A year after getting my Open Water certificatio , we visited Playa del Carmen in February 2009.
Scuba diving in Playa del Carmen
First time in Mexico, I contacted Phantom Divers (someone recommeded them) and upon arriving there I hired a package for 6 dives: 2 in Playa del Carmen, 2 on the island of Cozumel and 2 in a cenote.
A DSD gone bad
In the excitement of the moment, we convinced Mariana to make a DSD (Discover scuba diving). This was a big mistake that today I still regret. What the operator planned was that she had to do the DSD in the same boat that I was going to dive. For that, she had to do basic exercises like learning how to clean the mask underwater. The thing is that she had to do the exercises at the sea. To meet the schedule, the instructor pushed her and she got really nervous, to the point that she did not want to do the dive. Result? Mariana never wanted to dive again.
Important lesson: It is extremely important that in the first diving experiences, be it a DSD or open water, the instructor is very dedicated, generates confidence and has a lot of patience. If at any time they try to hurry you, do not go ahead.
The dives were in Chun-Zumbul and Jardines, nice and simple spots. I remember seeing some turtles, barracudas and a few moray eels.
Barracuda at Playa del Carmen
In Cozumel, the dives were operated by Caballito del Caribe. I do not recommend them. On returning from diving we hired with them a snorkel excursion and it was calamitous. In a moment a storm was coming, the boat took us to the port (about 5km from Cozumel town) where they left us and the crew literally disappeared. It was funny to have to make all our fellow Americans understand what was happening and that we had to go back on our own.
Cenote Chac Mool
I also did the bull shark dive with Scuba Playa, which was quite chaotic because with the strong current a diver missed a fin and the guide had to help him. We saw 3 or 4 sharks but at a considerable distance. Finally, I did two dives at the Chac Mool cenote which were simply spectacular. The clarity of the water, the beauty of the backlit, is something that is worth visiting. I hope sometime I´ll return to Yucatan to explore other cenotes. The photos were taken with my first underwater camera, a Sealife DC800. For better or worse, ended up having a rather short life, which I will tell in another post.