July 2, 2002 - July 3, 2002 - July 4, 2002 - July 5, 2002 - July 6, 2002

July 1, 2002: Cozumel, Mexico

A Coz 2002 dive
"Santa Rosa Wall" - "Yucab" - "Las Palmas"

First day of diving in Cozumel, and the first day diving since early May for me. Wasn't my best day, but as they say, "A Bad Day Of Diving Is Still Better Than A Good Day At Work."
Diving in the Caribbean Sea:
  • Directions from Tampa: This is one of those trip things. Getting there from Tampa usually involves a plane ... though it could be a boat ... but you won't be driving there. Cozumel is "in" the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny; some clouds in the sky but nothing substantial.

  • Personal Notes: The water was nice and warm; the dive computer said it was 82 degrees F. I used just a shorty this day (moved to a shorty and a skin the rest of the week).

    On the way out (thank God we were on the slowest boat this day, the "Chrisnely"), I realized that we were diving aluminum 80 tanks, and I had my DIN reg, and had forgotten my DIN to Yoke converter. Several radio calls later, we pulled into a small dock area and I got off; Mike of Papa Hogs was waiting. We drove back to my hotel, I got the adapter, and we drove to another dock, pulling in just as the boat pulled up to that dock!

    The problems didn't end there; the knob on the adapter cracked as I put the reg on my rig. The zipper on my left bootie broke (fixed that with a ziptie).

    Since I wasn't in to wearing a skin yet, and had forgotten my suntan lotion, I managed to burn the tops of my knees (and a little of my thighs), as well as get a little toasted on the nose.

    But I made it into the warm waters of the Caribbean and saw the wonder of the Diving Mecca: Cozumel.


My Codecs Page so you can get what you need to see these.

You'd think I'd have more video, but then on some dives, the footage isn't quite long enough to bother putting up on the web (not much to it if the clip isn't at least 20 seconds long). The other thing is that it's usually easier to snap a still and move on (so that you don't lag behind) than it is to sit for a while and film a particular subject.
Santa Rosa Wall
[VIDEO LINK] 4.8 MB Here's some footage of some of the coral formations that one can swim through.
[VIDEO LINK] 6.2 MB This video demonstrates why Santa Rosa Wall is named so.
[VIDEO LINK] 7.5 MB Here's another cavern like swimthrough.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.7 MB My best guess is that this is a Juvenile Blue Tang.
[VIDEO LINK] 4.0 MB Here's video of the Sand Tilefish that we saw; there were a few here and there on most of our dives.
[VIDEO LINK] 4.2 MB Best guess is that these are Chub. They were kinda curious, almost like they were thinking we had food or something.
[VIDEO LINK] 3.6 MB Some footage of the reef life, both coral and fish.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.3 MB Here are some Bicolor Damselfish moving in and out of hiding spaces.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.6 MB These Banded Butterflyfish were quite elusive.
[VIDEO LINK] 3.0 MB This is one of the smallest Juvenile Drum I've seen; it's almost like the smaller they are, the longer their streamers are.
[VIDEO LINK] 3.6 MB These Coney (in Bicolor Phase) appear to be hunting for food.
[VIDEO LINK] 4.1 MB This very large Black Grouper was kind of shy.
Las Palmas
[VIDEO LINK] 3.5 MB There were a few of these Foureye Butterflyfish here and there.
[VIDEO LINK] 2.1 MB This is a VERY large Rainbow (I think) Parrotfish.


I'm trying to use video to get what I want to show behavior more, so some dives don't have a lot of stills. Some subjects, though, don't do a whole lot, so you'll see things that stand still more often in still pictures than you will video.
Santa Rosa Wall
My sister as we neared the reef.
Wanted to get a shot of a fish, and, not knowing what I might see, I started out with something I recognized, like this French Angelfish.
I'm fairly certain these are Bar Jack, from the black and blue lines along the back. However, without a side view to verify shape, it's only a guess.
This hole in a reef section gave only a hint as to the kinds of interesting coral formations I would see on this trip.
I've been diving in the "Atlantic Seas" area for a while, because I wasn't surprised to see these Whitespotted Filefish (one Orange Phase, one Whitespotted Phase).
As this is a wall dive of sorts, I was always looking up for a good shot of the reef as it towered above us.
The crabs here are large, as were some of the lobster. I suspect that the area is protected from fishing, as some of the grouper were quite large as well. Here's one of the crabs we saw.
Here's a picture of Bill at his safety stop. I can only guess that I'm down around 60 feet; the reef probably towers up above me to 40-45 feet, and Bill should be up around 15 feet.
I was happy to see Sand Tilefish in Cozumel; having spotted my first one on my previous dive. The ones in Cozumel varied in size as well, so we got to see some littler ones.
Not having too many stills of Sand Tilefish, which usually dart, freeze, and the dart again, I tried to get a few on this dive.
I could probably do a better ID than "Hermit Crab" for this guy, but it was so cool to see his feet hanging out of the shell.
One of the funny (but in a way, bummer) things about Cozumel diving is that you see more Spotted Eel tails than you do heads. I'd swear that we spotted twice as many backends that we couldn't find fronts to than heads.
It was cool to see Giant Anemonies in Cozumel, but I kinda missed the little buddies they usually had with them in Curacao.
Also, the Anemonies we did see didn't really look that healthy ... they had kinks in their tentacles sometimes, where the ones in Curacao were smoother, if memory serves.
It was pretty much by luck that I managed to snap a really good picture of the head of this (Orange Phase) Whitespotted Filefish, as he was moving, very close to me, and I had zoomed in on something else to take a video or picture of not moments before.
I've found some interesting *fish* in bowl sponges, but never a crab (well, an Arrow Crab maybe but not a big one like this guy).
Here's a little better view of the sponge around the crab.
They're hard to see because of the tiny fish (a nursery?) in front of them, but there's a couple of Lobster back there.
One of my favorite little creatures of the sea, an Arrow Crab.
I wasn't 100% sure why my sister emphatically motioned to me to take a picture of some Bicolor Coney, but then, they *are* really cool looking fish. *And* I don't think I have a photo of one prior to this.
If I put some effort into this, I could come up with a better identification than "Cleaner" fish. But these guys are effectively a cleaning station; if a fish swims up and stops near by, these guys hop up and start cleaning off any parasites on them. Gloved hands don't cut it though ... they run from them.
The only Octopi we saw out swimming were on the night dive (which I didn't have charged lights for), so the only ones I got were hiding. If you don't see him right away, dead center of the photo is his eye.
Las Palmas
Another creature I was happy to see in Cozumel were Banded Coral Shrimp. Here's one with a buddy hiding behind the rock.
His buddy came out and I had to take another picture.
This is how we usually found Splendid Toadfish. They hide from the very large Grouper, or so we've been told, because if they Toadfish come out, the Grouper eat them.
I should have more pictures of Drum, particularly Juveniles; we saw some really small ones on this trip. However, I try not to loose my group, and in a few cases, I came upon the little guys when the rest of the group was swimming away. Alas, I think this is the only one I got!
I'm not telling you what this is ... if you can't find it, look in the next picture, where I've zoomed in a little. To give you a hint, he's a little below dead center of the picture. And he (yes, he) might just be pregnant.
Yes, it's a Seahorse. If you can't make it out now, have your eyes checked.
I almost never touch anything while I'm down there, and practically never pick it up. Even if I have gloves on, the idea of touching anything with "fire" in the name, like this Fire Worm, doesn't really appeal to me.
They don't move particularly fast, but they do move; here's an attempt to get a better shot of the Fire Worm.
Someone had picked him up (and got stung through their glove, we think) and then put him down near the sponge he had been on. Here he is a third time, on the sand.

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
151 Santa Rosa Wall 89 feet 38 min. 82 F
152 Yucab 54 feet 62 min. 82 F
153 Las Palmas 69 feet 52 min. 82 F
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