Diving Report Cozumel / Mexico August 2005
We were from 01.08. to 08.08.2005 guest in Cozumel. We stayed at the Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort, which is recommended, if you want nice rooms. Sure, it’s not quite cheap, but it was all clean and worked flawlessly. It is there (as probably elsewhere in Cozumel also) more Americans, but the number of them from morning to evening at the pool bar overweight men drinking all-inclusive was clearly limited. You do not get great contact, but we did not want that much. It is quiet, no entertainment, but also 6 USD taxi one-way into the city.
It has to be said that we were there about 2 weeks after Hurricane Emily, so there was still a bit of cleanup to do. This was silent. It had swept away the great palapa of the poolside restaurant, so only – if you wanted to – the restaurant was across the street for breakfast and dinner. When that is rebuilt escapes my knowledge, but it did not bother.
We dived with Volker Pohl / Aquamarinas. We clarified this in advance by email, and it can only be clearly stated that Volker responds exemplary fast and also gives any information that you want to get. This made us feel good, as well as the diverse recommendations of third parties to dive with him, instead of relying on the name Blue Note. To Blue Note, I can not say anything anyway, have had no contact with Volker’s former base.
We met Volker on the evening of our arrival, he came to the hotel, which I personally appreciated. Because in a personal conversation about a few tacos, much becomes clearer than emails or brochures. Volker left the choice of the dive boat – within the possible – us, i. He offered us either a speedboat or a slightly larger standard dive boat. On the first day we tried the speedboat, and it was certainly the right recommendation. It is about 3x as fast on the reef, and for the about 1-hour lunch break you can drive directly to the beach, where you are supplied with fresh fruit and snacks and can sunbathe a bit. But you can also buy a little something at the local bars, and some will be grateful for the existing, clean toilet facilities.
Volker rented a boat for us from another dive center, sometimes their dive guests or snorkelers were on board (max 8 persons). He has a boat “in the hindquarters”, however, since the licenses for the UW Marine Park are limited, he may not go out there with this until he can take over a license of a then disused boat. This fact does not matter, you certainly do not have to worry that there is no boat for the exit.
In itself, the exits are always 2-tank dives, so an exit with 2 dives, with the intermediate surface interval is always 1 hour or a little more. Prices can be found on the homepage of Aquamarinas.
We especially liked that the pick-up at the pier of the hotel was not until 10 o’clock in the morning. That’s holiday time! With the speedboat “overtake” then anyway the rather slower dive boats on the way to Palancar Reef, etc. Accordingly, then you are back quickly, so that the afternoon is also something. As a special treat Volker (or his crew) takes over the washing, storage and construction of the equipment, so we just had to hop on the boat in the morning, in the suit, and off into the water. And after the TG just get off at the pier, while diligent brownies take care of the equipment maintenance overnight. One may think that unnecessary, but this is absolutely pleasant !!! About rental equipment, I can not say anything, we had everything with us, but Volker had always replacement fin straps, glasses, etc, when other times something broke. Also oxygen is always on board.
The dives are all drift dives, but that does not mean that it drifts insane underwater. You jump into the water and let yourself drift past the reef while the boat follows at a safe distance.
What Volker promises regarding the length of the dives on his homepage or in emails, he also holds. We did not dive under 65 minutes! Also, the possibly of the friendly dive center accompanying us divers were so “selected” that they do not bring you up after 45 min. On the contrary, sometimes we have signaled under water Volker that it is now ok to tackle the safety stop. Otherwise he would have dived for 2 hours.
The dive sites are really beautiful, maybe I would call them Caribbean. There are steep walls, but also reefs with swim-throughs and adjacent sandy areas, but nowhere is it boring at any point. Anyone, however, would rather make a picture of themselves, you think I make no mistake, if you come to Cozumel for diving ..
Volker is very attentive to the dive itself and draws attention to the small things in particular. You would also see a manta for yourself (if you are not busy with spotted knight fish J). Volker shows a detail also on otherwise perhaps rather boring sand surfaces, about which one dives from time to time, which are really interesting and which one would never have seen in life. The dives are more comfortable, no speed records are set up.
And after the dives Volker can appeal to all the fish whose name you never keep in life, unless you are a certified biologist like Volker. To compensate for this inadequacy of the standard holiday diver, you get then from Volker at the end of a kind of logbook in which he meticulously lists not only the usual dive details, but also all his sightings. This gives you the opportunity to experience what you have seen with your own UW photos or a book of destination.
One day Volker also arranged a cenote-dive (better known as 2 dives), in which his friend Omar accompanied us. This is probably one of the absolute cave diving cracks on this earth. This trip was really an experience, Omar is absolutely relaxed and easy. If you want a 100% german organized tour, maybe you should rather dive with Harry. But if you prefer a really pleasant and cool guy, without compromising on security, then Omar is in good hands. The price is nothing, 160USD, but ferry crossing to Playa del Carmen is inclusive. But: getting up early was announced, we took the ferry at 7: 00h, but we were also the first divers in the cenote, although the others from PdC have a shorter journey.
Volker will also offer mixed gas and tech diving in the future. Even night dives (then from the port of Caleta) would be possible, but we did not do it.
During our trip we were Volkers only continuous dive guests, which we did not know before our trip. The rest were rather day visitors. This is probably due to the fact that Volker must first establish itself with his new venture. At the beginning we had – since we are otherwise romping on larger, anonymous bases – a little thought about a somewhat too individual and thus also somewhat obligatory care. It was absolutely unnecessary !!! Volker is always approachable, always friendly, obliging, informable, but never pushy or even prickly, if you want to take a day to explore the island.
So in Cozumel we were really lucky not only to have met a competent dive guide, but also a really very pleasant person. The diving with Volker and all the trappings were really impeccable. We can warmly recommend Aquamarinas. This does not only apply to individual travelers, but also to tour operators who want to include Cozumel in the program or already have it.