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Resort Course Available?


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#1 callmegee

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:54 PM

We (family group of 6 adults & 2 children) will be in Cozumel the week of June 10. Four of us are certified and 2 of us have dive experience in Coz. We would like to have the 2 non divers take a resort course so they can dive shallow waters for a few days. I have several questions:

1) Do the dive ops in Coz offer a resort course?
2) How many good dives within 40' are there? Enough to keep certified divers happy for 3 days?
3) We would like to arrange to have all family on board during dives (1 adult always on boat with children). The boat should have decent shade and back deck water entry is preferred. We have always dove with Aqua Safari but I don't think they offer this personalized service. Also, we would want pick up at the Aura hotel dock. If this is doable, recommendations?

Also, are there mini-van rentals for large groups available on the island?

Getting excited about our impending change in latitude!
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#2 cvchief

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:58 AM

If you are talking 8 people, you might as well rent an entire boat so you can do what you want, how you want.


1. I imagine every op will do the resort course.
2. There are some terrific shallow dives, but you might be looking at a extra DMs anyway so the resort people can stay shallow and the rest can go deeper.
3. I assume you want giant stride entry? That will reduce your options a bit. Pick up at Aura should not be a problem for any op. If you have used AS and like them, email and ask them. Can't hurt. If you pay the tab for a whole boat, you will get personalized service.

I rented a minivan from Executive a while back. It would have been cheaper to rent three cars I think. They come at a premium.
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#3 sailsgal

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:38 AM

Resort courses are usually done by the resort dive op where you are staying only in the pool...I would suggest that your family do a Discover Scuba course by certified dive instructors...they get personal instruction and equipment in a fee..($85?) and this fee is credited if they take the Open Water Course.

Rita from Albatros Charters has a boat with a back swim grid, good shade and crew. She is also a dive instructor and can arrange for the dive course. Renting the whole boat is your best option for your large group.
Good luck and enjoy the island.
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#4 Fin74

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:50 AM

Why not get the resort courses out of the way at home before you go? That way everyone can enjoy the diving and not have to spend vacation time doing book work or skills in the pool. I would suggest you email a few dive shops to see if they can accommodate you with putting all 8 people on the same boat. If it's one of the ops with a small boat you will most likely have it to yourselves anyway.

I'm not really a fan of the Discover Scuba thing myself. I just don't think you get the training, skills or safety knowledge that you are going to get by taking a real course. I know people do them all the time without any problem, but there are a whole lot of things that could go wrong that aren't going to be covered in one of those type sessions.
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#5 MarkC

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:10 AM

Why not get the resort courses out of the way at home before you go?


@Fin74: Generally, the scuba operator would want to do the resort course for the diver so they know the student knows the skills. So, my guess is the dive op would not hold a resort course valid since they did not teach it.

@CallMeGee: If you use Dive With Martin and had 8 divers, I am almost 100% sure that you would have your own boat all to yourselves every day. I do not recall ever having 8 divers on one of their boats.

Here is their resort course info:

http://www.divewithm...cubaSchool.html

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#6 Fin74

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:54 AM

Duh...yes, not enough coffee I guess this morning. What I meant to say is, why not get your open water course done at home before going to Cozumel.

DWM is who we dive with in Cozumel, too.
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#7 callmegee

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:11 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I have contacted Albatros regarding charter boat. I agree with the comments about the incredibly short training before dumping you in the ocean - my sister did a resort course in Playa a couple of years ago. However, I am hoping to overcome that by having my kids study our PADI books at home first and then using 2 DM for 5 or 6 divers so some can dive a little deeper in same area and have good measure of safety. One of our non-divers has some dive experience. PLUS we are putting all our money into the airline and Cozumel economies for this trip B) We are renting a beachfront condo in Residencias Reef and are purchasing a cook service for 2 meals per day -

After we ship our kids/grandkids back home, my husband and I are planning to check out Belize but don't have plans or reservations in place yet. Any recommendations on places to stay, dive ops or forums to check out? Does anyone know if there will still be whale shark tours out of Cancun in mid to late June? Where can I find most up to date info on whale sharks? It would be a truly complete trip if we could do that too.

I am so excited!
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#8 diverdi

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:52 PM

All of our children were certified with Aqua Safari, their small boat, the Belinda takes 8 divers, minimum of 4. Such a safe operation. Highly suggest you check them out for your family. Whale Sharks! You can do a ferry, bus trip to Cancun, there are also operators that will fly you from Cozumel to Cancun, then a van to the port to Isla Mujeres. A much more relaxing way to go than the ferry and bus. I did that trip last summer and it was a check off the bucket list. Incredible! Record number of whale sharks. A day to remember. Dont miss it. We used an operator we found on "This is Cozumel" Ian's site. They could not have more charming or organized. All went like clockwork. We left Cozumel about 7 am and were back on the island by about 4. Have a great family trip!

All of our children were certified with Aqua Safari, their small boat, the Belinda takes 8 divers, minimum of 4. Such a safe operation. Highly suggest you check them out for your family. Whale Sharks! You can do a ferry, bus trip to Cancun, there are also operators that will fly you from Cozumel to Cancun, then a van to the port to Isla Mujeres. A much more relaxing way to go than the ferry and bus. I did that trip last summer and it was a check off the bucket list. Incredible! Record number of whale sharks. A day to remember. Dont miss it. We used an operator we found on "This is Cozumel" Ian's site. They could not have more charming or organized. All went like clockwork. We left Cozumel about 7 am and were back on the island by about 4. Have a great family trip!
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#9 sailsgal

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

Go to one of the smaller islands in Belize, like Ambergeze Caye...they have some good boutique type hotels that are quaint and affordable....don;t do the Blue Hole in my opinion...a huge tourist trap, very costly and a very short dive...29 minutes from the time you are off the boat until you get back on...The other dives you do on the long day trip were good and we saw lots of sea life...I actually held a nurse shark with the divemaster..cool experience.

Have your kids do the Open Water course at home at one of the dive shops and they can do their Open Water skills in one day here via a referral, then they aren;t spending all their vacation time doing book work. Hope you and your family have a great vacation and good diving while here in Cozumel.
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#10 MarkC

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:50 AM

I will say that you will not need to incur the expense of a chartered boat if you used DWM, since you’d have 8 divers. You might have to pay a fee to have a 2nd divemaster though. Please I urge you to all buy safety sausages at the local dive shop, they could save your lives.

On another note...

I am on my way to Ambergris Caye for the 1st time this fall. I rented a condo at the Tradewinds Paradise Villas http://www.tradewind...isevillas.com/. They are on the waterfront, with dive shops right out front (I am diving with Reef Adventures http://www.reefadventures.net/).

Salisgirl has what I found to be the common opinion about blue hole. I will dive blue hole for 2 reasons. One, I have never done it, and two, Cousteau was one of my child hood hero’s and I remember being glued to the TV when he filmed / dived it. So this in part about my love of his life long studies and discoveries. I always was so jealous of his adventures. Bottom line is however, most people tell me “do it once, but you wont feel the need to do it twice...” Tip: prices are RIDICULOUS for bluehole, BUT they are negotiable – I talked the shop down from 350 to 280. Keep in mind that I also booked 4 days of diving and one night dive and a condo as well.

I opened a thread on the Belize forum so I could get restaurant recs and other information, so maybe you would benefit from reading it. Here is the link: http://www.belizefor...9290#Post209290

Compared to other options on the island, I feel I got the best bang for my buck, without having to stay in a roach motel. We dropped 3500 for the two of us without meals, which included 10d/9n, airfare, puddle jumper, 4 days of scuba with a night dive and blue hole trip. Ramones would have cost us 5800 if we included a bluehole trip.

Last thing I would tell you... Since you will be diving prior to hitting Belize, you might be safer to take the ferry instead of the Tropic Air puddle jumper to avoid getting bent.

Hope this helps.

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#11 sailsgal

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:45 AM

Mark...Belize diving is very similar to here in Cozumel...maybe a few more corals and sealife & fans.

Blue Hole trip..we were picked up from our hotel at 5.30am and taken to dive shop...had coffee and a muffin and got our gear onboard a 52' fast boat..some divers and some snorkelers...2.5 hours later and we were at the Blue Hole...It looks great from the air? we paid $180.00 US$ per person plus a $40 park fee per person, plus tips. After the short Blue Hole dive...we went to another very nice dive site, then to Lighthouse island where we had a wonderful lunch, a short time to walk and see the yellow foooted boobie birds and nests...also frigate birds...then off to another dive site which was also very nice. Long boat ride back to Ambergeze Caye 2.5 hours..got back to our hotel at 6pm, showered, had a drink and almost fell alseep in our dinner as we were sooo tired... Many people want to do this dive, many have done it and won;t do it again...29 minutes from boat to bottom and back...very controlled dive of course due to black tip sharks at about 90 feet circling and I think I went down to about 135 feet which to date is one of my deepest dives. Some very new divers on the boat did not listen to the divemaster' instructions s and went down quickly without the group of 20, the divemaster almost called off the dive as he was worried they would go too deep as you really have to check your weights...he gave them s**t when they came back up!


Yes please have a safety sausage and a whistle attached to your BCD at all times...it could save your life!
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#12 MarkC

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:46 PM

Thanks Sailisgirl. I kinda figure I am setting myself up for disappointment but I feel the need to say “been there done that...”

Last year when I was in Punta Cana, the shop kept pushing me to go to Catalina Island b/c the diving / visibility was so much better, blah blah blah. I kept telling them no b/c they wanted like 200 p/p to go... So when they realized I really was serious, they offered me the trip for $80 more in addition to what I had paid to do local diving (120.00 total)...

So to add insult to injury, we get to the wall and find out that the visibility was directly dependent upon the amount of water that empties out of the river... Well, rain water ruined our dive day – the water was as clear as a Texas lake in full August algae bloom... So, we had to dive the other side of Catalina.

My best day of diving there was when we encountered manatees in the wild (not a canned dive)– it was amazing!

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#13 cookielady

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:40 PM

We went back and forth on this one ourselves regarding our 12 year old daughters certification. We have been coming to the island at least once a year since the eighties. After much discussion we decided she would complete her book work and pool work here at home and finish her open water part of the certification in Cozumel. We felt that it would be a much more structured learning environment to do the book, tests and pool work here at home. She loves Cozumel and I don't think she would be happy about losing part of her vacation days with her nose in a book studying and having to take tests. I spoke with Apple at Dive Paradise and she agreed that this would be the best route to take and told me to make sure we brought her book and paperwork and they would review the book and make sure she was up to snuff and complete her certification with a one on one instructor. She now will only lose a few days out of her two weeks vacation and I feel she will learn and retain more going this route.

On top of this the lucky kid (going with grandma) get's to spend a night in Holbox and swim with the Whale Sharks! I'm really not whining or jealous:( Ok, maybe just a little bit. Oh well, at least I have November to look forward to.
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#14 MarkC

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:12 AM

I considered all of those options as well. Full course @ the island... or Course at home, cert dives at resort... Or full course at home.... In the end I decided on full course at home (plus it was the cheapest). The cert dives in the texas spring lake sucked, which was exactly the point of it... low vis, cold, colder below thermocline, and nothing to see... that should have been enough to give them the appreciation for the crystal clear waters of the caribbean :D

16 days to cozumel! got to go visit the scuba shop tomorrow...

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”




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