Cozumel Trip Report…. June 14-21st 2001

DAY 1- Thursday, June 14

Air Travel:

Left Colorado Springs at 4:30am driving up to DIA, arrive early, check-in with Apple Vacations, all goes smoothly. Board the plane (Allegro Airlines charter 727) and leave the ground at 8:15am heading for Cozumel!!! Arrive at noon, but of course our bags were the last off and then we got the RED light. Ugghh. Ron had zip ties on each bag and she made us open every one. So by the time he had found his pocket knife, cut the ties, open bags, close bags, almost everyone had left the airport. We stroll over to the Avis counter, dragging way too many bags (note: next year pack lighter!!) and wait to get the car. Finally, about 20 minutes later load up the Nissan 4-door (which had A/C but we didn't use it all week) and head for check in at Casa del Mar.


We were staying at Casa del Mar, package deal with Apple Vacations, cheap and great location… just one long block south of PapaHogs, our dive shop and one long block north of La Ceiba where we planned several shore dives. It is the perfect location for us. Front desk wants to show us several rooms… first one is the basic hotel room, but no balcony for drying dive gear. Then they show us a large suite which is $15 more per night. It is on the first floor and bigger but we say no thanks. Next they take us to 3rd floor for an oceanview room, also $15 more per night but 30% less if we pay cash. We decide on this one since we can see the ocean and there is a great balcony for drying gear. We pay cash so it was only $74 total for the seven nights. Well worth the upgrade!!! We return to the front desk to finish paperwork and haul all those bags (ditto note above… pack lighter next year!!) and we are informed that they don't have our breakfast buffet vouchers yet but will bring them up later. The rooms are basic hotel rooms, two double beds (smaller than our queen back home but okay for us), a small tv set, and a clean bath with large shower stall. There is also a lockbox in the room for keeping your valuables. Nothing fancy for sure, but we are here to dive dive dive.

We quickly unpack and head to Papa Hogs Scuba Emporium to check in. We dove with them last year and had a blast so we booked a week with them again this year. We meet with Jorge who is managing the shop while Mike and Margaret are on a 2 week vacation to Europe (now we know what people who live in Paradise do on vacation). Jorge has everything set for us for the week and we ask if Ken and Candy (from this board) have check-in yet. He says yes and we ask to be on the same boat with them in the morning. Jorge switches things around quickly for us and we are set!!! We sit down at Hogtown Café and have a light snack since it is getting close to dinner time. Two Sols, two sodas, a Chicken nachos plate = $13.50. Great food, and the beer tastes so much better sitting at a table in Paradise watching the dive boats come in!!!! (sigh!!!) Nice to be back in Cozumel.


After the snack we head downtown to stroll around and get reacquainted with Cozumel. We stop for dinner at Los Dorados de Villa right at the square for dinner. None of us are hungry yet but we are meeting Ken and Candy, Cervezaleo, and others from the board at the Mini-golf 7pm so we need to go ahead and eat. Tiffany decides to be daring and order something new.. Breaded Conch, Ron gets the Chicken with mushrooms, and I order Green Enchiladas, 2 teas and a soda = $32.50. Very good price and the food was good also. Tiffany loves the conch!!! For those of you with teenage daughters who can be picky eaters you know what a thrill this is for us. As we are eating a procession of children dressed in white carrying icons from the church pass by followed by hundreds of townspeople singing.


After dinner we window shop a bit and head to the mini-golf. We are the first to arrive so we order a few drinks and sit and wait. Ken and Candy arrive next. What fun people!!! We hit it off right away and chat for awhile… no one else arrives. We decide to go ahead and start the golf and mention to Scott that we were planning to meet Leo. Scott offers to call his hotel for us and the next thing you know we have him on the phone… he had just returned from afternoon diving and wasn't even dressed yet. I told him to get his butt over since we wanted to meet him (we have been chatting on this board for over a year and still hadn't met). We go ahead and start the game and sure enough Leo arrives!!!

And what a great guy!!! He told us about all his adventures the previous week doing his Dive Master course, all the diving, etc. It was so much fun finally meeting and talking to him about diving since all five of us are all relatively new to the sport. We order a few more drinks from the walkie-talkies, take pictures, and it is time to run back to the hotel. By the way, the mosquitos about carried me and Tiffany away that night… they were horrendous!!! And of course our bug spray was back at the hotel. Lol

We say goodnight to all, head for the Chedraui for bottled water, sodas, beer, etc. for the room then off to Casa del Mar for sleep.

DAY 2 - Friday, June 15

We are all up at 6am and dressed with a bit of encouragement. The breakfast buffet (free with our package) opens at 7am so we head down to the front desk to inquire about our vouchers. The lady at the desk tells us they are in our room. We tell her no they aren't. Now she gets mad and starts speaking in Spanish to other employees and tells Ron to go look again. Ron goes up the 3 floors again (no elevator) and looks around. He comes back down and says 'no vouchers' to which she tells us that she put them in our room last night at 10pm. We tell her that she couldn't have since we were IN our room at 10pm. She then says she slipped them under the door and we need to look again. Okay, now Ron is about to jump over the counter and slap her… he storms out and up the stairs again, 3 floors of stairs, back down… no vouchers. While he is gone she turns to the guy next to her and calls Ron a "stupid gringo" loud enough for me to hear. Ron informs her that we are going over to eat at the buffet and it better be free. She says it will be. We walk in and the waiter asks for the voucher. We explain to him but he says we must have voucher….. Aagggghhh!!! We go back towards the lobby and the guy from behind the counter stops us and goes back with us. He explains to the waiter and we are allowed in. The breakfast buffet consists of fruit, juices, waffles, sausage, cereal, etc. and a cook to prepare your eggs for you. It is actually a very nice setup. We eat and sign the bill and Ron writes on it "FREE" and hands it back to waiter. We are not sure what is going to happen over this but I hope it isn't going to get uglier than it already is!!! We bring down the dive gear and hop in the car and head to PapaHogs.


Since none of us have been in the ocean for awhile we ask for some shallow easy reefs to get accustomed today. Raul is our DiveMaster for the trip and there are only the five of us: Ken, Candy, Ron, Tiffany, and me.

Chankanaab: 46' max depth, 33 minutes, vis 100'

This is my first ocean dive with my new Ikelite Auto35 camera and I am very excited about being able to take pictures of everything. We are all sucking air on this dive we are so excited. It is so beautiful, mild current, lobsters, lobsters, and mega-lobsters everywhere.

It seemed as if every overhang had a lobster or huge grouper under it. We see crabs, grunts, blue chromis, parrotfish, trunkfish, filefish, squirrelfish everywhere. The colors are so bright and more beautiful than we remembered. What a great first dive but we all need to do better on our air!!!
gorgeous sponges

Paradise: 35' max depth, 44 minutes, vis 60-70'

Visibility wasn't as good as first dive and current a little stronger. Still a great dive and as we reach the end of dive, Raul heads over to a sandy area and starts look around. Ron and Tiffany know what this means and they join him… sure enough: Seahorses. We find 3 of them. This is too amazing!!! Our first day of diving and we see lobsters the size of a German Shepherd and now we find seahorses!!! Of course I am out of film before we get to the seahorses. Oh well, Great dive!!

We arrive back at the dock by 11:30am, unload the gear and head straight for the Hogtown Café for lunch. The special is fish and chips, Ron & Tiffany both order that and I go for the grilled chicken breast sandwich. Three teas and lunch = $22. Great food. I wish they were open for dinner, too!! And guess what we find sitting next to our bed when we arrive back to the hotel….. Vouchers!!! We pack up the dive gear again and head over to La Ceiba hotel to do the shore dive to the airplane.

La Ceiba Airplane: 32' max depth, 16 minutes, vis 100'

By the time we drag all the gear out to the pier and get set up I am tired already. This has been a busy day and it is only 2:44pm and we are ready for our third dive. Tiffany decides not to dive, she is too tired. So Ron and I rent the tanks at the Del Mar Aquatics shop, $5 each and give them our C-Cards to hold until we return. We climb down the stairs and fight the surge getting our fins on. I decide not to bring the camera this time and I am glad once we get in the water. The current is incredible and heading south, away from the plane which is just northwest of the roped-off snorkel area!!! We kick our way out to the spot where the plane should be and finally see it. Wow. It is bigger than I expected and the pieces are strewn over a large patch. Fish are everywhere, large and small. There is some coral in the area but mostly sandy bottom and wreck debris. Very cool but the current isn't cooperating with me. I kick and kick and I am standing still. I finally kick my way upstream from the wreck and drift past it in a matter of seconds. I try to circle around again but my legs are tired and I am ready to go. Ron is busy doing his mapping assignment for his DM and is having no problem with the current. Ron sticks his head under the wreck and a huge parrotfish comes out and scares him back. It then quickly disappears under the wreck again. Ron looks over at me to see if I saw it. Yes, I did, and yes it is the size of a Buick!!! I am pooped by now. Geez, I need bigger leg muscles and stronger fins, I guess!! I signal Ron that I want to go back in to shore, and he agrees to follow me. It was a short dive but very enjoyable. Ron says he has great stuff for his map already. We will be back!!

Back to the hotel we go, toting dive gear back up 3 flights of stairs. We are going to be burning some calories this week just carrying around the gear!!! We shower and change for dinner and walk across the street to Ernesto's new oceanfront location. (They have moved directly across the street from their old location but now it is 2 story so you can sit and see the ocean as you eat.) It is only 5pm but we are all starving. We order a couple of margaritas and Tiff orders soda and shrimp fajitas, vegie quesadillas for me, and beef/chicken fajitas for Ron for dinner. Food is awesome as usual. The magies (which arrive in 12 oz. Cups) are very strong and by the time I finish the first one the waiter arrives with another for each of us. I tell him that we didn't order those and he replies it is Happy Hour - 2 for 1. Aggghh, I am starting to get snockered and he is giving me another one!???!!! I take two sips and I am ready to start dancing on the table…. Okay, I don't drink much, but these things are strong. An order of Key Lime Pie and three forks, bill comes to $51. Great food, just like we remembered and now you can sit and watch the sunset from your table!!! Ernesto's south location is our favorite restaurant, I think. After dinner I know I need to walk off the drinks so we strolled down the street window shopping all the way to La Ceiba. We stop in the photo shop and talk to the owner awhile, then back down the other side of the street to our hotel. It is so gorgeous and we watch the sunset over the water from the hotel pier then head back to the room. We watch a bit of tv then early to bed.

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DAY 3 - Saturday, June 16

After breakfast at the hotel buffet (using our vouchers) we head over to PapaHogs where we are greeted by Ken and Candy again. The boat is loaded and we are off by 8am. Divers: Ken, Candy, Ron, Tiffany, me and James (a guy just in town for 2 days of diving). Our DM for today is Enrique, our boat is "Brain Damage". Enrique asks us where we went the day before and where we want to go… we decide on Palancar Gardens and Paseo de Cedral. < >

Palancar Gardens: 72' max depth, 35 minutes, 80' vis

This was our first time doing Palancar and it was spectacular. We did swim-through after swim-through over and under and around. We stayed under 70' since Tiff is a Junior Aow and that is supposed to be her limit. It was great. I took the camera along and shot a whole roll of 24 just at this reef!! I did notice that there aren't as many fish here (some large grouper, a spotted eel, barracuda, and snapper). Enrique told me later on the boat it is due to so many divers. We got there at 8:52am so we were the first ones there and yet we still saw several other groups coming right behind us all the way. Sponges and coral were magnificent!! One swim-thru Enrique motioned me to come first, and as I stuck my head up into the cave I saw a huge 6' nasty looking barracuda staring back at me!! He was huge!!! Biggest barracuda I have seen. I took a picture then Enrique swam up over the 'cuda and motioned us to follow… Yeah, right!!! The guys looked at each other "you go" "no, you go", finally they gave up arguing and up and in the cave they went, one at a time. We could see Enrique floating at the end of the swim-thru laughing at us. We all made it over the old boy, Tiffany riding on top of Ron's tank!!! He didn't even move, just watched us go over him. That was so scary!!!! When we got back up to the boat, Enrique laughed and told all the guys they acted like a bunch of women. It was too funny!!! < >

Paseo de Cedral: 70' max depth, 41 minutes, 50-60' vis

As we entered the water we discovered we were in the midst of millions of clear jellyfish. We all descended quickly to clear them, all but Tiff, who refused and asked Ron to take her back to the boat. He went up with her as we all waited on the bottom. While we waited, a huge nurse shark came by and over the reef… Ron and I both missed it. The others said it was 12-14' easily. As Ron joined us we swam around the reef which is not a wall but reminds me more of hills and valleys. Tons of fish of every description and size, we saw schools of fish I didn't even know school. And sure enough, another huge 12-14' nurse came out of a tunnel. I had finished the roll of film on the first dive so I didn't have the camera… Darn!!! This was my first shark in the ocean diving and I tell you I was impressed. It was so long… it just kept coming out of the cave, and coming, and coming!!! I never knew they could get that big. I would have been thrilled with a 4' shark and we get to see this dude!!! We couldn't believe how big it was, and fast. Even Enrique said it was as big as he has ever seen for a nurse shark. Ron is determined to find a Scorpionfish and right before the safety stop he finds one on the sandy bottom out in the open. As we came up for our safety stop we were once again greeted by clear jellies everywhere…. 3 minutes floating with us. I got back on the boat with several large bumps all over my arm, but by the time we got back to the dock they were all gone. I wish Tiff had gone on that dive with us. Her goal for this trip was to see a real shark and of course she stays on the boat when we see the Mother of all nurse sharks!!!! (Ahhh, but this is only day 2 of diving folks!!)

Back to the pier before noon again. Back to hotel, change, shower, and off downtown. We decide to go to Carlos N Charlies for lunch today. Ron ordered the Charcoal fish, Tiff gets the Chicken with mushrooms and 3 sauces, I order Chef Salad. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to eat salad but the menu said all vegies are sterilized and I believed them. All the food was excellent, but Tiff didn't like the sauces on the chicken - too rich. 1 Sol and 2 waters, bill came to $36. Great food. Ron's fish was the best we had all week and the salad had hard boiled eggs, ham, cheese, etc. and was huge. It really hit the spot for me, too. We found the atmosphere a bit juvenile - like the girl coming around blowing the whistle shouting "Sex on the Beach" shots. But we still enjoyed the food. We hit the stores shopping afterwards, Ron had left his sunglassses in the truck back home, Tiff wanted a new pareo, we wanted more t-shirts, etc.

Dinner we decided to try Lobster Cove and we were all disappointed. The food was very expensive and not worth it. Tiff had the Coconut Shrimp which was $19, I had Fish with coconut breading, Ron had fish and lobster, and 4 teas. Total bill was $51, food wasn't bad but wasn't worth what they charged. Tiff barely ate the shrimp because she said they were dried out and chewy. My fish was covered in sweet and sour sauce and I am not a person who likes sweet stuff (unless its chocolate). Ron's was okay but he still felt it was overpriced. Back to hotel, walked over the bridge to beach and watched the sunset over the beautiful ocean again. Another great day in Paradise!!!

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DAY 4 - Sunday June 17

Breakfast at hotel buffet again - I really like this. It is so nice to get dressed and head downstairs, pile your plate up with whatever food you want, then head out to diving. It is so convenient that we will consider this hotel next trip if we can forget about Cruela de Ville at the front desk. By the way, we heard another family complaining about the same problem with the vouchers… so this wasn't an isolated incident with us. The next day we saw them again and their vouchers had finally shown up. Seems like a problem for the hotel. But once we did get the vouchers I must say the breakfast buffet is a real selling point for this hotel to me. Off to Papa Hogs, DM Raul again and we pick Delila and Las Palmas for our dives.

Delila: 65' max depth, 40 minutes, 80' vis

Delila is a shallow slopping wall dive, current is stronger today, and we see tons of fish - grouper, filefish, trunkfish, bar jacks, angels. The fish on this reef seem larger than others so far. And 2 nurse sharks…. Yes, Tiffany got to see her sharks. I take the camera again and use most of the roll on this dive. I feel better diving with the camera this time and I think I have been sucking air because of the distraction. I am over the sandy area to the left of the reef and decide to take a shot of Tiff and Ron swimming together, and a catch out of the corner of my eye something out over the sand. 2 squid, about a foot long each swimming parallel to me. I try to signal Ron and Tiff but they are too far away. I look behind me and Ken and Candy spot them also. I am too far away for a picture, but then they move in closer to me and I decide to try to swim over close enough for a picture. I got within 15' or so of the pair and then they started to rise to the surface. I wanted to follow to get a picture but they move up too fast and are gone. I wish I had taken a shot sooner!!!! Oh well. Something I still need to work is my air consumption when I have a camera in my hands - I love photography but want to stay down as long as I can, too. Great dive.

Las Palmas: 67' max depth, 41 minutes, 50-60' vis

Another shallow wall dive with strong current, we seem to be flying this dive. More very large fish - angels seem huge at this reef.

Arrive back at pier before noon again. We ask Jorge if he has arranged the videographer for the dive for tomorrow. He says it is set. Lunch at Hogtown Café again - Tiff orders Quesadillas, Ron has the Chicken breast sandwich with fries, and I order the cheeseburger, 2 teas and a soda = $25. Today is the day we are supposed to meet Bob P. from the board and his sons at Dzul Ha. He head back to hotel, pack the snorkel gear and head out. We arrive at Dzul Ha and it is deserted. A few people are in the water but the waves are rough and it doesn't look like much fun. We sit and order waters and Sols and watch the snorkel boats as they drift by. The current looks strong still. After an hour we decide to leave (sorry Bob!!) and we head back to get dive gear. Ron and Ken decided to dive the airplane wreck together and I was planning to join them with Tiffany for awhile if the current isn't too bad. We get back to hotel to get the gear and Tiff decides she wants her hair braided by the girl down at our pool.. We head down and ask price, she says $20 so Tiff sits and I run back upstairs to tell Ron. We told Ken we would pick him and Candy up at their hotel at 4pm and it is quarter til so I tell Ron that I won't dive. Tiff and I will walk down after her hair is done and meet them at La Ceiba. When we arrive at 4:30 Ron and Ken are still on the shore. Del Mar is out of tanks and the truck has gone to pick up more. The truck arrives finally and Ken and Ron do a giant stride off the end of the pier (much better than fighting the surge on the stairs).

La Ceiba Airplane: 39' max depth, 35 minutes, vis 100'

Ron and Ken swim out to the airplane, the current was the same as the time before. Ron still has some details to add to his map of the site for his DM certification so he does that while Ken plays. Under the plane this time is not the huge parrotfish, but a huge spotted moray which was at least 7' long and a crab the size of a hubcap. Of course, no camera again, so we will just have to take their word for it!!! Several rays are circling the area, and Ron and Ken play with the dreaded attacking damsel fish. They both drain their tanks fighting the current and make it back into shore very tired.

Back to hotel, shower, change and downtown for dinner and the festival. We wanted to eat at Guido's but it was closed so we headed to Casa Denis instead. Ron and I decided to share the Mexican Platter for 2, Tiffany goes for the breaded Conch, 2 Sols, 2 sodas, 1 water = $40 including tip. Can't beat the price, hottest pico de gallo on the island, and the food is excellent. We really enjoy Casa Denis and leave too stuffed for dessert again. We start shopping and stolling the streets watching people as they arrive for the festival. Then, RAIN. This is the first rain since we have been on the island. And it rained hard… we ended up going back to hotel and again watch tv until early bedtime. Oh well. There's always the festival next time.

DAY 5 - Monday June 18

Breakfast at hotel, off to PapaHogs to meet Ken and Candy and the videographer, Bob, who is the owner of Michelle's Dive Shop. Enrique is our DM and we head out to our chosen dives. We had never done La Francesa so we opt for it first, then Chankanaab as the second dive for the tape. As we head out to the reefs we see a baby dolphin practicing jumping. He couldn't have been 2-3' long. Too cute!!! Didn't have the camera today since we had the videographer. Oh well.

La Francesa: 65' max depth, 27 minutes, 50-60' vis

Holy guacamole, the current is flying today!!! We drop in the water and whosh, we are flying like superman!!! The reef is a blur, I know that there must have been fish there, somewhere…. Bob gets shots of us descending then swims around getting shots of the fish. He spots a turtle (we never saw it) so its on the tape, then Tiff notices she is low on air (don't think she had a full tank and of course she didn't check this time) so we three head up early. As we are doing a safety stop a nurse shark comes swimming along. Short dive, not the greatest one though because of the current. Enrique says it is 3-4 knots. This would probably be a great dive if the current were slower.

Chankanaab: 45' max depth, 48 minutes, 100' vis

Second dive with the videotape and it was a joy. Current slow and easy, tons of fish, and another nurse shark but only about 7-8' this time! Nice relaxing dive. Bob told us that he thought we were all over-weighted and he wanted everyone to drop 2 lbs. for this dive. We all did and felt better with our buoyancy. We agree to meet Bob at 4:30 to view our finished tape and pay.

Back to the pier, lunch at Hogtown Café again (yes, I know we are sounding like a broken record here but it is right there at the pier and the food is good and cheap). Tiff has the Bacon and Tomato Sandwich with fries, I have Chicken Tacos, and Ron has a Chimichunga, a tea, soda, and 2 waters = $27 including the tip. Downtown to shop and cash some travelers checks at the bank, then back to hotel for early dinner before the night dive. Hotel restaurant: 2 orders quesadillas, 1 order fish and chips (not as good as PapaHogs), 3 waters = $25. Food okay and we charged to the room since we had a $50 room credit in our package deal. We load up dive gear for me and Ron for our Night Dive.

Paradise: Night Dive - 40' max, 46 minutes, vis = dark!!

Arrive at PapaHogs at 7pm for night dive. Ken, Candy, Ron, me, (Tiff decides to stay back at hotel for this one), OkieMike (from this board) and Julie (a girl from Denver who now lives in Cozumel and works at Atlantis Submarines) are the divers. Our DM was Enrique, again. We leave the dock and head out to Paradise. The current is still freaky and we can't decide if we want to dive here or go back to Chankanaab. We decide to go ahead in and see what happens. We descend and it is still twilight. The sand is white and reflects the light from above so it is not too dark. I am thinking this will be fun and I really want to see an octopus. We see the current is still pulling us along faster than we would like but we can't do anything about it really… just go with it. We see a few lobster, nothing impressive really, then a large red crab, then another, then BLAM the lights go out. It is pitch dark, nothing but flashlights flickering all around since several other dive groups are diving the same reef. The current is still whipping us along pretty swiftly and I am getting nervous. Ding, ding, ding, Enrique is banging on his tank again. It is an octopus out in the open. We all kick like crazy trying to get over to it. I am tired and getting more tired fighting this current! We keep speeding along, thought the pitch dark, now I am getting really frightened as we are basically trying to dodge coral heads and not crash into them. This is scary. Then I feel my right fin slipping off the end of my foot!!! I guess I am kicking so hard that the strap has worked its way over my heel. I catch the fin as it comes off and put it back on, tightening it down. Then I feel the left one start to do the same. Yikes!! I tighten it down before I lose it, all while trying to look around with the flashlight and dodge coral heads!!! I look at my gauges and we are nearing the 40 minute mark, that God!!! I am breathing so rapidly I am floating upward and having a hard time staying down. All the while watching Julie swim around effortlessly about a foot off the bottom looking more like a fish than a person. Gosh, I feel really stupid right now. Finally Enrique signals for safety stop and I grab Ron for dear life to hold me down for it… I feel like the Hindenburg trying to fly off!!! I look over and Candy has the same death-grip on Ken. I don't think I will be doing a night dive again for awhile!!! Back on the boat and back to the pier. Then back to the hotel to try to wind down and sleep!!!

DAY 6 - Tuesday June 19

Breakfast at hotel buffet again and off to Papa Hogs to meet Ken and Candy. Ron and Ken really want to dive Santa Rosa but Candy, Tiff, and I are a bit nervous about it since we have heard all the horror stories about crazy washing machine currents from so many people on this board. Our DM is Enrique again and he assures us we will be fine and will only go 60-70' deep. As we approach the reef area we are greeted by dolphins again… this time a mother and baby. Victor, our boat captain, stops the boat for us to take pictures. This was so cool!!!! I know this is going to be a great day of diving!!! We arrive at Santa Rosa and Tiffany chickens out at the last minute so only the four of us with Enrique jump in.

Santa Rosa Wall: 79' max depth, 37 minutes, vis 80'

As we start to descend we feel the current is strong but when we reach the wall and slip over the side the current dies down. Wow!! Santa Rosa and basically NO current. This is fantastic. We start gliding along the reef, overwhelmed by its beauty. The colorful reef is to our right, and the great blue abyss is to the left. This is by far the most beautiful dive we have ever done!! The sponges are every color in the rainbow and a few more I have never seen before. Fish are everywhere, darting in and out around us. I have the camera for this dive and Ron and I pass it back and forth getting shots…. and we shoot the whole roll before the dive is over. What a fabulous reef!!! We do several swim-throughs some of them quite tight. We have to twist and turn to make it through and we are all really sucking air doing it, but what fun!!! As we exit the last labyrinth I look down and realize that I have only 900 PSI so I ask Ron how he is doing. He is at 800 so we turn to signal Enrique and notice he is signaling for us all to go up for the safety stop. Wow!!! When we get back on the boat we are all so excited we can hardly stop talking about this reef. This is definitely Ron's and my favorite dive ever.

Tormentos: 62' max depth, 47 minutes, 80' vis

Tiffany is ready to join us for this dive especially when we tell her the current is practically non-existent today. We all descend together and sure enough - no current again. This is a beautiful dive also, may fish, lobster, grouper, etc. and since I used up all the film on the first dive you will just have to take my word for it. This dive was peaceful and calm, not a wall but more like Cedral - hills and valleys with sand in between. Very nice dive and a great way to end our boat diving for this vacation.

Lunch at Hogtown Café again and we are off downtown for shopping and dinner at Guido's. Guido's has a gorgeous patio area and we take a seat and order 2 Sols and a soda. The big puffy garlic bread tortilla arrives and it is fantastic. Ron orders the calzone, I order lasagna, and Tiff goes for the shrimp pizza. Ron says the calzone was okay, nothing special, but the lasagna and the pizza are to die for. Yum. We leave too stuffed for dessert again.

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DAY 7 - Wednesday June 20

Breakfast at the hotel again (I know this is really boring but if you plan to stay at Casa del Mar this is important). Ron and I plan to do a morning shore dive to the LaCeiba airplane again and Tiffany backs out. She wants to rest on shore under a palapa. We tote our gear over to the hotel and we arrive at 8am ready to dive. Tanks $5 each.

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La Ceiba airplane: 35' max depth, 27 minutes, vis 100'

We giant stride into the water from the pier and start swimming out to the airplane as a boat pulls into the pier. Ron signals me, a yellow stingray on the bottom! I swim over to it, right under the whirling propellers of the boat and I can see Ron screaming through his regulator. I know it's up there, I am fine, okay?? I snap a picture, then another, and he doesn't even move!!! We then swim onward towards the plane, the current is not as bad as the times before but it is still quite noticeable. When we arrive at the plane we see several other divers there checking it out also. Ron goes immediately to look for his eel but no luck. He looks for the giant crab… nada. Oh well, I take the camera and start swimming around taking pictures. For all you underwater photo buffs, this is a great place to dive!!! I had a huge parrotfish come right up and pose for me, also a huge filefish did the same. Ron went over to play with the damsel fish again and signals me to come take a picture. Fish are everywhere and the other divers have left so we are able to really enjoy circling the wreck pieces looking for interesting shots. Our last dive in Cozumel for this trip and it was again a Great dive!!!

Back to the hotel we go, pack up the cooler and towels and off we go in the car to tour the island. First stop is Mr. Sanchos. What a great place!!! It is just opening and we grab a table oceanfront and order drinks. A waiter arrives with the menu and the drinks as Tiffany and I decide to walk the beach and check everything out. This is a great beachclub with lots to do. Tiffany spots the kayak and banana boats and we ask prices. A kayak for 2 persons is $8 per hour. She runs back and tells Ron and they are off to paddle the roped off lagoon area. They have a blast. They return and we order the wings plate and nachos plate to share, and Tiffany orders a Coco Colada (a virgin pina colada), bill = $28. This is much better than I expected since there is no cover charge. We stay another hour eating and watching all the people arrive. Some cruise shippers arrive but it is still big enough of an area that it doesn't feel crowded. We decide to move on down the road and circle around the island. It is a gorgeous day and we stop at Coconuts for beer and sodas and pictures. On to Mezcallito's next where we pick up a t-shirt and more refreshments. By this time it is 3:30 and instead of stopping at San Gervasio as planned we opt to head back to hotel. Dinner we decide to try to find El Moro and it is hard to find. After driving around we stip for directions. A man on a bicycle offers to lead us there (aren't the p people of Coz great!!) and we arrive. I order Shrimp on the Wire, Ron goes for the Mexican beef tips, and Tiffany goes for Conch, again, 2 Sols, and a soda. Dinner is okay, nothing fantastic, bill = 380 pesos. Back downtown we go for one last trip through the shopping district… there are 3 cruise ships in town today and the downtown area is packed shoulder to shoulder!!! You can hardly walk down the streets. Yuck. We pick up those last few items, churros for Tiffany, lime ice cream for me, a bottle of tequila to take home, and head back to the hotel to pack. We take one last walk over the bridge and watch the sunset. Aaaahhh. Just beautiful. Home tomorrow.

Last day - Thursday June 21

Breakfast at hotel again, finish packing, then down to check out. We pack the bags up in the car and head down to Papa Hogs to see if Mike and Margaret got in from their vacation…… yeah!!!!!

We sit and chat for an hour about everything that has happened over the past year since we have seen each other and we tell them about our fabulous dives. Enrique, Raul, and Jorge took great care of us and we had a fabulous time. We say goodbye then off to the airport.

Papahogs owner's, Mike and margaret

Ron returns the car to Avis and pays with no additional charges. Plane leaves a few minutes late but we arrive back in Denver safe and sound with no major problems this time.

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A few notes:

Hotel.... Casa del Mar was okay, breakfast buffet good except for the voucher hassle, rooms okay, grounds lovely, safe iin room good, location great, only negative was service: front desk group were not that concerned with customer service and also the hotel does NOT provide bottled water which was a bit of a hassle.

Food....seemed that the prices have gone up quite a bit since last summer, is this because of cruiseshippers or normal? Service was still great at all establishments.

Diving.... Papa Hogs, excellent diving, excellent service, excellent DMs and boat captains, negatives: can't think of one. The dives: Santa Rosa = awesome! Paseo de Cedral, Delila, Chankanaab, Tormentos, LaCeiba airplane= great! Will do all of these again next time for sure!!!! Current this trip was unpredictable and stronger than we like on some days, non-existent on others. I guess that it is just the time of year for that.

Cozumel.... love the people, love the environment, love the diving. We will be back.

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What a great Vacation…….Hope you enjoyed the report. We are already planning the next trip for this winter!!! < >

Robin, Ron, & Tiffany