There was a little bit of a pause with this blog due to a quick gateway to one of my favorite diving spots: Cozumel, Mexico. With the H1N1 flu scare in full swing, I was able to find an airfare that I couldn't refuse. Also, since there are currently more cases of H1N1 flu here in the NYC area than in Cozumel, why not go and support the local economy?
It seems like many people had a similar idea as both flights to and from Cozumel from Houston were completely full (unlike the Newark flights to and from Houston). The hotel was also practically full, and the weather was great for the duration of the trip. On the other hand, I did carry a box of very expensive Tamiflu ($100 for 10 pills) as a precaution.
Consistently with reports I had been reading prior to this trip, the lionfish is now established in Cozumel. I personally saw two specimens: one at Punta Tunich, and one (pictured below) right in front of my hotel during a night dive.
The lionfish is a very pretty fish if it wasn't such a biological nightmare. Some dive guides would capture the fish when they found one, but given the numbers, it seems like a pretty futile exercise.
It is also hard to believe that the lionfish is part the same family of this scorpionfish, found just a few feet away from it.
Lionfish aside, I saw some pretty great stuff as it's usually the case in Cozumel. The Splendid toadfish, for example, is very funny looking fish, and it's endemic of Cozumel. Unfortunately this picture is a little blurry.
The octopus is always an intriguing animal, especially when one catches it shooting ink!
I have to say that this was a pretty lucky shot as a diver on my left scared the octopus right as I was taking the picture.
Most of these pictures were taken during a single night shore dive in front of my hotel.
Here is another favorite: the porcupinefish, a cute, ET looking fish. This one in particular was very friendly kept getting closer and closer to me as I was trying to shoot a movie.
This trunkfish was also very pretty.
A spotted moray that looks like part of this cement block.
A pretty banded coral shrimp.
And finally, the always awe inspiring nurse shark.
Now that I'm back in New Jersey, I can't wait to get my new dry suit. This way I will be able to do some local diving without getting too cold, until the next tropical trip: Bonaire in October.