Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cozumel, Mexico May 17-30, 2013

Cozumel, Mexico  May 17-30, 2013

…”a pirate flag and an island girl”…

 Hola Cozumelinos and Cozumelinettes!

Yer ol' pal Sharky
 Last September 12th, my alter ego got totally out of hand, when The Shark Tank radio show premiered on CozumelRadio.net.
 Annie Cheatham, the owner and operator, and now my partner in crime, agreed, in a weak moment, to allow me to do my own weekly radio show for the online radio station.

 At the time of this writing, the show is currently on hiatus, in preparation for the new and exciting Cozumel Radio website, which is feverishly under construction and will have all kinds of very cool SCUBA related time wasters for you to dig into.

 So, not one to let a good opportunity pass me by, I designed and had a pirate flag made for ‘The Shark Tank radio show”, fulfilling every boy’s life-long dream of having their very own pirate flag.


 So, with Kenny Chesney’s latest single, “Pirate Flag” playing right into my hands (and in my head), a custom made pirate flag in my baggage and my best island girl at my side, we headed south to our favorite place to put the rest of the World behind…

 …It’s Sharky’s Big Cozumel Adventure 2013!!
Day 1 – May 17, 2013 – Friday –

“…you can drop all your worries in the blue ocean, but you gotta  get away to where the boat leaves from…” zbb

 American Airlines flight 367, the daily commute to Cozumel, Mexico from Dallas/Ft. Worth International took off after a slight delay to wait for a few late passengers, most likely trying to make the connection from another flight.

  Nevertheless, the Captain kicked ‘er in the pants and we arrived at CZM right on scheduled time.

 We made it through customs, “Hola, Welcome to Mexico”, picked up our baggage, 2 bags were literally the last 2 bags off the tug cart, so we were at the back of the line to have your bags x-rayed one last needless time, and for the first time in three years, DID NOT get the red light at the “stoplight” to be searched…whoo hoo! We’re in!

 All the Time-share sales people were busy by the time we go through, so making my way to the taxi ticket stand was a breeze. I purchased 2 shuttle tickets to the Blue Angel Resort.
Blue Angel Resort
  We checked in to our favorite little spot, to “welcome homes” and big hugs and quickly settled in to room 302. The king bed room on the third floor with the trigger fish mosaic in floor.

  There was also a little care package left to us by part of our Cozumel Family.

 “The Gunns”, my buddy Gordon (ggunn on the ScubaBoard) and his family left us their “leaveovers”, as my wife’s grandmother would say.

 A little over a case of cerveza, some Gin, Tonic Water, Bailey’s, peanut butter & cheese whiz!!! All much appreciated and consumed with much gusto!

 Especially the peanut butter!! One of my favorite snacks at home.

 First order of duty was to make the place officially “Casa Sharky”.
Pirate flag at Blue Angel
 I had purchased some nylon line before leaving home, and used it to post the pirate flag from the balcony of the room. I don’t know if anyone else really paid much attention to it, but I thought it was pretty cool.

 The weather was just what the doctor ordered. Sunny, with big fluffy clouds, not too hot, mid-80’s, with a nice tropical breeze knocking down what humidity was in the air…very pleasant.

 By the time we checked in and got somewhat settled, relaxed a little and enjoyed our complementary “welcome” Strawberry margaritas, it was close to 4:00pm and we made the mile walk downtown to pick up our rental from Less-Pay.

 Now, I know he doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation,  and his cars definitely aren’t the prettiest girls at the prom, but I’ve been renting from John for many years and have never been broke down on the side of the road, or had any issues with the vehicles what so ever.

 Plus, he has Chevy Trackers, the perfect size vehicle or Cozumel, (for us anyway), for a mere $36/day including insurance…they want $700/week plus insurance here in the States to rent a similar car. I got 2 weeks for $474!! We drove around the island at least once a day and only had to fill it up once the entire time I was there!...cheap driving!

  First order of business, check the joint out of course.

 I pointed the little jeep South on the Melgar and on down past the International and Mayan Piers, taking note of the 2 cruise ships in town (the annual survey continues).

 I turned off at the Caleta and proceeded down the old beach road past El Presedente and Chankanaab Park to the open beach line and the early makings of our first Caribbean sunset.

 The old road has been repaved all the way around the island and I believe is to be mostly intended to be used by scooters and bicycles, especially once the old road meets back up with and runs along the new highway C-1 at the old Reef Club area, currently called the Sabor.

  I drove on the old road most of the time, being that I am usually doing my nearly scientific analysis of the condition of the island and drive even slower than most scooters,
stopping frequently to check out a plants or the occasional critter along the road that catches my interest.

 The police drove by several times throughout the trip as we were on the old road and didn’t pull us over once for being on it, although we did see them pull over others that we’re either speeding or hanging out of their jeeps…please don’t stand up in a vehicle while it is moving.

 By the time we stopped and paid tribute to “Tree”, the giant Ceiba tree near Punta Sur and made our way down to the “South Point”, hunger was setting in and we had already made plans for this evening, so we headed back to town.

"Tree", the massive La Ceiba near Punta Sur

 I have been diving with Matt (Mateo) Moran at Blue Angel since our first stay there in 2006.

 Both of us, Matt and I, being native to Illinois, him from Chicago and me from right across the state along the Mighty Mississip. in the Quad Cities. We naturally got along from the beginning.

 Time flies, so I’ve lost track of the exact date, but a couple of years ago, Matt and his wife Angela, who is the daughter of my buddy William, the owner of Rasta’s Freedom Bar at Punta Sur, started their own venture and named it the Hawaiian name for Family, ‘Ohana.

 The ‘Ohana Café and Bar sits just a couple blocks North of the Square on 5th Ave. North and is truly a place to become part of the Cozumel Family.

Shark tank bumper sticker at 'Ohana
 Go to 7-11 at the back of Benito Juarez Plaza (City Square), make a left and go approx. 3 blocks, its on the right hand side of the road, you can’t miss it.

 The latest offering from this Cozumel gem is a gift from home.

 Chicago style deep dish pizza! Complete with homemade Chicago style sausage. REAL deep dish pizza, made in a deep dish pie pan, stuffed with fillings and scrumptious gooey cheese and just the right amount of sauce, spiced to perfection.

 Although we opted to split an awesome garlic fish dinner; they make some of the best garlic fish at ‘Ohana as well, and bean and cheese nachos with the Mrs. on this evening; I did get to have the deep dish pie on 3 occasions throughout our trip, and would highly recommend it.

 All the food at ‘Ohana is simply wonderful, the backyard setting is a great place to relax and even enjoy live music several nights a week.

 After dinner, we retired to the bar. Matt had the night off, so our hostess Angie had bar tending duties.

 Sipping a nice Reposado tequila really settles a meal down. We’ve taken to drinking aged “sipping tequila” rather than the sweet drinks and it really helps the head feel better in the morning. No hangover at all if you cut out the sugared mixers. Something I learned, oddly enough, from Sammy Hagar, yes, that Sammy Hagar.

 ‘Ohana has quite a selection of all three grades of tequila, Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and we made quite a tasting throughout the next 2 weeks.

 Although we stayed away from the sweet stuff as much as possible, we did try and new concoction Angie came up with, Peanut Butter Tequila…you have to stop in and ask for some. It’s a creamy shot of peanut butter with a gentle kick.

 Our friends Chris and Sharon at Andele Beach Bar over on the “wild side” usually have some on hand as well. I’ll tell more of our new friends later in the trip.

Day 2 – May 18 , 2013 – Saturday –

 No ships on Saturday? …that’s new. In fact the lack of cruise ships throughout the entire stay was evident. It was kind of nice for us “having the island to ourselves”, but hard on the local shops and bars that depend on them.

 The first day on the island is always dedicated to sleeping in a little, going out for breakfast and doing an equipment check-out dive to prepare for the beautiful reefs of Palancar.


  So I’ve been doing commercials for Buccano’s for nearly a year now. I’ve driven past the place many times on previous trips, before realizing it was actually open and then, left the island before finding out the details about the place.

 You see, the grounds are on what appears from the road to be an abandoned hotel tower and you can’t see the absolutely gorgeous beach and day beach facilities and restaurant form the road at all.

 So, it was time to check this place out. We jumped in the jeep, (the Tracker will now be referred to as ‘the jeep’), and headed to the Northern Hotel Zone.

 Buccano’s is located on the beach side of the road, just a little past the big harbor on the North side of town.

 You drive into the property and it feels like you are on a road to nowhere …just make a right at the guard shack and keep going, there is gold at the end of the rainbow.

 The cobble stone road gives way to a large turnabout and parking lot. You will most likely be greeted by a lovely young lady who will escort you through an open-aired lobby out to the, pool side restaurant and grounds of the Club Caribe Cozumel, now the lovely Day Beach and weekend dining experience known as Buccano’s.

 More on the amazing Buccano’s at Night later, but first let’s make it through breakfast!

  With such delights as Coconut French Toast, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, several omelets and egg dishes and Mexican traditional breakfast dishes, it was hard to choose.

Buccanos Breakfast Menu
 The lovely Mrs. chose the veggie omelet, stuffed with all kinds of veggies, and I opted for the “house” omelet; bacon, avocado & cheese. All breakfasts come with coffee (or tea) and juice and a fruit plate. The omelet was delicious and stuffed to the gills, much more than I could possibly put down, all for a set price of US$10.50.
Buccanos day beach
  Bellies full, we headed back to the Casa and ran into a couple of friends we met from last year’s adventure.

 Wayne and Anna are dive buddies from Canada and were waiting to head out to the airport when we arrived back at Blue Angel.
Wayne & Anna

 We spent some time talking with them in the lobby as it began to rain around noon for about a half of an hour.

 The rain subsided and we put our friends in a cab and sent them off to the airport as we head upstairs to collect our SCUBA gear for the first dive of the trip.

 Now, there are people who will tell you that there is no “good” shore diving in Cozumel.

 First of all define, good. I have a buddy who’s been diving almost longer than I’ve been alive. He says there’s no such thing as a bad dive. “If you’re underwater, it’s a good dive, Mate.” …he British by the way.
 Sure, you’re not going to get large coral formations, out in the shallows and most of the animals you see are more than likely going to be juveniles, but there are some very nice shore dives on Coz.

 Come along on a dive to Villablanca Shallows with me, or dive with one of my favorite Cozumel underwater photographer colleges, ‘jlyle’ from the ScubaBoard at Scuba Club, or just look up his photos on the SB to see what you can find in the shallows.
Coral Banded Shrimp
 Or jump in any one of many entries from Playa Corona all the way to the Cozumel Palace, and others I’m not aware of I’m sure and you might change your mind about Cozumel shore diving.
 The dive out on the Stingray enclosure next to Blue Angel alone is worth a plane trip, for either a day or night dive.

 The area I call Villablanca Shallows stretches south to north, from Villa Blanca Hotel/Papa Hogs to Blue Angel Resort. The fabulous Villablanca Wall runs parallel to it (going both further South and North than the ‘shallows’ limits. More on VB Wall later.
White Pincushion Urchin
SEE…”The Dives” below for all the dives on this trip…

  As evening rolled around, it began to lightly rain again, which continued on and off throughout most of the evening and on into the night.

 The rain was so light that you could walk around in it and not really get wet at all, so we drove downtown and parked at the little public parking lot on 3rd Ave. S., next to Lore’s new favorite place…the chocolate shop. Again more details to come.

 But first, a Cozumel tradition…Casa Denis!
Casa Denis under a full moon
 Located just off the Square, on the walking path that leads to Calle 1A Sur. Casa Denis is one of the oldest restaurants on the island, established in 1945, and is still putting out good meals after all these years.
 Two of the sons of the owner of Casa Denis also have long time favorite restaurants on the island, Los Tortugas located to the back of the Corpus Christi neighborhood and the fabulous Especias on Calle 3 south.

  Casa Denis also just happens to have one of the best Mango margaritas around, so we ordered 2 of them a Spinach Mayan Soup and Shrimp Kabob for her and Mayan Chicken for me.
Lore and Wildman 'mariachi' Philipe

  On dive days, we eat yogurt and granola for breakfast, so after dinner we made our way to the Mega superstore to stock up on those items and some crackers to go with our cheese whiz and peanut butter and headed back to the room for a good night’s rest for our first day of boat diving.

Day 3 – May 19 – Sunday –

 No cruise ships on Sunday…it’s a tradition. This is “family day” on the island and with no cruise ships around, it allows folks to have a traditional day off and spend it with the family.
'No Problem' dive boat at Sunrise

 After the late morning dive, (hey! see “The Dives”!) I was battling my old foe seasickness and slept a good portion of the late afternoon.

 Too bad too, Rasta’s had live reggae bands playing all afternoon, and by the time we showed up, about sunset, they had pretty much wrapped everything up.

 Nevertheless, we sat with Mateo and had a couple of cervezas and just spent a little quality time with our friend and his family.

 Driving back to the hotel along the old road for a sort while before jumping over to the highway, we saw several pairs of close-set reflective eyes alone the roadside. I had an idea of what it might be, but wasn’t quite sure,

 I slowed the jeep down to a near stop, and sure enough there they were. Cozumel’s very own little bandit, the Mexican Raccoon.

Not the little long nosed cousin, the Coati, but real raccoons, like Davie Crocket and Daniel Boone had hats made out of.
 I have seen them up at Punta Norte, getting into the fisherman’s fish scraps and along the gravel road leading up there, but I’ve never seen them south of town before.
  I have an affinity for raccoons. My grandmother was a cook at a summer camp in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The people that owned the camp, also lived on the property, and almost every year they would end up with raccoon orphans to raise.
  When I would visit, I would get to play with the little, or sometimes nearly grown, orphans. Very curious and intelligent animals, and their front paws are like little hands and they have the ability to open almost ANYTHING!
 Ask the people who owned the summer camp what they found the day 2 of their little adoptees got out of their cage and decided to find out what was in every box and jar in the kitchen…EVERY box and jar!!!
  We hadn’t had anything for dinner yet, so on the way back to the hotel, we stopped at another old haunt, Ernesto’s Fajita Factory.

 Ernesto’s has been around forever, I think, and is always a good place to get a bite to eat.

 Sometimes hit and miss, this visit it was either right on, or we were just starving…probably a little of both.

Sea food burrito, for her, and chicken fajitas for me, and we were off to the Blue Angel for some shut eye.
Day 4 – May 20 – Mon –
 1 ship at the International Pier; Carnival Liberty.
  a.m. dive on Blue Angel II, with Norman and Alberto. Palancar Cuebones & Villablanca Wall … (SEE THE DIVES!)
Arrow crab at Palancar Cuebones
 A relaxing lunch at Rasta’s of Shrimp Quesadillas and Chicken tacos, and a soothing Negro Modelo to settle the pallet and we were off to explore the island, shoot some stock video and photos for the radio station website.
Shrimp Quesadillas

Welcome to Rasta's, The Freedom Bar...

Shark Tank radio show card at Rasta's

Rasta's beach

We spent a lot of time driving around, deep in town, beyond 30th Ave., if you will.
 It is amazing how much new construction is happening off of Benito Juarez just as you come in town from the east side on the Trans-Island highway.
Whole new neighborhoods are popping up. With at least one of not two new major north/south thoroughfares with frontage roads that have parking on them. I think that eventually what looks like a frontage road will actually be parking lot passage with pull in parking on each side of it for retail.

 We ended up, like most evenings, sitting on our balcony, marveling at the amazing weather and enjoying the evenings free show of another spectacular sunset.
 Hunger we setting in, so I left her at the hotel to relax and I ventured up to see Matt at ‘Ohana and order a deep dish pizza and house salad to go. My first of three times I had the wonderful gift from home.

 I bellied up to the bar and grabbed a menu, ordered a cold water and a shot of tequila and followed Matt out front to meet some now acquaintances.

 Chris and Sharon are fairly new to the island, Chris is originally from South Africa and Sharon is from England. It was all I could do to not start talking like them, especially Chris, that South African accent is so distinct and very cool.
Sharon & Chris...Andale Beach Bar
These two operate the newly re-opened Andale Bar over on the Wild Side of the island.
Some of you long timers might remember, years ago it was called Andale Bar, and the owners used the cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez for their logo. I remember seeing their t-shirts.
Then some guy bought it and tried turn it into a biker bar…? Changed the motif to skulls and black and, well, let’s just say, it didn’t quite work out.
So these two are giving it a go over at the beautiful San Martin beach, located just between Playa Bonita and Chen Rio.
 One of the few spots on the island where conditions, on an occasion, provides some pretty sweet sets of waves nice enough to strap on a board and do some surfing from.
 Chris and Sharon are trying to go with basically a surfing theme and like most Cozumel palapa bars, they are currently accepting t-shirts and paraphernalia for the ceiling. So if you are so inclined, please bring a home town ‘T’ for the décor at Andale.
 Andale is a great place to kick back on a hot afternoon. The 2nd story palapa sits across the new highway from the beach and is set up higher than the road, so the cool Caribbean breeze is constantly sweeping through the bar like natural air conditioning.
There are even a couple of hammocks strung up in the bar and with that breeze and a couple of Sherry’s drinks, it might siesta time.
Back at the room, the pizza was consumed until we were about ready to bust, which was really just one and maybe a half pieces for her and I managed to do 2 and the other half of hers…aw-some…kudos to Matt and Angie to adding this dish to an already fantastic menu.
Day 5 – May 21 – Tuesday –
  2 ships at the I.P./Maya pier area

After a restless night, insomnia is my new friend; we decided to take the day off from diving and lay low.
We slept in a little and had a light breakfast in the lobby of the hotel of fruit and yogurt and eventually made our way to the pool. Well she did.

 I headed straight for the hammocks strung up under the small coconut palms between the hotel and the pool.
hammock time!
Blue Angel Grounds
 I love relaxing in a hammock; I actually slept in one for nearly a year when I was in the Navy.
I pushed the ceiling tiles in my barracks room away one day and noticed a large I beam running the length of my room, so I tied up a hammock I had, and still have to this day. It’s made of white line, but it looks exactly like the ones you’ll find for sale all over Mexico.
 We also had one on the signal bridge of my ship, and on nice evenings when I didn’t have to work, I’d go up there and sleep under the stars when we were out to sea.

  I was doing this the night before we came into Pearl Harbor on one of our many trips to Hawaii from San Diego…I know, rough duty huh?
The sun was coming up, just as we were passing Diamond Head…priceless.

My buddy, Otillio, "the ninja" maintenance man fixin' stuff at BA

 So, when most people struggle to get in and out of one, slip right in and cocoon myself with the net and am off to Never-Never Land in no time.
My friend Sally, barefootincozumel.com was out of town and I was in desperate need of a massage. I talked to Andrea at the front desk at the hotel, and after making a phone call, a lady showed up, massage table in hand and I was off to Never-Never land…again.

 Thanks again to Andrea for hunting her down for me.
 For dinner we met up with Bob and Janice for a wonderful meal, as usual at Le Chef.
 Located on Ave 5 at Calle 5 south, I believe it is, is one of the best places to eat on the island, hands down.

 We parked the jeep at our little parking lot on 3rd and walked down the street to meet Bob and Janice, who had already arrived and were at a four topper on the sidewalk dining area, under the canvas awnings.
Our friends had already ordered, Tuna Tar Tar for her and fish for him, I forget how it was prepared exactly, but they both gave rave reviews.

As did we! Lore had, by the waiter’s recommendation, Fish of the day, Wahoo in this case, in a lobster, mushroom sauce. He said it was his favorite, and she’s brought it up several times since we’ve been back how much she loved it.

 I was craving pasta, all the diving must have been eating carbs like crazy. Seafood pasta, no matter how fresh and well prepared, always is a little too “seafoody” for me, so I went with the spaghetti with grilled chicken and veggies…lots of veggies! Lots of chicken and pasta for that matter! I ate until I was going to burst and it hardly looked like I touched my plate…now how about some dessert?

 We all four waddled back to the jeep, and just as we were about there, a detour popped up.
 The girls noticed a chocolate shop and the lady who owns it, noticed them, noticing her store and invited us in for samples. Chocolateria Isla Bella is located on 3rd Street south, between 5th Ave. and Rafael Melgar, basically just a block off the waterfront on 3rd.
  Now as I said before, I was about ready to bust, but these handmade chocolate confections are marvelous and a sample just wasn’t enough.

I think  we ended up buying 4 pieces that night to have in the room refrig., just in case of a “chocolate emergency and Lore ended up going back the night before we left the island and buying a full 16 piece assorted box to bring home…we’re still enjoying those!

We dropped our friends off at the hotel and remembered we needed some supplies for the room and started to head to Mega or Chedraui, but decided on a nightcap at ‘Ohana first…our new hangout.

Well, our new ‘in town’ hangout, the list out of San Miguel continues to grow.
Things start to work into a regular routine from here, so in an effort to save a little time and space, I’m going to change the format a little.
 Basically we set into a string of continuous dive days, followed by afternoons visiting all our old haunts, meeting new friends and finding new haunts, shooting stock video for the new station website, trying to track down folks, lazing at the pool and well…vacationing!
The Dives…
 Sat. 05/18: Shore dive to check equipment.
 VB Shallows: 22’max./46 min. 81 degrees –
 Trumpet fish, 3 different types of urchins, a small Southern stingray (outside the pen), a spotted yellow ray, a scrolled file fish, coral banded shrimp, juvie angels, a black and white spotted eel and three hermit crabs having a discussion too important to be interrupted by 2 wayward divers… all crossed our path, not to mention the usual suspects in the shallows, Sgt. Majors and those blue carplike fish that always seem to be around, all BEFORE clearing the enclosure!

 Then, we venture out past “the pen” and are greeted by a gently sloping, sandy landscape scattered with coral and rock debris and many, many small coral heads providing lots of nooks and crannies to find more spotted eels, Cozumel’s sharp tail eel, nearly every type of juvenile fish that can be find out on the big reef, lots of arrow crabs and coral banded shrimp and many more delights await the diver who isn’t afraid to dig for their treasure.
The Gorgonians, the large purple sea fans, still have not recovered from being nearly wiped out by Wilma. The area used to look like an underwater garden with all the coral heads covered with fans and soft corals.
Some fans are about, but mostly shaggy fans that have not yet recovered, or small full fans that just haven’t grown big yet.

 Despite this, this is still a great dive with lots to offer for the novice and experienced diver alike. Especially the underwater photographer.
 I get the impression the same people who don’t think there is any good shore diving on Cozumel are the same people who say they “didn’t see anything” after diving for nearly an hour on one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world, because a sea turtle, shark, lion fish or Eagle ray didn’t swim up to them and introduce themselves.
I just want to scream, “Geesh, Dude, you didn’t even notice the reef?!”
  Our SCUBA friends from Michigan, Bob and Janice, Brewdiver on the ScubaBoard, were doing their “check out dive” as well, and we passed them just as we were approaching the pen on our return trip.

 They had just arrived, and we spend several great boat dives, and a wonderful dinner at Le Chef with them over the next week.

After spending three quarters of an hour “checking out our equipment”, everything seemed to be working a-ok, SCUBA gear and camera gear alike, and everything was a go for our first boat dives in the morning.
Sun., 05/19a.m. dive on No Problem with DM Edgar, I didn’t get the Captain’s name.
 No Problem is the large cabin cruiser, type boat that Blue Angel uses for their late morning

 It is usually full of folks that are either off a cruise ship or have come over from the mainland to
Topside of Santa Rosa Wall, 56’ Max. for 44minues, 81 degrees.
 We had several novices on the boat and Edgar obviously didn’t want to take them on a very deep dive, so the top of Santa Rosa was a perfect choice.
 Actually, I think the typical MO for this dive is to go to Santa Rosa and then to Paradise. Not only because most divers on this trip are ‘one-timers’, meaning that they are most likely only diving with  BA for one day, and the DM’s can’t evaluate them and ‘OK’ them for a more advanced dive on subsequent days.
Rock Beauty

Piggy back Lobsters
  The other reason of course, is time, they need to get the cruise shippers and the mainlanders back so they can get back to the ship or catch the ferry back to Playa del Carmen.
 Santa Rosa has been, in my humble opinion, the slowest of the dive sites to recover from Wilma. We dive it almost every year, and as late as last year, there were still significant
sand deposits resting on flat areas and shelves along the wall.

 Today, we barely went over the edge of the wall at all, so I didn’t get a good evaluation of the wall its self.
Juvenile Queen Angel

  I got a good shot of a Rock Beauty poking his head out of the coral, Queen Angels, small barracuda and grouper passed us by. I found a Lion’s Tongue poking out from underneath some coral, a relative to the Sea Cucumber and several lobsters milling about under shelves.
 Then, off to Paradise.
 Paradise Reef (41’ Max./44 min., 80 degrees) has seen a lot of stress over the years, due to cruise ship pier construction and other factors, but it is still a fun site to dive and full of life.
Christmas Tree tube worm
 Someone on the boat said they wanted to see a Sea Horse…who doesn’t?

 Once we hit the bottom and poked around some of the many coral heads and ridgelines for a little while.
 Edgar took us out over the sand flats to look for Sea Horses. They like to hold onto these little seaweed things that look a little like a green flower pod on a stem.
Sea horse
 After a couple of minutes of scanning the sandy bottom, I spotted the familiar shape we were all looking for, grabbed by shaker and alerted the rest of the group…much to Edgar’s relief! He gave be a big smile and the ‘ok’ signal for his approval and appreciation.
Brittle Sea Stars on coral

Lobster close-up
 Now, as I’ve pointed out many times, boats and I don’t always get along.
 Even though I take as many precautions as I can; sea sick pills, try to get and keep something on my stomach, watch the horizon…all the tricks of the trade, sometimes I still get seasick.
 I’ve found that most people who suffer seasickness say the same thing. No matter what you do, sometimes it still just happens…today was one of those days.
 I started feeling a little nauseous as soon as I got back on the boat from the safety stop of the second dive. Edgar gave me some O2, which actually helped after sucking on it for a couple minutes.
 Nevertheless, by the time we got back to the hotel, I was still feeling a little weak and ended up sleeping most of the rest of the afternoon.
Mon. 05/20: a.m. dive on Blue Angel II with DM Norman and Capt. Piñata, (his family owns a piñata shop, thus the nickname)
Palancar ‘Cuebones’, 75’ Max./43 min., 81 degrees.
 This dive is set between the amazing Palancar Bricks, one of my top 5 Cozumel dives and Palancar Caves, no slouch on its own.
 Cuebones is a wall dive with the continuation of the landscape that Bricks has to offer, tall pinnacles with lots of large crevices to explore. I believe Norman told us the name Cuebones means loosely, “Big Caves”, referring to the large crevices that jut in and out along the wall.

 Lots of Deep Sea sea fans, hydroids, and all the sponges Coz has to offer, cover the reef. Arrow crabs and horse puffers hang near the edge of small outcrops.
Lettuce coral with Damsel fish

Black-n-white reef shot
Garden eels
 We stopped at the old “Sand Dollar” pier, now part of the Sabor property, I believe, for our surface interval and then it was off to the beautiful Villablanca Wall…love this dive!
 As I explained before, Villablanca Wall runs along the deep water drop-off, from the International Pier, well, to Cuba…ok, maybe not that far, but I’m pretty sure the ridge runs the entire length of the island.
VB Wall, 60’ Max./46 min., 80 degrees –

 The dive, depending on the current, which can be rippin’, can take you easily from the pier all the way to the area of the lighthouse, but today with the mild current, we dropped in just north of La Ceiba and popped up just a little north of Blue Angel.

Reef traffic

 Lore found a juvenile Lionfish, there was actually a second one under the shelf, I found while editing the photos…I love finding surprises when editing underwater photos, you always get something you didn’t think you were shooting.

The reef is a fairly sharp sloping wall, 60-70 degrees, covered with Barrel sponges, Tube sponges of all sorts of colors and soft corals galore. Some little outcrops dot the wall here and there and are good places to find eels, Coral Banded Shrimps, Arrow crabs & the occasional King crab.

 We came across a good sized Big Green moray with his head sticking out of the coral posing for photos.

At one point he started moving further out of his hole and then back in. One these times he came out straight for me. I held my ground, as I always do.
Big Green Moray eel
 And as always, the crowd around be started back finning like crazy, with their popping eyes all wide open…pretty funny.
I get the same reaction when I crawl up under a large outcrop on the big reef to take photos of sharks or large eels.
Wed. 5/22: a.m. dive with Norman and Alberto on Chiquimax.
 Palancar Gardens, 78’ Max./47 min., 81 degrees
 This is the dive I found baby Splendid Toadfish on last year, so I was prepared as we slipped around the second set of pinnacles and came across the sandy sloped area tucked up alongside the reef.
Splendid Toadfish
 Sure enough, there were the 5-6 little “caves” on the sandy slope, and one Toadfish very visible at the nearest one to me. I shook my shaker and gave the group the ‘toadfish’ signal and moved in closer for a photo op.

 No babies this year, but I did get one good shot of the little guy.
Christmas Tree tube worms

Reef shot, Deep Sea seafan

Juvenile Trumpet fish
Punta Tunich, 61’ Max./45 Min., 80 degrees –
  Tunich is known for its strong currents but on both dives we made during this trip, the currents were quite mild. Schools of grunts and pork fish mill about the reef, along with lots of large Gray and French angels. Queen angels and large schools of teardrop shaped sweepers mill about under outcrops and overhangs.
We found a couple Big Green Moray eels, one under an outcrop getting a good cleaning from a Coral Banded Shrimp.

Big Green Moray eel

Big Green Moray eel at cleaning station

  A nice sized Nurse shark swam by as Scrawled filefish hung upside down looking for morsels along the top of the wall.
 We found sea turtles on almost every dive, this one a couple Hawksbills were munching on sponges with their constant angel and trigger fish companions looking for a handout.
Hawksbill sea turtle

Rainbow parrot fish
 Thurs. 05/23: a.m. dive with Mateo and Alberto on Chiquimax
 Cedral Pass, 56’ Max./56 min., 80 degrees
Paso de Cedral has been climbing the “favorites” list over the past couple years. Sea turtles seem to like hanging out between and on the ridgelines of coral that run on either side of the ‘valley’ that I think give the site it’s name, the ‘Pass’ part anyway.
As usual, it did not disappoint. Especially in the turtle department.

I know that Green sea turtles are found pretty much all over the world, including Mexican waters, but I had never seen one until dropping down on ‘the pass’ on this day.
Green Sea turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

  At first, when I swam up on it, I was thinking that the shell looked odd for a Hawksbill, but surly it couldn’t be a Green! …IT WAS!
 In fact, I saw several Green sea turtles throughout the trip. It’s always nice to make a new find.

Eagle ray with Conch in its mouth
 We saw a 5 ½ foot Nurse Shark swimming about and towards the end of the dive, a large Eagle ray with a large conch shell in it’s mouth, chomping away trying to get through the hard shell.
Yucab, 51’ Max./56 min., 80 degrees –
 This is when I first started noticing issues with my strobe. It appeared to be going off, but not putting out as much light as it should. It may be giving up the ghost, and time to check into upgrading.
Spotted eel

Queen Angel
 Yucab is a beautiful “garden” dive, with dozens of all three kinds of the large angels all about. Scrolled and Orange filefish lead the way, and a couple of snapper became our dive partners for most of the dive…looking for a lionfish handout I’m sure.
 Fri., 05/24: a.m. dive with Mateo and Alberto on Chiquimax
 Cedral Wall – 75’ Max./52 min., 82 degrees –
We should just call this site "Turtle Town"

Lore and Howard explore the reef...

  Several Hawksbill turtles and one Green were found, most of them feeding on sponges with angel fish and triggers all about looking to a handout…turtles seem to like Cedral, whether it is the Pass or the Wall.
Green feeds on the reef

Trunk fish

 Lore found a juvenile Lionfish, we saw several of the different varieties of Butterfly fish and several lobsters.
Large grouper

Butterfly fish

Lobster with Big Green Moray in background
Punta Tunich round 2, 73’ Max./53 min., 82 degrees –
 Again, current pretty mild for this site.
Queen filefish

Carpet Anemone

  We were met by a small battery of Barracuda just after dropping down. A Queen Filefish and Honeycomb cowfish passed by and we saw several very large grouper…Nassau’s are getting BIG!
HUGE Nassau grouper

Red Hind in sand

Sweeper gather under shelves
  I ran across a lot of Carpet anemones on many of the dives throughout the trip, several of them on Tunich, several with little purplish/blue and clear Shrimp on them. I think they are part of the Harlequin shrimp family.
Lore is all smiles after another great dive day. Alberto at the wheel
Racing Tres Pelicanos back to the casa
 Sat. 05.25: a.m. dive with Matthew and Alberto on Chiquimax
Palancar Bricks, 68’ Max./57 min., 82 degrees –
Brittle Sea Star on tube sponge
(One of my favorite shots of the trip)

Coral Banded Shrimp in reef
  Bricks is named for the bricks that are, or used to be, scattered around the site from a cargo ship that sunk in the area years ago. I’ve been told that most of the actual bricks are now more closer to Columbia Shallows.
 Again, just a beautiful reef, tube sponges reach for the surface, barrel sponges spread out and provide shelter for Arrow crabs and Coral Banded shrimp. Algae, soft and hard corals all mingle together to paint an amazing canvas.
Lore and Scrawled filefish

  We spotted several Scrawled filefish, lots of parrot fish zipped about, I found a large lizard fish and a King crab resting on a shelf.
Arrow crab in sponge

Lizard fish
  A 5 foot or so Nurse Shark passed under us at one point.
San Francisco, 77’ Max./52 min., 80 degrees –

 S.F. is just another of a long list of great dives on Coz. This one falls into what I call the “garden” category. Meaning that it is a long stretch of coral heads, just completely covered with sponges, anemones, hydroids, soft corals and sea fans, all that added up makes the reef look like an underwater garden.
We found a couple Hawksbill turtles along the way, schools of grunts and pork fish milled about.
Juvenile Lionfish

Grunts in coral

Snapper looking for a handout
  Lore spotted a juvenile Lionfish. All the Lionfish we found on this trip were juvies, and most of them looked black rather than red. I don’t know we have 2 different types of lionfish, or if their diet is making them darker in color than their Pacific cousins.
Sun. 05/26: a.m. dive with Matthew and Piñata on Chiquimax
 On the way out to the first dive site, we saw 2 dolphins swimming south along the boat lanes.
 We inquired about dolphin being these waters a few years ago, and the DM told us that they usually only come into the channel when a storm is coming.
 We should have taken heed, because it rained most of the day the following Tuesday. I checked NOAA radars and it appeared that there was a small depression off the coast of Coz to the east, but we only got the outskirts of it.
Santa Rosa round 2, 67’ Max./51 min., 81 degrees –
Big Nurse Shark under ledge
 My strobe issues really started to take off here. Most of the photos I took on this dive turned out like there was not flash being put out at all.
Tube sponge
  Nevertheless, it was another spectacular dive. I found a large Nurse Shark sleeping under a shelf, another Hawksbill and lots of Arrow crabs under shelves and in sponges.
Sometimes b&w just works...
Punta Delila, 56’ Max., 1hr 6 min., 82 degrees –

 Delila never disappoints. Another great mid reef garden dive covered with all kinds of sea life.
Scrawled filefish over reef
Lore and Scrawled filefish, (reoccurring theme)
  We dropped down and found another juvenile Lionfish right off the bat. Schools of small Midnight parrot fish zipped by all in a line. A small battery of barracuda hung off to the deep side of the reef and the second Eagle ray of the trip casually ‘flew’ by us.
 More Scrawled filefish, Four eye butterflies, and schools of snapper and grunts milled about and yes, another free swimming Nurse Shark!
Eagle ray

Yellow Spotted Stingray

Nurse Shark
 I had been searching the shaggy looking soft coral branches looking for the tiny Slender filefish and finally found one just before heading up for the safety stop.
 I was actually able to find a couple more throughout the trip.
 Mon. 05/27: a.m.. dive with Jose and Piñata on Blue Angel II
 Columbia Deep, 85’ Max./58 min., 81 degrees – Simply amazing. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but this reef looked great! Just covered with sponges, deep sea fans & corals, it was just awe inspiring.
Columbia Deep
...more reef
 We found several lobster hanging out under shelves, more barracuda, grouper hanging out in the deep, Blue Chromas darting all bout the reef and Damsel fish defend their territory as you invade it.

 I found a teeny tiny little black and yellow Box fish about the size of my thumbnail. Pretty sure they are Juvenile Trunkfish.
Juvenile Trunkfish

Big 'ol Hermit Crab

Howard with Barracuda
Cedral Pass round 2, 64’ Max./1hr. 4min., 79 degrees –
EASILY the dive of the trip!! Maybe the best dive we’ve ever done on Cozumel!

 Wow what more could you ask for? First of all we drop down and Howard hears toadfish! So we find a little cavern with a toadfish in it and Jose commences to coax it out of its hole. It did pop out about half way a couple times before the entire group showed up and it thought better of doing that again.
Splendid Toadfish
The one Jose was trying to coax out of his hole
 So we start to move off down the reef and we run across 2 Nurse Sharks feeding on something in a small coral head and just off to the left is a free swimming Big Green Moray eel!
2 Feeding Nurse sharks, grouper waiting for scraps

Free swimming Big Green Moray eel
 And it get better from there! The next thing we run across is a HUGE Loggerhead turtle sleeping against a small coral head that she pretty much dwarfed. I took several pics of her, including a close up of one of the barnacles on her back. At one point she just opened an eye about half way, but pretty much ignored my presence.
Sleeping Loggerhead


 I found my second, and THIRD Slender filefish, a couple more Splendid Toadfish and more barracuda passed us by.
 Jose found another clear and purple anemone shrimp in one of the many Carpet anemones we came across and near the end of the dive he found a very small bluish purple and yellow nudibranch…great eyes!
Anemone Shirmp

Slender Filefish
I'm not exactly sure what Jose is up to here,
I suspect he's looking for Slender filefish,
they hang out in this type of soft corals,
I love the 2 colored fins, really makes it easy to find him in the water
  In fact, I think Jose is the best overall Dive Master at Blue Angel. That’s not slighting any of the other guys in the least, I just feel that overall he does the best job from service on the boat, dive profile descriptions, finding critters; especially little ones, and keeping an eye on the group.
Rainbow parrotfish

Arrow crab
 By the way, I use the term Dive Master even though most of the guys at Blue Angel,and a lot of other dive ops, have higher certifications. DM is the job description they are performing for us when we dive with them.
Wed. 05/29: a.m. dive with Jose and Alberto on Chiquimax
 Our last dives of the trip:
Palancar ‘Cuebones’ round 2, 79’ Max./52 min., 77 degrees –
I like this new dive! A pretty wall, pretty much the continuation of what you find at Bricks with a lot of caverns to move in and out of.
French Angels on the reef
 A small hawksbill passed us on her way to get a breath of air, on our way down.
Along one of the caverns on a small shelf, Jose found an orange Seahorse, it seemed like an odd place for one to me, but, there he was!
Orange Seahorse

Cuebones reef
 We passed French and Gray angels, orange filefish, yellow tail snapper, and most the usual suspects as we made our way from the wall to the top portion of the reef to save bottom time on this last day.

 Lore found another junie Lionfish, and Jose continued to find nudibrach, pipefish and all kinds of little critters.
 Tormentos, 58’ Max./1hr. 6min., 77 degrees –

 Ok, here we go, the last dive of the trip, let’s make it a good one! And of course it was Tormentos, so, naturally, it was a good dive.

 Trunk fish and grouper were all over this reef!
Trunk fish

 I found a large fire worm crawling across the coral upon dropping down, lots of Trunk fish on this site, most of them in pairs milling about the large coral heads, spread out over the flat, sandy patches between them.
See the Fire worm?

There he is!

 The search for a blenny finally paid off, as I got one decent shot out of the whole trip of one of these cute little crowd pleasers that make their homes in holes bored into corals.
Tube sponge
 I’m not sure if they have the ability to bore the holes themselves or it they possibly eat the previous inhabitant, possibly a tube worm of some sort, all speculation of course.

 We found a lot of large grouper spread out throughout the entire dive. Most of them tucked up under large shelves, but a few out in the open…beautiful animals.
 I found a Yellow spotted stingray buried in the sand and got a shot of him before he took off.
Yellow spotted stingray in sand


 We saw more angels of all varieties of course, including a juvenile French darting in and out of a hole.
And to cap off our trip, what else, but 2 Splendid toadfish.

Just a real pretty dive to finish it all up. I had been trying to get there all week, and Alberto even laughed when I said so after Jose suggested it.
Hiding Hind
(another favorite shot from this trip)


Gobe in sponge

  One person on the boat earlier in the week kept saying there was “nothing to see” at Tormentos, so we always went somewhere else…seems like we saw a lot!
Reef thoughts…
Jose on the surface

Overall the reefs look very good, the most “damage” I personally noticed was where turtles had been eating on sponges.

  Although I did find a patch of coral on one dive that looked like someone sat in it. It was a patch of finger coral, roughly 3 ½ foot in diameter and it looked like someone literally sat down in the middle of it. Could have been ‘natural’ damage of some sort, but it was really the only broken coral I saw.
 Finger and lettuce corals overall are really making a comeback. The sponges are starting to overrun the hydroids that had sprouted like crazy ahead of the slower growing sponges after hurricane Wilma.


 Every year they get more and more impressive, Columbia Deep in particular on this trip really stood out, just beautiful.
 There are some really large grouper out there now. I started noticing them getting much larger a couple of years ago. We saw several this trip, that were simply huge.

 Water temps ranged from 80 – 82 degrees on most dives. The last day we dove was after it rained all day the day before and water temps were 77 degrees on both of those dives, but still very comfortable.

Speaking of the rain. Several years ago we asked a DM if they ever saw dolphins here much.
 He said the only time they seemed to come around was when a storm was coming.

 Oddly enough we saw the 2 dolphin on the way out to dive on Sunday, and it rained the following Tuesday. I checked satellite and radars for the area on Tuesday, and sure enough there was a small depression off to the East of the island.
 So maybe the dolphin are an indicator of weather patterns when you see them in the channel.
This year’s “Boat People” – our dive buddies on this trip!

I’ve already mentioned our friends Bob (Brewdiver) and Janice from Michigan.
Bob gets on the boat after a dive
Howard, a retired Dr. and part timer on the island. A great guy and lots of fun to dive with. He dives here so much, it’s almost like having an extra DM along for the ride.

 His buddies Sid from Northern California, who is about to become a full timer, and Jerry, the owner of the Rejuvenation Clinic, all three we have had the pleasure of diving with on previous trips.
Jerry, Sid, Howard, Mateo, Alex & Jennifer (left to right)

 Steve, Skip & Mary from Nebraska
Alex and his daughter Jennifer from San Antonio

Alicia and Dan from Austin

Pam and Russ from New Mexico

Brothers John and Dan from Chicago
The Food: 05/22-05/30 – pretty much in order of appearance –

La Hatch – Another new hangout for us and a little hidden jewel. Located near Papa Hogs, this place has very good food, a great sunset view, good service and cheap prices. For instance, the Wednesday special; $1 tacos el pastor, pork marinated in pineapple and chilies, so, so good.
Lunch at La Hatch
 On a second trip I had the el pastor again, this time on a torta, sandwich.
Rock-n-Java – a long time favorite, Lisa and crew continue bring good and healthy food and some of the best desserts on the island.
 For starters Potato Skins, some of the best I’ve ever had, topped with cheese, bacon and pico de guio. Spinach salad for her, loaded with all the good stuff a spinach salad should have, and a club sandwich for me.

The club is great, but HUGE! I could barely stuff down half the thing.

 2 frozen strawberry/lemonades…it just sounded good, and was!
 La Candela – another new favorite, we discovered it a couple year ago when we  were going to try and eat someplace else and it wasn’t open so tried this place on a whim, and what a payoff that was.
 This trip Lore had the “Candela” style fish. The house special style.

 I had what was for sure to that point the best meal of  the trip. Fish with crunchy vegetables. WOW, the description pretty much tells you what it is, but who know that slightly sautéed julienne veggies, especially onion, goes so well with fish.

 I'm pretty sure Wahoo was the catch; it seemed to be on a lot of menus while we were there.

  All that held us over until we ended up back at Ohana and it just happened to be Angie;s birthday weekend and the crew was celebrating with pizza and cake and we were invited to partake.

 So this was my second time to eat Matt and Angie’s fantastic Chicago style deep dish, and I don’t know who made the cake, but it was amazing as well. A chocolate tres leche cake, I believe; rich, moist, sweet…did I mention rich.

 Blue Angel restaurant: Always good food, and great go-to for  lunch by the pool, BLT & shrimp quesadilla.
 The amazing Buccanos at Night. Once again, I’ve been telling people for nearly a year, don’t leave Cozumel without doing Buccanos for dinner.,,now I know why.
 The setting is even more spectacular at night and I don’t know what it is about the angle of the sunset to the island, but the sunset up there was nothing short of breathtaking.
 As was the food by the way, I had a double date for the evening, the lovely Miss Christi Courtney of BlueXTSea Divers joined us on this lovely Friday evening.
 I have just recently realized that I have known Christi longer than anyone else on the island other than my buddy Armando Alentado at Island Photo and Video

 Good thing too, it’s easier for three to share a sampling of a fine menu than it is for two

 We started off sharing both of the special appetizers. Beautifully grilled fresh pineapple and fresh mozzarella over a bed of arugula and topped with just the right amount of pesto and what I describe as mini tuna tostadas with a blueberry sauce and blueberries. Im  not doing it much justice, but it was delicious.
Appetizer #1

Appetizer #2


Mahi Mahi
  As was the entre, Lore and Christi had the Wahoo marinated in coconut milk and crusted with coconut and I had an amazing Mahi Mahi dish, poached in chipotle and honey sauce. Again, words could not do it justice.

For dessert we went all out and ordered all three specials. Inez, the owner chef, does a weekly mousse special of three shot glasses with three different flavored mousses in them.

 Always unique flavorings, I think one was some sort of coffee or mocha, one had habanero, and one was maybe blueberries again, not sure, but I think some sort of fruit base.

 I wish I would have written down what the other two desserts were, but they were spectacular as well.
Buccanos sunset

 By the way, if you are one of those people who just want to come in, order your food, snarf it down and head out, Buccanos at Night is not for you.

 This is a casual, slow paced, relaxing dinner. Order one of the specialty drinks and enjoy the sun setting as you wait for Inez to personally come to your table and explain the specials for the evening.

 The wait staff perfectly times the rest of your meal out where you are not rushed, but also not impatiently waiting for the next thing. Savor and enjoy, is the theme here.
 Coconuts, my “Margaritaville” – a trip to the “wild side” -


Lore gives a toast

 I love sitting up on the hill, catching a little breeze, visiting with Cuco and the gang and seeing my old pal Chimichanga, the cockatoo.
 Fish burgers for all! Messy, yes, but what a way to go! Opting again for a straight shot of sipping tequila over the nearly world famous margaritas.

View from Coconuts


Look for Shark Tank bumper stickers...appropriately in the restrooms! 

 Casa Denis. Lore’s must have, Mayan cream spinach soup and shrimp ceviche and chicken tostadas for me. Of course 2 mango margaritas to drink.

  Lunch at Rastas. Shrimp ceviche for her…there seems to be a pattern here. Chicken tacos for me, see what I mean.

 Got back to the hotel and debated about extending the trip, what’s to debate? By the time we called the airline and talked to the hotel, it was getting late, so I just ran up to Mega and got a couple pieces of pizza to go…I know sacrilege after ‘Ohana’s pie, but we were tired and it filled the hole.

  Blue Angel restaurant: BLT and shrimp ceviche for lunch.

  Woody’s: Fish & chips for her, 2 huge fish fillets, deep fried with a light crust and I think Mayan seasoning with perfectly cooked French fries.
 A big ol’ chicken burrito for me. Stuffed with white meat chicken, cheese, pico, cream fresh (sour cream), more than I could do in one sitting for sure.
 Late lunch/ early dinner at La Terraza. In the former location of Prima Pasta, on the second story terrace, just south of the plaza, this place has reclaimed the top spot in Italian cuisine on Cozumel.
us at La Terraza...stuffed.

our favorite mariachis

 We started off with the Blue Cheese salad. A slight reworking of the old signature salad from Prima, they have cut back on the cheese and are using balsamic vinaigrette for a dressing…pretty much perfecting a good idea.
For the main event, Lore had the Seafood Lasagna, another improved receipt from the old store, absolutely stuffed with all kinds of seafood and a serving large enough for a family of four.
 I had the chicken raviolis, which were the best raviolis I’ve had since I can remember. Fresh pasta wrapped around a tasty chicken filling and topped with red alfredo mushroom sauce…amazing.

  2 coffees, 2 Frangelico, split a piece of Key Lime pie and we floated down the little spiral staircase in culinary bliss.
 After checking the bags early at the airport, our last day on the island, we headed to The Museum, another long, long time favorites of ours.

  I opted for one last breakfast, “the Countryman”, 2 scrambled eggs, fruit, and frijoles. Lore had the Shrimp ceviche…one last time.
 All in all, the culinary expedition turned out pretty good this year. Top three meals for sure were Buccanos at Night; Mahi poached in  chipotle and honey, La Candela, fish with crunchy vegetables & La Terazza; Chicken ravioli, in no particular order. It really would be hard to pick a favorite out of the three.
La Hatch stands out as great “go to” place to eat. Reasonable prices, very good food and open until at least midnight most nights they are open.
 Several evenings we stopped by ‘Ohana for a nightcap of Reposado tequila sipping shots and conversation with Matt, Angie, their family members and the local ex-pats and business folks that frequent the place.
 Adventures, ventures, observations and more…
 I made a couple attempts to stop at the Caleta to meet ScubaTony to no avail. He does dive reports for us on Cozumel Radio and I was looking forward to meeting him in person, both times I stopped by he had already left the marina for the day.
Scuba Tony's place at Caleta

Fisherman cleaning Mahi & Barracuda

 Same thing happened with several of our other sponsors, but I did get to meet Inez at Bucannos, who was on my list of people to me this trip. Once again DO NOT leave Cozumel without having this experience.
Lore, Inez & Christi at Buccanos
 Part of the reason we had a hard time getting together with people is that, as I stated before, the island was in a major slow season and businesses being very slow, some owners were taking time off the island to see family, or they just weren’t at their businesses all day like they would have been if it was a high season.

 I mentioned earlier that the greatest masseuse in the world Sally Hurwitch, better known as “Barefoot Sally” www.barefootincozumel.com  was out of town and I ended up getting a massage at Blue Angel.
Well, it just so happened that we decided to extend out trip from ten days to a full two weeks, something we did last year as well. We’re just going to have to book 2 weeks from the get-go.
Sally came home the day we were supposed to leave, so we were able to get with her and have one those amazing Ashiatsu massages. If you have never done it, do yourself a huge favor next time you are on the island and contact my buddy Sally.
 One of the things we like to do is to drive up to Punta Norte, as I mentioned before, if you have never seen the Cozumel raccoon, this is a good place to find them.
 The drive is a bit of a beat down, and you want to do it early enough in the day that you aren't driving back when the mosquitos start coming out...especially if you are in an open air vehicle.
 The road is unpaved and in spots, resembles the surface of the moon, but if you take your time, the pay off is a breeze swept semi-protected lagoon overlooking the mystical Isla Pasion just across it's bay. I don't know how 'mystical' Passion Island is, but it sounds good.
Fishing boats at Punta Sur

Sharky's thinking about opening a bar!

VERY cool caterpillar at Punta Sur
Kite boarder

Isla Pasion (Passion Island)


We spent even more time than we usually do driving around in town. After all these years, I’m finally starting to know my way around San Miguel pretty well.
too funny!

For a couple years after our accident in 2005, I felt a little nervous about driving around the back neighborhood narrow streets, but I’ve gotten past that now and very much enjoy exploring around town.

 Driving around the "wild side" of the island this time of year, you will see markings on the road where the Turtle Conservation people have marked where they have dug up turtle eggs to incubate them. On the beach you will find pole markers to mark the exact place & date where the eggs were found...
Sea turtle next marker

 These are some interesting plants we found along the way...
odd how the fruit of this tree grows off the trunk

very cool flower, at least 12" across

 One thing I noticed this trip, is how many of those little “Super mini” quick shops there are around. Most of them seem to be named after people, Super mini Rosie” “Super mini Jose”
 I’ve seen them before of course, even stopped and bought things at them before, but I don’t think I noticed that there must be 100’s of them scattered about throughout the neighborhoods of San Miguel.
 I even found one back in the new housing development back east of 80th that is in a traditional Mayan hut…very cool.
 Somewhere in the middle of this trip, I decided I’m going to do a photographic essay, taking images of every one of them I run across on the next trip. It will probably take me an hour to drive 6 or 7 blocks! It could take years to shoot all of them…hopefully.
 All in all, another wonderful trip to our little piece of paradise and after several talks with some of our ex-pat friends, we may actually be starting to think about becoming some sort of part-timers on the island…still a developing story.

  Thanks so much to Eva and all her wonderful staff at the Beautiful Blue Angel Resort.
Turtle towel! 
  Thanks to Martin, Matt (Mateo), Jose, Mathew, Norman, Edgar, Alberto and Piñata for all you do at the dive shop and out on the water.
Alberto always there to pick us up
 Thanks again to Barefoot Sally and the kind lady at Blue Angel for working out the kinks.

 Thanks to my buddy Armando Alentado of Island Photo and Video for coming by and looking at my strobe. Good to see you as always my friend.
 If you are looking to get into underwater photography, see Armando to rent a camera and get some instruction, Cozumel is a great place to cut your chops on underwater photography.
Thanks to all our friends and ‘family’ on the island for your hospitality.
 And as always, Thanks so much to the people of Cozumel, Mexico for allowing us to share your beautiful home with us…see you soon.
Blue Angel Sunset

...and the hits keep coming

  Be sure to check in with us at www.cozumelradio.net for the new interactive website and the resurrection of  the Shark Tank radio show, which will be ‘on-demand’, meaning you will be able to listen to it any time you want, and hopefully we will also be archiving all the original shows so you can go back and listen to them.
  Like us at ‘The Shark Tank radio show” on Facebook to keep up on the latest and greatest and for news of the new website launch.

Website: www.logoztogo.com

Older Trip Reports: http://travellogs.logoztogo.com/