Dive #128 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
© Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:


Dive Info:

Dive Start:

Bottom Time:
50 minutes

Maximum Depth:
69 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1000 psi

Weather Conditions:

Surface Conditions:

Surface Water Temperature:

Bottom Water Temperature:

80 feet
* * *˝
March 17,
Linda, Janel, Johnny, Fred (Las Vegas), Ron (divemaster), Santiago (captain)
Four-eye butterflyfish are common sites in Cozumel
Videograph by Rich Torkington in Cozumel 2003 
Dive Journal: Traveling to Cozumel on the weekend of Spring Break wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. Most of the young revelers were actually headed to Cancun. In fact, the overbooked plane at the gate next to ours in Houston was offering a $600 voucher for volunteers, the highest offer I’d ever heard.

We’d been hearing for a long time, especially from Deb and Howard Dendy, that Cozumel was an absolute must as a diving location. As is her norm, Linda spent many hours on the Internet gathering information and downselecting everything from diving operations and hotels to rental car agencies and restaurants.

Once down in Cozumel, we’d heard to avoid the big vans out front of the airport because they charge too much for transportation into town. Instead, we rolled our luggage past the arrival zone and into a distant parking lot full of taxis and vans, and asked a driver if he could take us to our hotel. The fare? About $15 total (versus $40 each passenger in the vans). Certainly worth a short walk.

We arrived in front of our hotel south of town, and unloaded our luggage onto the sidewalk. The Hotel Lorena had been carefully selected by Linda, and she’d been in email correspondence with the manager for over a month. Just two days ago, we’d reconfirmed our reservation for two adjacent rooms. We were really looking forward to staying at this very small 22-room hotel directly on the water with all rooms facing the water, and a clientele almost wholly of divers.

Upon checking in, however, we were informed that the hotel was overbooked, and offered this apology: “Sorry that you have this problem.” The young boys at the desk seemed uncertain what to do, but after about 45 minutes they eventually called a taxi and sent us down the road to the Hotel Villablanca. This room was nice enough, but the hotel had no waterfront and no divers, and just seemed “cold” to us. No problem, however, we’re used to being flexible. The room rate was the same and the beds sleepable.

We called our diving operation and talked with Christy Courtney of Blue XT Sea Diving, arranging to meet her for dinner at the French Quarter. It was a nice dinner getting to know Christy, who was unfortunately suffering from a lung infection and therefore temporarily unable to dive.

We’ve of course here in Cozumel to do lots of diving, but we’ve also signed up to take our PADI Rescue Diver training (Linda, Janel and me only, since Johnny is too young and still a Jr. OW diver). We discussed our diving and training plans with Christy, and we decided to do 2 sport dives prior to starting our training, just to get our equipment wet again and get used to the scuba routine. We also enjoyed a very good dinner at the French Quarter.

After dinner, we walked around the downtown shops, and I started realizing we were in a true scuba divers’ mecca. Almost every block we passed had some form of diving shop or diving operation. Great to be on Cozumel!

The next morning the Villablanca asks us to change rooms. We do so willingly and as a simple favor to the hotel, and we only later understand that they are mistreating us.

We meet Christy in front of the hotel to take our gear down to the Lorena dock in a pickup truck, and we then walk along the waterfront to meet her there. Before leaving for the dive we check in with the Lorena desk for any news of our rooms opening up, but they provide only a vague notion that one room might be available.

We take off from the dock in the Blue XT Sea Diving boat called “Shamu,” captained by Santiago. It’s maybe a 25 footer with twin Yamaha Enduro 75hp motors, a console up front, and a shady canopy for the divers. Diver entry is by back roll off the sides. Our divemaster is Ron, an experienced diving professional from California, and also aboard is a diver named Fred from Las Vegas.

The first dive of the morning takes us to Palancar Horseshoe. What an introduction to Cozumel diving! There is a fantastic mountainous terrain here of corals, canyons, and swim-throughs. From what we’ve read, we’re expecting some signficant currents, but they’re actually quite mild at this site today, probably a good thing for our first dive of the trip.

There isn’t much fishlife here today, although I do get very close to a gorgeous queen angelfish. The mild currents give us a push for a nice drift dive, as was the case with all our diving in Cozumel. Ron leads the group, and gets way out in front of us often because we like to explore so much. Near the end of the dive we discover a pair of indigo hamlets and also one shy hamlet, the latter a relatively rare sighting.

I dive with 8 lb this dive, counteracted by my 3mm wetsuit and the video housing. Not enough weight – and by the end of the dive I spent some effort exhaling to stay at safety stop depths.

Mares Avanti Quattro
U S Divers Matrix
80 ft3 Al
SeaQuest Spectrum 4
Dive Type:
Body of Water:
Caribbean Sea
U S Divers
3 mm wetsuit
Spectrum XR2
plus Oceanic
Slimline octopus
8 lb
Water Type:
Video Equipment:
Sony DCR-TRV11 digital handycam in Top Dawg housing