Help! Cozumel Dive/Snorkel Dilemma!

Old Apr 26th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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TVL
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Help! Cozumel Dive/Snorkel Dilemma!

Thank you for your help in advance!! Any advice would be great!!

We are heading to Cozumel soon and we have to decide by Tuesday which option to pick.

Here it goes:

1. Snorkeling Trip- Columbia Shallows, Palancar Reef, and Chanknaab Reef plus Lunch and entrance fees included for $55 per person (total tour time: 5 hours & total cost $110)

2. Dive/Snorkel Trip
Due to health reasons, I am unable to dive but would like to snorkel while my husband dives. He is not a diver but at the resort(Presidente) he can take a resort course but I think you can only dive to 40 ft (?). We have been in touch with a dive shop and they are offering the course/the dive trip to Palancar w/ a dive master/snorkeling at Palancar for me (all for about $200).

These are my concerns:
1. Does a dive to 40 ft for Palancar provide you with more to see than snorkeling (or do you have to go to 70 ft to experience the reef?)
2. If you are not getting certified but simply doing the resort course- is it better to stick with snorkeling and go to 2 more reefs (especially Columbia Shallows)?

3. Does anyone have any underwater (moderately priced) underwater cameras (including disposables) they prefer to use?

Thanks for all your help! This will be our first trip to Cozumel and we are really looking forward to it!!
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 04:53 PM
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ttt
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Any advice would be helpful. Thank you!
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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hi TVL - I usually just pick up one of the Fuji waterproof disposables at Walmart, run around $7. They are great for snorkeling. Kodak has a new one that has come out thats good to 50 ft., but no flash, so to me that doesn't seem worth it since its darker the deeper you go, and as a snorkeler I don't think I'm going to be going to 50 ft. If you take a lot of underwater pictures, would recommend spending the extra money and taking them to a dive shop to get them developed. They know how to develop them so that the water colors are more true to form, instead of taking them to a Walmart or Target. Just an fyi. Here's a site that shows examples. http://www.scubacenter.com/Seaprocessing.htm

As to the snorkel/dive dilema, can't really help you. But do I snorkel and my husband dives and from past experience when I've tried to go on the same boat with him, unless there are an equal number of snorkelers, they cater to the divers and so the sites are usually too deep to see anything snorkeling. I'm not sure if that would apply in Cozumel, you might want to ask.

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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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Cruisin Tigger,
Thanks so much for the information!! I appreciate the help! I am so glad you mentioned that item about snorkeling and diving, I will definitely ask! Thanks again!
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 12:10 PM
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TVL: Sorry I didn't see your post earlier. My husband dives, I snorkel, we go to Cozumel every winter for serveral weeks. My advice is this. There is no need for you to pay for a snorkeling tour if you are staying at El Presidente. They have some of the very best snorkeling on the island right in front of the hotel. That said, Columbia Shallows is nice and so is Palancar (Shallows, not the reef for snorkelers) and Chankanaab. However, you can access Chankannab from shore as well as many, many other great sites. Now, if your husband really wants to get certified, Cozumel is a great place for it. Will he see more on a 40' dive than snorkeling? Maybe yes, maybe no - depends on the day. We ladies have tagged along on shallow dives with our guys lots of time and saw the very same things from the water's surface that they saw below. Of course, on other dive trips they come home with fantastic tales. I really don't think that tagging along on the resort course final dive will be that much fun for you. It has been my experience that the dive masters have their hands full with novice divers just trying to gain neutral bouyancy. If you were along with experienced divers, it would be more fun as then the DM can take time to point out things to you as well as the divers.

If you want to take underwater pictures, those one-use cameras work pretty well with these caveatsnbsp; only use them on very sunny days, don't try to take pictures of things more than 10 feet down.  Light is lost underwater very quickly and the further down the object the darker your picture will be.  More than 10 feet and its just not worth the effort.  The cameras are much cheaper at K-Mart in the states, than at souvenir shops on the island.  Kodak will develop your photos with a special process for underwater photos.  It restores a lot of the color.  You have to ask for it when you drop your film.

Cameras: I currently use a Sony Cyber-shot 3.2 mega pixel camera with underwater housing. It takes excellent, shallow dive and snorkel digital photos which can be color corrected in your home computer upon return. I think they are in the price range of $300+ on the Internet with the housing costing an additional $160 or so. Its a great little vacation camera whether you use the underwater "Marine Pak" or not, so the $160 isn't a huge investment to keep your camera dry. Hope this helps. If you want more info on Cozumel, send me an email at [email protected]
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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TC,
Thank you so much for the great advice! I have read your postings on Cozumel and I am happy to recieve your expert suggestions! Based on your thoughts, I think I will opt out on the snorkeling/diving trip! We are looking at cameras this afternoon and we will check out the Sony! I appreciate your help!!
If you don't mind I have one more question. My husband has decided to participate in the resort course (limited to 40ft) and can dive at either
a. Paradise or
b. pay to dive at Palancar (caves or bricks)

Is Palancar worth seeing at 40ft. or is it a type of dive one can only really experience at 60-120ft?
We hear it is an amazing reef and he would hate to miss out but if he can't appreciate the reef at 40ft then it seems the extra $ may be silly.

Thanks so much for your help!! We have never been to Cozumel and we are looking forward to it and with all the great info. from travelers like you it is going to be a great trip!!
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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TVL: Not being the diver in the family, I consulted the expert - my husband. His choice is Paradise. It is a beautiful reef and right off shore. He says that Palancar (while gorgeous) is a long way to travel "not to see the best of it" at 40ft. Actually, just this last winter we snorkeled at Paradise and I was awestruck. In the many years we've been going to Cozumel, I thought I'd seen all the great water spots. Not so. Paradise is amazing at any depth. If you have more questions, send me an email. I don't always get back to read these posts.
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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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TC,
Thanks to you and your husband for the great information!! I think he will be diving at Paradise!! (= I appreciate all of your help and thanks again for the wonderful advice!!
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 07:27 AM
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TVL: You are quite welcome. Just keep in mind that ALL the reef near Cozumel is part of the Palancar Reef system, like all the reef in Australia is part of the Great Barrier Reef. Although different little sections have unique names (like Paradise), you can definately tell everyone at home that you learned to dive on the Palancar Reef. It is the second largest reef system in the world and runs the entire length of the coast - all the way to Belize and beyond. Have fun and let me hear from you upon return.
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