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Dive Review of Dive Mike in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Playa Del Carmen

Dive Mike, Dec, 2003,

by Steven Goldstein, CA, USA . Report 883.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bonnaire, Curacao, Barbados, Jamaica, Pacific Mexico, Fiji, Palau, Red Sea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 76 to 76 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 350 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions I did 4 cavern dives all of which were guided as required by the local government
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments OK if you know what you are doing with your equipment. Since I was doing only cavern dives in relatively remote jungle locations, camera facilities were not an issue.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I had been warned that Playa Del Carmen, which is a charming mainland town directly opposite the leeward side of Cozumel, was comparatively weak for ocean diving but that the Cenotes in the jungle nearby were worthwhile. Consequently, I went directly to Dive Mike, a wonderful small shop in the center of the waterfront area of Playa.

I booked two dives to start with and decided to evaluate the quality of the diving before committing to a second day of diving the cenotes. Cenotes are freshwater limestone caves, some of which are huge (one has been explored to a length of 25 miles and still hasn't been fully mapped) with fantastically clear water. Visibilities are routinely more than 300 feet. Diving the cenotes is expensive, but worth it. I talked to other divers who bought packages that involved reef one day and cenote the next who said the reefs were not great but everyone loved the cenotes.

We did two dives at Dos Ojos both of which were very easy, relatively shallow, and great fun. We were never deeper than 30 feet and the cave is very pretty. One chamber is loaded with bats which was fun to check out. This cavern is pretty popular so it can be a bit crowded.

On the second day we went first to Angelita which is very interesting and very uncrowded. It is a sinkhole in the middle of the jungle that you need to pre-arrange access to. The entry is a little challenging if you are not sure of yourself with gear on, but once you are in the water, you are in for a treat. The descent to 30 meters is through clear water with beautiful rock walls that are almost vertical. You then encounter what looks at first like the bottom. Upon closer inspection it appears to be a dense yellow gray cloud that is a layer of hydrogen sulfate trapped between the fresh water on top and the salt water below. Since debris has fallen into this cenote over the centuries, there are decomposing trees looming up from this strange cloud which makes for a very eery appearance. As you watch divers enter the cloud and disappear beneath there is a real other worldly quality to this dive. By the way, the sulfur smell actually is discernable through your regulator. . .pretty strange.

Once below the cloud, the dive is fairly straightforward. We decended only to 120 feet and then began a gradual ascent punctuated by a small swim-through cave on one of the sidewalls at a depth of only 25 or so feet.

Our final dive was at the enormously popular Gran Cenote which is fairly similar to Dos Ojos only bigger. It was very pretty with phenomenal stalactites and stalagmites and stunning visibility.

Dive Mike is a very well run operation. The shop is small but attractive, clean and with very good equipment for those who don't bring their own. Mike is a Dane who has lived in Mexico for 4 years and is a genial host. We did our dives with Mike, his friend Kim, a charming young Dane who is there temporarily, and Dai, a Welshman who has been around Playa for awhile and is a hoot. If you find yourself in this area, this is a great operation with which to do your diving.
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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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