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

November, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Peter/Sandy Oemichen, WI, USA
Report Number 2297
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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

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
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.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
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

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
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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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