Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Scuba Diving

Utila, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Cozumel, Mexico

Florida Keys, U.S.A.

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My Aquarium

Wow, what a fun vacation! Cozumel definitely has some awesome looking reefs. Through 5 days of diving I was able to log 17 dives and nearly 1200 underwater pictures - over 70 pictures per dive average! I saw this sign en route to a morning dive and thought it embodied the sprit of Coz -

Anyway, in regards to the pictures, Ikelite let me down once again. For the second dive trip in a row I was unable to use my strobe. This time it was a short in the strobe wiring. Such is life. I was hoping to use this trip as an opportunity to learn how to take pictures with strobes, but instead learned how to use the ambient light. I tried to make the best of a bad situation. I mean, how bad could it be? ...I was in Cozumel, after all.

Additionally, I had the chance to concentrate on macro shots. This is usually a tough objective in Cozumel because of the prevailing currents, but the multiple shore dives had minimal current and provided ample opportunity to hone my skills. One of my favorite subjects of macros were the Condylactis anemones - I believe they were Condylactis passiflora.

Although the symbiotic cleaner shrimp were very difficult to photograph via macro (they kept pulling back into the anemone), I was able to film a short segment of an anemone blowing in the current. In the video a plethora of symbiotic shrimp are clearly visible. You can view this video by clicking here. Be forewarned, this is not for slow connections. The file measures 4.25MB. Also, all videos in this section are .mov files from Apple QuickTime™.

Cozumel always offers the chance to see some strange underwater animals. My very first sighting of Myrichthys breviceps was on this trip and it was kind enough to allow me to get several wonderful photographs. I do believe this to be a full grown adult.

Another new fish to mark off the want list is the juvenile Equetus punctatus. The individual pictured below was located no more than 5 feet off the shore of the resort. Constantly moving, it was difficult to get a good photo of. An adult was spotted the following day, but their desire to remain fairly well concealed and the lack of a strobe pretty much eliminated any chance I had at a good photo.

Cozumel offered many turtle encounter opportunities, but it seemed none of the turtles we encountered were photogenic for whatever reason. The album has several turtle photos, all of which are about the same in quality - meaning none are terribly special.

One of my favorite aquarium fishes has always been the Jawfish, but I have never ran across any in the wild. That all ended on this trip to Cozumel. This particular trio managed to gain my attention. I probably spent more time watching these jawfish feed and interact than I spent with any other single species. In addition to the photo below, you can view a short video of Opistognathus aurifrons by clicking here. Warning, not dial-up friendly - 2.24MB file.

One of the more interesting photo subjects was Bothus lunatus. They almost seemed to litter the sandbed in front of the resort and didn't seem to mind getting some photos taken. Although better photos of this species are included in the album, I choose this one to display because of the interesting camera angel. I love how the eye balls stick out -

A neat swim-through...

Jeez, this photo is horrible. After all, how can one manage a decent photo of a holed-up Splendid Toadfish without strobes? I guess I'll have to go back to Coz with strobes to get a better photo. Regardless, I include this here because no Cozumel photo journey is complete without a picture of Sanopus splendidus.

One of the most awe-inspiring moments I have ever had in my life happened when a school of over 50 individual Pomacanthus arcuatus enveloped me for several minutes. They were completely relaxed if not curious of the group of divers. This afforded me the opportunity to get many photos of the group. From macros...

to the group photo...

Unfortunately, their close proximity to me did not allow me the chance for a wide angle photograph showing all the individuals of the school.

One of the biggest reasons Cozumel's reefs are so healthy is the abundance of urchins that dot the reefs. Although detested by many of the divers that shared the resort with me on this particular trip, I think they would quickly changed their mind if they had a clue how important these grazers are to the reefs.

As could have been expected, Urolophus jamaicensis was plentiful on shore dives. Most of those I encountered were alone, but the picture below shows the rare individuals that were paired. In addition to the photos I managed to get several neat videos of the rays gliding across the bottom. One of those can be viewed here. Again, be forewarned, it is a 4.1MB file and will take a moment to download and begin.

Another Cozumel can't-miss is the Felipe Xicotencatl C-53 wreck dive. Although not terribly exciting IMHO it was something I was looking forward to doing if for no other reason to say, "been there, done that."

The coral formations at depth were simply breath-taking. Looking back, I didn't take near enough photos of the wide-angle scenery - a mistake I won't make twice. Additionally, I only took one video at depth, something I sorely regret. You can view that video here (warning: 2.8MB).

Enjoy all my other photos from underwater Cozumel, or have a look at the dry adventure!

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Vacations

Utila, Honduras

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Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

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