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

Yucatech Expeditions/N/A, Nov, 2005,

by Alexander Griffin, MD, USA . Report 3000.

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

Weather sunny Seas noCurrents
Water Temp 75 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10 to 30 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 1/3 air supply double tanks for penetration
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

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