“Eagle Ray Wall” on Cozumel’s North side

My divers/friends from Colorado, James and Charlene, my buddy Julian, Thomas and I went to “eagle ray wall” aka: Cantarel Wall , looking for an encounter with some eagle rays. This dive  is not for everybody,  I only take divers who have good air consuption, good bouyancy skills and who know how to stay together as a group. There are several reasons for this:

1. The dive site depths range from 90-60 ft on the first half of the dive and about 40 ft at the shallower portion towards the end.

2. Very strong currents are typical at the North end of Cozumel and keeping in mind that we may be the only ones there at any given day, there is no room for mistakes or divers going on their  way all over the reef.

Today was a perfect day, water temperature around 80 degrees F, great visibility near to 100 ft, and a moderate current that was good enougth to keep us moving without throwing a single stroke on our fins!

We prepared for our dive at Puerto de Abrigo , the harbour where we keep Oceano 4, and after about a 5 minute boat ride we were at the dive site. As we planned, we all jumped into the ocean at the same time and began a free descent straight to the bottom.  Good equalization skills are essential here and not one of my divers had any issues.  Right away we were carried on by the current and a parade of sponges and fishes passed under our fins.  After about one minute we reached the wall and we stared watching into the blue hoping to see a group of eagle rays.

Mother Nature does not guarantee any sitings…so…we knew that there was a possibility of  finding 10 or more rays or none.  We continued our drift and enjoyed the spectacular view of this deep wall…but no rays.

After drifting for about 15 minutes I took the group into the shallow area, about 50 yards away from the wall and we continue our dive hovering over a sponge garden with all sort of seaweed and other green stuff!!  This is a favorite hide-out for Lion fishes and of course we found a couple of big ones, I was feeling a bit disappointed since we didnt see any eagle rays, when we spotted a big turtle, my guess is that it was an old one due to the amount of barnacles on its shield and its size, no time for a picture…current did not allow for a Kodac moment at all!!!

After 40 min into the dive we were already at depths of around 50 ft when finally we hit the jackbox!! TWO eagle rays swiming together…a little one and maybe mom or dad with it.  For those of you who have not seen eagle rays before….what can I say??  There truly are not words to describe the elegance, the beauty of these animals.  Of course…while I was there contemplating the beauty of the rays, my friends tried to swim closer to them – but did not have much luck – but totally worth the effort and the 400 psi burn on the attempt.

To complete the dive,  we saw two more turtles, a good sized rainbow parrot fish, a huuuuge puffer, a couple of grunts and a school of bermuda chops.

Sixty minutes after we began our dive we were heading back to the surface.  Our safety stop took place while flying over an area completely covered with finger coral…just like a carpet.

For sure my divers enjoyed the dive since they are already talking about coming back next year and doing this one again!!!

So…the only question is this: When are you going to do this dive?

Be safe…Alex


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