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Cozumel Day 4: San Juan Reef March 6, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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The second dive of the day on February 11th, 2009 after our spectacular Spotted Eagle Ray encounter at Cantarell Reef, was at nearby San Juan Reef, beginning quite close to shore north of the town of San Miguel. It was a fast moving dive in the strong currents found in the north-western side of Cozumel, and relatively shallow with a maximum depth of 59 feet.

The bottom was sandy with lots of coral formations, which provided a good way to get out of the current by dropping down behind them. Using breath control is a great way to conserve air in this situation by timing exhalation to begin a few seconds before reaching the point where you want to descend, then exhaling completely and leaving the lungs empty for a few seconds to achieve negative buoyancy to descend without having to kick. Yes, this breaks the #1 rule of never holding your breath, but with near empty lungs it would be much more difficult (probably not impossible though under extreme conditions) to get a lung expansion injury. CO2 buildup is another potential issue, but a short interval of total exhalation once in a while should do no harm.

Despite these intervals of relatively calm, I didn’t have many opportunities to take good photographs. A lobster, an arrow crab, a half-obscured green moray and a turtle were all that I caught on camera, along with a short video of a puffer.

cozd4b-lobster

It was a good dive, although not a great one. The fast currents are fun but after a while it becomes a bit monotonous unless there are things to see. As my trip to Cozumel progressed, I found more and more that I wanted to spend time looking at the reef more closely and trying to identify different types of fish, which increased my overall enjoyment of the dives. The gift shop at the hotel was selling plastic cards with pictures and names of the local fish, which I found handy for the second half of the trip.

I liked the contrast of the Turtle against the sandy bottom

I liked the contrast of the Turtle against the sandy bottom

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

[…] Cozumel Day 4: San Juan Reef […]

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