Cozumel, Mexico - August 2007

Our typical vacation usually involves visiting a city or two and seeing everything we can during our limited time. Every once in awhile even we have to deviate and head for the beach. When looking for great diving, nice people and great food we always head to our favorite dive destination, Cozumel, Mexico. This year, as in years past we were joined by our good friends, Joseph and Jennifer and their two daughters Maddy and Jordi. Joseph's brother recently got certified as a diver so he joined us as a last minute addition for his very first open water dives.

Unfortunately there is no direct flight from New York so we have to take a super early flight that leaves at 5:30am and connects in Houston, TX. Waking up at a time when REM sleep is in full swing is extremely difficult for all of us. Our alarm clock went off at 3:30am and we were at the airport by 4:15am. Our flight to Houston arrived early and allowed Corinne and Elliot plenty of time to visit Starbucks before our second flight boarded.

Although painful at first, this super early departure is worth it because it allows us to arrive in Cozumel before lunch and we were in the water just two hours later. Danny is in the back worrying about his first real dive. His concern was that his rental regulator did not have a functional depth gauge. Keith told him to suck it up and just get ready to go.

Over the years we have been on dozens of dives on the same reefs but they are always different with new things to find. Turtles have always been spotted but this year we saw at least 4-5 on every dive. Usually they swim away but if you are lucky they head right to you and hang out for a little while.

The reef is huge and every little nook usually has something to see. This little guy here, known as a banded coral shrimp likes to roam at night but during the day they can be spotted in their holes if you take the time to look for them.

The larger holes have bigger animals like this nurse shark which likes to hang out under ledges at the end of the reef.
Diving is our first priority and eating is our second. Any relaxation can be scheduled between those two activities, time permitting. Keith has been there over 20 times so it is easy to fall into the same routine each time but I made sure that we found some new restaurants to try. This is now one of our new favorites. It is a small restaurant far away from the tourist zone that specializes in fresh fish. A huge grilled snapper can be had for less than $8 and it is so good that if you paid three times that in New York it would still be a deal.

Elliot chose the Banana Split ice cream even though we would have expected him to get the "coco" (since that is his favorite word). The next day he tried the grape flavor.
Even though Cozumel is on the east coast the island is developed on the west side so there are usually great sunsets each night. Unfortunately, this was not one of them.

Taco night at Super Taqueria Diaz. Tacos Al Pastor are our favorite and a stop here is required each trip. Tacos Al Pastor are the Mexican version of Middle Eastern Schwarma but it is made with pork and the pitas are replaced by Tortillas.

"Maddy, tacos make me so happy I can kiss you!"

In the corner of the town square we noticed a line forming each night for esquites. Corn mixed with mayonnaise, crema, chili powder and lime juice. It really gives your tongue a workout as it stimulates all of the taste buds.

This is one of the Mexican peacocks that would have lunch with us each day between dives. We knew he was Mexican because he enjoyed the tortillas that we kept feeding him when no one was looking.

Jordi and Elliot are searching for Iguanas at the Iguana temple at our hotel but none were inside. They all must have been sunning themselves somewhere else because we did see plenty around the pool.

Flying Elliot!
This was another new find on our last day of the trip. El Sitio Taqueria is directly across from the Taxi HQ and it is only open for a few hours each morning. It is the kind of place that many locals don't even know about, but when you find one that does, a big grin appears. The only thing they make here are fish and shrimp tacos and tortas (mexican sandwiches).

A quick drive in town before we leave the island. We will definitely be back soon!

Hasta Luego!

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