What? Another Cozumel trip report? Haven't we seen enough of those? ... In a word, "no!" For many of us, if you can't be there, you want to read about people who have recently been and see their pictures - to make a "virtual" dive trip. So, here's just one more in a long line of trip reports that somehow never seem to come often enough to satisfy the Cozumel dive-junkies; it includes an update on the effects of Hurricane Emily, a tale about the Island's patron Saint, a rambling narrative, and a whole bunch of pictures. Enjoy!

Painting of the Archangel Michael, for whom the city of San Miguel was named

Every August for many, many years, we brave the terrors of Continental Airlines and make a return pilgrimage to our favorite dive destination, Cozumel, Mexico. Friendly people, loving friends & family, great food, fantastic diving, and warm water keep us coming back, again and again. This year we arrived a couple of weeks after Hurricane Emily struck the island.

The approach to the island, looking south towards San Miguel

Splendid toadfish (Sanopus splendidus)

Saturday - We caught the redeye out of LAX and connected in Houston with our flight to CZM. It was uneventful trip; I slept most of the way. Excitement started to stir as soon as the plane touched down on the island, taxied to the terminal, and then the excitement built when they opened the door to the airplane. We patiently stood in line at immigration to get our passports stamped, then collected our dive gear and bags before pushing the button that randomly determines if your bags get searched by customs. A green light passed us through to the chaos on the sidewalk where the tourists are sorted and assigned shuttle vans for the ride to the hotels and resorts. As we rode through San Miguel, I was curious to see if I could spot any damage from Hurricane Emily - there were a few boarded up windows, and some walls had been blown down, but the most noticeable change was the number of trees that were down or gone. The island was very lucky, even though Emily hit the island head on, no one died and the property damage was relatively minor. I'll bet firewood is cheap this year.

Peacock flounder (Bothus lunatus)

El Grupo Lyle

There are forty-one people in our group this trip. Over two weeks, the numbers changed as people left and new ones arrived - some staying one week, others for ten days, and a few of us for a full two weeks. My youngest son, Tom, brought his fiancée who is doing a referral, having completed her pool work at home and only needing to do the open water dives to finish her certification. RogerC, JudyC, BillDiver, Wireman, Regtek, and seamammal, and yours-truly represented D2D.

George (RegTek) and trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculates)

Sofia greeted us as we entered the gate at Scuba Club with a warm "Welcome home." We filled out the usual forms and waivers; got our weights; unpacked our dive gear; and went for a dive off the iron shore in front of the hotel. Visibility was poor, only about fifty feet, and the water was a warm eighty-seven degrees! A lot of the artificial reefs are gone, either blown away by the storm surge or covered in sand by last month's hurricane. While there were still many fish and lots of critters to look at, the life along the shore will take some time to recover. A good thing - most of the algae that we noticed growing on the sand on our previous visits was scoured off the reef. The turtle grass was still growing strong, out a ways from the sandy bottom along the shore. Raymundo said a batfish was living near the buoy line on the north side - a preliminary search was unfruitful, but a pleasant way to enjoy our first warm water dive since February.

Juvenile French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

[The wireless connection at SCC wasn't working, so I couldn't send a postcard to the bulletin board! I thought I might try the internet café by Chedraui the next day...or maybe do a shore dive instead.]

"Cozumel's Archangel, Saint Michael" or "How the town got its name".

"Approximately 90 years ago, when Cozumel was under the jurisdiction of the State of Yucatan (Quintana Roo was then still a territory), a group of workers were digging in an area just north of town. There they unearthed a statue of St. Michael Archangel carved from ivory, brandishing a sword of pure gold and wearing a golden crown. This marvelous event took place on the morning on the 29th of September, a day holy to St. Michael. The catholic population decided that the coincidence was too great to dismiss; from that day forward the town would be called San Miguel de Cozumel. Some time later, the statue was sent to the capital at Mérida for restoration. Local rumor has it that the real statue never was returned and that, in fact, the one on display today is an exact replica rather than the original -- though this has never been proven. It is generally believed that the statue was a gift to the natives from Juan Grijalva, the first European to discover Cozumel in 1518. He allegedly explained its significance by introducing Christianity to the island, and the statue was housed in a Catholic Temple then located in the town's central plaza. In 1916, Colonel Isaias Zamarryra ordered the destruction of the Catholic temple, but pious members of the congregation however, with admirable forethought, took the statue and hid it away for safekeeping. Today the statue of San Miguel de Cozumel, Patron Saint of the island, occupies a place of honor on the altar of the island's principal Catholic Church (located at the corner of 10 North St. and Juarez Av.)"

The Church of San Miguel

The Reef Star

The Schedule - Wake up at six o'clock, get coffee for me, and tea for my sweetie. Meet some of the gang on the patio for early morning schmoozing. Breakfast at seven. Pack gear and get ready for the dive boats at eight. Once everyone is on board, settle in for the run down the island for the first, do a deep dive. Complete a surface interval of one hour, followed by a second dive on a shallower reef. Back to the hotel dock by one o-clock or so, then lunch, a nap and a shore dive before dinner. After dinner, download the camera, recharge the batteries and set up the rig for the next day, early to bed. Repeat! Wonderful. Eat, sleep, dive, mess with the camera.

Queen angelfish (Holocanthus ciliaris)

Spotted drum juvenile (Equetus punctatus)

Sunday - Our first dive on the reefs was San Francisco, along the edge of the wall. I was pleased to see no damage to the coral heads and sponges. It was as if there had been no hurricane! We had a moderate current to sweep us along. A big grouper was going into the current, swimming uphill, so to speak. Our dive master, Jesús pointed out a flying gurnard resting in the coralline algae. The second dive was on Paradise - with a great deal of trepidation as to what we would, or wouldn't find, I did my giant stride, retrieved my camera and descended to the reef. Here, too, you wouldn't know that a category four hurricane had recently hit the island. We poked along the low reef for a while before turning out on to the flats. We were rewarded with our first seahorse of the trip - a wonderful, slow swim with little or no current to worry about. The water was 88 degrees! After lunch and a nap, Deborah and I went in off the shore in front of the hotel. Deborah found a cleaning station where two scarlet cleaning shrimp were open for business. She then pointed out our second seahorse, just past the pier pilings. Two hours later (it's only about twenty feet deep), we exited the water in time to clean up for dinner.

Cleaning station Blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus) & Scarlet-striped cleaning shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni)

Longshout Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi)

I heard some disturbing news about Yocab and Punta Tunich - one of the dive guides said that the reefs were damaged by the storm. I hoped he was just pulling our legs. We would have to go see for ourselves.

Monday - Chankanaab Bolones! This dive site is on the western side of Chankanaab Reef in deeper water. Huge coral heads rise from a sandy bottom, home to many large lobsters and crabs. This is also the home of the Atlantis submarine - you can hear the whine of the servomotors and may be lucky enough to see the sub underwater with the tourists looking out the windows, delighted to see divers in the water. The second dive was at what used to be called Las Palmas - since the storm, only one palm is left and it is missing a lot of fronds. I will henceforth call this La Palma, or maybe El Tronco (the trunk). Highlights on this dive were a Spanish lobster, lots of eels, a big turtle, and a cornetfish. On our afternoon shore dive, we went back to the cleaning station that Deborah had found the previous day for some more pictures. The current had picked up, so we worked our way slowly to the South where we found the seahorse again.

Spanish lobster (Scyllarides awequinoctailis)

Turtle ("Are they gone, yet?")

My soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Neayka finished her open water scuba course and will join us on the boat tomorrow.

[I walked to the internet café to check my email and post a few messages. When I got back , I was told that the wirelesss connection was now fixed at SCC - I would have no reason to leave again until it was time to go home!]

Tuesday - We ventured further south today, diving Palancar Gardens as the first dive and Yocab Reef on the second. I regret to say that we saw an awful lot of damage to the finger coral on the tops of the reefs. Some areas are simply piles of dead coral rubble. The sponges and other corals seem to have come through the storm intact, but the finger corals are badly damaged. There are lots of the usual fish, turtles, etc., but the hurricane damage is obvious. Don't get me wrong, only about ten percent of the reef is gone, the rest looks great. I don't know how long it will take for the finger coral to grow back, but I hope it isn't long. [DocV says finger coral is one of the faster growing corals.] Obviously, Cozumel has been hit in the past by big storms and will again in the future. Today's shore dive was into a strong current, I took some more pictures of the scarlet shrimp cleaning station before working my way South past the pier. We saw what looks like a pregnant yellow stingray and observed her for a while in hope that she might surprise us - maybe it wasn't time or maybe she's shy, but we had to leave before the blessed event.

Cleaning station Smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys tirqueter) & Scarlet-striped cleaning shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni)

We later found some baby yellow stingrays! (Urolophus jamicensis)

Breaking my vow not to leave the hotel, I went into town to take a picture of the church, Iglésia San Miguel and a snapshot of the statue of St. Michael above the altar that the town is named after - note the chubby legs!

The statue of St. Michael

Tom's fiancée, Neayka, newly minted open-water diver, joined us on the boat for her first boat dives. She did really well, great buoyancy control, smooth in the water, and good air consumption. Way to go! I want to brag on her a little - she learned how to swim in order to be able to take scuba lessons.

Silhouette of the happy couple

Wednesday - This would ordinarily be hump-day, but we were staying two weeks! Palancar Caves looks great, the sand has been blown out from under some of the coral heads, making the swim-throughs bigger and revealing some new ones. The current was still strong, but the visibility was better than yesterday. At Tormentos, we found the current going the wrong way and did the reef backwards, starting at the final coral head, going over the sand dune, and finishing at what is normally the beginning. (Roger says in this case this reef should be called sotnemroT). It looks like a different reef from the other direction. There was a little thermocline at the start of the dive and the temperature dropped to 84 degrees - it's hard to believe that a three-degree temperature change can feel so much colder! A lot of the finger coral is down here, but it's not as obvious as elsewhere because there was less of it to begin with. My future daughter-in-law found a seahorse - on her own! We took her on her first night dive off the shore in front of SCC. The octopi came out to play. A squid was spotted, and a large barracuda stalked behind the divers in the dark.

Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus)

Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea)

Ever notice, Mexican blankets in Cozumel are always "almost free"?

Some of the divers in our group walked down to the new Cozumel Palace. They weren't allowed in, but word has it that a room costs $400/night! That includes booze/food, but no diving. I think we won't be staying there.

Posted on D2D by scubbabubba, 7/16/04

"with•draw•al: 1) removal from a place of deposit or investment 2) the syndrome of often painful physical and psychological symptoms that follows discontinuance of an addicting drug

For those of you who regularly go to Cozumel, what can I do? It hurts so bad! I really don't want much... I want to hear tanks banging to wake me up. I want to eat banana pancakes for breakfast. I want friendly local people around me. I want to smell the sea air, stinky dive gear, and garlic cooking. I want to drift effortlessly over, under, and through the beautiful coral. I want the DMs and boat captains having fun with me...or making fun of me...it really doesn't matter. I want more of meeting other divers and making new friends. I want... I want... I want...I'm having withdrawal symptoms and so is my bank account.....HELLLLLLLPPP"

Coney golden variation (Cephalopholis fulvus)

Stoplight parrotfish terminal phase (Sparisoma viridae)

Thursday - Reef report from the South. Colombia Reef has some damage on the top of the reef, again to the finger coral. There was a fine layer of sand all over the sponges and corals, and sand continued to reduce visibility a little. A moderate current made for an easy ride through the sand chutes, in-and-out of the reef. A couple of turtles posed for the picture-takers and pleased the rest of the divers. Chankanaab Reef looks like it did before the storm - great! The DM pointed out a green moray hiding under the coral. Large lobsters were walking around in broad daylight - something that doesn't happen much in areas where they are hunted. We saw a "log" barracuda - must have been five feet long (I know things look bigger underwater, but this was one huge fish). I did a "solo con dios" shore dive in the afternoon. The water is only a little over twenty feet deep for a long ways offshore in front of Scuba Club. If I get in trouble I can always stand up! I went back to the cleaning station for some more shots, went out a ways to the turtle grass where I found a slipper lobster and a neat peacock flounder. Working my way back to shore perpendicular to the current, I made one more pass along the artificial reef before heading back. I wonder if I can talk Deborah into moving to the island.

Turtle

Green moray eel (Gymnothorax funebris)

I checked weather.com before leaving to come down to Cozumel. The forecast was for a sixty percent chance of rain and/or thunderstorms every day. We had nothing but sunny skies all week! It was hot and humid, but along the shoreline, it doesn't get much above the mid-eighties with a cooling breeze. We get acclimated to the heat and use less and less air-conditioning the longer we stay.

Friday - Two wonderful boat dives, Colombia Brick and Paradise Reef. On Colombia, we saw the same devastation to the finger coral that we previously observed on the other reefs, but the sponges and other corals look like they always did. Visibility was vastly improved, with well over a hundred feet and little particulate matter in the water. I lost count of the number of turtles we saw; I'm guessing that there were ten or more. There was one very large grouper sitting on the sand that let me get close enough for a wide- angle picture. At the end of the dive we looked on the sand flat for some of the little nudibranchs that we found there last year and this past February, but didn't find any. At Paradise, we spent the majority of the dive on the flats, inshore of the main reef looking for frogfish in the sponges - no joy. Several squid put on a ballet for us, just out of camera range. Jesús found a flying gurnard, walking on the bottom, and a seahorse. The flying Gurnard looks like a big grasshopper! Our daily shore dive in front of the hotel paid off with a porcupine fish and the usual cast of characters.

Flying Gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans)

Porcupinefish (Diodon holcanthus)

Diverdan arrived; another internet acquaintance to put a face to. A bunch of divers, who came down with us last week, leaves tomorrow. A few of the original group are here until Wednesday and a few more arrive tomorrow for the final week. I highly recommend a two-week stay - one just isn't enough.

Scuba Club Cozumel

Scuba Club Cozumel is our home away from home when we are in Cozumel. We've stayed here many times over the years, alone and with big groups of friends. SCC is a divers' hotel - there are no phones or television sets in the rooms. People come here to dive. It's an all-inclusive (except for beverages and tips), room, meals, and diving. The rooms are spacious, with lots of tile and Mexican charm. Food is fantastic, from breakfast buffet, lunch specials, and a choice of entrees for dinner. You can take tanks and do as many shore dives as you want in front of the hotel - while not the same as on the reefs, there are lots of fish and other critters to look at and photograph. The staff at the hotel is wonderfully friendly and gracious. I seldom leave the grounds of the hotel, except to go diving. SCC is located within walking distance to town, if you are so inclined, and near to Chedraui for your shopping needs.

Ambition - Stareye hermit crab (Dardanus venosus) in a shell way too big for him!

Coney bicolor phase (Cephalopholis fulvus)

Ears! Some of the divers are having difficulty with their ears and are missing dive days. I recommend the following: don't clean your ears with q-tips (ear wax protects the ear); use a 50/50, white vinegar/water, mixture in your ears after dives (or ask your doctor for prescription, generic Otic Domeboro solution); and buy a set of the vented Doc's Proplugs and use them religiously. That works for me, and I do a lot of diving.

Peppermint goby (Coryphopterus lipernes)

One- hundred-sixty cubic feet of air and with the longest strobe arms on the reef - RogerC.

Saturday - Another wonderful day! It only gets better and better. Santa Rosa Wall in a goodly current with lots of colorful divers. There was a bit of fine particulate suspended in the water, a combination of the strong current and the recent hurricane, but visibility was eighty-plus feet, although hazy. While I was taking pictures of a "log" barracuda, Judy found a Thuridilla picta nudibranch, the first of the trip. To top it off, I found another T. picta on Villa Blanca. What's that, a daily double? On our afternoon shore dive, I took pictures of a viper moray that was way back, under a ledge. He's a scary looking creature with big teeth!

Thuridilla picta (formerly Elysia picta)

Viper moray eel (Enchelycore nigricans)

Sunday - Colombia Deep is one of the most fantastic dives in Cozumel. The coral buttresses are apartment size and separated by large, white sand chutes. There are more turtles here than on many of the other reefs - both large and small, the size of dinner plates. At the end of the dive, we drifted over the sand flat at the top of the reef and found some of the tiny red chacmol nudibranchs; only one or two mm long, they are difficult to see. I was glad to find them, but they weren't as plentiful as in previous visits. El Paso del Cedral was almost as wonderful. There weren't any other divers on the reef. A large green moray posed under a ledge and a free-swimming nurse shark settled on the sand, allowing close approach with the cameras. We did our afternoon shore dive in front of the hotel and I got some nice macro shots of a snail-worm and a blenny.

Gastropteron chacmol

Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Monday - The first workday of the week is not usually anyone's favorite...unless you are on vacation and you know that everyone else has to go to work while you play. Dalila Reef is the Northern end of Palancar Reef and is probably the fishiest place in Cozumel. There were many grunts, queen angelfish, schools of Creole wrasse, trunkfish, barracuda; you name it, we saw it. Our second dive was a repeat of La Palma, but we had enough of a current to finish the dive on Paradise reef. Two great dives with no one else on the reefs. The afternoon shore dive was almost two hours long. RogerC and JudyC joined us for a leisurely dive out in the turtle grass looking for neat things. Judy found a new, yellow eel and Deborah located an Atlantic yellow cowrie. There's always something new to see.

Unknown eel (not the best picture in the World, but this 6-inch long eel was moving fast)

Atlantic yellow cowrie (Cypraea spurca acicularis)

Tuesday - There are wonderful things to see in the sea. It was rumored that there had been sightings of hammerheads, a school of whitetips, and even mantas, but we weren't fortunate enough to see any of those. We did see giant green moray eels out swimming in the daylight - an unusual occurrence. On the other hand, we did have some new and exciting finds and pictures. The first dive of the day was Palancar Horseshoe. The pedestal where the statue of Christ used to stand was completely covered in sand the last time we were here; not any more, the hurricane removed all the sand and the concrete is fully exposed, now. We saw some turtles, the free-swimming green moray, and found some nudibranchs on the sand at the top of the reef. After a proper surface interval, we dropped in on Tormentos (going the right way this time). The current was very mild and I stopped to take a picture of a yellowhead jawfish with eggs in his mouth. They are shy, and I was fortunate to get a good image. You will find the picture at the end of this report. The afternoon shore dive surprised us with a couple of juvenile trunkfish - too small in their development to identify.

Juvenile trunkfish about the size of a small pea. Stacked macro lens adapters.

The pedestal at Palancar Horseshoe with Roger

We finally got some rain. It rained a little last night and again during dinner, nothing to interfere with the diving or having a good time.

Channel Clinging Crab (Mitrax spinosissimus)

Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus)

Wednesday - Today, our DM, Jesús completed his 5,000th dive! I've done over six hundred dives here, mostly with Jesús - so I was with him on about ten percent of all his dives! This year, we spent a month in Cozumel. Maybe it's time to move here. Think of all the airfare we would save.

Jesús

We opted to go to Chankanaab Bolones for the first dive of the day. This is a wonderful dive site that isn't often done as a first dive so we had the reef to ourselves. The visibility has dramatically improved and was well over a hundred feet. There was no current, so we leisurely swam from one large coral head to the next, looking at all the aquatic life. I had loaded my camera into the housing wrong and it wouldn't switch on, so I spent the dive looking at things instead of blinding them with my strobes. It was an interesting change, I think I saw more than when I am taking pictures. Maybe I should dive without a camera once in a while...or not. Taking advantage of propinquity, we chose Chankanaab Reef as the second dive - well, sort of. We started at the wreck of the C-53 looking for frogfish on a coral head that we had found one before - no joy! While Jesus and the group looked at sponges, I stayed up on the reef and took pictures of a cleaning station. On the swim up slope towards the main reef, I took some pictures of a pretty splendid toadfish. On catching up with the group, we encountered a very large barracuda - probably the same one we saw on a previous dive last week. He wasn't camera shy and I was able to get a reasonable snapshot. But, I missed the money shot; the barracuda opened his mouth wide for a little dental cleaning by a tiny hogfish, but had finished his tooth yawn before I got into position to take a picture. We skipped our usual afternoon shore dive and opted for an early dinner followed by a night dive in front of the hotel. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready for the night dive, the current was ripping in the "wrong" direction. After waiting some time, the current slacked and we quickly suited up. Ryan and his mom were my buddies on this dive and we slowly worked our way out to one of the artificial reefs in front of the hotel. Visibility was great and lots of fish were either sleeping or actively hunting in the dark. As I made the turn to start towards the South, the current came up big time in the "right" direction. Ryan and I made our way back to the entry point, but Ryan's mom wasn't with us. She had been swept away by the quickly rising current and caught the buoy line before being carried down current towards Cozumel Palace. Hand over hand, she pulled herself to shore and hollered for someone to help her out of the water. We were just coming up the stairs and took her gear so she could climb up the iron shore. Not the best night dive in the World and only thirteen minutes long.

Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)

My dive buddy, Ryan (he's from Ohio)

Thursday - I requested that we dive La Francesa and Punta Tunich, two spots we hadn't already dived on this trip, and Jesús concurred. The water at La Francesa was green and visibility was much less than it had been the day before. When we moved over to the deep-water side of the reef, we saw four black groupers; two of them engaged in a swirling fight before one of them fled the scene. The DM took us down slope to the wall where there was a hard thermocline where the water temperature dropped to 80 degrees, definitely colder than the 87 degrees in the upper water. A very large green moray eel rested under a ledge and let the photographers snap away. The group also spotted two blacktip reef sharks! Punta Tunich (sometimes called the poor man's Barracuda) was a hoot, with a nice strong current to push us down this long reef. A loggerhead turtle rose off the bottom and took off like a shot when he saw Roger's long strobe arms. I'm sorry to say that the finger coral that covered the last part of Punta Tunich was badly damaged by the hurricane. I estimate that about half of it is now rubble. I hope it grows quickly. On my afternoon shore dive, Ryan was my buddy and we did the rounds of the various artificial reefs before I dropped him back at the shore and went back to spend lots of time on one little coral/sponge head shooting macro.

Juvenile smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter)

Deborah and a big black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)

Friday - Our last dive day...big sigh! Punta Sur beckoned - not the Devil's Throat (been there, done that), but the pinnacle to the south. Unfortunately, we missed it and wound up on the reef with the Throat and the Cathedral - visibility was not good and we didn't see any of the reputed blacktips, manta rays, or other pelagics. The last dive of the trip was el Paso del Cedral Reef in a strong current - definitely an E-ticket ride. Today was the day for equipment problems - dive computer, BCD inflator, and a strobe controller. I guess if something is going to fail, it's best on the last day of the trip. [No afternoon shore dive as we flew on Saturday - time to rinse, dry, and pack the gear.] It was another wonderful trip to Cozumel and we will be back as soon as we can.

Deborah and George (RegTek)

Sunrise at SCC

It started to rain hard after we got to the airport for our return flight to LAX - thunder and lightning. Then, we missed our connecting flight in Houston due to a late arrival at the gate and crowds at Immigration & at the TSA inspection point. We made the next flight, only a couple of hours later, and were forced to eat at Pappadeaux's instead of what passes for "food" on Continental. Not a bad trade off.

So, who is this Michael, Archangel guy, anyway?

According to the Catholic Church, there are seven archangels. Only three of them are mentioned in the Scriptures; St Michael is one of them and is named four times:

First, in Daniel (chapter 10), Michael appears to Daniel and promises to help him in all things. Again, in Daniel (chapter 12), Michael is called "the great prince who stands for the children of Thy people." Third, in the Letter of St Jude (verse 9), we are told that Michael disputed with Satan over the body of Moses. Finally, in Revelation (chapter 12), St John tells how Michael, leading the faithful angels, defeats the hosts of evil in a battle with the wicked angels and Lucifer.

Because of the victory over Lucifer and the wicked angels, St Michael is revered in Catholic tradition and liturgy as the protector of the Church. In the Eastern Church, St Michael is placed over all the angels, as prince of the Seraphim. He is usually represented with a sword and banner. His feast day is 29 September.

Painting of St. Michael

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) decreed that after all masses the following prayer should be recited to protect the Church from the sins of Modernism. "Saint Michael, the Archangel, Defend us in the hour of battle, keep us safe from the wickedness and snares of the Devil, May God restrain him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, By the power of God, cast Satan down into Hell, and with him all the evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

To that, I'll add: Saint Michael, Archangel protect our beloved island and keep her safe from hurricanes. Amen

"You all come back again, soon!" Queen angel

The end "chocolate- chip" seacucumber AKA three-rowed seacucumber (Isostichopus badionotus)

The fine print:

Camera: Olympus C-5050 in an Oly PT-015 housing with dual Ikelite DS-125 strobes, EV controllers, Inon WAL and macro lens adapters.

Scuba Club Cozumel: http://scubaclubcozumel.com

Debbie Lanham at Maduro Dive Travel: Debbie@maduro.com

My web page with links to previous trip reports:

Jim's Web Page

And, finally, my best picture of the trip: Yellowhead jawfish with eggs (Opistognathus aurifrons)