So - another year and another Cozumel trip. Gale and I decided
on a quick trip down to Cozumel to get ready for our Belize
trip! Got a good price on airfare and hotel (Casa
Del Mar) from Adventure Tours USA
for a Friday to Monday escape from Dallas. I checked out a couple of dive
operators down there but didn't book anything as they had plenty of space
on their boats (May is low season in Cozumel). I had narrowed it down to
either Blue Bubble divers or Dive
with Martin, both excellent dive operators. At the airport in Dallas
we ran into Christy Rudd from Splash Tours and part owner of Dive with
Martin and she convinced us to go with them - a choice we didn't regret
- they were great. The weather was just great the whole time we were down
Accommodations:Casa Del Mar is a midpriced hotel almost across the street from La Ceiba, Dive With Martin and the international pier, i.e. south of town. Blue Bubble divers is also within walking distance. The hotel has a great pool with a swim-up bar and the restaurant is good too. The only thing to complain about are the uncomfortable beds - they were rock hard. I have come to the conclusion that all beds in Mexico are made by the same manufacturer and they make beds in three varieties - hard, rock hard and a slab of marble.
Diving:We started the diving with a relaxing shoredive off La Ceiba on Friday afternoon and had a look at the plane (which there is less of each year, it seems). Just before the trip, I had received my video housing for my Sony TRV-103 D8 camcorder and I took the housing down empty to verify that it didn't leak - it's a good idea to do that with a new housing. We were roughly halfway through our dive when this lone diver in a t-shirt and shorts came up to us and showed us to a little hole in the rock where a little Spotted Moray was peeking out. He then proceeded to remove his mask to show his face and greet me - Lo and behold - it was Cleveland Lavender, one of the divemasters that accompanied me on my first trip to Cozumel in '96. After that trip he introduced some of us to the diveclub he had started - the Muddivers! Unfortunately the Muddivers folded and I lost touch with him. It was great to meet him in Cozumel again. During the surface interval the following day we met at the bar and caught up on old times. We met again at Dive with Martin's office where we exchanged email addresses but unfortunately we didn't follow up after the trip and I'm sad to say he was recently killed in an accident (10/9/00) here in Dallas. He was a great guy and dive instructor and I will miss him!
The dives on Saturday and Sunday were great and we only had 4-6 people on the boat. On Saturday we did Devil's Throat - first time for me but Gale had done it before. I shot two tapes with my new video gear but it was my first time, so it didn't turn out that great. Except for one sequence where our divemaster found a big (i.e. BIG) lobster under a ledge and proceded to coax it out. It was almost an even match but our divemaster won and I got some great footage from that (about 5 minutes of continuous video).
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