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2006 Scuba Diving in Cozumel, day two December 21, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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On the second day we still had high winds, with the Norte still churning up the water and making it difficult to reach the hotel dock, so Blue XT Sea Diving once again asked me to cab it up to La Caleta Marina to meet the boat, and then drive all the way back in the boat to the vicinity of the hotel again.

The first dive was to Palancar Caves, so named not because there are real caves, but plentiful swim-throughs. A friendly group of Americans were also on the boat, and most admitted to being heavy breathers, except one woman called Nora who was supposedly the easiest on air of the bunch. So based on my description of the previous days dives at an hour each they suggested I buddy up with Nora so my dive wouldn’t end early.

My American Buddies in Palancar Caves

My American Buddies in Palancar Caves

After hitting a maximum depth of 102 feet, and a little less than 40 minutes elapsed, Nora signalled me that she was low on air so we started our ascent. So much for her vaunted low air consumption. After the safety stop I emerged still with a 1000 PSI in my tank. As we were shallower nearer the end of the dive, that would have been good for another 10 or 15 minutes with 500 PSI at the safety stop. Too bad but it still a great dive.

I didn’t note the location of the second dive – probably because I didn’t hear it properly on the briefing. It was also a really nice dive with lots of sea life and a maximum depth of 59 feet. I saw Nurse Sharks, big Groupers and Lobsters, a Toadfish and got some good Turtle photographs.

The Toad Fish - A face only a diver could love

The Toad Fish - A face only a diver could love

Nora was my dive buddy once again, but based on the last dive released me from my responsibility to ascend with her. So when she ran low well before me, she signalled that she’d go up with some of the other divers and I stayed down, eventually just with our guide. After 63 minutes of bottom time, I ascended and did 4 minutes of deco and a 3 minute safety stop for a total of 70 minutes underwater – feeling like I got my money’s worth.

I love these things

I love these things

I had 500 PSI on exit. When my computer goes into deco I’ll reserve an extra 100 PSI for each 2-3 minutes of deco time on this type of dive (nice warm clear water) but I don’t like to go more than 10 minutes of deco without a backup air supply. If it’s under 10 minutes, and you can’t find a buddy to give you air, you’ve still got options. Probably I wouldn’t get bent anyway, given the conservatism of my computer. I could also surface, grab a tank and reg, and get down quickly to complete my deco, or even breathe some O2 when I got back to the boat. With the reliability of a well-maintained first stage, I feel comfortable with these self-imposed limits, even if it goes beyond recreational diving recommendations.

Once again I wasn’t back to hotel until after 3 because of the weather-induced delays. Still, it was a great day of diving – and the Blue XT Sea crew were great – and I really like the uncrowded dive boats they run, usually with 4-6 divers on board. Once the weather got better I saw the boat from the dive shop at the hotel crowded with divers. I’ve been down that route, and this was much, much, better.

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Comments»

1. Naples Scuba Diving - December 23, 2008

The long dive times with low air consumption speaks to an older diver that’s really not that old. One would have to be in decent shape and also be confident, relaxed and knowledgeable about diving to achieve such results. It may also mean that you don’t speed all over the place, your probably take your time and look at the environment at all levels. Good diving!

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