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Dive Review of Pascual's Scuba/El Cantil Sur Condos in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Cozumel

Pascual's Scuba/El Cantil Sur Condos, Feb, 2006,

by Dean Knudson, MN, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 2286.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Honduras, Florida, Midwest US
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 77 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 4
Water Visibility 50 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Follow divemaster, obey computer
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Small boat, no accommodations other than good care of camera by boat captain.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We dove with Pascual one year ago, before the hurricane. Hurricane Wilma was particularly damaging to small dive operations in Cozumel. His boat was flipped upside down and sunk. Both of his engines were submerged. He lost all of his gauges, most of his weights, and his bimini top. His partner, Kristi, asked us to dive with Pascual, and to trust them in their assertions that the boat would be ready when we were scheduled to arrive in February 2006. When we arrived the boat was functional. It had been painted, and the fiberglass was new. The 200 hp engine ran well. The 150 hp engine did have some problems with stalling, due to a bad carburetor, but this typically was temporary, and did not slow down the dives. He still does not have gauges on his boat, and has a temporary bimini top. Most of our dives were with Pascual, and he did his usual excellent job leading the dives. He did hire a guide, Pedro, to lead several of the dives. Pedro was noticeably less skilled than Pascual, and apparently may be leaving Pascuals operation, due to a lack of work. Pascual and Kristi asked us to take a taxi cab each day to the Caleta Marina, instead of meeting us with the boat at our condominium. This was annoying, but understandable, given his fragile financial condition at that time. He indicated it would save him money on gasoline, which is a major expense for him. I suspect that he will again offer hotel pickups in his dive boat. This should be negotiated in advance, however. On one day the boat was quite crowded, with 10 divers. It was difficult for me to fault him in booking so many divers, as he had had little to no business since the hurricane, and obviously was struggling financially. He managed to guide all of the divers and lead an interesting dive, even for the more experienced participants. There was much sand over all of the shallow reefs in Cozumel. There is also sand on some of the deeper reefs. It was suggested that the larger sea life had returned in a greater abundance. That was not my observation, although we did see 4 to 5 large rays, and four turtles. The small sea life seemed, to me, to be less abundant. The reefs have obviously changed. Sand has been washed away from the bottom two or three foot depth of the base of many of the reefs. This reef area has no growth. Many of the caves have changed in size. The Devils throat, at Columbia, is no longer a narrow passage, but apparently is a wider cavern. Overall, I would say the diving is somewhat worse than it had been previously, but still much better than many other areas in the Caribbean. The visibility was, still, typically excellent, although on several days we had strange currents, and this led to an underwater "sandstorm". It was interesting to watch little "dust devils" of sand make their way across the bottom. The visibility was down to 30 or 40 feet on some of the dives, due to sand suspended in the water. This was the exception, however, and not the rule. The shallow reefs were hardest hit, although they are beginning to recover at this point. We were not able to dive on the C-52 wreck. There is a rumor that it disintegrated somewhat, but is still serviceable as a dive site. The island is crawling with construction workers. Hotels have taken one of two paths to rebuilding. Some apparently are waiting for insurance checks, and remain broken down concrete shells. Others have completely rebuilt, and are either complete, or close to completion. The El Cozumeleno appears to be almost complete, and apparently will be open by March of 2006. The Barracuda Hotel apparently slipped into the ocean in part, and collapsed for the most part. It is completely rebuilt now, and looks better than it ever has. Thatch is being replaced all over the island on the roofs of businesses and homes. Most of the popular restaurants are open. Even coconuts, on the opposite side of the island, is open, and looks brand new. The infamous "family photograph albums" also survived at coconuts. The road on the opposite side of the island was obviously washed away in a number of locations, and has been rebuilt. We drove around the entire island with ease. Most of the downtown area actually looks better than it did previously, and appears to be cleaner and freshly painted. Some of the businesses, unfortunately, have abandoned Cozumel. This appears to be a minority, however. We stayed at the El Cantil Sur condominiums, which look absolutely brand new. It was expensive, but very comfortable, and very convenient. They have rebuilt their dive pier, and dive boats, with the exception of Pascual's boat, arrived every morning in a steady stream.
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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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