COZUMEL – Scuba Club Cozumel, seven months after Wilma (with
many, many pictures) Hurricane Wilma hit the island of Cozumel seven months ago
with disastrous results: felling trees, flooding buildings, taking out the
piers, and damaging resorts. Underwater, the effects of the storm were reported
to be bad: corals and sponges were damaged; sand covered the remaining
structures; only the deeper reefs escaped the devastation. My wife and I have
dived Cozumel for many, many years. I was eager to see firsthand what changes
had occurred to our beloved reefs. With that thought in mind, we boarded the
red-eye out of Los Angeles, connected through Houston, landed in San Miguel,
and took a shuttle to Scuba Club Cozumel.
"Hello, Welcome to Cozumel!" Gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus)
[We didn't have to play traffic light roulette going through customs in Cozumel. They X-rayed the bags as we exited baggage claim.]
The eye of Hurricane Wilma sitting over the Island of Cuzumel; San Miguel is just to the left and below the eye.
Despite all the talk about global warming, hurricanes are natural phenomena. Located in the hurricane prone Caribbean, Cozumel has been subjected to repeated hits by tropical storms over time. Coral reefs are both fragile and incredibly resilient. The questions in my mind were how badly were the reefs affected and how long would it take for them to come back. The last, really big hurricane to hit the island was Gilbert in 1988 – some of the shallow reefs like Colombia Shallows took years to recover from that storm. Last August we were in Cozumel a week after Hurricane Emily, a category 5 storm, hit the island. The damage to the finger coral was extensive, even at depth. A lot of sand had been blown away from the reefs, expanding and exposing tunnels and caverns under the reefs. A fine dusting of sand covered everything, but was being removed by the natural currents that continuously sweep the reefs. Fish and other sea creatures seemed to have survived intact. Wilma wasn't as strong as Rita, but stayed over the island for thirty-six hours, the effects were much greater.
Scuba Club Cozumel, immediately after the storm. (© Jesús Zetina 2005)
Scuba Club Cozumel, now. (© Jesús Zetina 2005)
No sooner had Wilma passed, repairs were initiated; downed trees were removed; walls were rebuilt; hotel rooms were swept out, and work began on the piers. Some hotels and resorts reopened in a few weeks, some are still closed, six months later. Most of the trees on the island were damaged, uprooted or broken, and some killed by the salt water, storm surge. DocVikingo recently posted a report (click here) on scubadiving.com that is required reading for people coming to the island.
© Jesús Zetina 2005
All new! Tim and the crew did a fantastic job. Except for the missing trees, the place is better than new!
Arriving at Scuba Club Cozumel was a homecoming. We were warmly greeted by the lovely, gracious Sofia and the rest of the staff, like long lost relatives returning to the fold. We fielded questions about the kids and friends who weren't with us on this trip. The divers' special lunch was carne y frijoles con pico de gallo y quesadillas. It was great to be back.
The hammocks at SCC.
We checked in with the dive shop and signed the customary waivers before getting our dive gear together for a shore dive. One of the wonderful things about SCC is unlimited shore diving, directly in front of the hotel; take a tank and go whenever you want. Wilma destroyed the pier in front of the hotel; it had just been replaced. There are new stairs leading down into the entry well that allows easy access to the water. A nice current was running in the normal direction – to the north. It was a brand new experience; I didn't recognize the place; much of the artificial reef structure that existed before the hurricane is gone or moved to another location. A lot of debris from the fallen concrete piers is new habitat. Most of the turtle grass is gone, replaced by sandy flats. The most abundant fish are razorfish that dive into the sand if you get too close or aim a camera at them. While many of the fish that we normally expected to see are gone, new life is beginning to stir offshore. Although, not in the numbers we have seen in the past, we did see stingrays, sharptailed eels, scorpionfish, mojarras, small grunts, boxfish, conch, and a couple of squid that just wouldn't let me get close to for a picture; I hate when that happens. Deborah pointed out a little pike blenny and later played with a friendly juvenile triggerfish. After an hour and a half, we made our way back to shore. After cleaning the gear, it was time for a Chedraui run – for cokes and a rinse bucket for the camera.
Pikeblenny (Chaenopsis limbaughi)
Yellow stingray (Urolophus jamaicensis)
"Be one with the rope." Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculates)
Dinner: a choice of a creamy mushroom soup or summer salad to start; a choice of pollo en mole Poblano; linguini with mussels; or seafood platter; and either upside down pineapple cake or apple tart for dessert. We both went for the mole! Yum. I'm going to need a bigger wetsuit. The menu has been expanded since the last time we visited SCC. Instead of two choices of an entrée for dinner, there are three and two choices of dessert. It just keeps getting better and better. Breakfast in Cozumel is always fresh fruit for me; Deborah likes to sample Mexican dishes like huevos rancheros, chiliquiles, and bean tostadas, in addition to the standards from the buffet.
"Are you going to help me open this, or what?" Gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus)
The first day of boat diving was great fun. We were on the Reef Cat with our friend and dive master, Jesús Zetina. On the run down the island, Jesús pointed out the destruction from the hurricane that is still visible. The trees are gone, dead, or mere skeletons of themselves. It looks like all the leaves were blown away. After the hurricane, it rained for several days washing the salt water away; or more of the vegetation would be dead. Remember the two palm trees that gave Las Palmas reef its name? Only one leaning trunk remains. Remember the unfinished multistory building eyesore just north of La Ceiba? They are completing it and selling condos! The International pier is in ruins, the other, older pier is damaged and only one cruise ship can tie up at a time. Repairs are underway, but it looks like it will be a long time before they will be up and running. El Presidente hotel is still closed and the beautiful sandy beach is gone, only ironshore remains. The road around the island is now open and passable. Some of the southern resorts are open others remain closed. Work continues to put things back the way they were before the storm.
Green turtle (Chelonura mydas)
On a clear day…
Bluestripped grunts (Haemulon sciurus)
We dove Colombia Bricks as our first, deep dive. We hit the trifecta: turtles, eagle ray, and a nurse shark. The coral buttresses are really gorgeous, especially when you get great visibility like we had. Jesús cast a shadow on the sand at sixty feet deep! I swear you could see forever. The current was mild – we drifted along enjoying the great conditions. Our second dive was Tormentos reef. Jesús found a pipehorse and I tried to take a picture but with the shallow depth of field using my macro lens adapters and the current, I didn't do too well. The single, large sand dune at the end of Tormentos is gone! I remember one other time when the currents had eroded the dune, but it was back the next time we visited. I spotted a very tiny nudibranch (Thuridilla picta) but it was too tiny to take a picture of. I now know what they eat and where to look for them. For years we never saw any nudibranchs in Cozumel, we just didn't know where to look.
Painted Thuridilla, formerly known as Painted Elysia. (Thuridilla picta)
Unidentified flatfish. Any suggestions?
The afternoon shore dive started out along the edge of the iron shore in only twenty feet of water. We crept along, looking for small stuff. Deborah found an intermediate stage spotted drum. There were lots of scorpionfish out on the sand. We even found a couple of octopus! One curious object caught our eye…a Mayan temple – heck if I know!
Spotted Drum, intermediate phase (Equetus punctatus)
Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
Lunch: enchiladas verde con crema Dinner: pepper steak, linguini Alfredo, or stuffed wahoo, followed by coconut cake or chocolate mousse. I'm going to need a bigger wetsuit. Coffee at six, breakfast at seven, get gear ready, board the dive boat at eight fifteen, leave the dock at eight thirty, two boat dives, back at the dock by one o'clock or so, time for lunch, a nap, shore dive, dinner, fiddle with the camera, sleep…repeat. Isn't life wonderful?
Caribbean Lobster (Panulirus argus)
Purplemouth Moray (Gymnothorax vicinus)
Spotted Cleaner Shrimp (Periclimenes yacatanicus
Sunday, time to contemplate the meaning of life; what better place than Cozumel? We were on the Reef Diver with two groups; Jesús was our DM and his son Alberto the other. One of my favorite dive sites is Chankanaab Bolones. Huge coral heads, the sizes of houses sit on a slightly sloping, sandy bottom at about 70 feet. The coral heads are home to lots of big lobsters and crabs. I tried to take a picture of a large midnight parrotfish and failed – been there, done that, many times. Jesús pointed out a couple of splendid toadfish and a cool spotted eel hiding in a sponge. The second dive was Villa Blanca, north of the International Pier (what's left of it). We were rewarded with a nice current and rode the water-wind like leaves in a breeze. I found many tiny Thuridilla picta nudibranchs on the algae that they eat. We got to see a couple of small reef squid, only a couple of inches long – I took a picture, such that it is, with my wide angle lens adapter; I didn't have time to change it. We did our customary shore dive, swimming out to the wall – lots of sand has been deposited since we last visited – probably the new home of El Presidente's beach. The concrete debris from the destroyed pier has been arranged as an artificial reef, straight out from the entry. With time, this structure will be home to lots of fish and neat critters.
Splendid Toadfish (Snopus splendidus)
"Splendid" toadfish? My mentor, RogerC asked why don't we give other critters complimentary common names? How about the "handsome" hamlet, "pretty" porkfish (in honor of Miss Piggy), or the "elegant" eel? Think about it!
Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis speiodidea)
A snorkeler from one of the cruise ships was heard to remark as she got out of the water, "You've seen one fish, you've seen them all!"
Spinyhead Blenny (Acanthemblemaria spinosa)
Lunch: carne a la Yucateca Dinner: spaghetti al Tonno, pollo en salsa cilantro, or Hawaiian shrimp; strawberry shortcake or cheese pie.
Gray Angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus)
French Angelfish, juvenile (Pomacanthus paru)
French Angelfish, adult (Pomacanthus paru)
Queen Angelfish (Holocanthuus ciliaris)
I had the "big gun" on the dive boats, not very many serious u/w photographers, only a few filmosaurs with toys-R-us cameras. When we come down with the group in August, lots of us carry housed digital cameras with dual strobes. The good news, I didn't have to share my subjects. The bad news, I missed having my buddies around to tell lies to.
Flamingo tongues (Cyphoma gibbosum)
Punta Sur looked like it did before Wilma except for a fine dusting of sand. Visibility wasn't as great as it was on our previous dives. The sandy areas have been sculptured by the currents and are a pristine white; the sands between the apartment-sized buttresses look like snowfields. A school of small barracuda circled us several times at the top of the reef, and several large groupers danced slowly up the reef, well away from the divers. The second dive, Paradise reef looked untouched by the violence! The shallow part is now a sand flat, but the reef itself is teeming with fish. One very large rainbow parrotfish, normally a very shy creature, showed total indifference to the herd of divers drifting by, more focused on nibbling on the reef with its big parrot-like beak. Later in the dive, we found several flamingo tongues, pipefish, big-eye toadfish hiding in a hole, batwing crab, and Deborah found a tiny new nudibranch. The shore dive was almost two hours long. Deborah played with a little hermit crab in a shell too large, trying to get it to move to a new more appropriate sized home, but to no avail. I photographed a yellow banded shrimp, an itsy-bitsy pike, and a jawfish before heading back.
Rainbow Parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia)
Golden Coral Shrimp (Stenopus scutellatus)
Roughhead Blenny (Acanthemblemaria aspera)
Lunch: Pollo asado blanco. Fiesta! Once a week, when SCC is full, they stage a fiesta for dinner. The cooks grill meat and quesadillas on the barbecue, a huge buffet of Mexican dishes is laid out (all the guacamole you can eat), and a pińata at the end.
Tiny Pikeblenny (Chaenopsis limbaughi)
Paso del Cedral reef looks pretty much like it did last August. This reef has more porkfish and barracuda than any of the other reefs. A very large green turtle greeted us at the first coral head. The schools of grunts clustered under the ledges like always. There was a large pufferfish sleeping in a hole under the coral. At Las Palmas, the edge of the wall is intact, but the flat above the reef is now a sand flat. The highlights of this dive were a couple more turtles. We drifted all the way to in front of El Presidente, almost to Paradise Reef, before surfacing. Deborah had pain from a pinched nerve and skipped the afternoon shore dive. I dove "solo con Dios" – it's only twenty feet deep near the shore and there are lots of divers coming by. As with most u/w photographers, my camera is my buddy. I found the jawfish that we had encountered before and attempted to get a better shot, as this is a new (to us) species.
Porcupinefish (diodon hystrix)
Porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus)
Banded Jawfish (Pistognathus macrognothus)
Chimichangas for lunch. Spaghetti Carribinero, Gnocchi, or Pollo con salsa de chipotle; chocolate cake or pear tart. My prescription mask has been growing mold under the skirt. It was beginning to look pretty sad and I had resigned myself to buying a new one. Jesús took one look at the mask and said he could clean it for me. He took it apart (I didn't know it came apart) and cleaned it with bleach. Wow! It looks like new. Thank you, sir! We went out on one of the catamarans in the morning. The first dive was Santa Rosa Wall, one of the more spectacular reefs. We had a very nice current to carry us along. The tunnels and passages through the reef are wide open. Along the wall, it looked like everything had been dusted with powdered sugar. A green moray eel was hiding in a hole at the end of one swim through. The school of horse-eyed jacks is still doing its thing at the end of the reef – there's a school of smaller jacks and another consisting of the big guys. We returned to Villa Blanca on the second dive of the day, starting in front of Villa Blanca and finishing almost in front of Cozumel Palace! There are seven power cables that run under the channel to the mainland – we crossed all seven. A large southern stingray allowed close approach before spooking. Jesús found a boat ladder and carried it back to the boat. The afternoon dive was a repeat of previous dives. We poked along slowly looking for little stuff. A sand diver lay partially covered in sand waiting for some unwary fish to swim by. A tiny pike blenny posed for the camera before swimming across the sand to another hole. We visited the new jawfish before turning around for a slow drift back to the hotel. Deborah picked up what looked like a human jawbone with teeth. After consultation with the experts, we decided that it was not human, possibly from a pig. CSI Cozumel! I had dreams of Mayan kings and treasure…just pork chops.
Sand Diver (Synodus intermedius)
Jaw & teeth
Sailfin Blenny (Emblemaria pandiaris)
Lunch: Sak-K'ol (Mayan for delicious?) Dinner: Filet mignon, garlic shrimp, or chicken parmesan spaghetti; carrot pie or apple strudel. The coffee cup war: At Scuba Club Cozumel, coffee is available in the mornings before breakfast in Styrofoam cups. Several years ago, our friends Jayne and Bill brought stainless coffee mugs down with them. The following trip, our friends Scott and Margaret bought us plastic coffee cups from Starbucks. When the other people in the group saw that we weren't using the Styrofoam cups, some of them snuck into town to buy ceramic mugs. Soon, things got out of hand with people trying to outdo one another. Finally, Mike showed up one morning with a German, one-liter beer stein that he had found in town. That was the end of the coffee cup war. It's only a two-hour flight from Houston to Cozumel. Everyone here speaks English with a Texas accent! The next day, we were on a smaller dive boat, the Coral Diver, with three other divers and the ever-present Jesús. Our first dive of the morning was Palancar Caves in spectacular conditions. While some of the sponges on the wall were damaged by the storm, the sand has been swept from under the coral and there are lots of windows and tunnels to explore that weren't there before. Jesús showed us where a huge pinnacle had fallen over onto the ledge below. A sleeping turtle let me get close for a wide-angle shot, but the little fry in the water made the picture look fuzzy! A green eel was hiding in a hole on the sandy side of the shelf, too far back to light with the strobes. Then, we saw a shy hamlet and I chased him all over hell and gone; never did get a picture. That's three for three; I needed to do better than that. Moving on to Yucab, we dropped in on the beginning of the reef and the mother of all lobsters – got butter? There are Thuridilla picta nudibranchs everwhere! All you have to do is look closely at the little tufts of green algae that look like grass; Deborah found five nudibranchs on one little clump. On the afternoon shore dive, I went back to see the Sergeant Major eggs. My camera said the batteries were low, so I didn't stay long. Wouldn't you know it, a school of squid let me get real close; I think they knew I was out of juice.
Sgt. Major eggs.
Sgt. Major eggs five days later – you can see the eyes!
The proud papa Sergeant Major (Abudefduf saxatilis) guarding its nest.
Sgt. Major eggs on the sixth day – notice the egg yolk is gone and the embryos are getting spots.
The next day, the eggs were gone. It looks like it takes about six days from the time the eggs are laid until the fry hatch. Chiles rellenos for lunch. Mahi mahi en salsa de pimiento, pollo en salsa mostaza, or fettuccini en salsa Mornay; cheese cake or pineapple mousse. I just noticed that they are putting out the leftover desserts from the night before at lunch! I'm going to weigh a ton by the time we get back home. I need to bicycle.
© Walter Shields 2006
Social Feather Dusters (Bispira brunnea)
Web Burrfish (Chilomycterus antillarum)
Some of the divers on the boat wanted to do a wall dive. Deborah and I will dive anywhere/anytime, so it was decided to go back to Santa Rosa. The current in front of the hotel was running in the opposite direction to normal. At Santa Rosa, the surface was in turmoil, eddies and waves marked the edge of the wall. With a warning that we might have to abort the dive if the current was off the shelf and down the wall, we dropped in and were pleasantly surprised to find a nice strong current to carry us along the wall to the north. The group followed the dive guide in single file through the tunnels and around the corral heads before moving up to the shallow side of the reef and up to a safety stop at fifteen feet for three minutes. Very nice dive! The second dive was Chankanaab Reef. It was a little sad, the reef was badly damaged by Wilma, but the critters are all still there: myriad fish, green moray eel, dog-size lobsters, and even a couple of eagle rays feeding in the sand. Another wonderful dive! On my afternoon shore dive, I went back to visit the Sergeant major eggs – they were gone, either hatched or eaten. At the end of the dive, I found a couple of squid that were brave enough to let me get within strobe range. I love this place!
Giant Hermit Crab (Petrochirus diogenes)
Star-eyed Hermit Crab (Dardanus venosus)
Pan de pescado for lunch. Mahi mahi a la Veracruzana, beef tips a la Mexicana, or fussili with broccoli and almonds; carrot cake or Kalua flan. Cruise ships got wifi! From in front of Scuba Club Cozumel, you can pick up a strong, unsecured connection to the internet from the cruise ships! Palancar Gardens is in pretty good shape, in some ways even better than before. While many of the large sponges that were on the wall are now gone, the sand underneath the coral heads has been swept away. The tunnels and swim throughs are wide open – lots of passages and windows to explore. The second dive was a "half and half" – we started on Yucab and finished on Tormentos. The highlight of the day was a free swimming nurse shark cruising up the reef to the delight of the dive groups. Several log-sized barracuda lazed just off the top of the coral heads. My goal on the afternoon shore dive was to capture some squid pics and I did get a couple of keepers from three semi-cooperative calamari. Whoosh! We were surrounded by a zillion silvery scad dashing up the reef and then turning and going back the way they came. All you could see for a few moments in all directions were fish and more fish. I snapped off a Hail Mary picture. We never did see what caused all the panic but it sure was an exciting ten seconds.
Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis speioidea)
Reef Octopus (Ocotpus biareus)
Slender Filefish (Monacanthus tuckeri)
As they went by, I pointed the camera and took a quick snap – no time to adjust strobes, exposure, focus, just point and shoot. It's not a very good picture, but it captures the moment, one hell of a lot of fish!
Scad (Decapterus sp?)
Given my choice by the DM where to dive, I chose La Fancesa; a shallower reef at the northern end of Palancar, it isn't normally used as a first dive site; as a result, we were the only divers on the reef. Another free-swimming nurse shark came just out of camera range. Florida Jeff started banging on his tank when he found an Octopus out hunting. A yellow-mouth grouper showed me his tail, up current – drat, foiled again. There are many, many schools of snappers and grunts under the ledges at the end of this dive site – it looks healthy. On our second boat dive of the morning, we were going to visit Paradise Reef, but when we dropped in the current was running the opposite direction. Luis, our dive guide, took us out over the sand towards the west and then up Las Palmas Reef. A large turtle swam by as we explored the sponges and small coral heads. A couple of large black groupers cruised the drop-off. Deborah found a splendid toadfish out of it hole, but I was too far up current for her to get my attention. It was another wonderful dive, without any other divers in the water. The afternoon shore dive included a visit to the Sgt Major eggs, a couple of blennies, but no squid.
Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)
Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)
Whitespotted Filefish (Canthernimes macrocerus)
Lunch: Pollo pibil Dinner: Paella, Spanish beef stew, or penne Andaluz; blintzes or strawberry cake A major milestone, two thousand logged dives! Fifteen years, nineteen log books, and many frequent flier miles – priceless. Even better, I got to do the dive in Cozumel and on one of my favorite reefs – Chankanaab Bolones. We started the day at San Franciso Reef where we drifted along the top of the wall looking in the holes for interesting critters. At Bolones, we saw the submarine fish, an enormous lobster strolling across the sand, a friendly barracuda, indigo hamlets, a turtle and swimming nurse sharks. The afternoon shore dive was spent with some blennies, taking lots of pictures. As I was getting out of the water, I looked down and saw a nudibranch – an ornate elysia! What a great place!
Whitespotted Moray (Gymnothorax moringa)
Indigo Hamlet (Hypoplectrus indigo) and Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster rostrata)
Pikeblenny (Chaenopsis limbaughi)
Chile rellenos Orange mahi mahi, chicken fajitas, or lasagne; coconut cake or chocolate cheese pie. It rained on the island as we were having breakfast. After the rain, the wind came up and blew hard out of the south, churning up whitecaps. It was a rough ride down the island to the first dive site. Palancar Horseshoe is so pretty with the huge coral formations jutting out over the deep. A turtle was feeding on the wall and ignored all the divers crowded around. We beat back around Punta Tunich to find calmer water near Paradise Reef. We dropped in on a very mild current and spent almost an hour-and-a-half poking around looking at the small stuff. A highlight of the dive was a mellow hogfish – normally, very shy and hard to approach. The friendly, big rainbow parrotfish was still there and allowed me to get close. We did a long shore dive after our afternoon naps and played with the blennies.
Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus)
Redspotted Hawkfish (Amblycirrhitus pinos)
Albondigas in chipotle sauce Chicken cacciatore, vodka penne, or seafood kabob; apple strudel or strawberry mousse. The El Norte continued overnight. Despite strong winds and rough seas, the port captain allowed the boats out and we went diving. Everything is relative, what we would call a nice day at Catalina would be rough in Cozumel. Of course, once under the water, you don't know what's happening on the surface. The problem is the rough ride down the island and getting back onto the boat when it's bucking in the swell. Because of the rough conditions, I left my camera on the boat for the first dive. It was kind of liberating; I could float along and look at everything without always searching for something photographic. Colombia Deep is a fantastic place with or without a camera – great coral heads the size of apartment houses, wonderful sponge lined tunnels, and sculptured, white sandy slopes. We even found a turtle feeding on a sponge, while standing on its head. We ran back up the island during the surface interval to Las Palmas Reef where the seas were a little calmer. I took my camera in on the second dive. The current was running to the north so we drifted along the top of the wall. A very large black grouper was sitting at a cleaning station and I was able to make little bubbles and creep up to beside it for some pictures. I thought the grouper and I were alone, but I heard breathing and glanced over my shoulder to see a dive group watching me take pictures. The grouper wasn't very happy with so many noisy divers and moved away from us. That afternoon, we skipped the afternoon shore dive due to big waves hitting the shore in front of Scuba Club. Deborah dragged me kicking and screaming into town to look for a Mexican blanket, mission accomplished. The wind howled all night.
Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)
Squirrelfish (Holocentrus adscensionis)
Broiled chicken sandwich. BBQ shrimp, New York steak, or linguini with mussels; chocolate cake or pecan pie. I'm not going to be a happy camper when I get home and get on the scales. Conditions had vastly improved by morning. The winds were much milder and the ocean was much calmer. The group on the boat wanted to go to Palancar Caves – who am I to disagree? The great visibility, warm water, and moderate currents made this a very pleasurable dive. We saw more turtles, one only the size of a dinner plate! The boat took us to Tormentos for our final dive of the trip. Jesús said he thought he could find the pipehorse again so that I could get a better image. True to his word, it only took a few minutes of looking before he gently motioned me over and pointed out the little guy. Meanwhile, behind me, a turtle was feeding and totally oblivious to the divers. So, I took some images of the pipehorse, went over to the turtle for a while, and then returned to the pipehorse. It was a fantastic dive to end a wonderful trip.
Pipehorse (Acentranura dendritica)
Chicken tostadas. Fettuccini Alfredo, beef kabob, or fish Tikin Xic; cannoli cake or bunuelos. Cozumel was damaged by hurricane Wilma. Some of the shallower reefs took it pretty hard and the damage is noticeable. The deeper reefs were less affected by the storm, but some of the larger sponges on the walls are now missing. On the positive side, the tunnels and caves are all wide open, with new ones to explore. Scuba Club Cozumel is back, better than ever. Cozumel is still a wonderful place to dive and visit – call your travel agent and make reservations for your next trip. We're going back in August. I just realized, my bags are packed! Hasta Agosto.
IMHO, these are the two best pictures from the trip:
Scuba Club Cozumel My web page with links to other trip reports Maduro Dive Travel – ask for Debbie
All images were taken with an Olympus c5050 in an Olympus PT-015 housing with dual Ikelite DS-125 strobes; Inon macro and WAL lens adapters.