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Dive Review of Advanced Divers/Casa Mexicana in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Advanced Divers/Casa Mexicana, Aug, 2006,

by Jack Gibson, TX, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 2627.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Cozumel is still a great Caribbean dive destination in spite of Wilma’s attempt to ravage the reefs last year. We have made two short trips there this year, one in February and one in August. Doc Vikingo’s April 2006 report pretty well summed up what we saw in February: sand covered reefs and still bewildered fish. . By August, I’m happy to report that much of the sand has blown off the reefs and they seem to be getting back to normal. On our first day at Palancar caves we saw all the usual suspects (gray, queen, and French angels, butterflies, grunts, and puffers) though maybe not in quite the abundance of the recent past. We dove Chankanab for our second dive, and it was in much better condition than I expected. Yes, some past residents are MIA-- but there is still a great abundance of color and life. Our second – and last – day we enjoyed Punta Sur’s four caverns on our first dive, starting our deco stop after devil’s throat. It is just as spectacular as ever from the school of Jacks at the beginning of the dive to the views of angels silhouetted against the deep blue seen from within the caverns to the nurse shark spotted during our deco stop.

Our last dive was at Puerta Maya – the controversial pier that destroyed part of Paradise reef has been converted into an artificial reef by Wilma. What great irony! I was skeptical about this dive, but it was interesting to see the dramatic results of Wilma’s wrath on this huge concrete structure (now completely submerged). It is a writhing mass of iron rebar and concrete rocks, blocks, boulders and beams that is being taken back by the sea. Arrow crabs were common in the debris, trunkfish were numerous, and a spotted moray was hunting among the rocks. We also saw a mantas shrimp and some nudibranchs there.

Admittedly four dives is far from a scientific sampling, but based on what we’ve seen I suspect any rumors of the death of Cozumel diving are exagerated. Due to its convenience to Dallas, we like it for long weekends, saving our vacations for more remote locations. But if I lived further away, I wouldn’t hesitate to book a week vacation in Cozumel, giving due consideration to hurricane season. If you are close enough for a short duration visit, watch the long term weather forecast and take advantage of one of the deals available from the tour charter groups for a last minute trip during hurricane season. You may find air and hotel for three nights for a little less than $500 from Dallas.

And when you go, consider diving with Advanced Divers. We’ve been diving with Ricardo Madrigal and his team for over a decade, and these guys take care of you. In the water they are unobtrusive and there only when you need them to point out an interesting creature or navigate the currents. After the first dive, they switch your gear to fresh tanks and take it all down for you at the end of the day. Between dives you enjoy a lunch of ham sandwiches, fresh fruit, and tostadas with absolutely the best fresh guacamole you’ve ever had followed by a leisurely siesta for our hour and half surface interval.

Ricardo’s boat, the Careyitos, is a 12 ft wide, 38 ft. long Bertram. Generally there will be no more than 10 divers on board. She doesn’t zip out to the reef and back but gives a comfortable and relaxing ride with a large sun deck above and shaded deck below. I always smile to myself when the “fast boats” zip by us, pounding and soaking their passengers.

Crowded sites are avoided, and they go out of their way to honor their guests’ requests. Your bottom time is limited only by your air supply and computer. If you have good air consumption, expect all of your dives to be 60 minutes or more. If you don’t have good consumption, ask Tony to coach you on his safe and effective breathing techniques. You’ll be glad you did.

On both of this year’s trips we stayed at Casa Mexicana and really liked it. Conveniently located in town on the main boulevard by the sea, it is new and clean with nice rooms and great service. An excellent breakfast buffet is included with the room. We will stay there again.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Belize, Providenciales T&C, Grand Turk, Bonaire, BVI, Walkers Cay, various Florida Keys, Palau, Truk, Galapagos, PNG.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. They aren’t strict about the buddy system, but expect everyone to stay with the group for the drift dive. Virtually no restriction on depth or dive time (except your air supply). Just tell the dive master if you want to go deep.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Cozumel subject matter is as good as anywhere in the Caribbean, but drift diving in strong currents can make it more challenging. Advanced Divers' boat has no special facilities for U/W cameras but will plan on setting up a rinse tank if you ask for it in advance.
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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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