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Dive Review of Deep Blue / Living Underwater/Hotel Bahia in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Deep Blue / Living Underwater/Hotel Bahia, Nov, 2005,

by Peter/Sandy Oemichen, WI, USA . Report 2297.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Grand Turk, Salt Key, South Caicos, Little Cayman, Domnica, Belize, Bahamas, Honduras, St Lucia, many others.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth, we were asked to go no deeper than the dive master and to be at our safety stop with about 500 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Since this was so close to post hurricane Wilma, the family hesitated but then decided to go because they needed people to come down and give them business. So, the four of us went with low expectations. Topside damage was unbelievable but the recovery to that point in 3 plus weeks was equally amazing. All the downtown piers except for part of the Aldora pier were gone so we had to taxi out to the harbor, a minor inconvenience. The weather was spectular. The best week we've ever had down there in November.

Deep Blue did a fine job of accomodating divers under less than ideal circumstances providing the transportation and handling all our gear. They were eager to please. (The captain even took my suggestion to approach divers with the motors downwind so divers waiting to board didn't have to breath exhaust fumes.) We were responsible for schlepping our own gear at their shop after the dives and were able to store all our gear there. However, nothing dried because of poor ventilation so we pretended we were on a Blackbeard liveaboard. Deep Blue's boats are covered pangas that accomodate 8 divers comfortably. Oxygen kits were on board. The pre-dive briefings were adequate indicating max depth, general overview of the dive site, demonstrating preferred hand signals and so forth. Safety rules were simple. Don't go deeper than the dive master, don't get ahead of him, let him know when you're at 1000 psi and be at your safety stop with 500 psi. You backroll in and use a boarding ladder to climb back aboard. Surface intervals were taken at what was left of a pier in the marine park. Water and fruit were provided.

The underwater environment was changed. On most sites, the coral was covered with sand and silt. The soft corals really took it on the chin on the shallower sites. In fact, several dive sites are off limits needing time to "heal". Deeper dive sites were less disturbed but you could still see changes at depth as well. We were pleasantly surprise though, by the fish population. Deep Blue staff also confirmed that the number of fish was on the rise indicating that they were moving back into the reef and resuming their normal patterns. (The hurricane apparently scatters them.) Schools of the usual suspects (French Grunts, School Masters, Bermuda Chubs, Creole Wrasse) were common as were sightings of the other reef fish you expect to see in the Caribbean. We saw turtles on almost every dive, aracudas (one school of 10), 3 or 4 Nurse Sharks, a few Eagle Rays, several Spendid Toadfish, lots of lobsters, crabs and so on. We also saw a few grassy seahorses and a couple pipefish. We also noted several colonies of Yellowhead Jawfish - a family favorite. In fact, my daughter found a Banded Jawfish which was a first for both of us. With all the sand that was moved around, we thought this to be a little unusual. In fact, we didn't notice a serious drop off in fish until it came to the blennies. My wife enjoys looking for small stuff, particularly blennies. She noted there did not seem to be many around so we all started looking. The consensus was their were very few around. Perhaps the sand blasting the coral took also took its toll on these little guys as well?

Our last day, we dove with Living Underwater and Jeremy Anschel. His boat was wrecked and under repair so he was renting at the time. I was impressed with his new steal tanks and the service. His rates are above what you normally expect to pay for diving in Cozumel but you get more bottom time a very good service. We dove Columbia Reef and then motored even further south to snorkle for our surface interval. When we got done, Jeremy asked us if we liked it and of course we did. Then he told us. We were snorkling part of the reef that Wilma uncovered that a previous hurricane had completely covered with sand. That got me to thinking that maybe we should think of these events more in terms of changes to the reef and less in terms of damage. Maybe the aftermath of the hurricane should be viewed as an opportunity to see the change a hurricane can bring to the reef environment and not as some kind of tour through an underwater New Orleans.
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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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