COZUMEL DRIFT DIVING



THE CURRENT-


picture of coral reef in the ocean in beautiful cozumel mexico


Even in the wake of an island wide construction boom over the last 20 years, Cozumel dive vacations in the waters of Cozumel Mexico remain to this day particularly unspoiled and rich in their biodiversity.

This is primarily due to Cozumel's geographical location within the Atlantic oceans western most "north equatorial current" which is funneled up through the Caribbean sea and then further intensified by the 15 mile wide channel that lays between Cozumel and the mainland.

It is this current that continually flushes all of Cozumel's remarkable reef systems with billions of gallons of nutrient rich water every minute of every day. The current tends to run between two and four knots at the wall, the channel drop-off, with a considerably diminished force as one nears the coast.

Occasionally the current is nonexistent and on rare occasions it will even run backward for an hour or so due to cool water upwelling in the channel, or some short lived phantom currents off of the Yucatan Peninsulas Northern tip where the Caribbean waters meet the slightly warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


DRIFT DIVING-COZUMEL



Unless you are cavern diving, or perhaps diving one of the little known Cenotes on the island, literally all of the diving on Cozumel can be classified as drift diving. As stated above, the current on Cozumel's west coast (where 99.5% of all the diving is done) tends to run between two and four knots on average and will usually run a bit faster at depth than on the surface.

Because drift diving is what Cozumel offers, nearly all of the diving (see Cozumel Scuba Diving) is done from a boat, and nearly all of the dive operators will pick you up from Cini Kin Na's private pier.

Typically the good dive operators will discuss a dives profile in depth before everyone hits the water as a group and descends. Meanwhile (and depending on a divers ability) the boat will either track a groups bubbles and drift on the surface nearby, or head down current and wait for the divers to come to it.

All daytime dives tend to be two tankers with a one hour surface interval either on the boat or a nearby beach. I highly recommend diving with a 8'-12' dive "sausage" handy in the pocket of your BCD in case you should need it.

COZUMEL DRIFT DIVING PROS-



-Incredible distances (miles!) can be covered when Cozumel drift diving.

-If you are somewhat skilled at buoyancy control drift diving offers a diver much longer bottom times because very little effort is expended on propulsion.

-There is something truly perfect about drifting 8' above a coral and sponge encrusted bottom with your friends relative motion stationary around you in there are various attitudes of wonder and contentment as you all fly through a crystal clear dreamscape of liquid and light.

-At the end of a dive there is never a struggle with having to swim against, or across, the current because the boat will always come to you.


COZUMEL DRIFT DIVING CONS-



-In a strong current it's hard to stop (or go back) and check something out. Touching the reef is a "no-no".

-If you get separated from your group (usually by swimming faster or slower than) it's easy to stay separated through your entire dive.

-Very rarely the current off of cozumel turns fickle and goes from a steady lateral force to a strong vertical phenomenon that can send divers up faster than they can deflate a BCD or down quicker than they can clear their ears. Embolisms and busted eardrums occasionally happen. Pay attention to your gauges and always use geographical reference points.

-It's easy to overshoot a destination, and sometimes difficult -at best- to swim back to an agreed upon exit point if you are shore diving. Snorkel your rout first and be flexible about where you exit the water.

The Villa-




Doing a check-out dive in front of Cini Kin Na prior to starting your week(s) of a Cozumel dive vacation, boat diving is genneraly a good way to get aquanted, or refamiliarize, yourself with Cozumels water.

The current in front of the Villa tends to be quite mellow for the most part. Cini Kin Na has a big rinse tank for your gear and it also offers you two private piers, the southern pier is for your dive boat pick up and drop off.

Be safe and have a great time out there!



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