The boat dives start with a deep dive, then a second shallower dive that allows more bottom time. By nature, the first will be more difficult, the second easier. As Gueyser explained our first stop at Santa Rosa, I read my guide book which described it as an "intermediate" difficulty, and Gueyser said the currents were stronger today. So, I made the decision to sit the dive out.
On the one hand, that was really, really, really hard to do, with him saying how this was one of the best dives in Cozumel. I mean... I was jonesing to get wet!
But, something very soundly inside said, "No. You're too tired. Sit this one out." I've been staying just one banana ahead of threatening leg cramp issues, and each day I've been more and more worn out. (I blame the stairs.) Instead, I sat topside with another woman who was testing the waters so to speak to determine whether her seasickness was really seasickness, or more brought on by the anxiety of being rushed into gear and out into the water. She took the ride in style with a smile, so the answer was it's the push to get geared, out and down NOW NOW NOW!
This is a beautiful area to dive, no doubt, and I'll do it again. But I'm looking forward to diving the Florida Keys later on this year, where there are even MORE fish, and you hover in near currentless waters, allowing you to really get up close, hang out, and spend some time with the locals. Drift diving is like taking a car ride through a neighborhood... what I really want to do is stop, get out, and have dinner with some of the locals.
Speaking of hanging with the locals, through a morphing conversation with Mario (maitre'd and head of the kitchen here), we ended up with an invite to his house to see some of his carving work. It was a great opportunity to connect with someone on the island. He seems like a great guy, and he welcomed us into his home and showed us many things. It was a very interesting experience. He proudly showed us the photos from his daughter's 15th birthday -- that's a HUGE party. While he lives modestly, he spent the price of a good car on the party that had hundreds of guests. And he had 4 daughters. Aiy yi yi!
Before that, however, the boat made its second stop and I dove Chankanaab Reef. A longer bottom time thanks to a max depth of 50 feet. The lighting was beautiful, and the coral had nice big pockets at the bottom which almost always housed a lobster or some other critter. We saw more rays (large and small), a really cool fish I REALLY want to identify (about 14" long, a violet color with black spots and blue rings around them), a bazillion wrasse, angel and butterfly fish, and an octopus! The list could go on.
I spent a lot of time trying to finess my boyancy with breath control. Lots of work to be done there. I attempt to use my hands way too much. But, it's not like I'm crashing into things, which I've seen a lot of other people do. I haven't touched the reef at all, although I did hit a sandy patch of bottom quite by accident.
Tomorrow we are skipping the boat and instead sleeping in a bit, doing a shore dive in the morning, renting a car and driving around the island during the day, and then doing a night dive after dinner. Woo hoo!