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Dive Review of Rafael de la Parra in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan/Isla Mujeres

Rafael de la Parra, Aug, 2011,

by Pamela, CA, US ( 2 reports). Report 6169.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Australia, Fiji, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Belize, New Guinea, Fiji, Thailand, Palau, California, Yap, Malaysia, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 85 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We stayed on Isla Mujeres and went out to snorkel with whale sharks with Rafael de la Parra, who was recommended through an Undercurrent article. (contact him at grampusr@hotmail.com). Rafael works with the scientists who tag the sharks at this spot, his English is excellent, and his knowledge of the sharks was impressive. He limits his guests to 6, which is important because every boat can only put 2 divers in the water at once (plus guide), so the fewer people on your boat the more time with the whale sharks. Nobody else was on the boat the two days we went out, so we spent hours in the water with the whale sharks. On the first day the sharks were concentrated in a relatively small area. Rafael counted over 100 sharks from his perch at the top of the boat! We saw as many as 5 whales sharks at a time underwater, in sizes ranging from about 4 to 8 meters. It was actually necessary to pay attention in order to stay out of their way. On the second day the visibility was better but the sharks were more spread out, so more swimming was required; on the other hand, the snorkeling boats were more spread out, too, so we had plenty of whale sharks all to ourselves. Rafael and his sons serve as guides but also bring an UW camera to photo-identify the sharks for the research project. When a boat arrived on the scene and tried to put a big group of people in the water, Rafael motored over and firmly told them they needed to follow the rules. Please support people like Rafael with your business so this experience will continue to be spectacular!

No scuba is allowed, but there were UW photographers free diving with weights, and the sharks were usually at the surface. If you are a photographer I am sure Rafael could bring a rinse bucket for equipment by request. The water is warm, but bring a light wetsuit because if you don't wear one you are required to wear a life vest.
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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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