SCUBA Steve! Damn You!

Posted from Cozumel, Mexico at 9:05 pm, June 20th, 2011

Apparently there is a tropical storm on the Pacific side of Mexico that has been causing the recent weather on the Caribbean side, and the rainy stuff continued on our final two dives today. We joined the couple from Missouri, two other folks from yesterday, and Gabi Loco for what would turn out to be adrenaline-filled dives. The first dive was the more mellow, with a decent current (perhaps twice normal) pushing us along past eels, a nurse shark, some pretty coral, and with a surprise leg cramp during the safety stop to add an element of human interest. The second dive is where things really got interesting – the storm was having a significant effect on the local waters, and the current was flying along, making the diving feel like underwater body-surfing more than SCUBA – after the dive Gabi said that we had covered three reefs in forty minutes, when you would normally see one reef in about an hour.

Prior to the second dive Gabi had promised to introduce us to his “dog” Pancho, a massive grouper, and we were zipping along a sandy channel next to the coral when a ginormous fish suddenly appeared. It was (very literally) an ass-over-teakettle moment as people clambered to get handholds in the current. Mark and I perhaps fared the best – he found a rock to hold but left a line in the sand as he and twenty pounds of stone were pulled along the bottom, while I was nearly elbow deep in the sand and hanging on for dear life, somewhat apprehensive of what might be buried in the seafloor under me. Pancho was of course unperturbed, and the giant-headed beast hung out calmly a foot away from Mark and me waiting for Gabi to offer the expected bit of fish. At a later point in the dive I made an attempt to re-position and went flying, accidentally flailing my arms and almost knocking out Mark’s regulator. For those not in-the-know, that’s the number one worst thing you can do on a dive – there is literally nothing more inept and evil, and while Mark laughed and forgave me I wouldn’t be surprised to get a sternly-worded letter from the PADI surgeon general about the value of air to fellow divers. The dive’s other excitement came from a loggerhead turtle that was at least five feet across, although most of the group was blasted along too quickly to give him much attention.

After diving Audrey and I said goodbye to our new friends, packed our very, very funky smelling wet gear, and made the taxi-ferry-taxi journey back to Cancun. Along the way an offering was made to the gods of heating and cooling technology that resulted in an air-conditioned hotel gym, meaning that for the first time in two weeks the daily workout didn’t involve whimpering, tears, and heat stroke. Tomorrow the girl and I are on different outbound flights, so she’ll have a few extra hours in the Mexican Riviera while I’ll be going stir crazy in DFW before we meet up for our return flight from Dallas to LA.

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