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Dive Review of Pascual's Scuba/El Cantil Sur Condos in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

February, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Dean Knudson, MN, USA
Contributor   (15 reports)
Report Number 2286
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Honduras, Florida, Midwest US
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
77   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Follow divemaster, obey computer  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Small boat, no accommodations other than good care of camera by boat
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
We dove with Pascual one year ago, before the hurricane.  Hurricane Wilma
was particularly damaging to small dive operations in Cozumel.  His boat
was flipped upside down and sunk.  Both of his engines were submerged.  He
lost all of his gauges, most of his weights, and his bimini top.  His
partner, Kristi, asked us to dive with Pascual, and to trust them in their
assertions that the boat would be ready when we were scheduled to arrive in
February 2006.  When we arrived the boat was functional.  It had been
painted, and the fiberglass was new.  The 200 hp engine ran well.  The 150
hp engine did have some problems with stalling, due to a bad carburetor,
but this typically was temporary, and did not slow down the dives.  He
still does not have gauges on his boat, and has a temporary bimini top. 
Most of our dives were with Pascual, and he did his usual excellent job
leading the dives.  He did hire a guide, Pedro, to lead several of the
dives.  Pedro was noticeably less skilled than Pascual, and apparently may
be leaving Pascuals operation, due to a lack of work. Pascual and Kristi
asked us to take a taxi cab each day to the Caleta Marina, instead of
meeting us with the boat at our condominium.  This was annoying, but
understandable, given his fragile financial condition at that time.  He
indicated it would save him money on gasoline, which is a major expense for
him.  I suspect that he will again offer hotel pickups in his dive boat. 
This should be negotiated in advance, however.  On one day the boat was
quite crowded, with 10 divers.  It was difficult for me to fault him in
booking so many divers, as he had had little to no business since the
hurricane, and obviously was struggling financially.  He managed to guide
all of the divers and lead an interesting dive, even for the more
experienced participants.  There was much sand over all of the shallow
reefs in Cozumel.  There is also sand on some of the deeper reefs.  It was
suggested that the larger sea life had returned in a greater abundance. 
That was not my observation, although we did see 4 to 5 large rays, and
four turtles.  The small sea life seemed, to me, to be less abundant.  The
reefs have obviously changed.  Sand has been washed away from the bottom
two or three foot depth of the base of many of the reefs.  This reef area
has no growth.  Many of the caves have changed in size.  The Devils throat,
at Columbia, is no longer a narrow passage, but apparently is a wider
cavern.  Overall, I would say the diving is somewhat worse than it had been
previously, but still much better than many other areas in the Caribbean. 
The visibility was, still, typically excellent, although on several days we
had strange currents, and this led to an underwater "sandstorm". 
It was interesting to watch little "dust devils" of sand make
their way across the bottom.  The visibility was down to 30 or 40 feet on
some of the dives, due to sand suspended in the water.  This was the
exception, however, and not the rule.  The shallow reefs were hardest hit,
although they are beginning to recover at this point.  We were not able to
dive on the C-52 wreck. There is a rumor that it disintegrated somewhat,
but is still serviceable as a dive site.  The island is crawling with
construction workers.  Hotels have taken one of two paths to rebuilding. 
Some apparently are waiting for insurance checks, and remain broken down
concrete shells. Others have completely rebuilt, and are either complete,
or close to completion.  The El Cozumeleno appears to be almost complete,
and apparently will be open by March of 2006.  The Barracuda Hotel
apparently slipped into the ocean in part, and collapsed for the most part.
 It is completely rebuilt now, and looks better than it ever has.  Thatch
is being replaced all over the island on the roofs of businesses and homes.
 Most of the popular restaurants are open.  Even coconuts, on the opposite
side of the island, is open, and looks brand new.  The infamous
"family photograph albums" also survived at coconuts.  The road
on the opposite side of the island was obviously washed away in a number of
locations, and has been rebuilt.  We drove around the entire island with
ease. Most of the downtown area actually looks better than it did
previously, and appears to be cleaner and freshly painted.  Some of the
businesses, unfortunately, have abandoned Cozumel.  This appears to be a
minority, however.  We stayed at the El Cantil Sur condominiums, which look
absolutely brand new.  It was expensive, but very comfortable, and very
convenient.  They have rebuilt their dive pier, and dive boats, with the
exception of Pascual's boat, arrived every morning in a steady stream.
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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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