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Dive Review of Rafael de la Parra in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Isla Mujeres

August, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Pamela, CA, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6169
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Fiji, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Belize, New Guinea, Fiji, Thailand,
Palau, California, Yap, Malaysia, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Dominican
Republic, Jamaica
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
85   to 87    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
We stayed on Isla Mujeres and went out to snorkel with whale sharks with
Rafael de la Parra, who was recommended through an Undercurrent article.
(contact him at Rafael works with the scientists who
tag the sharks at this spot, his English is excellent, and his knowledge of
the sharks was impressive. He limits his guests to 6, which is important
because every boat can only put 2 divers in the water at once (plus guide),
so the fewer people on your boat the more time with the whale sharks.
Nobody else was on the boat the two days we went out, so we spent hours in
the water with the whale sharks. On the first day the sharks were
concentrated in a relatively small area. Rafael counted over 100 sharks
from his perch at the top of the boat! We saw as many as 5 whales sharks at
a time underwater, in sizes ranging from about 4 to 8 meters. It was
actually necessary to pay attention in order to stay out of their way. On
the second day the visibility was better but the sharks were more spread
out, so more swimming was required; on the other hand, the snorkeling boats
were more spread out, too, so we had plenty of whale sharks all to
ourselves. Rafael and his sons serve as guides but also bring an UW camera
to photo-identify the sharks for the research project. When a boat arrived
on the scene and tried to put a big group of people in the water, Rafael
motored over and firmly told them they needed to follow the rules. Please
support people like Rafael with your business so this experience will
continue to be spectacular!

No scuba is allowed, but there were UW photographers free diving with
weights, and the sharks were usually at the surface. If you are a
photographer I am sure Rafael could bring a rinse bucket for equipment by
request. The water is warm, but bring a light wetsuit because if you don't
wear one you are required to wear a life vest.
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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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