Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cozumel México: Deep Diving in the Ocean {Tuesday Dives}

So if you've been around me or this blog any time at all, you know I love pictures. So take this as a warning... this will be picture heavy. As in 31 photos for one day. This is just Tuesday.... Enjoy!

I've never been on a dive trip with Deb and Grady before, but from the rumors/stories I've heard, when Grady says to be at the docks at 8am, that means the boat leaves the dock at 8am. Prior to heading down there, we said that this was a vacation for all of us and we didn't want to have to be up early every morning. Grady & Deb use Cozumel Marine World to do their dive trips. Those guys know them well... Grady told them to be at the dock at 9am. I guess they didn't believe him. Truth be told, our group was mostly at the dock by 8-8:15am because we got up and had breakfast and then didn't dottle. Remember the boat was told to be there at 9, they showed up at 8:30am, 30 minutes early the first day.

Deb requested this boat, the Nuria with Clemente as our dive master for the trip. We got all she requested.

I'll do a little more in depth about a post about the dive boat, but this boat was really a good size for 10 people. I wouldn't have wanted more than 14 on this boat or so or it would have gotten snug.

Now, that was the ladder to get back up on the boat, but Grady told me it was the clothes drying rack.

One thing about our group, there were 10 of us and 7 of the 10 dove with steel tanks. Supposedly that is kind of unheard of. So the Steel tanks were toward the back of the boat as they won't sit up under the deck in the holes for the aluminum tanks.

I absolutely love the ocean. Jared and I were talking one day and were both in agreeance that we could almost move to the coast like this and be happy, but we aren't sure if we could give up the horses.

The first day on our way back to shore, Karen and I sat on the back of the boat with our feet on the deck letting the water rush over them as the boat zoomed through the ocean. Bad mistake.... We both got sunburned. Karen's was more knee to upper thigh while mine was knee to ankle. I was as red as a lobster and putting a wet suit on the rest of the week hurt, but it was TOTALLY worth it! Hmmm I just realized this, but between our two sunburns, Karen and I had the whole leg covered.

Now, none of these under water photos were taken by me on Tuesday. I've never dove in the ocean and I can tell you, salt water diving is a bit different than fresh water diving when it comes to weighting yourself. I didn't want to try and figure out diving and cameras in the ocean on my first deep dive. And when I say deep, I hit 100 feet on that first dive. The second dive of the day was 60 feet. I'll have to ask Deb &/or Grady to know exactly which dives we actually did because I can't remember.

So jumping off the boat for that first dive... some of weighting yourself is comfort level. They had me weighted at 18lbs and I was so nervous that wasn't enough. I was one of the last off the boat, I think Jared was off after I was and he was last. So I sat and bobbed on the surface trying to figure out how to get someone's attention because I couldn't get down. About the same time Jared saw me bobbing, Deb saw me bobbing but saw Jared headed up toward me. He came up and gave me 2 more lbs to get down with leaving him technically "underweighted" but he's been diving since he was 12 so he was extremely comfortable and didn't struggle missing those 2 lbs. Me on the other hand, I struggled. I was an air guzzler and in fresh water I'm not. By the end of the week I was dumping weights because I was weighted to heavy plus I was diving a lot better, but I was still an air hog. <sigh>

Doug or Dan came floating under me on their back to get this picture. I'll bet I was every bit of 60 feet+ down from the surface. Don't I look like I'm just below the surface?

Something that was shocking to us is while the floor of the ocean looks just below the surface, typically it is not. There were 3 colors we could observe from the deck of the boat, a real aqua color, a medium blue and a deep blue. The aqua color was about 30 feet, the medium blue was about 60 feet to 100 feet, and the deep blue Grady told me was 5,000 feet.

Also in the ocean you do a lot of drift diving. You don't have to be certified to do this, but it was extremely helpful to take the class to know a little bit about what was going on.

Cozumel México - The flight down

First thing Monday morning we were headed on our way to Cozumel México. To say we were excited would be an understatement statement. Hubby, Karen, and I neither one slept much the night before. Hubby was excited, I couldn't get comfortable, Karen was kept awake by the snoring, and Jared said he didn't sleep much either. Maybe we should have just turned on the tv and had a camp out. lol.

So when you're going on a destination Scuba diving trip, it is best to take your own BC, your own regulator, your own mask, your own fins, your own dive computer, and your own wet suit. And that's all fine and dandy but...... you have to do a checked bag to get that all there too. Currently with American Airlines, 50 pounds is $25. If you're over 50 lbs.... it jumps to $100. That's definitely a reason not to go over. You'd be better off putting in 2 checked bags because a second bag takes the price up to $40. We had our weights down to 49.something lbs. Yup, we were pushing that limit but we made it! Whew! Then we each had a carry on and a backpack (personal item).

Now when you're traveling with all your dive gear, make sure you carry on your regulator, your mask, and your dive computer. Also if you take an underwater camera, carry that on too. Hubby's BC is heavier than mine, and that is without weights in it. So he had to put some of his stuff in my bag to make sure we were both under weight. We both took a 1 1/2 mil wetsuit. That was totally enough for diving in the ocean... down there anyway. In fact I dove without a wet suit once and so did he. I just had a long sleeved rash guard on with my swimsuit.

Anyway.... back to traveling down there. Checking in was easy. Note: carrying on regulators/dive computers/etc sometimes causes bag searches. Hubby's got searched. Deb said hers usually does but they got by without being checked.

Hubby and I have TSA Pre-check so we went right through. You don't have to pull out laptops, you don't have to take your shoes off, you don't have to take jackets off... stuff like that. Then we went and waited on our crew to come through. Once they got through, Doug found a Starbucks so I ran and got some too. Yup, because of that I was one of the first through but then everyone wound up waiting on me. haha. That wasn't too big of a deal though because we have to be there 2 hours before anyway. We had time to kill.

Our flight showed on time while waiting at the Tulsa airport. Turns out due to storms in and around Dallas we were delayed a bit. Not bad though. We headed off to Dallas in no time. Once we got to Dallas we had to grab a bite to eat and then wait for our flight to Cozumel. A flight from Dallas to Coz is just over 3 hours. Definitely no bad!

Hubby works for cloud services... so we took this picture and he sent it to his co-workers and said he didn't see anything in the cloud except this wing. This was what was in the cloud.

Our flight from Dallas to Coz was uneventful. There were also like 82 open seats or something like that. They had the heaters turned up so in our group, those who got a middle seat (3 on each side) apparently were sweating pretty bad. I had an aisle seat so I was good, other than I prefer window seats.

The airport in Cozumel was totally different than airports back home. You exited via jet stairs. And the humidity hit like bam. We have humidity in Missouri which some people find hard to believe, so this felt like July in Missouri. It was great.

We made it through security, although Carlene got in trouble.... she got an apple at the Tulsa airport, put it in her bag and forgot. The dog in Coz found it and she got a no no. I'm not sure anything really happens other than they take it and write it down.... Oops. So if you find yourself in a situation like that, don't forget to get the fresh fruit out of your bag!

We got a van to carry us all to the hotel. Grady told them to take us the scenic route since Hubby and I had never been. I was sooooooo excited!

Once we got checked into the hotel, then it was off to do a check-out dive from the shore. But as they say.....
And then there was more.......

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cozumel México: Rolandi's Pizzaria & Mr. Chelato's Ice Cream

So I'm working on going through the couple thousand of photos taken between me and 10 other people in Cozumel. There are so many great photos and so much great stuff to put out there, but boy, going through and deciding how I really want to proceed is a bit tedious. So I decided to start with one of the restaurants we ate at the second night we were in Cozumel.

Deb and Grady told us WE HAD to eat at Rolandi's Pizzaria. At first we laughed and said, but we can get pizza at home... Okay, I must concur, this was a great place to eat! Totally worth it!

Grady had us start out with their garlic bread. Now this was a lot more like a tortilla than bread, but again... very good. It was grilled flatbread covered in garlic. Then we made an olive oil/balsamic vinegar mixture to dip it in. Even better.

Now, one of the great things about this restaurant, other than the food and the company, was the view of the sunset. All week while we were in Cozumel I chased sunsets. Most nights clouds ate it... this night too, but the sunsets were still gorgeous! Holy cow!

Okay so I have a love for graffiti. I know it is vandalization, at least at home, but these people have some serious talent and I wish they could put it to good use!

Rachele started out with this type of salad. It is tomatoes and onions in garlic. She said it was really good, although I'm not sure I'd totally dig it.

As the sun went down, lights started coming up in the bar area, but at our table, we just had candle light to eat by. It was very gorgeous lighting. These pictures don't do it justice. There was also the beautiful sound of the waves. Oh and there was a hole behind Karen that every time air came through it her hair went flying. It was funny and a load of entertainment.

Now, Grady raved about the Calzones. Grady and I went for the same Calzone but substituted white sauce (Alfredo) for the tomato sauce. Hubby and Jared went for the other two Calzones with the idea to swap half so they could try each.

Hubby and Jared go:
Rolandi Especial - Filled with Caribbean Lobster, mozzarella cheese, topped with tomato sauce, olive oil and oregano.
Rolandi Frutas Del Mar - Filled with tomato, mozzarella cheese, shrimp, squid, and octopus.
I tried the one with lobster. It was too seafood tasty to me. I wouldn't try the other one.... Hubby and Jared, they both loved both of them.

So, Grady and I got the same one. It was just the Rolandi Calzone. Filled with asparagus, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, cooked ham, subbed with Alfredo sauce, and olive oil and fresh basil. Holy cow, other than the bite I shared with hubby, I kind of pigged out on mine. I was a little iffy on the asparagus but it was totally awesome in it.

Deb, Karen, and Dan all got the Hawaiian which was ham, pineapple, mozzarella cheese, and tomato. There was a slight mix up and one didn't get made immediately, but that was okay because they quickly got the issue resolved. The service was awesome.

Now being SCUBA divers, you wouldn't think that you would get dehydrated, but you really do. After a day of diving, we all wanted water. The water we got was bottled Evian water.

And some of the decor. I loved this wall.

From there Grady asked if we wanted ice cream. Now if there's one thing I can tell you about this group of people, we like our ice cream. So we walked down the way to Mr. Chelato's Ice Cream. Hubby and I got the Tiramisu ice cream. Deb got Caramel. Doug got Chocolate and I'm not sure what everyone else got. Those are just the ones I tried. I'm not sure I'm totally sold on the consistency of their ice cream down there. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the creaminess you get here in the states. It is definitely something I would recommend trying through.

And now for a funny story on yours truly.... There is a long standing joke between some of us about boobs. And this sign... looks like a pair of boobs to me so I laughed every time I saw it. Yes, I'm 12. I really figured it meant speed humps or something like that. There was also another one that had 3 humps. My friend Mr. Google said that Topes translates to stops. although on a stop sign it is alto... so I'm not sure, but thank you Google! You were my buddy sometimes!

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