Underwater Excitement – Cozumel, Mexico

I slept alright but I was still pretty tired when I woke up as I only really got a few hours in. I ate a decent breakfast before it was time to meet up with the boys to go diving. I had been to Cozumel several times and my favorite thing to do is scuba. It is known as one of the better place in the world do practice this sport. I wasn`t sure how badly damaged things were from the hurricane a while back.

Turned out that Ali was still too sick to do any diving so it was up to John and I. We set out for the dive shop that he knew which was in near the plaza. We walked a few minutes when John realized that we had docked at the far dock and it would be much faster if we just hopped in a cab. We made it to Studio Blue dive shop where they were just getting ready to go out. What luck! We hadn`t booked in advance and were running a bit behind as many of the boats had already gone out. We quickly signed up and got fitted for our wetsuits and gear.

I chatted with some of the others who were coming on board with us. There was a couple from Spain and I practiced my very limited Spanish. There was a young lady from Japan who was traveling solo as well as another young woman who was just newly certified. On board, I met the other couple who I found out were from Fort MacMurray just hours away from me.

The sun was beating down and I felt my skin heating up in a hurry. I haven`t really spent too much time out in the sun on this trip yet so I was quite aware of my exposure. There is nothing worse than getting a burn halfway through your vacation. I surveyed the shoreline as we motored out from the marina and realized that it was still very familiar to me.

As we plowed through the not so choppy waters, I got sprayed every now and then with a salty mist. It was refreshing when I was in the sun but if I was sitting on the shady side of the boat, I began to get a shiver. I decided to slip on my wetsuit and make sure I stayed warm. Even though I should be acclimatized having wintered in Canada, I still seem to get a chill very easily.

We reached our destination and the crew went through the basics with us two by two. After the short brief, John and I checked each other, as good buddies do, and we were off. I fell back into the water and plunged a few feet under before bobbing back up to the surface. I inflated my BCD and paddled over to where the rest of the group were floating.

After getting the ok from the dive master, we made our descent down into the deep blue. It didn`t take long at all to realize that I had been on this dive before. I knew because of the steep shelf that seemed to go into the abyss. I remember when I thought I had lost my dive buddy down there and began to rehearse just what I would say to his family. Having something happen to your buddy is one of absolute guilty terror and not one I would like to relive again. I made sure to keep a close tag on John.

This first dive was relatively uneventful for me with just a few schools of brightly colored fish and some curly coral patterns. Like I said, I have been here before and it appeared not too much had changed over the years. I decided to focus more on the feeling of weightlessness and imagined how it would be to be an astronaut.

John ran out of air so we went up a little early and waited for the rest of the group. After everyone else surfaced, they handed us fresh mangos and we all dug in. The warm juicy sweetness ran down my arm as I took a big bite after peeling it. How could so much liquid be packed into such a small space? I had gotten to talking so I was the last one done eating and it was almost time to go back in.

We stopped at a shallow area where many of our group got to snorkel but they were a couple short so I didn`t get to go in. I decided to hang my legs off the side of the boat and dip my toes in the sea. I let the sun evaporate the beads of ocean off my cheeks and dry my braided hair.

The next dive location was much more lively really renewing my passion for the sport. I would glide over multicolored fish in every color of the rainbow and sunbow, if there were such a thing. I think there are things under the sea, that we cannot even try to duplicate on land and one of those things is the vast array of colors. The spectrum ranges so extensively as do the combinations in which they are presented.

We saw so much on this trip that I have a hard time remembering it all. First there were several giant crabs hiding in the darker crevices but we found them. When the dive master motioned that he had found something “big”, I kicked my flippers as hard as I could to get there quickly. When you are in this underwaterland, things can move fast and if you don`t hurry, you may miss it.

I maneuvered myself in front of the entrance to the cavern and couldn`t believe my eyes. It was four times the size of the biggest lobster I had ever seen. I had to confirm with the divemaster that it was indeed a lobster and not some mutant alien lifeform. As its long spiny legs poked the seafloor, I stared in awe at its enormous tail curled up scorpion style. I wondered how many pounds of butter one would need to devour a meal that size.

We wandered on and I got to see some other neat little rare fishes that looked like black and white angel fish. They had long wispy fins that almost looked like eels if you didn`t look closely. We saw a little ray nestled into the sand and several schools of inquisitive tropical fishes. I was super happy to have spotted all that we had and we feeling quite satisfied when suddenly…guess who?

I had kind of gone off ahead as John was still back with the group inspecting one of the previous finds. I was keeping a few feet ahead of the divermaster who was above the reef while I explored along the base. I have a habit of looking into caves and under reef formations. In the deep dark corners are where a lot of the cool stuff hides. After going up a little too far, I turned to backtrack a bit to stay closer to the group. That`s when a very large nurse shark appeared in the distance. She was moving steadily and clearly seemed to be on a bit of mission rather than a midday stroll.

Anytime I see a shark, I get excited. It doesn`t matter what kind it is but generally the bigger it is, the higher my adrenaline. This one was a good size and I guessed it to be at least a good six feet. Bigger than me. That`s all that mattered. I knew she was a friendly one but I still kept a safe distance as best I could. I waved my arms around trying to get the attention of the divermaster, or any one for that matter. She was a beauty and I didn`t want to be the only one who saw her as she cut through the water with such powerful grace. After a good thirty seconds, finally someone else noticed and the divermaster tap tapped his metal tank.

We followed her around a bit as best we could without being intrusive before she got bored of us and continued on her way. I moseyed along paying closer attention to the delicate coral and noticing the smaller sealife living within. John went up as he was low on air again and I stayed down with the divermaster as I still had almost half a tank left.

After we had all emerged from our last dive, we chattered excitedly at the visual smorgasbord we had been treated to. Tired from all the fun and activity, it took some effort to peel myself out of my wetsuit. John and I had to hurry and get back to our ship as we were set to be debarking shortly. We said our thank yous and quick goodbyes, before being whisked away in a taxi back to our cruiseliner.

Grateful for scuba diving.

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