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Cozumel Day 2: Palancar Bricks & Paso del Cedral February 9, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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There’s no day 1 post yet, but today is day 2 so it’s fresher in my mind. The boat arrived almost exactly at 8:30. They’re getting prompter, probably because the four people I’m diving with, Tom, Debbie, Stephanie and the other guy whose name I forgot don’t make them wait at the harbour. We’ve been diving the reefs near the Occidental Grand as usual, including Palancar Bricks and Paseo del Cedral. The latter ends just a little north of the hotel, and the boat ride back is about 5 minutes.

I have no pictures for today as the camera wouldn’t turn on. I don’t know if that’s because it was damp (which it didn’t seem to be), or if I installed the battery incorrectly, or if the battery discharged in the charger because it wasn’t plugged in. A disappointment nonetheless. The camera is working fine now and I’ll investigate the battery position a little later. I didn’t think that it could be installed improperly.

The second problem I had was that I forgot my computer. That was a little more serious. I had my watched so the procedure is to revert to tables in this case. So, dear readers, that’s what I advise you to do. Naturally I didn’t do this myself, I was simply a little more conservative on depth than the others, trying not to be deeper at any time,  and did a longer safety stop. On the first dive, I did 2 minutes at 20 and 3 at 15, and on the second 3 minutes at 20 and 5 at 10. That should have taken care of things, but it’s rough guesswork all the same.

On the first dive to Palancar Bricks I had a lot of trouble with my right ear. The usual procedure of ascending a few feet didn’t work, so I just maintained a depth a few feet above the pain threshold for a couple of minutes and let it work itself out. Finally it opened up and I was able to clear and descend with the others, eventually to 96 feet.

The current was moving northward swiftly today, although not faster than I could swim. Both dives, but especially the second one on Paso del Cedral were on a sandy bottom with coral outcroppings. There were numerous swim throughs on both dives and the team seemed pretty good at getting through them without hitting the coral more than once or twice. It can be pretty hard to do in the current and takes some concentration and contortionism to avoid striking the coral with a fin.

One of the benefits of my ear problem was that I saw a nice big sea turtle at a depth of only 20 or 30 feet nestled in the corals. The others were too deep to see him at that point. He even turned obligingly toward me as I whipped out my camera. That’s when I discovered it didn’t work, which was a shame as it would have been a good shot in the brighter shallow water. There were a few other interesting sea creatures to be seen, including a large lobster resident in one of the swim-throughs which was surprisingly out in the open and not looking happy to see us.

The second dive on Paso del Cedral was in a swifter current than the first. There are less swim throughs and more individual stands of coral. It’s fun to observe the way the current flows around the coral, and if you are getting ahead of the group you can just exhale as you pass one and drop down behind it sheltered from the current. There were many Barracuda on this dive, just hanging about lazily as they usually do. We also saw some of the giant Blue Parrot fish that frequent the area, some massive Grouper, and I caught a glimpse of a huge green moray, that swam out of sight as we passed overhead.

Our surface interval was at the same place a yesterday, a beach with some ruined construction of I don’t know what, right next to a resort hotel. The other divers elected to go over to the resort and have a (non-alcoholic) drink, while I stayed by myself among the ruins, filled out my log book, and communed with nature. Nature today was offering an Iguana sunning itself nearby.

All in all a very efficient diving day, and I was back on the hotel beach by 12:15.

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1. Cozumel Wrap Up « Chronicle of an older diver - March 21, 2009

[…] Cozumel Day 2: Palancar Bricks & Paso del Cedral […]

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