Our 2nd Dive trip, so we’re still newbies by all counts.
Prior to the trip we did invest in our own gear. We already had good masks/snorkels/fins.
We shopped around and ended up with Aqualung gear. I opted for the travel-light Aqualung Zuma BCD, Aqualung Legend Regulator with ABS Octo, and basic console with i300 dive computer. We chose to purchase locally over ordering on the internet. Pricing was about the same and we get lifetime free parts for the Aqualung stuff if we have our service performed there. Oh, and the first service is free as in beer. Claudine initially wanted a Zeagle Covert, but when it arrived she did not like how it fit. Fortunately with our trip less than 2 weeks away they had an Aqualung Pearl in her size. Not as ‘travel light’ as I would like but it fits her well, is made for women, and she has more pockets so she gets to carry all the stuff 🙂
We stayed for a week at Cozumel Palace Resort, and dove with the on-site dive operator (Aqua Safari) and did all dives off of their boat Ocean Three.
We got picked up at the dock on site at the resort. Ocean Three is a larger boat, holds up to 16 divers, and it was full most of the trips. For whatever reason we always got the spots on the back of the boat which worked out well.
The resort is just south of town, and most of the dive sites are on the south west side of the island. Each morning started with about an hour boat ride to the south western tip, to a deeper wall/drift dive. We then headed back north for a shallower reef dive closer towards the city but still south of the cruise ports.
This was our first drift dive experience and at times was pretty crazy. Like hopping on the freeway, straight into the fast lane. It took a couple of these dives before we got comfortable enough to just settle in and enjoy the show. The first couple dives we spent way to much time fighting to keep oriented and trying to stay off the coral. TIP: generally speaking, the current isn’t going to smash you into anything, you’ll flow around, up and over with the current. Until that sinks in you end up trying to avoid things you don’t need to avoid. Kicking with the current zooms you right along and away from everyone, turning and kicking into the current is exhausting. Just go with the flow.
Our first dive trip was in Grand Cayman so that was our frame of reference. If Grand Cayman is a 10 on a 10 scale, Cozumel is 8, 9, and in some slow spots 10 as well.
The wild life was amazing, we saw quite a few turtles, eals and spotted eagle rays that were huge.
There was a photographer on all but one dive day and captured most of what we saw.
Having been spoiled by Neptune Divers in Grand Cayman, who keeps the dive group smaller (Max 8 Divers), I’m not a fan of a full boat of 16 divers plus a photographer and two dive masters (19 people in the water). Especially when half of those divers don’t realize that it’s a big freaking ocean you don’t need to be on top of other people. When the dive master would try to draw your attention to something it was like 12 moths to a flame and half of them had no sense of “space”. I had more fun just hanging out around the perimeter and got to see a lot of things like eagle rays just off in the distance that they didn’t get to see.
Because we could use the resort credits with Aqua Safari we did, and in the same situation I’d do it again. But if I have a choice I’ll use a smaller operator next time like the highly recommended Scuba Tony in Cozumel.
We will definitely be back!