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Dive Review of Yucatech Expeditions/N/A in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Riviera Maya

November, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Alexander Griffin, MD, USA
Report Number 3000
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
St. Croix, St. John, Ireland, GBR Australia, Statia, Saba, St. Kitts, NC
Outer Banks
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
75   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
1/3 air supply double tanks for penetration  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
Hurricane Wilma made an incredible mess of Cozumel and much of the Riviera
Maya late October 2005 and much of the reef diving was dramatically
affected.  But how were the inland caves?  I signed on with German Yanez of
Yucatech Expeditions to take a look at caves both in the Yucatan and on
Cozumel -- surprisingly, they were all in good shape, at least what I saw.
German's shop (I mean the old one, he has since moved) was difficult to
find, being a few blocks behind the center of San Rafael.  But once inside
and talking with German himself you know you are dealing with a top-notch
operation.  He personally offers several certifications through CMAS,
NSS-CDS and NACD.  Arranging our cave dives was a thorough exercise in both
dive planning and in gear safety.  I appreciated his attention to details.
The cave I most wanted to visit was Sac Aktun ("the White Cave")
at Grand Cenote, after seeing so many incredible photographs of it.  German
made all of the transport, lunch and admission arrangements, including
having our double tanks waiting for us in Playa del Carmen. The only thing
I had to arrange was my ferry passage from Cozumel to Playa.  For anyone
who is cave certified and has not yet seen Sac Aktun, this should be a
"Must DO" on your dive checklist.  This cave did not disappoint! 
Definitely one of the most decorative caves I've ever seen on land or
A few days later German took me to two caves on Cozumel.  The first was
Chankanaab the same cave system that has an entrance from the sea that you
find listed in many dive books.  German parks his truck on the side of a
highway... middle of nowhere really... and we trek through the scrub (fully
loaded down with dive gear) for about 200 meters on a path he blazed a few
weeks previous.  The waterhole we arrive at looks like an oversized
birdbath and is filled with leaf fronds and sticks, leftovers of Wilma's
rage.  Donning our fins we slipped into the water (bleah!) and then down
through a deceptively large cave mouth!  German had explained earlier that
the fresh water table had been pushed down by Wilma's rains and the
haloclines would be lower than normal.  We were probably the first to visit
Chankanaab since the storm and true to German's word there was a lot of
silt and plant matter suspended in the water in the downstream section of
the cave, as the flow slowly washed storm debris out to sea.  The upstream
section was much clearer with amazing halocline effects that made me feel
like I was diving in air, with the salt water like a river beneath me. 
Chankanaab made for an easy dive as the profile was pretty flat at an
average 28 feet.  As we went along, German would occasionally shake off the
guidelines which had become covered in storm silt.  His concern for safety
even on such fine details is something you don't see in most professional
The best dive was the last, in Aerolito.  I had been in this cave before,
though not very far into it.  On this trip, German guided me two jumps off
the main line, way into the back loop of the cave.  The freshwater layer of
the halocline at 30 feet stirred readily, making visibility poor. But once
in the salt water at depths of 50-80 feet the visibility was absolutely
incredible.  German pointed out some of the native creatures of the cave
including an albino starfish.  It always amazes me to see life so far away
from the surface, in such remote places.  Aerolito itself is a fascinating
cave and although not decorated nearly as much as her Riviera Maya cousins,
is still fascinating to behold.
Any regrets this trip?  Only that I didn't have a better camera for my dive
at Sac Aktun and that I didn't bring a camera at all with me to Aerolito. 
Both shall be remedied on my next trip to Cozumel in just a few weeks.  Am
I diving with German and Yucatech again?  Absolutely!

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