Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by jim on November 05, 2010 at 18:31:57:

In Reply to: Sunday Open Boat to Catalina $115 Great Escape posted by Captain Tim on November 20, 2009 at 21:48:13:

Cozumel – October 2010

This was my second trip to Cozumel this year. In addition to our annual, August trip, we returned in October for a couple of weeks to join Betsy and Tim from England. Although Betsy has been to Cozumel several times, this was Tim's first trip. Gloria and Larry came down from Texas; Scott and Margaret came for both weeks; and Chris, from Scuba Board, filled out the last week [nice to put a face to a name]. Most of the time, we had our own small boat, so we could pick and choose where we wanted to go.

We stayed at our home-away-from-home on the island, Scuba Club Cozumel. I've written many trip reports in which I've extolled the wonderful attributes of SCC. Nothing has changed; we still love the place and plan on coming back as often as we can.

While we were treated to all the usual suspects, the highlights of the trip were many turtles, several seahorses, a few new critters, and some close encounters of the squid kind. I know you just want to see the pictures, so here goes:

Shore dive

Deborah found a black seahorse and a large spotted cleaner shrimp near the artificial reef made from the old pier.

Spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclemenes yucatanicus)

Gray triggerfish cleaned (Balistes capriscus). Gray triggerfish are "rare" in Cozumel according to Paul Humann's book!

My good friend and dive master, Jesús Zetina.

El Paso del Cedral

Porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus). If you want to see or take pictures of porkfish, el Paso del Cedral reef is the place to go!

Chankanaab in the rain

Green moray (Gymnothorax funebris). I didn't see the shark until after I downloaded the day's images to my laptop!

Ocean surgeonfish being cleaned ( Acanthurus bahianus)

Banded jawfish (Opistognathus macrognathus). [On my final shore dive of the trip, I noticed the jawfish was keeping its mouth closed. On closer inspection, I could see small eggs in his mouth. Unfortunately, we flew out the next day and I was not able to wait a couple of days to get a picture of the maturing eggs. I guess we will just have to go back.]

Orange seahorse (Hypocampus reidi). There were three seahorses, located just a few fin kicks off the pier in front of Scuba Club Cozumel.

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)
New diver, "Why don't we do a front roll?"

(Long pause)

Dive master, "But, then you would still be in the boat."

Colombia Bricks great vis on this dive, well over 100 feet.

Hogfish (Nachnolaimus maximus). This is only one of the fascinating hogfish's color patterns.

Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) with two permits and a trunkfish, hoping the ray stirs up small fish and crustaceans.

Margaret and French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

Divers and turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata)


Green seahorse (Hypocampus reidi)
Banded clinging crab (Mithrax cinctimanus) in giant anemone

The dive guides are trying to control invading lionfish by killing all of the ones that they see. Here is Alberto hunting:

Bolones de Chankanaab

Smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter)


Juvenile queenangelfish (Holocanthus ciliaris)

Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus)

La Francesa

Yellow tube sponge (Aplysina fistularis)

Tiger grouper (Myctoperca tigris) being cleaned by a goby

Stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride)

Seafan (Gorgonia ventalina)

Swimming south, along the ironshore, we found a small school of squid that were not camera shy. I went back to see them several times over the next few days and got some great shots.

Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea). Please note: there are no cuttlefish in the Caribbean!

Harlequin pipefish (Micrognathus ensenadae)

El Paso del Cedral

Porkfish (Anistrmus virginicus)

Spotted scorpionfish (Scopaena plumeri)
Santa Rosa Wall


Sargassum triggerfish (Xanthichthys ringens). These blasted triggerfish are common in Cozumel, but are very shy and will move into a hole in the reef just as the photographer gets into position. It's a shame, because they are very striking.

Channel clinging crab (Mithrax spinosissimus)

Yocab + "Jesús' reef" + Punta Tunich

Green moray eel (Gynmothorax funebris)

Giant hermit crab (Petrochirus diogenes)

"The Full Zebra."

"Sometimes this challenge escalated into the Formal Zebra challenge (James Wood coined the phrase Full Assed Zebra for it). A pair of males takes an over-under position, put a Zebra on the skin, and often push each other at the posterior end of the mantle. The Zebra looked different depending on position; it was on white and the arms were widely spread if the squid was Under, on dark brown and arms less spread if he was Over. There was sometimes jockeying for position, useful because when we analyzed 21 displays the Under squid not only had brighter Zebra, it won the contest. This exchange took a full minute on average and the two males were oblivious to anything else happening at the time, which puts an open-ocean animal in danger." http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/Mather.php

Punta Tunich

Scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus)

Black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci) and shark sucker (Echeneis sp)

Rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia)

Sand diver (Synodus intermedius)

Yellowmouth grouper (Mycteroperca interstitialis)

Red hair swimming crab (Oirtunus ordwayi)

Rusty goby (Priolepis hipoliti)

Sarget major eggs (Abudefduf saxatilis)

Midnight parrotfish (Scarus coelestinus)

Indigo hamlet (Hypoplectrus indigo)


Lionfish (Pterois volitans)

Villablanca. The dive of the seven cables. There are seven cables that bring power and phone service to the island. If the current is strong enough and your air consumption is good, you can sometimes cross all seven between the international pier and Scuba Club.

Bad (alive) lionfish

Jesús with his catch – "Tastes like chicken."

Rough box crab (Calappa gallus)

Bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata)

Halloween party!

My little buddy, Leo; he's four years old and has been to SCC three times!


Arrow shrimp (Tozeuma carolinense). If you look closely, you will find arrow shrimp in many of the feather hydroids on shallow reefs. They're tiny, so look closely.


More "Full Assed Zebra"

Mushroom scorpionfish (Scorpaena inermis). No, this isn't a baby spotted scorpionfish. Mushroom scorpionfish are very small and can be identified by the unsidedown mushroom-shaped structures above the eye.

File clam (Lima scabra). On deeper reefs, the file clams have white tentacles instead of the red ones you see here.

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