Surface Intervals, NOT necessarily boring

Surface Intervals: Not necessarily boring!!


As all divers know, a surface interval is an important aspect of each days dives. The surface interval is a necessary evil. Or is it? Is it really evil?

There is no doubt that without a surface interval, there would be no 2nd dive, not to mention no third or fourth dive of the day.  It serves the purpose of letting your body naturally eliminate the excess Nitrogen that it has accumulated during your dive. The longer you stay out of the water, the more nitrogen exits or “off-gases”. But what to do during these surface interval? Rest, obviously, but after an exciting diving if the adrenaline is pumping rest is not on everyone’s mind, what is on most peoples mind is this last dive, and to compare notes about Cozumel Scuba diving or diving in general. What did you see? Did you see how big that (shark, turtle eel or mermaid) was or to  talk about other scuba dives and other locations.

Of course it also depends on where you make your surface interval. Here, after one of our Cozumel scuba dives we usually stop at a beach or beach club. This makes for a great opportunity to stretch out and nap in the sun, or in the shade. To take a walk along the long sandy beach, or just swim or snorkel the shallows and look for interesting life. In all cases, it’s a great opportunity to drink lots of water, enjoy a snack of fresh fruit and cookies or granola bars.

Of course, sometimes the surface interval gets a little more exciting!!

This past week, I had the pleasure of diving with Jeff, Paul and Tim on the Yucab wall where we saw among other things: a tiny juvenile Spotted Drum fish, an octopus, a Splendid Toadfish, a Decorator Crab hiding near an anemone and a young turtle. But the fun and excitement had just begun!! As we approached the Paradise Beach Club for our surface interval all the people at the club were looking at us and pointing excitedly.  We all felt like we were expected and were about to be the guests of honor!! Perhaps our egos got the better of us. But alas, they were pointing in fear at the crocodile that had left its jungle home and invaded “their” turf!! All the swimmers were on the beach, unwilling to go in for fear of becoming lunch.

After about 20 minutes, with two guys on jet skis and a fearless divemaster they were able to corral the beast and grab his tail and pull him out of the water. Turns out that the huge feared beast was nothing more than a young croc who left his jungle home, perhaps for the first time, to see what lurks beyond the great lagoon. After being pulled from the water, wrapped in blankets and tape, our friend was taken by the National Park Rangers back to his home in the jungle covered swamp. You can see photos of this “Surface Interval Adventure” on our Facebook page  as well as our Picasa Album. Another fun and exciting day of scuba in Cozumel with Blue Magic Scuba!!!Image

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It’s That Season Again!

Hello scuba fans! Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted but were back. And guess what else is back? The first Nortes arrived this week with 3 days of port closures – and with them, the first spotted eagle rays of the season appeared!!! It’s October, one of the slowest months of the low season (it’s also my birthday) and so the crew and I went on a special birthday dive today. It was extremely windy when we left the marina, but the port was still open. After a very bumpy 45 minute ride, we reached our first destination, Maracaibo. The goal was to shoot lion fish and make ceviche. We rolled into the still-warm water (82F). The visability was excellent (100’+), the currents gentle, the famous Maracaibo Arch was lush and beautiful, and there were lots of hungry lion fish just waiting to be speared. We surfaced 35 minutes later to even STRONGER winds, and a closed port. The trip back north was much longer and bumpier – nearly 90 minutes – and after reaching Las Palmas (very close to the marina) we geared up, rolled in and 5 minutes into the dive, along came two juvenile spotted eagle rays. I haven’t heard of any sightings yet this season, so these two were quite a surprise. My photos aren’t great (they glide against the current much faster than I could ever swim with it) but we were so excited I just had to get a couple of shots. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift from our beautiful Cozumel Diving Paradise.

The impromptu, post-dive birthday party ensued at the dive shop, where the crew and I shared chicken, cerveza, dive stories and alot of laughter. Enjoy the photos. I’ll keep trying to get better ones, but in the meantime, come on down here all you snow birds, warm up a little this winter, and let’s get wet!

The Three Musketeers

Birthday Girl and her Dive Team

The Whole Motley Crew

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A Rare Find – Polka-Dot Batfish

The gauntlet was thrown down.  Sandro (his photo is on the bottom) found one of these rare Polka-dot Batfish at San Clemente and I challenged Pumbaa to do the same on a recent dive – and darned if he didn’t do it!  This species of batfish is quite rare, but if you’re a patient and alert observer, you can find them hiding in sandy bottoms, seagrass beds, coral rubble and even mud from North Carolina to Florida’s panhandle; the northern Bahamas; and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Batfish live anywhere from the shallows of the shoreline to as deep as 230 feet.  A bottom-dweller, this strange-looking creature isn’t designed to move quickly to chase its prey; instead it ‘walks’  crab-like on it’s pectoral fins along the sea floor.  The dorsal fin is more like a spine and it acts as a lure to attract food within striking distance of the batfish.  They only grow to 15″ maximum, but most are smaller and feast on shrimps, small crabs, worms, molluscs and juvenile fish.  The polka-dots serve as camouflage and the batfish usually looks like it is covered by warts; but, they are actually small nodules called tubercles.  If they sense a diver is near, they may bury themselves with sand, so be patient and go slowly, and you too may get a photo like one of these.  Thanks to our good client Yuval Tamari for sharing your great photos (the first 3 shots in this post), and thanks to Sandro and Pumbaa, for knowing how to find these elusive critters!

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Wow, take a look at these gorgeous turtle photos!

These beautiful shots of a Loggerhead turtle were taken by Sandro on April 25 while diving with the Nichols family at La Francesa Reef.  These are 2 of the best photos I’ve ever seen.  Apparently he was so calm, he let Sandro close enough to take these pictures without using telephoto!  Loggerheads are one of 3 different kinds of turtles found in Cozumel (the others are Hawksbill and Green turtles).  This sea turtle lives in all but the most frigid waters of our oceans.  Loggerheads are the largest of all hard-shelled turtles.  Adult males can grow up to 3 feet long, and weigh 250+ pounds.  Mature females often return to the place where they hatched to lay their own eggs, sometimes covering thousands of miles to get there.   They can be recognized by their reddish-brown shell, massive head and strong jaws.  They are primarily carnivores and can be seen eating jellyfish, conch, crabs and even fish; but occasionally they will eat the flora too. Unfortunately,  these turtles have been an endangered species since 1978 due to pollution, trawling, and development of their nesting areas.   We hope you enjoyed these pictures and learning a little about this lovely creature.

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Sandro’s New Friends

Here are 2 of Sandro’s new Turtle friends – both babies and both oh-so-cute!  Great shots Sandro!

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Last of the Spotted Eagle Rays

Here are a few photos of the last Spotted Eagle Rays of the season, which comes to a close soon.  We will miss them – until they return in November.  Happy Viewing!

Posted in Blue Magic Scuba, cozumel, cozumel diving, diving, Eagle Rays, environment, scuba, scuba diving | 1 Comment

Green Moray anyone?

Just one of the many green moray eels we’ve seen in the last week of diving – it’s glorious!

Posted in Blue Magic Scuba, cozumel, cozumel diving, diving, environment, scuba, scuba diving | 12 Comments