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

Living Underwater/Barricuda, Jan, 2005,

by John M. Artim, CA, USA . Report 2100.

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

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 72 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
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.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Separate rinse bucket for camera gear--multiple provided when lots of UWP's on boat.

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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