Cozumel trip 6/17-25, 2011
I guess the saying “The 3rd time is the charm” would be perfect for this trip. Back in 2005 I had a trip planned to Scuba Club Cozumel (SCC) and a few days before we were to leave, hurricane Wilma forced SCC to close for a couple of weeks. I was told that they were the 1st resort to open up afterwards but then that didn’t help us much. Then in 2010 I was planning another trip there but before everything was finalized the price of the airfare jumped past $800.00 so a quick change happened and we ended up going to Bonaire at Buddy Dive. I have to say Bonaire is always a great place to go.
Well, now we are all flying back from Cozumel while I type this and looking back on the week I think it is safe to say we all had an excellent time. There were originally 12 in our group, but then 1 couple had some things come up and were not able to make it. I myself had never been to Cozumel and luckily 2 in the group had been there before which was very helpful.
We stayed at Scuba Club Cozumel and with there consistent 94% trip advisor review we were not let down. The staff was all very helpful and friendly and the whole resort was well kept up. It probably helped that the owners check on things daily. The rooms were well maintained, large and not all the same and they had free Wi-Fi that you could get in the rooms so you could keep up with your friends on face book. The location was also very good because it was a short 5 minute walk to the store and 10-15 minutes into the main part of town. What I really liked is that Scuba Club is a small resort catering mainly to divers and the occasional non-diver like my wife. Before we left I had heard plenty of good about the SCC dive operation and again they were everything I heard and maybe more.
For diving, the day started about 8:15am when we would leave for 2 dives and then back about 2:00 for lunch. The rest of the day was yours with some of us diving the reef in front of the resort after lunch and for night dives. I did do several dives there, but to me it became boring fast after seeing most of the cool things the first 2 dives. It was shallow and not hard to have a 90 minute dive there.
Our group dove on the Reef Star the whole trip and had Louis as our DM. He was very laid back and did a good job explaining the dive sites and what the plan was, of course there are always some changes or unpredictable things that come up like the down current we hit on one dive and some stronger currents then expected on others.
The weather was good while we were there with some cloudy days and occasional rain, but that was much better then frying in the sun. We did dives at Plancar Gardens, Paradise, Santa Rosa, Columbia & Columbia Bricks, Yucab, Tormentos, Chaukanb. All the dives were good but I personally liked the shallower dives with a slight current so I could have the time to check out the reef and look in the cracks and crevice. I brought my camera, but had an electronic problem with it before I was able to use it; luckily I had my little Go Pro video camera I could use. Then almost at the end of the trip the LCD screen on the Go Pro went dead, but I was still able to use it by just pointing it in the direction I wanted to video.
On Tuesday, four of us paid extra to do an afternoon dive on the wreck of the Felipe Xicotencatl . We had an awesome dive. The wreck was originally sitting at 80’ and then a big storm moved it shallower to 70’. Our DM took us on a tour of it 1st going inside where there was large openings to exit in case of an emergency. After that my grandson (Louie) and I explored the entire wreck. There was a very slight current and about 80’ vis which made for an excellent dive. I would have liked to do it again.
On Wednesday we went to Playa Del Carmen to dive the cenotes with Yucatek Divers. It was a fun day starting early. We went over on the 7:00am ferry and one of the dive guides was waiting for us and then walked us over to the dive shop. We then took a 45 minute ride in a van all the while getting lots of information on the cenotes and what we would be doing. We were set to do 2 dives, one at Chac Mool and the other right next to it which was Little Brother. Diving the cenotes was highly recommended by many of my friends and I can now see why, it was like being in another world. The water was so clear it seemed like you were floating in space with cool rock formations everywhere. Each dive was about 45 minutes long with about an hour in between. After the dive we had lunch and then the ride back to the dive shop. Some of our group then went home on the 3:00 ferry and the rest of us stayed, ate another lunch, walked town shopping and trying to get some good deals on some gifts. We then went back to the dive shop to get our things and headed out on the 7:00pm ferry and then back to Scuba Club for dinner.
I would highly recommend Yucatek Divers (will use them next time) for cenote diving or the whale shark tours. What really impressed me was how professional, knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly they were. The owner Jean-Yeaves was the best to work with and you could tell he really enjoyed what he did. He went out of his way for our group and to make sure we had the best time ever!
One thing I was a little concerned with was how the food would be at Scuba Club Cozumel because when food is included sometimes it isn’t all that good and when you have a group you want to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. It didn’t take long to realize this would not be a problem. The food at SCC was very good and actually I over did it a few times, especially when they had the large shrimp wrapped with bacon. It seemed as though everyone else enjoyed the food although probably not as much as myself.
In the morning you could always count on getting a good breakfast before the dive day started. There was always an all you could eat breakfast buffet with plenty of choices to get you going. For lunch they had the diver’s special (always something different and unique) or you could pick something from the menu (same for lunch and dinner) with lots of Mexican or American choices. I usually always picked the special because I like to try different things and then there was always desert if you had any room left, the mango and coconut ice creams were excellent. For dinner there were always 3 main choices and if those didn’t sound good you could order off the menu. Dinner also came with soup or salad and dessert. The only things not included were the drinks. I actually liked that because it kept people from over doing it. We just stocked up our room fridge with some cold beers and soda’s from the store. We did also buy some snacks at the beginning of the trip, but honestly with all the food Scuba Club served you actually had to skip some things as the intake was catching up fast with the outtake, if you know what I mean.
For our last night we all went into town for some shopping, sightseeing and dinner. We ate at Casa Denis (in business since 1945). The food was excellent and afterwards they made us there special Mexican coffee which was something to watch them make. While we ate a short distance away from the town square they had music and fire dancers for a free Friday night show. What a great way it was to spend the last night together with our friends.
The trip turned out to be a big success with many happy memories and I am sure will be the 1st of other trips back as I am now planning another trip to Cozumel for CIDA September 2012. The trip I am now planning will be something much more unique living up to the Channel Islands Dive Adventures way of doing things-stay tuned!!!
Some last thoughts:
- If you travel continental airlines there is a code(not many know this) that allows you to travel with a bag weighing up to 70lbs and not paying an extra fee-it is GG SCUBA. We had a bag with 60 lbs and when doing the auto check-in you put your bag on the scale and it weights it, we had an overweight charge of $200.00. I quickly got the agents attention which then handed me over to a supervisor who I explained about the code GG SCUBA. He then came back a short time later with a disappointed look and gave us new boarding passes and put an extra heavy tag on the bag and we were good to go. I did find out when we left Cozumel that you can only have scuba gear in the bag when using GG SCUBA so we had to do some quick rearranging at the check in counter and still never paid an extra fee.
- I really liked Scuba Club Cozumel (as did everyone in our group) and would stay there again if I wanted to dive the same dive sites.
- The dive sites where nice and it was a great intro to Cozumel diving. I would have preferred to dive some of the sites further away, but that will have to be another trip with a different operator. There is only 1 that dives the spots I would like to go to and they are Aldora divers.
- Don’t go and not do a trip to the cenotes, they where awesome and I would highly recommend using Yucatek Divers in Playa Del Carmen.
- One extra day would have been fun so we could have traveled and explored the island a bit-next time!