Friday, July 25, 2008

July 2nd, 2008: Cozumel Diving Day 4 – Wreck C-53 (Felipe Xicoténanti) & 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)

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