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Dive Review of Blue XT Sea/Hotel Barracuda in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

March, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Tom Carlson, WA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 3291
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Oahu and Puget Sound
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
76   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Some DMs would let you dive your own profile, others would require everyone
follow as a group.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Boats we were on had no facilities and especially none for camera
equipment. They were small six or eight pacs, fast and bouncy!
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
This was our first trip to Cozumel and we booked our diving with Blue XT
Sea Diving. They offer a personal service that many of the larger operators
cannot match. They have two boats, a six-pac and an eight-pac. They have
wonderful dive masters and boat captains that are all very attentitive to
the divers. 

Our first day with them was a shore dive at Sunset Beach with Arturo, who
was a scuba instructor. We asked for this because we wanted to check out
weights and figure buoyancy. Arturo proved to be an excellent
instructor/dive master. We received excellent site briefing and dive plan.
Excellent viz (80+ft). Max depth we hit was 35 feet. We saw Yellow Sting
Rays, Rainbow Parrot Fish, Blue Parrot Fish, Glasseye Snapper, Blue
Chromis, Clown Wrasse, Yellowhead Wrasse, Reef Butterfly Fish and Sergeant
Majors to name a few. Sunset Beach is about a mile from where we stayed at
the Hotel Barracuda and has facilities for showering, changing, rinsing and
a restaurant/bar for hanging out and enjoying some sun.

The next day we did two-tank morning boat dives on the Shamu, a small and
fast six-pac but it was only us and one other diver besides the dive
master, Juan. Juan was also a great dive master, pointing out many
interesting creatures and letting us dive our own profiles. Our first dive
was a drift dive at Palancar Gardens, Viz 80-100+ feet, 70 max depth for a
bottom time of 55minutes. We saw Hawksbill turtles, Palometta, king crab,
black grouper, lobster, many of the same tropicals as the day before and
many more. Wonderful corals and sponges. Following this was a surface
interval at a beach by the lagoon and fresh pastries and fruit for snacks
and fruit juice and water to drink. They provided dry towels and had a
thermal shower like you would bring camping. We spent a nice interval on
the beach hanging out while the other diver and boat captain waded into the
lagoon to look for crocodiles, which live there. Our second dive of the day
was at Columbia Shallows and was incredible. Excellent viz, 100+, almost no
current and many tropicals and wonderful corals and sponges. We also found
several sleeping Nurse Sharks, Squirrel Fish, Yellow Stingrays, more King
Crabs, and Barracudas. Note to photographers: No rinse tanks on these

Our Second day diving we were on Shamu again with Fernando as the dive
master. Not as good a site briefing or dive plan as the previous day with
Juan. With Fernando we really couldnt dive our own profiles to the extent
that we wanted. We did a dive at Palancar Caves; max depth was 90ft and viz
was 100+feet. There was definitely a current that move us along. Bottom
time was 45minutes. If I dive below 80feet I also do a one-minute safety
stop halfway up in addition to the three minute one at 15 ft and this was
not a problem for the dive master or two other divers in the group. This
dive was through towering coral formations and full of caves and swim
throughs. The colors, even at that depth are simply astounding and before
coming to Cozumel something I didnt think possible. There was definitely
current at this site and literally pushed us through these canyon like
formations of coral that were loaded with sponges, Hawksbill Turtles,
lobsters, Spotted Morays, Blue and Rainbow Parrot Fish, many Blue Chromis,
many different types of Wrasses, Reef Butterfly fish and many other
colorful tropicals. We then did a surface interval at another local beach,
no facilities and had excellent fresh pastries and fruit for snacks. Then
for our second dive of the day, we went to Palancar Bricks. Max depth we
hit here was 60 feet for a 50-minute bottom time. The dive master had us
surface earlier than I had wanted as I had 1100 psi when I got back on the
boat. I think there was an issue with the DM getting cold. We saw many more
incredible corals and sponges, lobsters, Palometta, Barracuda and many,
many tropicals. 

Our third day of diving was on the Bandida II, which is an 8-pac and had
six total divers on it. We had Arturo again as our DM and Andy as the boat
captain. Both were of course, excellent. Arturo lets you dive your own
profile. We hit Paradise Reef first, 88ft max depth,55-minute bottom time.
We saw a couple king-size Black Grouper. Water temp was 76 and little
current. We did a surface interval at a beach, no facilities, more fresh
pastries and fruit for snacks. Our second dive was at Santa Rosa Reef. This
was a shallow site with a max depth of 44ft for a bottom time of 60
minutes. Nice and easy drift along a finger reef. Sand on either side of
the reef. Saw squid, Black Grouper, Morays and many beautiful tropicals. 

We stayed at the Hotel Barracuda, and it is a divers hotel and inexpensive
compared to some of the larger places. Its is on the waterfront, all rooms
have views and there is a pier onsite for boat pickups. There is also a
nice series of steps right down into the water if you want to snorkel or
shore dive. The Barracuda has a pool, swim up bar and rinse tanks by the
beach to rinse your gear. The rooms are clean, have AC, ceiling fans and
the beds are very firm. We had a small fridge, and a large shower. We
originally requested a room upstairs. They attempted to put us into the
infamous Room 104, right next to the bar, but we refused and firmly told
them we had requested and needed a quiet room. They then offered us a room
on the second floor. There are plenty of restaurants near the hotel with
lots of dining options. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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