Sunday, March 16, 2008


This is the best time of the week when I can spend an hour or two with you on a calm Sunday afternoon, after a nap and with some beautiful church music playing in the background. How is everyone doing? So sorry about missing last week, we were flying to Cozumel and I didn’t have the opportunity to write. I know that mom is a better parent because she wrote and sent you a card even while we were traveling, please forgive my laziness.
Mom had planned this week long trip to Cozumel because the winter just got to be too long here and we missed that week in Costa Rica. I guess we shouldn’t complain about the length of winter to someone working in the wilds of the Canadian north. While in Cozumel we met a man from Toronto and he said it has been a very long and brutal cold winter. Austin I want you to know that at that very instant mom and I collectively sent you a warm thought from our white sandy beach with the crystal aquamarine waters. I hope you enjoyed the thought.
This was designed as a diving trip and it lived up to its name. We spent our first afternoon planning out dive trips and negotiating with several dive shops for good rates. Even that was fun. Ohh... yes, we also checked into our hotel which rated 4 red apples on a 5 apple scale. I think some of those apples were missing a bite or two and had worms but we didn’t plan on spending a lot of time at the hotel so it was OK.
The next morning the dive boat picked me up at the hotel dock and whisked me away into blue water nirvana. We headed out to Palencar Reef and dropped down to about 100 feet. The diving in Cozumel is called “drift” diving because the current is constant and you just carry along with the flow above a wall or rock formation. It is a lazy man’s way of diving and I loved it. The visibility was incredible. We were at 100 ft and I could see down at least another 100 ft. The colors of the fish and reef were spectacular. Everywhere there was movement of darting fish or waving of sea fans and anemones. The rock formations were out of some Dr. Seuss dream of columns, arches, tunnels, and caves. The sense of flying achieved while drifting along above the action on the reef gave me the surreal feeling of power. The silent depths where all you hear is your own breathing while colors flash and dart before you is magnificent.
On the first day’s dives we saw spotted and green moray eels, turtles, sharks, big groupers, tons of angel fish, deep blue parrot fish, red checkered snapper, and barracudas. All the bottom seem alive with shards of colored glass; florescent blue, bright green, deep red, glowing yellow and black stripes all moving to the rhythms of the current. As I looked up from the reef you could see spots of blue and silver fish out into the dark sea. It was great and too soon we had to rise to the surface. Again during the ascend you feel suspended in time and space with fellow divers; 30 ft from the bottom and 30 ft to the top. When you hit the surface, then you have to struggle with the awkward tanks, the hefty weight belt, the clumsy fins and tangled regulator hoses. It all makes me want to stay down there for a long time and not worry about angry clients, market losses, bills to pay, and hard decisions to make. Thanks goodness for vacations and a loving wife that plans surprises.
When I got back to the hotel, mom gave me the best news ever (for that afternoon) and no it wasn’t a new hotel, she wanted to get certified and go diving. After the wonderful experience I had enjoyed I wanted her to experience the same thing. It was a big deal for her to get over the fear of breathing and actually relax in the water, but she wanted to do it and I am so grateful for her new found bravery. Gosh conquering both skiing and scuba diving within the first quarter of the year would be wonderful and much more expensive, but so worth it. It kind of dampened our evening activities because she had to study her diving book, but it is all good.
The next day I got in three dives – two during the day and one at night. It was my first night dive and was really different. We saw animals that were usually hiding during the day such as crabs and lobsters, squid and octopus, and strange little florescent flecks of colored light that shined in the water when you waved your hand. I could see other groups of divers off in the distance with their lights and almost ended up in the wrong group at one time. When we got out after the dive I looked down in the water and could see the lights of these different divers and it was bizarre.
Oh, by the way while we weren’t diving or studying mom hit a few jewelry stores and we munched down on some good genuine Mexican comida. The hot sauce got a bit much for me and I tried to wipe it out of my mouth with a paper napkin. Now back to the diving.
On our last day mom was able to join us and the dive master pulled the tail of what he thought was a normal moray eel. Well the eel didn’t like the pulling and came after the short little Mexican man. Our dive master jumped and sprinted away and dodged the attack but the moray eel had come out of his hiding place and he was as big as the Mexican. It was the biggest eel I have ever seen. On this last we didn’t see anything way out of the ordinary, but it was memorable because I got to dive along side and hold hands with mom. What a cool and great feeling. The water didn’t seem as cold on that last dive.
On the rest day before the flight home we rented a car and drove around the island to explore the sites. Cozumel is really a place for diving and not much else, but we were able to find some fun spots. We went to a park with many replicas of famous Mayan, Aztec, and Olmec carvings and our own personal guide. They also had a snorkel beach and again we got to hold hands and swim around. On down the road to another beach with a lunch spot for fresh grilled garlic fish. Wow was it good. We played at a couple more beaches with the most perfect water ever
and had lunch at the fun Coconuts restaurant, famous for its calamari according to the guidebook. Well there was no calamari on the menu, but the shrimp quesadilla was to die for.
That night, our last night, we walked down the road a bit to go to Pirates. We were the only people there and so the owner came by and talked our ear off while we ate. I had the money thing planned so well because I didn’t want to go home with a lot of American or Mexican cash. It worked great until he presented us the bill and didn’t accept VISA. He had to leave his restaurant and drive us way into town to hit an ATM machine so I could pay for dinner. Mom giggled in the back seat while I was embarrassed.
On the last morning in Cozumel the beach in front of the hotel called to me and I answered the call with a quick snorkeling trip. It was a nice slice of dessert. During that dive I saw huge schools of yellow and striped angel fish and the largest barracuda I’ve ever seen. To top it off I saw another barracuda attack and eat another fish about 10 ft away. It was great. Too bad I have to come back to reality.


Celeste said...

Wow dad, what an amazign trip. I'm so jealous. You planning on buying a house in Cozumel too, so we can can visit you? I think you should.

b-ryce said...

holy cow dad. that sounds like a perfect winter getaway! I'm very jealous.

Mikidees said...

Totaly Amazing! I am so glad you got all that diving in. SO COOL. My favorite is the Wormy apples and the ATM run :)