This is my third dive trip with Blue Project. So far I have gone out with them each year for the past three (3) years that I have traveled to Cozumel. (see my earlier review, February 2011) I remain very pleased with Blue Project. As was the case for the two prior trips, Paco and Blanca met us the day we arrived to take care of the paperwork. They are really very flexible about this. We have met them at our condo or at a local bar. Taking care of the paper work is completely effortless. I really appreciate that they go out of their way to come to us and take care of it. Additionally, I have been able to do everything that needs to be done prior to the various trips by email with no issues. As has been the case in the past, everything was exactly as they had represented on the phone and by email when we first contacted them prior to our trip.
For our first trip we were two divers. Last year I brought six. This year we were three. In every case we found that they paid good attention to everyone. I like the fact that their boat will pick us up at the pier steps from our door. We have been staying at Residencies Reef and the hotel next door has a small pier. (BTW, a very nice condo complex if you are looking for a place to stay that is literally on the beach) We have been a mix of very experienced and relatively inexperienced divers. Last year I brought my sister, who is not a very experienced diver, along for a week of diving. The trip was her second open water outing. I had arraigned in advance for Blanca to spend one dive focused just on her. After the dive my sister was comfortable being one of the larger group and had a great time for the week. The personal attention really helped her overcome any concerns that she had about diving in the open ocean and trying things like drift diving for the first time.
The boats in Cozumel are all similar, they are either small (6-8 divers) or large (12+ divers). Different people will like different types of boats. I like the small boats because you won’t have too many people in the water in the same area at the same time. Blue Project makes use of the small boats. They provide some nice snacks with a selection of fresh fruit, local pastry, water and fruit juice. Cozumel is a very popular dive location. At peak times the Cozumel reefs can have quite a few divers on them. There are countless independent dive operations there. I guess this is one of the downsides of such high quality diving being so accessible to tourists like us. The individual dive operators seem to get along and respect each other’s space. Blanca was very good about guiding us along the reef and avoiding overlap with other groups.
The place where Blue Project shines is when Blanca is pointing things out on the reef. She knows the reefs and the specific dive spots really well. She has a genuine enthusiasm for marine life. And she is very good at pointing out some things that you would normally not notice. You will be impressed when she pulls out a magnifying glass to show you some interesting marine animal on a coral head or some tiny juvenile drum fish in an alcove on the reef. Some of these juvenile fish are tiny, about the size of a big mosquito. How she spots them I just don’t know. The last day of this trip it seemed like it was turtle city on the reef. In the span of one hour we saw, up close, seven huge turtles. Some of the biggest turtles I have ever seen. I have been diving on the Cozumel reefs for three years and this was the best turtle experience ever. To tell the truth after seeing three or four you are like: what another one? But some were so impressive that you just had to watch them. We saw more than enough lobster, crab, moray, grouper, sharks, etc, etc. I am a fan of sea anemones and I saw my share of them this trip.
One of the things that I like about places like Cozumel is that you can maximize bottom time. I have done my share of deep diving but deep diving is absolutely not necessary here. There are plenty of interesting things to be seen between 40-60 feet. That means that we can do dives with a minimum duration of 60 minutes. We love our bottom time. This year we did four days of diving and I don’t think a single dive was less than 60 minutes. Our longest dive was 75 minutes. We easily spent more than 8 hours underwater. If you can manage your breathing during the dive and not be an air hog she will show you incredible stuff that will fill the entire dive. (I will admit that on the second dive of the day by the time that I get to 50+ minutes even I get a bit cold!)
I have been diving for years all over the world. At this point there is not much left to impress me. Ok, the seven turtles in one day were impressive. And one of these days seeing a whale shark would be nice. Currently I am on the lookout for octopuses and seahorses. I have seen both in the past but have a tough time finding them on my own. I told Blanca that I wanted to see octopuses. Blanca took the time to show me how to find octopuses on one of our dives. By the time that the dive was over I found three “octopuses gardens under the sea” on my own. There is a simple trick to it. Once I learned it I was surprised how easy it was to find them. You need to know what to look for. Ask her. She will show you. With respect to seahorses she tried hard but did not find any. I have seen them before and know that they are pretty tough to spot. Next time.
In summary, we had an excellent trip and gladly recommend Blue Project to our friends. And we have done so in the past. If you want to have an excellent dive experience you will not be disappointed. Be sure and speak up. Tell her what you are looking for and she will do her best to find it for you. She tries hard.
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