Well, it has been too long since we have been in the water, but with things settling down here in Cozumel the Marine Park is open and divers are back. This is positive on so many levels as with the absence of tourism, the island has been hurting financially and spiritually. Between businesses being closed, workers not getting paid and the absence or tourism dollars the impact has been significant. There are several hundred small community food kitchens set up to help those who are less fortunate and those who can pitch in, are.
The Park was shut from March to mid-June and opened up very slowly with each dive operator having to be certified in the proper procedures to keep their customers and crew safe as the pandemic continues. The island leaders have done a good job and we are still under a curfew that now is later in the evening but most entertainment sites are still shut. The dive operators are limited in numbers they can carry and the park is now rotating the sections of the reef that are open for use. Every month they close a few and open others, to give the marine life a chance to recover and the reefs to stay as healthy as they can. We are still having issues with the terrible coral disease that hit us last year and there has been some reduction in coral mass seen but areas are still beautiful.
The marine life is plentiful and we are seeing life we haven’t seen in places on the reefs. We have seen baby black tip sharks along the Palancar section, where they used to be only in the more southern areas.
With the absence of the cruise ships other areas like under the piers have become temporarily accessible as well. There is abundant life there as well as lost of small critters living on the posts.
Of course the usual critters are seen such as the mantis shrimp and balloonfish,
I’ll be back in the water more in the coming weeks and will share the beauty of the Mezoamerican Reef in Cozumel. Stay safe and healthy.