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Dive Review of Living Underwater/Barricuda in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

January, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by John M. Artim, CA, USA
Report Number 2100
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
St. George's Cay, Belize
Monterey, CA, USA
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
72   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Jeremy Anschel, the dive master, provided a dive briefing for each site
including depth limits. As he becomes comfortable with the skill level of
the divers he's taking out, he allowed a great deal of individual
lattitude. Safety stops were required.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 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  
Separate rinse bucket for camera gear--multiple provided when lots of UWP's
on boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
Jeremy is a very conscientious, safe dive master. The only flaws in the
operation were outlined in Undercurrents articles earlier this year--steel
tanks past their useful service life (bottom rust) and significant
overfilling of tanks. Otherwise, safety of his divers is clearly his first
concern. Safety stops were always a part of the profile. 

Most days we did two dives and were back to the hotel by early afternoon.
We dove Nitrox the second dive each day. On our third day diving with
Jeremy, we did a night dive with him.

Dive briefings were good. Really the only restriction was that he asked
divers to go no deeper or faster than he did. Once he judged a diver's
skills to be sufficient, the group would tend to spread out quite a bit.

Group size never exceeded 7 people--5 was typical. The caliber of all other
divers we dove with over the course of the 6 days of diving we did this
trip were significantly more experienced than I which, I think, made my
diving experience much better (no cattle-boat crowds with fins and hands
flailing everywhere).

Jeremy knows his sites extremely well and can find all manner of creatures.
I like to go away from a dive trip a better diver and Jeremy is very
helpful in that regard. Our last trip out with him, he sat and went over a
number of areas I could improve and also suggested   simple changes to my
gear to increase my safety and a change of fins to improve my
current-swimming (these were tried on a subsequent trip to Indonesia and
were a substantial improvement).

I'm also a beginning underwater photographer. I found our Paradise Reef
dives an excellent place to practice my skills and see some cool critters.
The other dive really worth noting was Tormentos. The day we did that dive
the current was very strong (at least 2 knots, possibly 3). Unlike other
current dives we've done with Jeremy where folks drop down and out of the
current from time-to-time to explore whatever they fancy, this current was
just too much to be able to do that. It was one of the most awesome dives
I've done. Like flying over the reef! Given the current, most things were
hunkered down including a beautiful 5' grouper!

My dive buddy--who is significantly more experienced than I am at 150+
dives--similarly finds Jeremy to be an outstanding dive master. We plan on
diving with Jeremy whenever we go to Cozumel!

We stayed at the Barracuda on the edge of San Miguel. We prefer staying
within walking distance of town and preferably close to the supermarket and
the Barracuda fits these needs. This was a room-only rate, and that was a
good thing. The hotel restaurant is a very sad looking Tex-Mex BBQ that was
nearly always empty. The biggest problem was the cruise ships. On a few of
the days we were in the room, a cruise ship was anchored close enough (they
are now spreading quite far down the coast) that its diesel fumes were
wafting into our room. This is too bad, because otherwise, the Barracuda
was a decent hotel at a good price.
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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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