Tuesday, March 11, 2008
By 7:30 am, I was wide awake and ready to dive! Sue had stayed up later reading and was just hanging out at the hotel this morning, so I tried not to make too much noise getting out the door. I drank a bottle of water and ate a protein bar on the patio and then walked out to the street to catch a cab downtown. They had told me to be at the shop by 8:30 when I booked the night before. I knew I’d be early, but I was antsy and watching the morning activity in town would be a good distraction.
Coral Divers was a busy place that morning and they ended up having three groups going out. It took a bit to get everyone sorted out as to which dives they would be doing and we were told that they had to rent another boat. But I wasn’t in a big hurry and soon enough we were headed for the boats. Our group ended up being five divers, our DM Enrique and a safety diver, Ivan.
On the trip north, the seas were a bit rough and I was thinking that getting back onto the boat might prove interesting! At the first dive site, we were given a very thorough briefing, we rolled back and started our descent on Piedra Atravezada. This was a nice dive for my first since March 2007. Max depth was 68’ and we had about 35 minutes of bottom time. There was a bit of current, but not bad. I had no issues with my ears, and I guessed right on what I would need for weight. (I always need extra on my first dive, with a full 3 mil suit that is bone dry.) We saw some very nice green moray eels, a couple good-sized nurse sharks, an assortment of the usual characters (triggerfish, angel fish, grouper, etc.) and some of the biggest Stonefish I’ve ever seen! After the safety stop, I was very happy to find that it was much calmer at the surface than when we went in!
After about a 40 minute SI, Enrique gave us the briefing on our next dive, Cueva De Los Tiburones, the Sleeping Shark cave. Our DM for this dive was Neo, with Ivan as the safety diver again. The dive profile was pretty similar to the first one, approximately same depth and bottom time. Fins up, and we were in the water again! The reef here was a bit more colorful and seemed more ‘alive’. The current was mild, so there was lots of time to poke around. We saw more eels, a few big lobsters, some of the biggest brain coral I’ve ever seen, AND we got lucky and there were a couple sharks at home too! Time just seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, Neo signaled for the safety stop and then we were back on the boat and headed for Isla.
Overall, I was a happy diver. The rental vest was in good repair and functioned well. (I had brought my own gear, except for BCD.) The DMs were attentive and safety minded. The boat was clean and seemed well maintained. Water was provided for the surface interval. If I had a disappointment in the service it was that there was no fruit or other snack provided. Diving is very dehydrating, and I find that a little ‘fuel’ between tanks helps keep my energy level up. Maybe I’m spoiled, but every dive op I’ve used (on Cozumel) has provided water and some kind of cookie or muffin, and fruit. I discovered through talking with some other divers that this is not the norm on Isla. Not a deal breaker for me, but certainly something I’ll need to remember for future. Note to self – pack a banana, granola bar and an extra bottle of water in the dive bag!
We returned to the dive shop just about 12:30. I caught a cab back to the hotel and found Sue relaxing on the patio. She filled me in on her morning, reading and lounging in the hammock. She had gone to the poolside café for breakfast and was very impressed with her meal. Fresh juice, coffee, fresh fruit with yogurt, toast, refried beans and a HUGE omelet! Consequently, she wasn’t very hungry, but I was STARVING!! So I grabbed a quick shower, rinsed out my gear, hung it out to dry, and we were off to Centro again.
Sue can’t eat shellfish, but I was craving shrimp. so we decided to give Picus a try. All the raves and reviews were right!! We started with chips and guac and ice cold Sols. I ordered a small shrimp cocktail and seafood tacos, and Sue ordered nachos with chicken. I laugh when I think about how much food we got! Wow, we could have fed 4 people! And remember, Sue had a big breakfast, so she wasn’t even all that hungry. Now I was very full and getting very sleepy. We got a to-go container for the leftovers and did some shopping for a few gifts to take home. Back at Villa Vera, I decided to take a dip in the pool and have a pina colada at the swim-up bar rather than take a siesta. It really was refreshing and I got my second wind pretty quickly.
We found our way back to town for dinner and ended up at Medina tacos. LOVED it!! The pastor was great!! Two tacos each, some chips and guac and a beer apiece. We had excellent food, great service and all for a grand total of $13 USD. This place moved to my list of must-eats pretty quickly. Our downstairs neighbors, Carna and Newt from Wisconsin, met us at Miguels. We had been raving so much about the signature drinks that they just had to try them too! They instantly became two more fans of the pomegranate ‘ritas! We mentioned that we were going to have dinner there the next night, and that Miguel was having the cook prepare mole for me. Carna’s eyes lit up and she asked Miguel if they could make chicken enchiladas with mole for her. Of course, no problem!!
So now we would be a party of four for dinner the next evening! For me, one of the best parts of vacation is all the wonderful new friends you make. Carna and Newt have been to Isla many times, and they were a terrific source of valuable information as well as being just a lot of fun to hang with!
It was another fabulous day, but I think the diving, great food and all the ‘refreshments’ finally caught up with me. Time to call it a night and rest up for whatever adventures were in store for us the next day! Hasta manana!