We got our advanced diving certification! Yay! One of my goals for the certification was to work on my bouyancy, and I’m happy to report that I completely achieved that aim. 🙂 It was worth it too, to get the advanced cert just for the night dive, which was so surreal.
Some quick notes/observations:
1. Didn’t get to see as much pelagic as I wanted. Jeff and the others spied a nurse shark, but by the time I rounded the wall, it was gone. We saw two turtles on the first dive, but that was that. Lots of southern stingrays and jello stingrays though
2. Visibility was amazing. Even with rain two out of the three days we dove in Cozumel, the visibility was at least 50 feet.
3. The coral structures in Cozumel are stunning. Especially in the Palancar reef system and the Santa Rosa reef system, where we dove, great walls of coral rise up from the depths. Very healthy too – in fact, the healthiest I think I’ve seen compared to Phuket, Bali, and Hawaii.
4. I loved, loved, loved the night dive. We saw the largest rainbow parrotfish I’ve ever seen slumbering in a coral cove, an octopus, shrimp, spotted moray, giant lobster and crab etc. The plankton with its bioluminescence effect was very cool too, but I think I was more awed by the fact that even after we’d covered all our flashlight, there was enough ambient light on the seabed that I could make out the shadows of the corals and us divers. I’ve no idea where the ambient light came from, since we were 50 feet below, and it was pouring rain above.
5. On our last dive, where we practiced navigation on a sandy bottom, I had ample time to closely observe a tiny patch of coral, and was surprised to see so much life. The longer I peered at the coral, the more life I could make out – dozens of gobi, shrimp, crab, harlequin shrimp… all smaller than half my fingernail. I could have gladly spent the entire dive just hovering over that pizza-sized patch
6. And I officially hate my Canon G11 underwater housing. My G11’s screen is now completely fuzzy. GAH. Gonna replace the camera, and get a 3rd party housing. Upside? I will finally be able to invest in a strobe light.