May 5, 2003 - May 6, 2003 - May 7, 2003 - May 9, 2003 - May 10, 2003

May 8, 2003: Cozumel, Mexico

A Coz 2003 dive
"Punta Sur" - "La Francesa" - "Santa Rosa Wall" - "Chankanaab Reef"

Punta Sur this time wasn't a full tour - we were supposed to dive a site farther north. We also did a really cool dive off of Santa Rosa Wall as well as a really cool night dive ...
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

  • Personal Notes: Lars was our dive master, for the morning two dives, and Liquid Blue had contracted a boat from another op to take us out (as the primary LB boat was full). Lars intended for us to start a little more north of Punta Sur, but we ended up getting dropped right on Punta Sur. No biggie though, we just went to the top of the reef and followed the current north ...

    La Francesa I had never been to. A very nice reef, great for exploring.

    Roberto met up with us in the afternoon to take us out for an afternoon dive and then a night dive. He asked us if we had done Santa Rosa Wall yet, and I had said we did it with the other op. His response was, "Then you haven't done it right. Everyone here okay with blue water?"

    He took us down to the top of the wall, about 60 feet. Then we swam out from the wall, and kept swimming for a while. It's hard even as an experienced diver to maintain a depth with no reference point ... I made it down to 133 feet, deepest ever, while we were swimming away from the wall - and was certainly at least a tad bit narc'd. At a certain point, Roberto stopped and told us to turn around ...

    We could see the entire wall, top to a good ways down (to where it disappeared into the depths), and a good bit of it to our left and right. Roberto had warned us that we'd feel small when we saw the wall.

    We swam back to the wall and had a great dive along it.

    Chankanaab Reef (probably partially Balones or Pinnacles) was a great night dive. First pictures of an octopus free swimming! Roberto had everyone turn their lights off at a particular point; the moonlight was bright enough to where you could make out everyone's shapes, even at a distance, and if you were close enough, you could see hand signals. Roberto would swim up close to the reef and purge his regulator - the reef would light up like a lightning storm, it was so beautiful. Next time I get the chance I'm going to have to figure out how to get it on film.


No pictures for the "Santa Rosa Wall" dive - given the plan, I didn't want the added distraction. However, this is where you'll find my first free swimming Octopus!
Punta Sur
This is a field of Star Fish that we saw as we floated from one coral formation to another. They're at least 40 feet down from where we are.
I zoomed in as much as I could - it's clearly there, but I am quite a ways away.
La Francesa
Here's some fire coral, close up.
This is a Spotted Cleaner Shrimp, I think.
Another view of probably the same Spotted Cleaner Shrimp.
A fairly clear shot of a Whitespotted Filefish in Orange Phase.
Chankanaab Reef
A Slipper Lobster.
This Brittle Star would have been easy to miss.
Some lobster.
A sleeping Parrotfish.
I'm fairly certain this is a Star-Eye Hermit Crab.
This is a Flamingo Tongue.
I usually don't go through the process of ID'ing crabs, particularly big ones like this guy.
A little closer view of him.
This is my first Octopus I've gotten a photo of.
This Spotted Eel didn't look like he wanted to come out and play. Which was fine with me.
This is (I think) our Dive Master holding a Scorpion Fish. Only advisable if you know what you're doing.

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
214 Punta Sur 96 feet 68 min. 81 F
215 La Francesa 58 feet 84 min. 82 F
216 Santa Rosa Wall 133 feet 48 min. 82 F
217 Chankanaab Reef 48 feet 66 min. 81 F
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