Subscriber Content Preview
Only active subscribers can view the whole article here
Dear Fellow Diver,
"I collect rainwater. I can let you have some if you want."
The owner of Liquid Blue Diving, Steve Michels, had picked up our gear at our hotel and was driving my partner and me to the Mega store to buy bottled water. While generous, the thought of filling plastic bottles with rainwater and carting them back to our room in the luxe El Presidente didn't fill us with longing, so we let it pass. "That's OK." he said, "I'm meeting friends for golf. Ever since they closed the golf course, we have played in the street."
"You hit golf balls down the street in San Miguel? Don't the neighbors complain if you hit their house with golf balls?"
"Nah. We use tennis balls."
We had arrived in Cozumel for ten days of chilling and diving, although chilling wasn't in the mid-October forecast. At 2 PM, it was 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity. Due to scheduling problems, we split our dive time between Liquid Blue and Living Underwater. We hung by the pool the first day to shake off the indignities of a 3:30 AM wake-up call and 6:00 AM departure from Newark.
Liquid Blue's sole dive boat, the Bonita Luna, set up for eight divers and two crew, pulled into our hotel dock at 8.00 AM the next day. Our gear was rigged to 120 cu. foot steel tanks filled to 3,000 psi with 32 percent EANx, and our fins and masks were stowed under our seats. Steve had already checked our cards and logs, so divemaster Roberto briefed us on the boat. We were crushed to hear the best sites in the south, like Punta Sur and Maracaibo, were closed due to high winds. And San Francisco and Santa Rosa reefs were subjected to the intermittent closure by the Marine Park to stop the advance of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD). The lack of recovery has led the Marine Park to admit the closures were just to allow the reefs to rest from the daily presence of hundreds of divers. So, it was a short ride to our first dive at Punta Tunich.
After rolling in and descending to the sand to meet Roberto, we and the other two divers headed to the reef, where a blacktip reef shark patrolled. I usually wear a 3mm suit and a 3mm hooded vest, but in the 86°F water, I was almost sweating....
Subscribers: Read the full article here