Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scuba Diving in Cozume Mexico - overview

This post and then next few lower down in this blog are of my scuba diving trip in March 2011 to Cozumel Mexico. It is a beautiful island with a large reef just off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula.  I got my open water PADI scuba certification this fall in Massachusetts and had been thinking about a trip to the south this spring after we arrived in Southern Pines NC for the spring.  During our first breakfast in Aspen Snowmass this winter I met a Mexican couple who had built a dive hotel in Cozumel.  It seemed that fate was directing me so I contacted the Blue Angel Resort and made a reservation.  It turned out that the couple I had met in Aspen lived across the street from the hotel they had built and once owned and I met them again.

If you wondered what happened to the Maya, they are alive and well in Cozumel. 

My hotel and dive service, Blue Angel Resort, overlooks the Villa Blanca dive site near the town of San Miguel.  Each dive site listed usually has two portions, one is a wall that goes into the deep blue at over 1,000 feet and the other is closer to the shore with a bottom at 60 - 40 ft.  The wall portion has deep canyons going up the face and swim thoughts or small caves open at both ends.  It is like flying through a beautiful garden.  I did over 20 dives during my two week stay.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scuba Diving in Cozume Mexico

I spent two weeks diving at the Blue Angel Resort and obtained my Open Water Advanced certification from PADI.  The views were fantastic and the staff very professional, especially my instructor Mathew Atkins.

Blue Angel pool and one of the dive boats

Carnival on Cozumel

Me on a deep dive

Blue Angel Restaurant

Transparent Shrimp on Coral

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diving Progress

I have done about 16 dives to this point in a week and a half. During this trip I have taken the PADI avvanced open water course from the Blue Angel resident instructor, Mathew. This course has included lessons on buoyancy (some very useful stuff), deep diving to 100 feet, fish identification, underwater navigation and tonight night diving. In addition I have done a number of boat dives. These dives include two tanks. In the first dive we usually go deeper than the second. The deeper you go the less time you have on the dive and the more nitrogen accumulates in your blood. The second dive after a wait on the boat to partually degas, have a fruit lunch and rest, is at a shallower depth to give one more dive time and continue the degassing process.

I use a dive computer that is like a fat wristwatch that monitors your time and depth to ensure you don't stay down too long. It also monitors your ascent rate to ensure you don't go up too fast. The dives we do don't require a decompression step but we always hold at 15 ft. For 3 minutes as a safety factor.

I have seen many very beautiful and colorful fish as well as some really big spiny lobsters. Many of the reefs raise like pillars out of the ocean floor with numerous caves, arches, short swim-throughs and large crevasses one can swim up along the reef wall. This is especially true at the ledge which descends over 1,000 ft. Into a dark blue abyss. It is at times like flying through a forest or being in the movie Avitar.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More from Cozumel - Underwater Navigation Class

This morning I studied for my course and this afternoon I did the underwater navigation segment. I learned that I do 28 kicks in 100 feet, to navigate by bottom features and to measure distance by walking along the bottom on my hands and counting the hand strides ( also 28 per 100 feet). Tomorrow I do a deep water dive and follow that with a fish identification dive. More studying.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2nd scuba diving in Cozumel

More from my Scuba vacation in Cozumel at the Blue Angel Resort
Today I did two dives in the morning one at Las Palmas ref and a second at Paradise reef. It is amazing how many very colorful fish are here. We saw one large shark and a Morey eel. Many of the fish were unfamiliar to me. I am getting more confident. The bottom was sandy at about 40 feet with corals rising about 20 feet from the sea floor. Our dive master took us through tight channels between close reefs with fish on either side. We also went under arches of coral and short tunnels. There were four of us on these dives, a photographer from Quebec and a mother an college age daughter. Dominique made me a friend on Facebook so that we can see the video of the dive he uploaded.

I didn't have any lessons today but will have two tomorrow. One is on underwater navigation and the other is a night dive. I am getting tired of studying but am learning a number of new techniques.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Coffee at the Blue Angle

I am sitting under a thatched roof looking at a vibrant blue Caribbean and can almost see the Mexico mainland. Breakfast should be ready soon. Today I may just snorkel or do a shore dive with the real stuff starting tomorrow. I am thinking about taking another course to get my advanced open water certification but it includes classwork and tests in addition to a number of dives to practice additional skills.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Scuba Diving Cozumel Mexico

I am getting ready for two weeks in Cozumel Mexico scub diving. I have signed up for 18 dives with Blue Angle Resort and Dive Center. I am not sure how this will go for a guy who will go through his 68th brithday during the trip.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Scuba Diving in Cozumel Mexico

I am getting ready for two weeks in Cozumel Mexico scub diving. I have signed up for 18 dives but I am not sure how this will go for a guy who will go through his 68th brithday during the trip.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow in Groton MA

Our front door.  I wonder how long it will take for this to melt.

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Return from Aspen Snowmass

We are back home for a while after a wonderful Trip to Aspen Snowmass. This was about our 20th trip to Aspen and the Mountain Chalet that included visits with old friends who also seem to show up at about the same time. In addition to the skiing we went to a talk on Superconducting materials at the Aspen Opera House. We heard about the talk from a women physicist on a ski lift to the top of the Burn.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A new member of the human family

Click on the title for a link to a discussion about a third member of the human family, the Denisovans.  They were more closely related to the Neanderthals than us but did contribute to the genome of some humans, primarily ( Melanesians. It is interesting that only non-Africans seem to share a few genes with Neanderthals and Melanesians.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scuba Dive at Pampano Beach FL

Click on the title to follow the link to more informaion.