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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Mexico: Diving in Cozumel

Finally, we've discovered something truly world class in Mexico. Yes, I know that Chichén Itzá is a World Heritage site, and it is impressive, but somehow it pales into comparison compared to the coral reefs off the island of Cozumel. When I think of Mexico, I'll remember the madness of the cenote diving and I'll think of those picturesque ruins at Tulum, but the highlight will definitely be diving in Cozumel.

Palancar Caves

Luckily for me and my seasickness, the dive boat we took from the harbour in Cozumel was large and uncrowded compared to the tiny speedboat that threw me around on Peta's first sea dive. Designed for a maximum of 18 divers, we had exactly half that number pottering about on board, plus three guides. Our guide, Marcel from Dive Mex, who had helped teach Peta, was looking after us and Kelly and Gretchen, a really friendly middle-aged couple from near Salt Lake City in Utah who were celebrating their honeymoon in style. Happily for Peta, it turned out that Kelly had learned to dive a couple of days before and had only done a couple of sea dives off Playa since qualifying, so Peta and he had done exactly the same number of dives, while Gretchen had done about 20 dives, the same number as me. After Dario's impatience in the cenote, this meant that we'd all be at the same level, and nobody would be tutting if we lost our buoyancy or gulped through our air in record time.

Paso del Cedral

We were dropped off a little too early for our second dive and had to swim over a fairly flat bit of light coral growth to reach the real deal, but even that was enjoyable, as I used it to see how close I could get to the coral without touching it, something you don't really want to practise on fully formed and ancient coral reefs. This time the coral was in shallower water and wasn't as towering, but I tend to prefer this kind of diving; deep channels are fascinating and fun, but when you dive in shallower reefs, your air lasts longer (as it's delivered at a lower pressure), you get better colours (as there's more sunlight) and it's easier to equalise the pressure in your ears and mask (really deep dives can sometimes feel a little suffocating).