After spending a little time in Vieques I boarded a Catamaran with my Family and we departed for Culibra for a couple days exploring the Island and relaxing on the beach. We then made the trek to St Thomas, a nearby storm gave us a bit of a rough ride and slowed things down a bit, but we made it. We stayed in a small cove off of the main island known as Honeymoon Cove, unfortunately the power on the island was out and there were no local businesses besides a local bar. Although there may not have been any thing to do besides have a few drink we were fortunate enough to find out that the bartender’s boyfriend ran a dive shop on the main island and gave us his number to set up a last minute set of dives before we departed the day after.
We had an amazing time on the boat, exploring Culibra and diving St Thomas with Blue Island Divers.
Vieques is a small island south east of Puerto Rico, it is one of those islands that truly has a small island feel. There are an abundance of horses and dogs roaming the streets freely and the locals are kind and helpful making me feel as a tourist to be less of a burden not knowing were I was goings exactly. With there very little time that I was able to spend on the island a couple helpful lessons were learned for future trips, be aware of off season in the Caribbean. Much to my surprise shops in Vieques and other islands in the Spanish & US Virgin Islands have a slow season usually in September and October where people will take their vacations and dive shops and other shops will be closed for the entire month. Luckily I had planned enough ahead and was fortunate enough to have arranged my dives with the one open shop on the island purely by luck. For the single day i had to spend on Vieques I went diving with my sister and Blackbeard Sports, they had a smaller boat that could accommodate a max of 6 divers, dive master and captain. There were only 4 in our group which gave us a little more space on the small boat and provided a more personable feel to the experience. The diving was average, after a full day of flying being underwater anywhere was nice, but there was an abundance of soft corals, lots of varieties of fish and a fair amount of rays and a turtle, as well as the infamous Lion Fish. Visibility was probably around 30ft and there was a definite green tinge to the water on the second dive. It was relatively shallow diving no deeper than 50ft and minimal amounts of reef structure. At the end of the second dive we came across an abandoned fishing net that in doing our part as divers carefully removed it from the reef and brought it back to shore to despise of it properly.
Here is a video of the dives that I have put together I hope everyone enjoys.
This was a wonderful trip diving with quite a few veterans of the Scuba world with decades of experience and great dives to boot.
April 4th through 12th I was lucky enough to spend in the beautiful Cozumel Mexico.
Now Cozumel is one of those dive destinations that almost all divers have heard of, if is famous for its walls that reach extreme depths down to 6000 ft, and of course the drift diving. For those that are not familiar with Cozumel it is an island off the coast of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, it is well known for the stronger than average currents that whist divers gently over the reef. Cozumel has an abundance of fish and creatures to see and on this particular trip there were no shortage of turtles, a common favorite among divers. The crystal blue water makes it deceptively simple to wonder a little farther from your group and need to play catch up. Truly a divers paradise.
The Highs: For me being a cold water diver the temperatures in Cozumel were a breath of fresh air, fairly consistently 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The currents made it possible to average hour long dives full of reef structures teaming with life from the smallest corals to some of the most massive groupers. We were fortunate enough as a group to have guides that did their best to ensure we were not in the hoard of cruz ship divers. The walls that seemed to reach into the depths of the earth along the walls provided a ever deepening blue.
The Lows: In reality these tend to get a little nit picky because the trip was amazing, but some of this will help prepare divers for going to Cozumel in the future. First of all Cozumel made up of primarily marine protected area, this means that there are strict guidelines on diving. Some of these strict rules include no gloves or knives. The concept of no gloves is relatively common and is used as a deterrent from touching the reef, but the no knives was new to me and i could’t quite understand why. Cruz ships are also a common sight while in Cozumel, and we were told by some of the instructors that during the busy season there can be up to 12 cruz ships in a day. what this means is there is an overcrowding of the reefs, manny divers and also the possibility of less skilled divers affecting the visibility through poor buoyancy control. This large number of divers also makes it difficult at times to keep track of your group during the dive.
Overall Cozumel is a phenomenal destination for diving that all divers should have on there list of must visit locations. Not only is there amazing visibility, cool swim throughs, walls, and a variety of aquatic life to see. There is drift diving which can be a game changer, bottom time is increased because of the reduction of effort to move through the water and hour long dives can be easily achieved for those who have good air consumption.