Sunday, July 27, 2008

ScubaBoard Meet & Greet - Saturday, July 19th, 2008

It was a foggy morning waiting us when we woke up to begin our drive down to Monterey. While I had hoped that the weather would open up a bit, we got to Monterey and it was just as foggy as it had been outside our front door in San Francisco. Despite this, our spirits were not damped as we pulled into the El Torito parking lot to meet the other SB’ers who were coming to the M&G. Much to my surprise, one of my OW instructors, Joe Sparks was there too! How great this was going to be.

Soon the divers were showing up and we were all getting our gear set up, suits on and hiking the gear down the sloping beach between the hotel and the restaurant to start the dives. Joining us were two guys named Devin, Robin, Ron, Carrie, Jeff, Brandon, Katherine, Dannobee and two of his friends (although I think his friends ended up not diving with us in the end). When we got on the sand, we designated buddy groups and headed into the water – Mark and I bringing up the rear as we hadn’t walked down with our gear, but were suiting up on the beach instead (for whatever reason). But soon we were off into the water, only to hear that the cove was pretty soupy. With that in mind, Jeff led us along the surface, following the sand channel, skirting around the kelp. We dropped down en masse and Robin, Mark and I headed off into the kelp for Robin to try out his new dSLR housing that makes him look like a real professional. As I was leading, I thought the kelp would be the best area to get some good shots – macro, wide angle, etc. Plus, it has been so long since I’d seen such beautiful kelp that I couldn’t wait to get exploring!

And the kelp didn’t disappoint! While the visibility was less than what we were accustomed to in Mexico (hahaha!) it was still pretty good by Monterey standards. We had about 15-20 feet outside of the cove, considerably less inside. While we tinkered around in the kelp, we were soon joined by another dive buddy who clamped on to Mark’s bright yellow fins – a seal! Always a joy-filled event when these playful ones come along on our dive. But you have to keep them entertained. If we stopped swimming, ergo stopped entertaining, the seal would bolt. Only for us to see them on the surface just above us, floating around. I’d motion that Mark or Robin should start kicking as the seals were infinitely more interested in their colorful fins than my black ones. And when they did start kicking, down they’d come to play some more. So adorable. Soon a second one came and the two would lay on the floor, facing one another engaged in what appeared to be some sort of dialogue. Super cute. Soon it seemed they’d found other playmates and we were off to find more things to photograph.

Check out the video!

I was in the lead and so I decided we’d head into another bunch of kelp – thick and beautiful, blocking the overhead sun from filtering down to the bottom. It was majestic. You hear people talking about “soaring through underwater redwoods” – sitting inside of a kelp cathedral. It was just like that. Everywhere, tiny senoritas darted in and out of the kelp, joined by rock kelpfish, and what appeared to be juvenile rock kelpfish. It was serene, and, for a few moments – as tacky as this might sound – it was our space. Our own little cathedral. Just amazing.

Soon we headed back as Mark was getting low on air having dove the LP steel Luxfer. I walked up on shore with 1800 in my tank still, 47 minutes down. Not too bad on the air consumption. A surface interval was shared between all the divers, giddily chatting about their various seal encounters, anxious to see photos from one another. Soon we were heading back into the water as I was beginning to cool off in the shadowy day. Mark and Robin swapped out their tanks and I would dive the same since I had plenty of air left in it. Entering we prepared ourselves for the long surface swim outside the cove. Swimming around the kelp made the journey more difficult but because Robin wasn’t sporting a snorkel, it made it impossible for him to swim on his belly to avoid getting entangled. So, around we went! Soon Ron was kicking out to join us since Devin was not going to be doing a second dive as he was experiencing a bit of tooth pain, possibly a reverse squeeze.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the dive site, Ron realized that he had lost his mask that he wears on the backside of his head. Lesson to all – not the best place for it, especially when around grabby kelp! So Robin, Mark and I descended while Ron swam back in search of the mask. We had decided to do a kelp tour, with a northernly direction on a compass heading of 0-30 degrees. Returning around 180 and then 220-240 degrees back to the shore. On the surface this seemed like an awesome venture there appeared to be just tons of kelp in that area. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as great when we got down there. Oh well.

The dive was still fun – rushing over boulders, peeking in pipes. On the way back, we hit the surge and the algae on the bottom caused Robin and I to get a bit of vertigo since the bottom was doing all kinds of crazy things! It was pretty awesome though.

After the dive, drying off, and then into El Torito for a group lunch. I think there were about 11 of us hanging out, lunching and sharing stories, experiences, photos, etc. It was a great. I had a really awesome time and hope that people enjoyed themselves. If you didn’t though – at least I did! Hahaha. :)

Favorite Photo of the Day:

Robin's Seal Baited Fins - Gets 'em everytime!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cozumel Dive Vacation – June 28th through July 5th, 2008

After almost three weeks at home, I am finally getting around to working on the blog entries recounting our experiences during our Cozumel dive trip. It was an amazing week full of awesome diving and great company – and while there was “issues” with the place we stayed, we had a great week of just hanging out, diving and being around friends. So, I can’t complain.

We flew out of San Francisco on a red-eye to Charlotte. In San Francisco we stopped into a bar near the gate and, lo and behold, ran into Susan and Vincent who I didn’t know but had been told were coming. Finding their luggage, I found them and introduced myself. How great that we weren’t even in Mexico yet but were already making friends with other divers in our group! In Charlotte, we met up with Lisa who I’ve known for years, but only in an online and telephone way. I was a little nervous about meeting Lisa, but after a hug, it felt like we’d been long time friends who were only recently living on different coasts. From Charlotte, we flew directly to Cozumel, all three of us sitting together in the same row, chatting the entire way down there. Going through customs and immigration felt like an eternity, anxiously awaiting to get to the resort, check in, bathing suits on and vacation started!

We were staying at the Wyndham in Cozumel which is a nicely situated resort for divers as it is quite far south, out of the city and close to the dive sites, making for shorter boat rides out and back. It is an all-inclusive, food and alcohol which is great but there are generally pretty long lines for… well, just about everything, especially the bar. But it was a nice enough resort. Rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable, grounds are nice. The food is very good and the service in them tends to be very good by servers who, for the most part, seem very nice and interested in serving. But I will say that the hotel’s room cleaning was pretty bad and the management did not seem overly interested in remedying problems when they arose. But, as we all said, we weren’t impressed by the resort, but we were there to go diving and not hang out in the resort, so it didn’t matter.

We dove everyday with Sand Dollar Sports which was a decent operation. I believe that we benefited from the fact that we were on a dive shop organized trip. We had the same, large boat, DMs and crew everyday. We also had one of the best DMs I’ve ever had in my life – Alex Dorian. An amazing DM who really was genuinely interested ensuring that we had good dives with great critters and had as long as possible bottom times. It was awesome. Most dives were around 45 minutes, and we got to dive all the sites we were aiming to dive – so it was great.

When not diving, we were fortunate to have good snorkeling just off the shore from the hotel. During our snorkels there, we found schools of palometas (permits) that would aggressively bump into us, Sergeant majors, grunts, and even some barracudas. There was a Needlefish hanging out in the shallow reeds, and even a small octopus who had holed up in a rock. Mark even found a ray on one of the dives, in only about 2 feet of water.

Our DM was nice enough to suggest some other locations for snorkeling as well. One afternoon we visited Caleta where, after entering from the beach, the depth sharply increases allowing you to be in about 25-30 feet of water within 40 feet from the shore. There were tons of fish as the snorkeling boats generally feed the fish so they are quite accustomed to being around people, if only for their own selfish reasons. After putting up with the onslaught of inconsiderate snorkelers, we headed off to the second snorkeling sight down the road across from the Pirata Restaurant. While just about 1.5 miles down the road from Caleta, the site was completely different. The depth never exceeded 3 feet. The entire bottom was pitted and in almost all the holes were little urchins. Other than that, there were lovely purple sea fans. It was a lovely site although I always felt a bit nervous of being stuck by an urchin. While I am not overly interested in snorkeling most of the time, I was impressed by the quality of the snorkeling off the coast of Cozumel. It provided a very relaxing way to pass the afternoons after diving.

While the diving is different than what we are accustomed to in Northern California, it was wonderful to be in such clear, warm water. Having returned to California diving (this past weekend) with our 20’ (at best) viz – it made me appreciate the differences but, at the same time, there are definite benefits and disadvantages of both. But it was a wonderful vacation with great diving and I do miss being there. The nice thing about blogging, however, is that I guess to relive a little bit of the trip. So in the following entries, I’ll provide more detail about each of the day’s dives. Enjoy!

[PS: Mark recently bought me a download kit for my Suunto dive computer so I have been able to download my dive data. While I haven’t populated all of the information, I’ve got screen captures of the general information and will now be providing it along with my blogs! So, thanks sweets!]

July 3rd, 2008: Cozumel Diving Day 5 – Punta Sur (Devil’s Throat) & Paseo del Cedral

Our last day of diving in Cozumel felt really sad to me. I was getting into a routine that I was happy in, diving early in the morning, having lunch after rinsing and hanging gear, hitting the pool or going snorkeling, leisurely dinner and hanging out some more, having some drinks or an early night in bed. It all seemed so sad to think that it was almost over and I’d be heading home to work, responsibilities, etc. These feelings, however, were tempered by the fact that we were about to head out to try and do one of the most fascinating deep dives that Cozumel has to offer – Devil’s Throat. I’ve been told that this is a “must dive” site but that it is oftentimes hard to dive because of the current.

The Devil’s Throat site is located at Punta Sur and consists of an underwater cave formation which starts in 70-80’ of water and opens up at approximately 135 feet, which is on the edge of the recreational limits. For this, and other reasons, this is considered an advanced dive that DMs will only do if they have confidence in your skills and abilities. Because of the depth and the time that you spend at depth, a longer than standard safety stop is required in order to minimize the risk of DCS. Our DM had actually planned for us to do a multilevel ascent with a stop at 70 feet for three minutes and a second stop at 15-20 feet for 6-8 minutes depending upon whether anyone had entered decompression diving.

Arriving at the site and hearing the admonitions about the site and the possible dangers, I began to get a bit worried about it. I was thoroughly convinced as to the safety of our DM and my own abilities as a diver, but the apprehension was still there. I suppose that, in one vein, it is healthy to have a small amount of fear just so long as it is not immobilizing; but I was a little nervous about it.

Splashing in, we all knew that we would be immediately descending in order to make it down towards the opening of the “Throat” without having to burn through a lot of air swimming underwater against the current. We all were in the water within a few seconds of each other, underwater and underway. Soon our DM Alex (Dorian) was giving us the signal for “swim-through” and we were heading into the Devil’s Throat. Lisa was ahead of me on the first cave, Mark, Vince and Susan behind me. Popping out at 135 feet, Alex was taking photos of each of as we exited the throat. Depth doesn’t appear to have that much effect on me, although I’ve never had to do any drills or tests to see if I suffer from Nitrogen Narcosis. I tried to use my camera at one point to take a photograph of Lisa, only to realize that none of the buttons would work, quickly remembering that my housing is only rated to 130 feet. Whoops! Realizing this, I simply stored the camera in hopes that nothing happened to it.

Soon we were lining up for the 2nd cave entry / swim through. This was more extensive and I followed behind Mark this time. Twisting up through the cave, we entered small, tight spots, gently swimming up and through them, eventually exiting at about 75 feet. I checked my camera again and found that the buttons were again working! I guess returning to a less pressurized environment allowed the buttons, o-rings, etc return to their normal working position. And, to my relief, there didn’t appear to be any water in the case.

We soon began our 1st safety stop for three minutes to allow some of the nitrogen to dissolve, removing us further from any threat of DCS and further increasing our chances of having a longer 2nd dive. Soon we were heading up to 15’ to start a longer safety stop, passing the time taking photos of each other and a school of fish that were hanging out around us. All too soon however we were back on the surface, climbing out and chattering to one another about how marvelous the dive was, waiting to get back into the water for another beautiful blue dive.

After our surface interval, we were off to Paseo del Cedral. Alex told us that this was a good site to see big critters, so I grabbed my camera and splashed in. Another drift dive and the current was ripping! We weren’t even to the bottom and we were being swept off along the reef, with little opportunity to break and take photos. As soon as we were down, we came across these massive stoplight parrot fish, just MASSIVE though. I guess that is the benefit of being in a Marine Reserve – you can just get huge. Its mouth, however, looked like a mola mola, always open. So far, big critters – check!

But soon enough we saw it – a sweet turtle hunkered down in the reef having a snack, its beautiful head tucked down into the reef, massive French angel fish at its side. Kicking hard to keep in place, I took two photographs before letting the turtle continue its lunch. Off we go down the reef, when I look up and see one of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen on a dive. This amazing turtle is swimming above us and, as if on queue, it dives down towards the bottom, swimming towards me as I am fumbling with my camera, all the while trying to think of whether I should take video or stills! Such grace that I could only aspire to, I swam along dive of it, against current for a few minutes, just in awe of the sheer magnitude of the moment.

The reefs here are beautiful. Skimming along the tops of the reef, I stay high in order to avoid a shortened dive from running out of no-Deco time, dropping down when Alex (Dorian) signaled something found – a nurse shark, lobsters, toad fish, trigger fish – heck, who am I kidding. I rode the line of deco diving (but didn’t cross) on that dive because there were just so many things to look at. Stunning sand dollars poking out of the sandy floor, Christmas tree worms, juvenile French angels, amazing corals and sponges, groupers, squirrelfish, etc. It was a beautiful dive and a really nice high note to end the week of diving on.

On the boat, I packed my gear quietly. Our DM (Alex Dorian) asked if I were okay. The answer was yes, but sad. I didn’t want to think that it was my last day of diving – it almost made me cry. I was so enjoying myself that I simply did not want to stop. It was incredibly difficult to walk off the boat and say goodbye to the crew members who we had chatted with the entire week, gotten to know, and a DM that we had shared such amazing experiences with and had become quite good friends with. It was hard, but I know I can always go back. So thank you. Thank you Mark for being a good buddy (except when you had the camera! J ), to Lisa for being an amazing friend, a happy and excited buddy and to Sue and Vince for tagging along and being enjoyable, friendly and caring buddies and newfound friends. A warm and very heart-felt thanks for Alex “Dorian” Salas who made our trip a marvelous success. Without you, it just would not have been as magical as it ended up being. Mil gracias!

Dive #73 – Thursday, 7/3/08 – Punta Sur / Devil’s Throat – Cozumel, Mexico. 9:10 AM. Max depth 132 feet, average depth 66 feet. Bottom time 34 minutes. Water temp 82°, vis approximately 50-60 feet. Surface interval – 1 hour, 9 minutes.

Dive #74 – Thursday, 7/3/08 – Paseo de Cedra – Cozumel, Mexico. 10:54 AM. Max depth 67 feet, average depth 43 feet. Bottom time 48 minutes. 500 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 83 °, vis approximately 60-75 feet.

Favorite Photo of the Day:

Turtle on the Reef

July 2nd, 2008: Cozumel Night Dive – Paradiso Reef

We decided that we’d do a night dive while down there. We left from Caleta in a small motorboat with just the right amount of space for all 5 of us. Unfortunately Lisa was experiencing some ear troubles and didn’t want to push it in light of her desire to dive Devil’s Throat the following day, so just Susan, Vincent, Mark and I would be doing the dive along with our DM. We went to Paradiso Reef, which is just off the shore from Caleta where we had previously snorkeled. We received our dive briefing and soon we were splashing down.

Given that all of my night dives have been in the low viz of Monterey, I really wasn’t prepared for just how good our dive would be. Immediately upon descending, I was simply amazed by the visibility around us. We could see divers in the distance, their presence given away only by their lights that we could see were darting all over the reef like a sci-fi movie. It was amazing. Mark and I stayed toward the back of the group, intermittently turning off our primary lights in order to bask in the darkness and experience the dive in a bit more darkness. It was stunning. I really was so thoroughly amazed by the dive.

The dive lasted 71 minutes for me as I was the last diver down with our DM. Mark and Susan were down for about 65 minutes. It was astonishing. We saw sea snakes, sleeping parrot fish, rays skating along the bottom. What I wish I could remember is the name of the weird, long, thick worm-like critter that, according to our DM, are attached at one end to the reef, but that come out at night and feed on the reef. They were eerie, but amazing that things like that are “present” during the day but hidden. Of course we saw octopus along the dive, I believe that there were three of them in total. One fairly large one that entertained me as it tried to find safety in the reef, changing greenish whenever my light hit it. While I am a little bit intimidated by them (don’t really know why), I found it very intriguing to just rest in the water column and watch what I consider one of the most amazing sea critters. But what really struck me were the King crabs. One of the crabs was on the edge of the reef, hanging out, giant claws picking off bits of something, tenderly moving his claw back to his mouth, eating. I probably could have stayed there the entire night and he didn’t seem to mind.

In the end, I had about 550 PSI but thought that the other divers might want to go back so the DM and I headed to the surface just by the boat. It was an amazing dive and I can’t stop smiling as I think about it even now.

Dive #73 – Wednesday, 7/2/08 – Paradiso Reef - Cozumel, Mexico. 7:59 PM. Max depth 43 feet, average depth 32 feet. Bottom time 71 minutes (longest dive!). 550 PSI at end of dive. Water temp holding fast at 82°, night dive.

July 2nd, 2008: Cozumel Diving Day 4 РWreck C-53 (Felipe Xicot̩nanti) & Punta Tunich

Day four of our diving adventure on Cozumel and we were really looking forward to diving the wreck of Felipe Xicoténanti, or the C-53. After our briefing, we were asked whether or not we would want to penetrate, and our DM explained that there is a guide wire through the wreck that could be followed in case of separation or darkness. Despite our limited exposure to wreck penetration, I was not at all concerned about entering the wreck. Soon we were off, down the anchor line to the front of the wreck. Continuing our descent along the side of the hull, we swam to the propeller where photos were taken. Moving along to the other side of the wreck, we received the signal questioning / indicating our entry time. After all five of us indicating that we were okay, we swam into the wreck.
I guess I wasn’t sure what kind of penetration we’d be doing because I didn’t expect that we’d be inside the wreck for as long as we were. I was amazed when we cruised around the first deck, through room after room, connected by twisting, dark passages. Then, we were at the base of a flight of stairs, following Alex Dorian up them. On the next deck, the air bubbles from the divers behind were leaking through the holes in the floor. Soon, however, we were headed out to the back deck, exposed to the open water. Off the back deck, we descended to the sand where we found a huge cucumber under a sea rod. Back towards the wreck, we stopped to admire some brittle stars clinging to the side of the hull, beautiful in their contrasting colors to that of the wreck. Then there was a coral formation where our DM pointed out a lovely Spotted moray (Gymnothorax moringa) peeking out of the formation. Soon we all noticed that it was time for us for us to begin our ascent up the anchor line to the boat. Hanging out on the anchor line doing my safety stop, I hung horizontally watching the divers on the wreck below. So relaxed, I continued my safety stop for about another 5 minutes just to relax and off-gas a little more while enjoying the scenery.

On board we began our surface interval and then geared up for the second dive of the day which would be at Punta Tunich. This time we would be letting our dive buddy Susan use the camera since her SeaLife wasn’t cooperating at depth, despite our best efforts to figure out what was going on with it. It ended up being a lovely drift dive, cruising over the sloping reefs past fans, fronds and sponges. Soon enough we encountered a small turtle cruising along the reef accompanied by some large French and Gray angel fish. Also along the reef were Queen angels, large Stoplight Parrotfish, even one that Susan caught peeking out from under a ledge – too cute! Under larger ledges, tons for grunts hung out, allowing for close interaction with them. We even found what I called “Lobster Ledge” – an area, out of the current – about 4 or 5 of them, hanging out in the crevices, antlers poking out at us. Then as we swam desperately against the current, we found to huge lobsters climbing across the top of the reef. They were just amazing – huge in size and, while conscious of our presence, almost fearless in their journey across the reef. Truly amazing. At the end of our dive, we were visited by both a trigger fish and a electric blue file fish who let us get quite close to him before the current pulled us apart.

Dive #70 – Wednesday, 7/2/08 – C-53 Wreck – Cozumel, Mexico. 8:33 AM. Max depth 71 feet, average depth 55 feet. Bottom time 49 minutes. 500 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 82°, viz approximately 50-60 feet. Surface interval – 1 hour 1 minute.

Dive #71 – Wednesday, 7/2/08 – Punta Tunich – Cozumel, Mexico. 10:24 AM. Max depth 67 feet, average depth 46 feet. Bottom time 44 minutes. 650 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 82°, viz approximately 70-80 feet.

Favorite Photo of the Day:
Turtle (taken by Susan)

July 1st, 2008: Cozumel Diving Day 3 – Santa Rosa & Tormentos Reef

Day 3 of diving and I was loving it! The first thing we saw as we started our first dive of the day at Santa Rosa was a huge Goliath Grouper, trying to hid (unsuccessfully) under some sea rods. Soon we were headed off along the site, ducking under swim throughs that reminded Mark and I off the ski slopes of Tahoe. All over the walls of the reef were tiny fish flitting in and out of the reef – beautifully going about their business as we drifted by, taking in the scenery. The dive ended all too soon and soon we were about to begin our descent. Before we were able to head up, a blue tang past by me quickly, just barely was I able to snap a photo of him.

After our surface interval, we were headed to Tormentos Reef. Tormentos is another beautiful site – long flat sections, covered in sponges, rods and brain corals. A ray accompanied by a fish sad tenderly on the bottom. The reefs were, again, just teeming with life – small fish all over the reef including Sergeant majors, four-eye butterfly fish, Queen angel fish, and, as always, grunts. Perhaps my favorites, however, were the Sergeant majors who just were everywhere! Almost everywhere you’d look they’d be hanging out, almost checking out the scene.

As we crossed through a sandy bit over the top of the reef, we were greeted by a whole school of yellow tail jacks, traveling through the area. They were amazing – watchful of us, they swam right past, leaving me feeling completely awestruck.

Tormentos was a beautiful dive site. The expansive vistas were amazingly gorgeous. Combined with the water clarify, I was just amazed. I could have stayed down for the entire day.

Dive #68 – Tuesday 7/1/08 – Santa Rosa Wall – Cozumel, Mexico. 8:45 AM. Max depth 81 feet, average 54 feet. Bottom time 44 minutes. 660 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 82°, vis approximately 60-75 feet. Surface interval – 50 minutes.

Dive #69 – Tuesday, 7/1/08 – Tormentos Reef – Cozumel, Meixco. 10:20 AM. Max depth 54 feet, average 43 feet. Bottom time 44 minutes, 750 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 82 °, vis approximately 50-80 feet.

Favorite Photo of the Day:

Yellowfin Jacks

June 30th, 2008: Cozumel Diving Day 2 – Colombia Deep & Punta Dalila

Colombia Deep is one of those sites that you just shouldn’t miss. It is deep, beautiful and fully of life and beauty. It was my birthday so I was really happy that we were going to be doing such an awesome site. After Lisa announced the fact that it was my birthday and the boat sang to ring it in – we were splashing down into the blue. Swim throughs left us on beautiful overhangs, covered in lovely sponges and soft corrals. There were tons of elkhorn coral covered in tiny blue fish just swimming in and out of the coral.

For our surface interval, we headed back to a pier that was covered in conch shells. Pulling up to the dock, I decided I’d dive off the deck and then swim to the shore instead of walking over the beach and getting all sandy. However, while I stood on the end of the pier, the discussion turned to how deep the water was, how much caution I should use if I jumped, I shouldn’t dive, etc. While contemplating the merits of my decision, Alex Dorian, our DM, ran up behind me and grabbed me, both of us splashing into the water below. It was fantastic. We kicked back to the shore where Alex Dorian went back to the boat and I joined Mark and Lisa who were engaged in a conversation in the shallows with another group of divers, also from the San Francisco area.

Soon, however, it was time to head back on the boat and heading off to Punta Dalila for our second dive of the day. The site itself is lovely with a slight to moderate current taking you over lovely reef patches with outcroppings and overhangs onto sandy patches. There were lovely anemone covered in yellow and black fish contrasting in color to the green and blue of the anemone as they swam around the area.

One of my favorite things about this site was the amazing number of Honeycomb cowfish that were all over the site. The first one I encountered was hiding behind some thick sea rods. I slowed myself down, trying to hid behind the other side of the rods; letting the cowfish grow accustomed to me, making him/her comfortable enough to peek out from behind the rods. Sure enough, in a few seconds, its curiosity got the best and it started inching out from behind the frond, the entire time with one of its eyes trained upon me.

But this wasn’t the only encounter with these beautifully odd fish. Between and under ledges, there were groups of them intermingled with Rock Beauties and other fish. They were so adorable and curiously nervous. It felt really special have such close encounters with these lovely fish. We were even able to see a nurse shark hiding under a ledge. An amazing site that I felt really fortunate to have been able to dive on my birthday!

Dive #67 – Monday 6/30/08 – Colombia Deep – Cozumel, Mexico. 9:02 AM. Max depth 96 feet, average depth 46 feet. Bottom time 46 minutes. 600 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 83°, vis approximately 60-70 feet. Surface interval 1 hour.

Dive #68 – Monday, 6/30/08 – Dalila – Cozumel, Mexico. 10:48 AM. Max depth 56 feet, average depth 41 feet. Bottom time 60 minutes. 800 PSI at end of dive. Water temp 82°, vis approximately 70-80 feet.

Favorite Photo of the Day:

Cowfish hiding.