that we encountered was a hawksbill. Carol and I stayed down a long time and right before we went up we saw a green turtle in the shallow area. It was very beautiful and not shy at all.
Tuesday, August 31st
I had a special request by Mike and Tina for Santa Rosa Wall. Joe, Kevin, Rick, Krista and Ed did not mind so that is where we dived. Upon reaching the bottom I discovered a rather large nurse shark lying in the sand. Everyone swam hard against the current to see it and take pictures. We also saw a 60 pound grouper that behaved as though it has been hand fed. It was very friendly with us and left quite an impression. We drifted up to a young lady trying to catch a lionfish in the hole with her finger. I thought that was a little dumb and I offered her a metal stick. She decided to give up and move on. We also saw a big, gray southern stingray.
On San Francisco Wall the dive was almost identical to the first dive. I found a huge nurse shark lying on the bottom on the way down but this time I decided that it was better not to swim the divers against the current for a looksy. They had to admire it from a distance :,-) We saw another big southern stingray and a black grouper. Ed found a goldentail eel. I found a mellow hawksbill turtle that sat still for the cameras. I found a small lionfish and I caught it in my nets. The nets are old and bent and they don't come together well so the little bugger escaped out a small hole and swam away. I was pissed!
Thursday, September 2nd
After a nice day off I took Jessica, Jon, Joe, Kevin, Rick, Krista and Ed to Palancar Caves. The first turtle that we saw was medium sized and kind of close. The second turtle was pointed out by Jess and Jon. It was a tiny little baby. Krista just loved the caves.
Rick4s ear was less than cooperative so I chose Colombia Shallow for the second tank. We saw a couple of hawksbill turtles. I was the only one that saw the Caribbean reef shark. Boy, is that shark beautiful! Krista and Ed found a baby lionfish. Ed swam over to get me but by the time he caught up with me they couldn't remember where the lion fish was so another one got away!!!!!!!
Friday, September 3rd
I asked Ed, Krista and Joe where they wanted to go and Joe requested Palancar Gardens. Krista loves the caves so I took them through all of the caves that I love. I borrowed Krista4s flashlight to highlight the shiny glassy sweepers deep in the dark part of the cave and discovered a cluster of lionfish! Four of them were medium sized but there was one really, really big orangy one hidden back in a recess. I got out my Hawaiian sling and hit the first one with the first shot. The spear bounced off the wall of the cave and the fish came off of the spear and swam away. Then I shot at another one and missed. I think I got one on my third or fourth shot. I plunged the end of my spear into the sand to push the fish further down on the points hoping that it too would not swim off of the skewer. I swam over and found a big rock and smashed it4s little head. Then I used the rock to get it off of my spear so that I could go back and get another one. The little bugger swam away! So shot it again. This time I just about took it4s head off before taking it off of the spear. I checked with Joe and he still had some air so I went back in and tried for another one. I shot a few times and missed so they all ducked into their escape hole and got away. By then it was time to go up. In the shallow area on top of the reef we saw several turtles and Krista admired a redspotted hawkfish.
During the surface interval we all decided to go back to the cave to see if I could catch some more lionfish. When we went back into the cave I discovered that the lionfish had dispersed to new individual holes throughout the cave and I couldn't even find that really big one. I had no luck at all shooting even one. Joe says that right before I go to shoot I move my pole forward a couple of inches and that is when the lionfish take off and that may be why I am missing. That was good advice and I will concentrate on trying to keep it steady next time. It was interesting to see that the fish that I had killed an hour and a half earlier was gone. I bet a divemaster came along and chopped it up and fed it to an anemone. It would be better if a predator or scavenger ate it but I wouldn't get my hopes up. We saw more turtles in the shallow area and I looked all over the place for another hawkfish but couldn't find one.
Saturday, September 4th
Dive one was at Palancar Gardens. Brad, Paul, Lacey and Lindsay wanted to go lionfish hunting so I was eager to go back. Randy and Susan wanted to go to Palancar Caves but we had a strong southeast wind and Gardens was a better choice. I was ill prepared for the dive because I had not remembered to bring a flashlight but Susan volunteered hers so we were good to go. We got down there and I assembled the Hawaiian Sling. Then I asked Susan for the flash light and the darned thing was flooded! So I couldn't see the lionfish in the dark crevices. I did take a peek and I saw the white tips of the fins of a lionfish in the same hole and I took a shot in the dark and missed of course. I gave up and put my spear away. During that dive we saw a tiny little baby lionfish but I hadn't brought the nets so I just let it go. We saw a bunch of turtles too.
Susan requested Paso Del Cedral and we saw 3 more baby lionfish. I went to the surface to get the nets from Carlos but he was too far away to see me up there. He was driving in circles trying to get water out of the boat so I guess he was cleaning the deck. More lionfish got away this day. I am determined to remember to bring a flashlight and the nets on all the subsequent dives! We also got a good look at a tiny pipefish. We saw lots of big groupers and a few lobsters too.
Sunday, September 5th
We had a good south wind blowing and Randy still wanted to go to the Caves. The wind was not quite as strong as the day before and it wasn't quite as choppy so I took Randy, Susan, Tore, Larry, Jack and K.J. to Palancar Caves. Well, I asked for the caves but Carlos dropped me off way south of the caves. The current was very light, almost nonexistent but it seemed to be going south if anything. So I just swam in the direction of the caves. I found and caught a medium sized lionfish. Randy pointed out a nurse shark hiding under the reef. At the very end of the dive I found another nurse shark way in the back of the first cave. It was a good dive despite the waves and poor visibility. Larry didn't have a lot of fun because his mask was fogging and he didn't like his new fins, not to mention that he felt a little seasick too..
Susan didn't want to go to Dalila on the second dive but I insisted. Carlos dropped us off at Dalila but the current was definitely southbound so we ended up diving on French reef anyway. We saw a few turtles there and of the 3 lionfish I saw I only succeeded in killing 1. We saw a very large crab. It4s claws were the size of 3 fingers. We also saw a lobster on that dive.
Monday, September 6th
The south wind seemed to have calmed down so I took Tore, Jack, K.J. and Calvin to Palancar Caves to the part that we missed the day before. Well during the dive the wind picked up and when we surfaced there were big waves again. We saw a bunch of turtles. I think maybe 5 turtles total and K.J. took some good shots of the turtles.
I asked Carlos to drop us on Cedral Wall for the second dive and he did. As soon as I put my face in the water I stuck my head out and shouted at Carlos that the current was going south. So southbound I swam. There was surge all the way down to 60 feet and visibility was limited. But the small green moray eel was in the same hole as always and a huge turtle did a slow pass below us on the way down. On the way to Dalila we passed several splendid toadfish which I shined my light on and I also showed K.J. some arrow crabs because Tore had been telling him about them on the boat. Jack found a small spotted eel. When we finally reached the reef, a pair of big nurse sharks were waiting for us. They were sleeping nose to nose and I took the camera over and photographed them. Then I took the group over to a school of grunts and left them there while I did a safety stop with K.J. During that safety stop another nurse shark swam by. It thought that it was a great dive despite the poor visibility.
Tuesday, September 7th
K.J., Jack, Tore and I went to San Francisco Wall for the first dive. We had mild current and no waves. It was a nice relaxing dive. We saw a bunch of lobsters and a grouper with a strange black blotch on it4s face.
The current at Tormentos was really clipping along for the first 15 minutes of the dive and the water temperature had dropped 5 degrees and it was chilly. We enjoyed the colorful sponges. Jack showed me a big green turtle. Tore played with damselfish that were protecting their territories.
Wednesday, September 8th
The wind had died down completely and I took K.J., Tore, David, Suzie, Chris, Gus and Maria to Palancar Gardens. I found a lionfish but it was way back in a dark crevice on the bottom and I just knew that there was not a chance in hell that I could catch it so I showed it to Maria and K.J. and then moved on. We also swam past a big crab. A small turtle made a brief appearance and then took off.
The second dive was on Dalila with absolutely no current. The visibility was limited and when we first got in I couldn't see the bottom in the deeper area and I thought that we were on the wall! Everyone loved the huge barracuda and they took loads of pictures with it. The barracuda sat very still at a cleaning station and posed for the cameras. I could hear Chris shouting through his regulator when I showed him the big lobster. He was amazed at the size of it. It was definitely dinner for two.
Thursday, September 9th
Six divers had cancelled because their ship arrived one day earlier than planned so Suzanne and Scott had the whole boat to themselves! They hadn't been diving since 2008 so I took them to Palancar Gardens for an easy dive. We had lovely conditions. We saw 3 big crabs at different intervals of the dive and I showed them a small hawksbill turtle. I took them in the cave with the lionfish and I saw 3 of them in the same hole. They are now scared of me. I took one shot and missed. They disappeared. Oh well. I will keep trying.
The second dive was on Paradise because I brought my old Motor Marine II camera. I had a great time taking pictures. It was freaky because we saw not 1 but 2 octopuses on that dive. The first one was in a hole and a pudding wife was bugging it and snapping at it. The second one was out on top of the reef scooting around changing colors. I shot lots of pictures. We saw a pair of very large lobsters on that dive. I found a goldentail moray and Scott showed me a fat spotted moray eel. It was a fun dive!
Friday, September 10th
I dived Palancar Gardens with Scott, Cindy, Matt, T. and Ben. We swam through a cave and I found a lionfish. I took a shot at it and hit it but it still got away. I am starting to get a bit frustrated. We also saw a baby turtle at the end of the dive after we came out of the cave. Tony was snorkeling over us with Tanya and Ana and he said that he saw a huge turtle right over us.
Bruce joined us for our second dive in Paradise and we saw crabs and a pair of goldentail eels. One eel was on one side of the coral and the other matching eel was on the opposite side. Bruce tried to catch them. Everyone really liked the big hermit crab that was digging in the sand for a meal.
Saturday, September 11th
I asked John, Melissa, Pat, Libby and Donn where they wanted to go and the answer was almost unanimous. They decided on Palancar Gardens so off to Gardens I went again. I asked John to hold the light for me while I tried to get those lionfish in the cave but as soon as they saw the flashlight they darted back to the safety of their black hole. Only Pat and I saw the small turtle and Pat followed it up over the top of the reef.
We had no current at Dalila at all. I poked around in the dark corners looking for lionfish. During our LONG safety stop I looked down to find a big nurse shark swimming below us. As we followed it a second nurse shark appeared. The second one was swimming with the current so we gave up on the first shark and followed the second one. It was raining lightly when Libby and I surfaced.
Sunday, September 12th
Tony and I split the group. Tony took John, Melissa, Libby and Donn down on a normal dive at Palancar Horseshoe. I stayed up in the shallows with Simone, Rick and David. We did a bunch of skills in the sandy area. I found a couple of lobsters and Rick took pictures. We also saw a big crab on that dive.
When we got in at Colombia Shallow there was no current at all. Tony took off to the reef and I hung out doing skills with my group. After the skills were done we swam over to the reef where we found a sleeping turtle. We also found another really big crab. Everyone liked the black, long spined sea urchins. They are very interesting creatures. Libby showed us a big southern stingray and we saw a couple more turtles towards the end of the dive.
Monday, September 13th
Per special request I took John, Melissa, Sarah, Mark, Justin, David, Rick and Simone to Palancar Caves. We started out going northbound but the current changed so we turned around and went back to where we started from. I had them swimming against the current the day before at Colombia Shallows so I didn't want to do that to them again ? We saw loads of little turtles and we had a good dive.
French Reef had no current at all when we got in. I showed John and Melissa a splendid toadfish. Melissa found a lionfish and I caught it and smashed it. While I was taking some divers up at the safety stop John discovered a pair of gorgeous juvenile spotted drums. Everyone was very curious about the balloon fish too.
Tuesday, September 14th
Donn wanted to go somewhere down south to an advanced site. Libby didn't want to go in any caves. John and Melissa agreed to go where ever Donn and Libby wanted to go so we settled on Punta Sur. When we got down there the water was so turbid that Carlos could not find the reef. I jumped in to check the site and I could not see the bottom until I got down to 50 feet. The bottom looked to be sandy and about 50 more feet down. I got back on the boat and informed them that this was not a good day for Punta Sur. I decided to take them to Colombia Deep. Apparently a strong current had passed through there recently because the reef had a light dusting of silt on it. That is why there was no visibility at Punta Sur. There was a lot of particulate matter floating around in the water.
I decided to go find some good marine life for the second dive so I took them Cedral Wall. The current was running from the north to the south and the visibility was poor but we still had an amazing dive. My first find was a 6 foot green moray eel under a ledge. Then we saw a pair of big nurse sharks. One was sleeping and one was swimming by. After seeing a crab and some lobsters we bumped into another huge swimming nurse shark. The last big critter we saw was a big male turtle next to a 3 foot rainbow parrotfish. Everyone was excited when we got back on the boat.
Wednesday, September 15th
The current was ripping at Santa Rosa Wall when I took John, Melissa, Jim and Anne diving. We flew along and I decided to skip the tour of the drop off and blue water. I kept them on the inside of the reef over the sand for fear of down currents. We did end up having a good dive despite the adventure. We dropped down on a rather large southern stingray. Then I swam them over to Santa Rosa Shallows where the current was milder. Santa Rosa Shallows is still pretty beat up from Wilma but we saw a turtle and I found 3 juvenile lionfish fluttering around together. I somehow managed to catch all 3 of them. I noticed 3 groupers all displaying hunting behavior so I went over for a look. I figured that there had to be a big green moray or a nurse shark nearby. I was surprised to find a huge spotted moray hunting and swimming around. That is what had the groupers all excited. We got excited too ?
I didn't want a lot of current for the second dive so I took them to Chankanaab. There was a bit of current when we got in but it did slow down and we had a nice, easy dive. We saw a barracuda open its mouth at a cleaning station and have some little fish clean it4s teeth. We also saw a few really big groupers and a school of silversides. I found a big lobster in a dark recess and we also saw a couple of big crabs.
Friday, September 16th
My first dive of the day was with Susan, Rick and Joe. My intention was to go to San Francisco Wall but when I got in to check the current it was just way too fast for my comfort zone so I made Carlos take us over to Yucab. I got in to check the current there and it was going the wrong way so I had to get back on the boat AGAIN and drive to the opposite end of the reef to start the dive. The good news is that when we did finally get in and dive the current was very mild. The visibility was not exactly up to snuff but we saw a lot of good stuff. There were two big southern stingrays on the bottom. A six foot nurse shark made a slow pass. I used my flashlight to highlight 2 splendid toadfish for everyone. We saw big snappers and groupers. There was also a nice lobster to boot!
Linda, Michael, Dennis, Louise and Wayne joined us for the second dive on Palancar Gardens. Thankfully the current was (normal( on that dive. We did the swim throughs. Joe showed me a big turtle off in the distance.
The last dive of the day was on Paradise. Joe, Rick and Susan got off of the boat and Jackie joined us for the shallow, fishy dive. We saw a large crab hanging upside down in a hole. I used my flashlight to show Jackie and Wayne a lot of banded cleaner shrimp. I also pointed out some Christmas tree worms and an arrow crab. Everyone said that there was a lot to see on that dive.
Saturday, September 18th
I went to Palancar Horseshoe with Rick, Susan, Joe, Tom, Laura, Mandy, Jill and Deann. Thankfully the current was very cooperative and we had a pleasant dive. First we saw one lone turtle and then we swam up to a pair of turtles together. We all enjoyed the huge coral formations that are unique to Cozumel.
We had a very fast current at French Reef. My divers did an excellent job of all staying together for me. We saw several large southern stingrays and some huge parrotfish. We flew right over a big turtle just sitting on the bottom. I have no idea how that turtle could remain stationary in that current!
Wednesday, September 22nd
I took my Mom, Rick and Susan to Chankanaab. I wanted to go to Paradise but it looked like the current was ripping so I chose Chankanaab instead. We saw a few lobsters and crabs to start with. Plus, a huge barracuda glided past us just to get our hearts going. While watching a huge lobster devour a clam, Susan discovered a juvenile lionfish. When I went over to check it out I found another larger one. I was successful in catching and eliminating both. We had a nice, easy dive and I was happy !
Carlos dropped us in the wrong spot for the second dive. I asked to go to Tormentos and we were told that the current was headed southbound so instead of dropping us at the end of Tormentos he dropped us at the end of Bolones de Chankanaab. Since NO ONE dives there we saw tons of lionfish everywhere! The first 2 were big and I caught one but the second big one disappeared. I discovered another baby lionfish on the same coral head and caught that one too. Then we drifted over to another mound of coral where we found about 5 or 6 more lionfish. I caught some of them and some got away. I burned up a ton of air chasing those damn lionfish! When we finally reached Tormentos we were greeted by a baby turtle on it4s way up to the surface for a breath of air. Rick and Susan4s computers didn't let them have much more bottom time and a storm was blowing in so we just went up after 50 minutes. Both still had a bunch of air left but things were not going our way so we just called it a day and got on the boat in a pouring rainstorm.
Friday, September 24th
Carlos and I took Mom diving on Bolones de Chankanaab. We wanted to go to Punta Sur but when we got there we found very strong current so we turned the boat around and went back towards town. There was very light current on Bolones. As soon as we hit the bottom we saw a lionfish. I tried to catch it with my nets but it scooted into a hole. Then the submarine came along and Mom was thrilled. She waved to all the tourists taking pictures of us. We saw a big crab and I tried to show Mom and Carlos a 7 foot nurse shark that swam past but no one was paying attention to me. I found a second lionfish and shot it with my new toy. It was so easy and so effective that I have canned my Hawaiian Sling and will be trying to catch the lionfish with the new tool from now on.
Saturday, September 25th
It was just Camilla and I on Yucab that morning. We saw so many splendid toadfish that I lost count. There was even a cute pair of them sticking their heads out at us about half way through the dive. I guess they thought that it was twilight since it was cloudy and overcast. We saw several big groupers. The sponges were spawning and I watched a pair of gray angels gobble up some eggs coming out of one big sponge. I found a big lobster on the underside of the reef and I illuminated it for Camilla with my flashlight.
We did our second dive on Tormentos. It was a prettier dive but we didn't see as many interesting creatures, just lots of pretty fish and colorful sponges. The current changed direction 30 minutes into the dive and brought us back to where we started from.
Monday, September 27th
There was a bit of current on Palancar Gardens which is where I took Meg, Kevin, Camilla, Brad and Courtney. As we arrived at the first set of caves I carefully directed everyone one at a time to a sheltered area out of the current to rest and regroup. I waited for Camilla who was at the back of the group and when it because apparent that she was not following I exited the sheltered area to begin the search. I found her seconds later on her way up to the surface. I surfaced as well, called the boat, assured her that Carlos would come for her and went right back down again. I couldn't wait with her this time because the current was quickly carrying me away from my group! I spent about 500 psi trying to get back to my bewildered divers but fortunately they had stuck together and waited for me. I gathered them up, started through the caves and worried about Camilla. When we came out of the caves I took the group to a 25 foot area on the reef. As they floated along I did a safety stop, surfaced and then I checked to see if Camilla was on the boat. When I saw that she was safe and sound then I went back down and finished the dive with everyone. Poor Camilla, her weight belt had fallen off and she just floated right on up. End of dive one after only 11 minutes for her She was safe and that is really all that counts ?
Logically I chose Colombia Shallow for the second dive since I didn't want to be deep or have any hassles. We saw a lot of good stuff there. Two of the four turtles that we saw were close together. I found a small (3 foot) nurse shark napping on the bottom with it4s head wedged in a hole. I caught one medium sized lionfish and also a little tiny, baby lionfish. We saw tons of lobsters everywhere. It was a really good dive!
Tuesday, September 28th
After a bit of debate we all agreed on Palancar Horseshoe for the first dive. My divers were Camilla, Courtney and Brad. We had almost no current at all which was a blessing. It was a relaxing, beautiful dive as we floating alone admiring the immense coral formations all around us and above us. We saw enough lobsters to open a restaurant and Brad kept rubbing his tummy. Guess he really likes lobster ?
I was hoping for little or no current on French Reef which is usually a good gamble but we got a 2 to 3 knot current on that dive. Everyone did an excellent job of staying together. A good sized hawksbill swam right up to Courtney. I thought they were going to have a little intimate kiss for a second there We saw a few more turtles on that dive, I think four in total. While we did our safety stop we drifted over a sleeping nurse shark on the bottom and then I spied a spotted eagle ray and a southern stingray over in the sandy area so we swam over for a good look. Everyone was pretty excited about all the good stuff that we saw when we got to the boat4s ladder.
Wednesday, September 29th
We checked the current at Santa Rosa and we were told that it was very strong so I opted to take Jim, Camilla, Courtney and Brad to Colombia Deep instead. We still had quite a bit of current but it was manageable and we had a lovely dive. As we were admiring a really big turtle I noticed a small nurse shark under the reef hiding from the current. Camilla didn't like the second swim through too much. She thought that is was a wee tad dark for her. Everyone else thought it was great.
Our second dive was on Dalila where once again, we had some respectable current. Jim described it as (flying(. I describe it as (irritating( ? !!!!! Everyone did well in the current and we saw more turtles than I can count. Several were very, very large. The last one was just flat out GI-NORMOUS. We saw some dinner sized lobsters on that dive too.
Thursday, September 30th
Travis had not been diving since 1990 so I took him on the beach and practiced some skills before I took Tammy, Rod, Travis, Camilla, Courtney and Brad to the reef. As we were passing Palancar I noticed that it didn't look like we had a lot of current. I told Carlos to call a friend on the radio and check how the current was and they answer was slow. So I told Carlos to pick a spot, any old spot that the current was lightest. So he just dropped me off in a nice place. We got very lucky and there was almost no current at all. The dive went smoothly and we had a good time. After Travis, Tammy and Rod were already on the boat we saw a few turtles and a crab in a hole. The current picked up as soon as they were on the boat and we spent the rest of the dive drifting at a good clip.
I wanted an easy dive so we went back to Camilla4s very favorite reef, Colombia Shallow. I found that little 4 foot nurse shark in the same spot. We saw quite a few turtles. I took a shot at a medium sized lionfish and missed. By the time that I cocked my weapon and got ready for the second shot the little sneak had disappeared into a hole.
Saturday, October 2nd
Since Lucas was snorkeling I took Meg, Peggy and Jim to Paradise so that Peggy could stay shallow and Lucas could see lots of fish. We had absolutely perfect diving conditions with almost no current at all and great visibility. I had fun showing Meg the banded cleaner shrimps and the arrow crab that perched themselves on the bright red encrusting sponge.
Peggy got off of the boat and I took them to Chankanaab for another dive. Meg and I acted like children swimming in the school of silversides. I showed her a yellow headed jawfish with it4s mouth full of eggs. I handed her a lavender colored shell with a bright red hermit crab inside. I found and killed a tiny little lionfish. It was a shame but I have to think of the other beautiful reef creatures to protect first.
Sunday, October 3rd
My first tank was on Palancar Gardens with Jeff, Jen, Frank, Diana and Ted. It was Jeff and Jen4s first dive since the year before and they thought that the current was strong. I chuckled because for me the current was very weak and I was soooooooooo grateful. The current was a little tricky because it would go in different directions like a washing machine but it was so mild that it caused no inconvenience. We saw 3 lovely turtles. Jen was impressed with how scenic and beautiful the dive was.
Brad joined us on Colombia Shallow. We saw a few more turtles and we had gorgeous dive conditions. Orlando snorkeled over us with Jeff4s mom and dad.
Monday, October 4th
I sat on the boat with Becky and Randy while Eduardo took Diana and Ted to the Devil4s Throat. They said when they came out on the wall a big green turtle swam by.
I got in with Becky and joined them for the second dive on French Reef. Eduardo pointed out a big spotted moray accompanied by a black grouper. I found a crab down in a hole. Eduardo showed us 2 different big turtles swimming off in the distance. Ted chased one of them until we called him back ?
Tuesday, October 5th
The wind was pretty strong from the north and the ocean was very choppy. It was Sam, Kari and Jordan4s first ocean dives after getting certified in a quarry. I opted to take them to Colombia Shallows. Becky didn't mind at all. We saw a couple of turtles and a swimming nurse shark. There were a few lobsters here and there. Jordan showed me a crab that was hanging upside down under a coral head.
To avoid big waves we decided to stay and do the second dive on Colombia Shallow again. That reef is wide enough and long enough to dive it several times and never see the same part twice. We had a couple of close encounters with a few more turtles and I took 3 shots at a pair of medium sized lionfish together under a rock. I missed and they ducked into a very small hole and got away.
Wednesday, October 20th