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1. COZUMEL

General information.

Cozumel is a world famous diving area. The reefs are spectacular, with a prolific number of sponges and interesting coral formations. Fish are in abundance, including groupers, cowfish, wrasse, angel fish and Cozumelís Splendid Toadfish.

 

Dive sites accessible from Cozumel include the Palancar Reef. Stretching for about a mile, this is characterised by enormous living coral boulders and deep channels. It is a good place to see chubs, creole wrasse, groupers and snappers - to name but a few. Another excellent site is Santa Rosa Reef, where you can find large angelfish squirrelfish, barracuda and a tremendous variety of small tropicals.

The majority of the boat diving in Cozumel is drift diving. Divers drift effortlessly, generally in a mild current over Cozumelís fantastic kilometres of reef.




 

 

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Cozumel News!

Cozumelís Scuba Fest

 

The build up to Cozumelfest started over a year ago, with representatives from Cozumel, located 12 miles off Mexicoís Yucatan Peninsula, visiting countries in Europe such as London and Madrid, to spread the word about this islandís special marine environment.

 

Beginning on the 6th December 2012, this underwater festival opened with Mexican music and an enactment concerning Ixchel - Cozumelís Mayan goddess of fertility. A presentation alluded to Cozumelís marine delights, which divers visiting the island were able to experience firsthand the following day. With sightings of Caribbean reef sharks, numerous turtles, sea horses, southern sting rays, multitudes of tropical fish and even a splendid toadfish, it was clear that Cozumel deserved its underwater festival.

 

A number of marine related presentations and films also took place. A film made by Jean Michel Cousteau, linked to his Ocean Futures Foundation, about his father Jacques, brought home how special the undersea world is. A tribute to Ramůn Bravo, another leviathan in the marine world, and a presentation about the Clipperton project, which aims in part to draw people together with various disciplines to confront international issues such as waste and plastics in the oceans, drew further attention to the need to protect this resource. Young members of Cozumelís Foundation of Parks and Museums also spoke about their marine conservation projects, involving the monitoring turtles and fish. Opening up the diving spectrum, additional presentations featured cave diving, diving in mountainous regions and decompression.

 

Alongside Cozumelfest was also a small expo featuring companies such as GoPro Ė the camera company, Mares, PADI and DAN.

 

One of the festivals highlights was when Leo Morales, who lost a leg to cancer, dived to 124.968 metres (410ft), creating a world record for a diver with a disability. Breathing trimix Morales, accompanied by some other divers for part of the way, took 7/8 minutes to reach the seabed next to Palancar reef, where he was able to spend another 2 minutes. The ascent took around two hours and was achieved by switching the breathing gas mix at four stages. The last stage was at 10 metres where a nitrox mix of 80/20 was used.

 

Visitors to Cozumelfest were also invited to watch, and even take part in, water based activities including wind surfing and a sailing regatta. For those with enough energy after all the daysí events, salsa and rumba dancing was on offer in Parque JuŠrez - Cozumelís main square. Here, visitors were invited to taste the infamous lionfish, whose numbers are now being reduced by an elimination programme lead by Mexico.

 

The Festival ended with an account by Leo Morales of his record breaking dive and a thank you to the organisers. Judged a success, Cozumelfest continues to take place every December.

With thanks to Hotel B Cozumel for hosting me during Cozumelfest.

 

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