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Dive Review of Aqua Safari/Safari Inn in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

November, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Nick Macelletti, CT, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 2222
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Taiwan, Hawaii, Curacao, New England
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Stay with Divemaster. Not overly restrictive. Very accomodating as to dive
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
I dived 6 days, Nov 15-18 and 21-22. We were the first commercial boat out
after hurricane "Wilma" 3 weeks before.
Did 16 dives on a variety of reefs. We were three divers and there were
three crewmembers on an Aqua Safari boat that has a capacity of 28
passengers. For the first 3 days there were no other boats in sight.
Weather good, current mild. We left from Puerto de Abrigo since Aqua
Safari's downtown reef had been destroyed by the hurricane. (It has since
been rebuilt.) Bill Horn, the owner of Aqua Safari, personally drove us to
and from the dive boat. 
First of all, the reefs are still there, both shallow and deep. (Didn't see
the snorkling reefs but they probably suffered more severe damage.) The
visibility was about 50 to 60 feet at the beginning of the week but
improved to 90-100 feet by the end of the week.  
The main difference was that the soft corals, tube and rope sponges, fans,
and even barrel sponges were 90 % gone. If you haven't dived here
frequently you might not even notice since there were no remnants other
that the occasional broken purple vase sponge forelornly rolling around on
the bottom. (I tried to replant some of these by sticking them in a
convenient hole in the reef.) I am told that these corals regenerate very
However, in the meantime you can enjoy the hard corals, swim throughs, and
the abundance of large fish. Spotted Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Turtles, Nurse
Sharks, large Barracuda, large Groupers, a 3 foot Porcupine Fish, Lobster,
Crab, and Supermale Rainbow Parrots were seen on almost every dive for the
first 4 days. On 5 or 6 dives we saw all of them on each dive. Also,we were
able to get extremely close to them, especially the Eagle Rays and Turtles,
apparently because there were no other divers and the fish were not
spooked. We frequently saw lobsters walking across the sand. A dive buddy
photographed an octopus out in the open.
The hard corals in the 40 to 60 foot range did have sand on them. Hopefully
this will be swept off by the current in the coming weeks and months. The
deeper reefs, especially the walls at 80 to 100 feet were intact and mostly
clean of sand although every now and then you would come upon a massive
piece of the wall that had fallen to the sand below from the force of
unimaginably powerful surge.
On one dive to Palancar Gardens we came upon a section on the botton at 90
feet where the sand had been swept from the base of the coral pinnacles for
a depth of about 15-20 feet exposing coral that the divemaster/instructor
said had been covered by the sand for tens if not hundreds of years. It was
kind of spooky and I expected to see a dinosaur bone sticking out of the

San Miguel was 95% open and eager for visitors. I stayed at the Safari Inn
downtown, clean and spacious, and had a great time with a bucket of 6
Coronas in the square going for $5 and all the great restaurants open and
almost no cruise ships. 
If you want to be treated like a king, see large fish, and also help the
islanders recover, visit Cozumel in the next year or so.
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