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Cozumel, Mexico : Trip Report
Cozumel Dive Log
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Cozumel

Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Mexico's Yucutan Peninsula. The resort towns of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are just across the water on the mainland. The island has only one main town San Miguel on the north side of the island with the airport just north of town.

There are quite a few small, quaint hotels in town, but most tourists stay at the larger resorts that stretch from just south of town to several miles down away. There are also several resorts north of the island. Most divers stay south of town as that's where the majority of the dive sites are.

The town includes many, MANY shops mostly catering to the cruise ship crowd. You'll find that prices seem to go up as there are more ships in town. I've personally seen as many as six huge cruise ships between the two docks!! On the plus side San Miguel has many very good and reasonably priced restaurants and tons of dive shops.

This is my third visit to Cozumel in about a year and a half. I was reluctant but came anyway since a couple friends from Chicago and a bunch of people from California that we met in Cozumel the previous year were going. Jimmy even made up a bunch of T-shirts for the occasion. The logo of which is above. I certainly wasn't disappointed but I found few things surprised me. I enjoy the adventure of going to new places and enjoying new experiences. I'll be back, but probably not for a couple years.

We chose to stock up on snacks and things we forgot at home at the Chedraui department store south of town. It is located on the main north-south street immediately across the street from the Plaza Las Glorias resort. At Chedraui you'll find groceries, a pharmacy, clothes, and just about any other general product you might need. Prices are quite reasonable compared to the USA.

One of the things I like most about Cozumel is the restaurants. There are several very good ones. Our personal favorites are:

Getting to/from Cozumel

Very easy to get to. There are many charter flights from major US cities that fly directly into Cozumel. Continental Airlines has a daily flight between Houston and Cozumel, which is how we got there. There are also regular flights to nearby Cancun and there is a commuter flight between Cozumel and Cancun almost hourly. It's a small but easy airport to get around and flights seem to arrive and take off more or less on time.

Costa Club Cozumel

Once again we decided to stay at the Costa Club Cozumel (formerly known as the Fiesta Inn) because it's clean and comfortable, close enough to town to walk, and we've been here before. The hotel seemed pretty much the same as our visit last year. The only difference was that prices of food in the on-site restaurants compared to the last time we were here when it was still the Fiesta Inn. The Costa Club had an all-inclusive package that seemed expensive so we opted not to take it and just get meals on our own. For lunch and dinner this worked out great as there are tons of great restaurants in town. If we didn't have time, we just ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we made after a visit to Chedraui. Yummy. But breakfast was a different story. There wasn't much time to go into town for breakfast and still make it back to the Costa Club dock by 8:15 when the boats started arriving. Their breakfast buffet was something like US$11.00 per person!!! I usually opted for their "Generous Breakfast" for around US$7.00 which was plenty of food.

I took some pictures of the resort. The courtyard/pool area was very nice but we didn't use it at all. One night we had dinner at the hotel on the beach where we hung out and watched the sun set. The rest of the below pictures where while we hung out in the lobby.
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Don brought an Ikelite camera and took a few pictures above and below water as well. His pictures are available on Yahoo! Photos at the following URL:

http://photos.yahoo.com/dthomas_sd

The Diving

Once again we used Dive Paradise as our dive shop. They weren't bad as usual but now that we're more experienced we found them a bit too paranoid for our taste. Lily and I were almost always the last ones out of the water, usually after being repeatedly asked to surface by the divemaster.

The diving in general was very good but the reefs are in most cases not as nice as the ones in Roatan. The colors weren't as vibrant, the sponges were certainly MUCH smaller. We did see some Black Coral this time which I didn't see any last time. We also didn't see any sharks at all on this trip to Cozumel. My previous two trips here I saw a pair of Nurse Sharks on each trip, although my friends who dove in a different group one day did see one Shark off in the distance. All my dives are logged in a fair amount of detail in my dive log. A few of my favorite pictures below the water are also below.
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One of the several Juvenile Spotted Drums we saw on this trip.
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More: Dive 67

I was really happy with this picture of a French Angelfish.
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More: Dive 69

The Splendid Toadfish.
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More: Dive 72

Another Black Grouper was passing nearby.
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More: Dive 73

Once again Mark makes faces at me.
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More: Dive 73

Here somebody is playing with a spiny ball, no wait, that's a puffed up Pufferfish.
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More: Dive 78

I was really happy to have some underwater video made of our group on a couple dives. The video is available in QuickTime and Real Video formats on dives 76 and 77.

As seems to be typical for spring in Cozumel there were a lot of jellyfish around. They were mostly swarms of tiny Thimble Jellyfish but I did also see quite a few other kinds as well. Unfortunately Lily got stung by some. She didn't know she got it until after she got out of the water. She wore a full-length wetsuit plus a hood so she got stung on the only exposed flesh, her cheeks!!! There was another diver at our hotel who got stung really bad. The whole lower half of his face as well as his neck were all red and puffy. After that happened he decided to not dive any more. We also heard that if you're allergic to bee stings you're more likely to have a reaction to Jellyfish stings than if you're not. The rest of our group dove through the same water but only Lily got stung. Anyway, a couple pictures are below.
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What are these critters?

The underwater animal life was so diverse that I found several critters I couldn't identify. I do have the Paul Humann series of books on Caribbean fish, coral and creatures. I couldn't positively identify these. Please E-mail me if you know what these are. Thanks.

The first thing I saw that I couldn't positively identify is some sort of critter that appears to be yellow or orange and has long feathery "fingers" coming out from under a sponge or coral. There are a couple different pictures of hopefully the same type of animal below. Please E-mail me if you know what this is.

Answer: Thanks to everyone who responded! The consensus appears to be that this is a type of Crinoid (a.k.a, Feather Star). It's an very primitive animal related to the Starfish that hides most of the time in the reef with only it's arms out to feed. I also found this page called Crinoid Creatures that has lots of cool pictures of and more info about the Crinoid.
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More: Dive 69

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More: Dive 76

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More: Dive 79

The second one is just some sort of soft coral. This too I couldn't positively identify the exact type. Please E-mail me if you know what it is. Unfortunately I only have this one picture.

Answer: Thanks to everyone who responded! This is probably some sort of deep water Gorgonian.
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More: Dive 70


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