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Underwater Photography by Steven

In Cozumel  we always stay downtown, simply because we love to sample the variety of delicious foods available at
the many restaurants in San Miguel.  Our favorites:  The Mission on Rosado Salas, and Palmeras on the square (I asked Jenni to marry me on a park bench next to Palmeras, near the fountain.)
 
For diving, I go with Scuba Club Cozumel.   Scuba Club is a large, all-inclusive resort with palatial rooms and gourmet cuisine - but they welcome divers who choose to stay downtown.  And I do mean they welcome divers -  I was given the use of on-site lockers to store my gear, allowed unlimited tanks for shore diving off of their pier, and was generally treated as though I were a guest at the hotel.  They also helped me with several equipment issues, each time refusing to accept any payment.
 
Scuba Club can have quite a large number of guests when they are busy, but they solve the problem of crowding with a fleet of half a dozen smaller boats which disperse each morning to different dive sites.  They range in size from the Scuba II, which takes only 6-8 passengers, up to the 48-foot Reef Star, which takes 15-18  divers.   The staff of multi-lingual divemasters were awesome dive leaders and just fantastic people - all locals, which is a rarity in the dive industry (Scuba Club and other operators in Cozumel are to be congratulated on their success in recruiting and training locals to fill these jobs).
 
The diving in Cozumel is all about motion - a fairly strong current constantly sweeps the channel between the West Coast of Cozumel and the mainland of the Yucatan Peninsula.  This means that in Cozumel, all dives are Drift Dives
In a drift dive, The boat drops you off in one place, you let the current carry you along, and then the boat picks you up in an entirely different location, often quite far down current.  It is an exhilarating experience.  But don't let this stop you from going to Cozumel if you are a beginner - The amazing visibility, excellent staff, easy-to-navigate geography and many shallow dive sites actually make it a fairly easy place to dive for beginners.   
 
 
In Roatan  we enjoy staying in West End, where the reefs are literally a stone's throw from your doorstep.  On the east side of Half Moon Bay the dirt road out of West End Village dead-ends on a little peninsula.  At the end of the road on the tip of this peninsula lies the Seagrape Plantation Resort and Dive Shop, an absolute paradise facing right into the Caribbean Sunset.   Because the road ends at Seagrape, there is no traffic, no noise, no dust from the road.  Just peace, quiet, and the salty sea breeze.   The grounds were meticulously maintained, and yet we rarely heard any power tools.
The cabins on the sea are fabulous: well-furnished with comfortable beds, air-con, a fridge, and plenty of hot water, yet very rustic feeling.   The hotel rooms are much more modern, with tiled floors and satellite TV.  All the rooms are kept absolutely clean, and the buildings were freshly and brightly painted.
I can't begin to say enough good things about the people at Seagrape - nothing I could say is worthy of their friendliness, helpfulness, and welcoming attitude that made us feel like we were part of the family.  Mariella, in the office, helped us with everything from money exchange to arranging zip-line tours, always with a smile and genuine enjoyment.  Luis and Danielli, in the Diveshop, ran absolutely the most family-friendly dive operation I have ever seen anywhere.    Their boats were quiet, well-maintained, small enough to keep the group friendly while large enough to be safe and comfortable.   Luis is an amazing Divemaster, who knows his way around these reefs as well as I know my way around my living room.  Their schedule included 3 dives a day, with the boat returning to shore after each dive - which gave me total freedom to enjoy my time.  I could get up early and catch all 3 boats, or sleep in late and have a big breakfast and still enjoy 2 dives.  All in all, this was the most relaxing trip we ever took. 
 

       We stayed in the green cabin.   Beautiful view! 
      The walkway to the left led to a snorkeling entry point.
 

    Jenni spent a lot of hours on her hammock!

 
 
 
 The Miss Rosario
 
 
                                                                    
Definitely Family Friendly!
 
 
 
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 All images copyright 2007 & 2008 by Steven Tucker and Jenni Calef.  All rights reserved.