Design a site like this with
Get started

Drifting Along in Cozumel

I live a long way from warm water and I like to dive in a warm sea and surface to a welcome blast of sunshine. When people ask if I dive in Scotland I tend to raise an eyebrow and reply “Is this me you’re asking? No way!” So, Cozumel, in sunny Mexico was perfect. Just to be clear, by now I knew what my basic requirements for diving were – warm water, good diving buddies and, naturally, more valet diving.

Valet diving for me is rather like parking your car when you go out for dinner at a luxury hotel. You glide to a halt and hand the keys over to a chauffeur concierge. He not only parks it but, whilst you’re dining, he maybe polishes it and delivers it back spotlessly clean. (At least that’s what I’ve seen in the movies).

The difference with valet diving is it is personal and caring. So the first job was to find a kind and willing (male, young and athletic looking were also on my wish list) scuba concierge who was prepared to look after my gear before and after the dives. It’s a valuable and appreciated service when someone agrees to carry your sopping wet gear, your fins, mask and weights from the boat, haul them up the jetty and then rinse out the salt in a huge tank of fresh water. This grandma has learned that when you’re diving, making life easier for yourself is vital. Every dive takes a lot of energy and after forty five minutes or so swimming in different types of landscapes and currents, I know when I surface I’ll be tired .

My great Buddy Nic carrying my gear

Readers, I found such a young man in Cozumel. Nic, an accomplished dive master, was part of the ‘Over the Rainbow’ support team and he was happy to assist. As part of any diving week it’s good practice to do a refresher course, even if you have PADI qualifications. It gives the dive master time to assess your skills and be aware of any limitations or bad habits. I made sure Rhia, the group leader knew I was still a ‘newbie diver’. So, it wasn’t too surprising when Nic and I were paired as buddies. I knew my gear and my body were in safe hands.

On our first day we were going to drift dive which is when you literally go with the flow of the current. The dive master has a line attached to a buoy which floats on the surface . This helps your boat to follow the direction you are drifting so that they are ready to pick you up later. I knew that being paired with Nic was a way of monitoring grandma’s every fin swish and it certainly gave me a great feeling of confidence. As we were swept along in the fast waters, Nic was attentively at my side ensuring I was comfortable with the speed, showing me how to physically circle around in the water in order to slow down my speed. At the same time he made sure I didn’t miss the undersea ‘Parade’ as we were swept along by the fast current .

And what a parade it was. A dive of enchantment; fish of varying, sizes, colours and shapes. Vivid, posing, fluorescent guys who knew just how attractive they looked; shy and retiring maidens (damsel fish? ) angel fish, several butterfly fish with a confusing ‘eye’ on their tail, gangs of tangs that seemed like hordes of teenagers out ‘steaming ‘ tube trains and robbing people of valuables. What an exhilarating dive

When we surfaced the boat was waiting nearby. I still find the two big challenges of diving for me are getting in and the descent and then at the end of the dive getting back onto the boat. If there’s a big swell sweeping you towards the ladder I find it hard to get my fins off in the water. Plus there’s the difficulty of climbing the boat ladder, wearing a buoyancy jacket stuffed with eighteen pounds of extra weight and carrying a tank on my back. A challenge every time! Nic who had followed every movement of Grandma on the dive saw immediately that I needed help and, as the boat rocked and rolled, he dived underwater and helpfully unclipped my fins. This allowed me to achieve a more stately, if somewhat staggering, ascent of the boat ladder. As other divers also hauled themselves back on board we showered with fresh water at the stern of the boat and then cracked open provisions of fresh juice and fruit. There was then a delightful interlude of laughter and chatter about what we had all just experienced.

When we finally docked Nic stepped in quietly and carried all my heavy gear up to the wash tank. Like the valet car parking my gear disappeared, only to appear like magic the next day on the boat. Nic was also a great buddy with fantastic diving skills. A diver who was so passionate about his second life as a diver after a former ‘Life in the City’. That was a story in itself.

Already this was turning into a great week of excitement, diving experiences and memories for blogs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s