Mexico

       Driving past my local dive shop last winter, my eye was caught by a sidewalk sign advertising a Thanksgiving trip to Cozumel. It’s been many years since I’ve last been diving but it sounded like a good idea at the time. It’s like riding a bike, right? Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done that too.

      Anyway, months went by, I sorted out the old gear to see what was still usable and took it in for servicing, tried on the dive suits to see what would fit (I wasn’t too concerned if it was still in style), and completed a skills update. After shoveling 14 inches of snow the week before, I was more than ready for a beach vacation. Soon it was time to pack.  After traveling very light for the last few years, I had forgotten the weight of a fully loaded dive bag. I made arrangements to meet my brother and sister on the way back and I was good to go.

      After checking into our lovely accommodations in Cozumel, we went to the dive shop to check in, completed all the paperwork and waivers acknowledging that we were fit for diving and were aware of the risks, and received our weights and lockers. Then we all hauled our gear down and did a check out dive. I discovered that my BC had a leak in some valve and had become self inflating. Not good! Back to the dive shop to arrange for rental gear.

     The next morning, we geared up in great anticipation for our first dive only to learn that the wind was so strong, the harbormaster wouldn’t let the boats out of the marina. We waited around to see if it would calm down but no, we were going to have a dry day. I walked down to Chankanaab National Park but it was closed probably because the wind/wave combination shut down their beaches also.

     That evening I went into town for the Sunday “passeggiata”, as the Italians call it. This particular Sunday was the last day of the Festival of the Caribbean and a large soundstage was set up in the municipal plaza. Food and craft stalls dotted the perimeter and locals were occupying the many chairs set up in front of the stage. There were very good musical performers and I stayed for several dance groups. There was a little girl sitting next to me who pulled a long scarf out of her little bunny purse and walked into the aisle to dance to the music with her light up shoes adding to the scene.

     Diving skills did come back to me and other than one unpleasantly strong current, I remembered how much I liked the underwater freedom of riding the current and sharing the fishy view. There was talk of this being a yearly event so where do I sign? Highlights were the lion fish and the overabundance of turtles and rays. The absolute best was the large pod of dolphins that followed us and then played around the boat while we were on a surface interval. Although the weather did not provide perfect beach weather it was still a good trip.

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