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Dive Review of Living Underwater/Park Royal in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Living Underwater/Park Royal, Nov, 2011,

by Daniel Fazekas, VA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 6369.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, British Virgin Islands, St. Croix, Belize, Roatan Puerto Rico, Kona Coast Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive Masters established the max depth for each dive, and made sure that buddy teams ended their dive at the same time, so the boat could pick them up while other divers could continue. Drift dives that had strong current included rules to start and end the dive as a group, for safety.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Crew handled gear like it was their own. They pass and retrieve camera gear to divers after they roll in and before they climb back aboard. There is a separate fresh water tank for camera setups.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our second trip to Cozumel in two years, and no planning was necessary. Living Underwater was our choice two years ago, and we have no reason to look anywhere else. The owner, Jeremy Anschel picked up our gear the evening before our first dive, so that all we needed to do every morning was meet the boat at the pier with our dry bag. (Note: there is a pier fee of $2 per person per day, not for the dive operator, but for the pier owner.) At the end of the week, he returned to settle our bill. (Note: all tips are shared equally between DM, Captain and Crew, whether you pay them individually, or wait until the end and add it to your bill.) The boat arrived like clockwork at 0740 and we collected other divers on our way to the first dive of the day. Our DM was Mario for five days, and Ari for one day, Francisco and Ricardo (Captain and Crew) all six days. They are real professionals, and very friendly. The "Jewfish" is the fastest dive boat we have seen in Cozumel, which had us in the water first, even with the holiday crowd. Our group of eight divers were backward rolling off the side about 0830. Dives average about one hour, thanks to the steel 120 cubic inch tanks (Note: painted white, which helps keep groups oriented if another group passes through). Upon surfacing, the boat collects each divers camera and weights/tank/BCD before you come back aboard. By the time you are out of your wetsuit, you are arriving at Palancar beach, which has a restaurant and bathrooms, and the best fish tacos. After 90 minutes to off-gas some nitogen, soak up the sun and listen to Mario's stories, we would be back on the boat for the second dive. We never had to handle the tanks, the crew always had things ready to go. We would be back at our pier around 1-2 pm. The combination of fast dive boat, no handling of the gear during the week, and short walk from the resort to the pier could not be any easier, except for a liveaboard.

Dive Sites visited were:

Palancar Gardens – lg jewfish, small hawksbill

Chankanab Bolones – six foot green moray, 3’ parrot fish, lg Nassau grouper, lg arrow crabs

Palancar Caves – pristine, great swimthroughs

Tormentos – basket sponges, lg angels, too much current to enjoy critters

Columbia Reef – exc vis, nice swimthroughs, 3 lg spiny lobster @ 80’. Mario took time to fix his sign, algae covered bricks on the sandy bottom that spelled his name. Hawksbill, rays, snapper, garden eels.

Cedarales Paseo – sleeping nurse shark baby. Small moray, large angel, hawksbill turtle

Chankanab – Our fist night dive in Cozumel. In the water about 6pm, and it wasn't long before we found an Octopus. By the end of the dive, we had seen six, and others claimed ten. One was oblivious to the dive lights, and calmly floated from small coral head to coral head, expanding his body to maximum parachute shape to flush out his prey. One was returning to his lair, and methodically backed his way under a rocky ledge and into the sandy "cave" to await his next victim or outing. Also saw two large crabs, next to each other, looking ready to fight!

Devil’s Throat – 126’ max, 57 avg. complex of swimthroughs among towering pillars. Enter first at 60 feet, descend to exit @ 120’, enter another tunnel and then slowly ascend through to exit @ 80’ cruise around and about coral heads for rest of dive. Awesome!

Punta Tunich – Long drift dive with occasional drops behind coral head for rest and to see Drumfish. I found green blennie in coral head. All sizes of reef fish from juvie to adult, squirrel, file, trunk, cow, scrawled file, turtles and angels, large French and quenn pairs. We did not bring a camera on this trip, and of course, all the fish were posing for us, begging to take their pictures!

Barracuda Reef – Thanksgiving Day. Fast current. Rule was to enter together, stay close, and surface as a group. The north end dive was a wall dive, not a photo dive, no way to stop. Healthy coral and sponges.

Canterel reef – Lobster, banded coral shrimp under a large concrete block (van sized). Large crab and two coral banded shrimp – the large crab was sighted last. Bethann spotted tail of of a llg green moral, when I arrived, it was showing half of his 6’ length. Sharps eel fully exposed on sandy bottom near coral.

Palancar caves – Our new DM Ari (short for Ariane). Nothing new, but fun dive.

Delilah Reef – Last Dive. My wife found another long green moray, and HUGE spiny lobster. I spent most of the dive checking under coral near sandy bottom for a splendid Toadfish. I was attracted by a large arrow crab and coral banded shrimp, then glanced left, and their it was, a large toadfish. Small hawksbill turtle, very friendly. Lots of schooling grunts, snapper, large angel pairs.
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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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