Monday, February 6, 2012

Diving Punta Perula

A few days ago we heard that the best place to get a REAL hamburger is at the Dive Shop. Now Dive shop could be the name of any kind of business, but it really is a dive shop, and a burger cafe, and a Jazz cafe on Friday evenings. We tried for burgers Friday, but didn't have reservations for a special Jazz and menu night. On Saturday evening we went back again for burgers and while we waited I took a look at the dive shop portion of the business and was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of the equipment they use.

Sunday morning, Helen and I walked back (it's about 100 feet from our camper in a straight line) and talked to Gil about a possible dive. Time is a problem because we're moving on Thursday. Gil was not impressed with our dive credentials as we have not actually done a dive in 4 or 5 years and he insisted on a PADI refresher course. This surprised us as we thought that Mexican dive shops tended to be lax. Since time was limited, he offered a refresher course Sunday afternoon at a hotel pool not far away. He already had another diver getting the same course.

The pool water was COLD!!!! Even the two women who claimed that it was very comfortable we're shivering with cold after a while. I felt that I knew all there was to know about diving and only took the course as an absolute requirement to the dive. I was mistaken! Gil was able to show me a few things that are done differently than they were when we were certified in 1992. I admit that having the chance to hone a few old skills was not wasted time. We all did well.

Monday morning at 8:30 we met at the dive shop and got our gear. Gil was there early and had all our equipment waiting. The tanks and equipment was on his truck and all the wet suits, in the appropriate size for each of us, was waiting to be donned. And we were off. The universal boat here is the Panga. See below.

This picture is not too sharp because I've gotten lazy about photo technique, relying on the image stabilization of new cameras. However this is a Panga, and there must be almost 100 just on the shores of Perula.

The boat was well away from the water and all the equipment was stowed. I wondered who was going to push the boat into the water. No hay problema! The owners wife driving an expensive 4X4 drove down to the beach and the captain hooked a rope to the stern of the boat, which was facing away from the water. She wasted no time giving it the gas and heading for the water and I wondered just how far in the water she was going to go! Driving with great expertise, she drove toward the water and turned at last, swinging the boat into the water. I WAS IMPRESSED!!!

We got the boat all the way in the water and got aboard. Being heftier than the others, I went to the bow of the boat so as to get the stern and engine further out of the sand. The motor started and off we were. Of course I forgot about having to pass through the breakers. The first one cam and we got splashed. The second one came and washed over the deck, drenching my carry-on bag with my towel and Helen's as well. Now that I was wet, with my wet suit down to my waist, the cool breeze on my back was........well...uncomfortable. Other than that the ride out was uneventful and we stopped in the lee of one of the islands.

From right to left are Gil, our dive master, then Marlon and Manual.

Our captain with his little boy. Perula Beach is in the background.

Here Gil is getting Helen ready to dive. When all her equipment is ready, she will fall backward into the water.

And here's Helen underwater and buoyancy balanced.

This puffer or porcupine fish is content to lie in the rock rather than blow up to defend himself.

One of many, many rays we saw. Harmless I think..........but why risk another trip to the hospital?

This lovely creature on the palm of the dive master is a flowering urchin. Instead of a heavy load of spines, it decorates it's shell with odd things found on the ocean floor.

Helen snapped this pretty blue something and it was quite a catch. They are so fast at getting out of the way that they are very hard to capture on film. This is from the top looking down. The side shape is more like a pumpkinseed.

Here's a puffer or porcupine fish in the hands of the dive master. It offered no resistance and quietly swam away, deflating as he went.

Cohabitation in the rocks. A typical sea urchin and an unusual (to me) starfish.

This is why I have such a hard time getting close to a fish for a picture!

Helen and I saw several species that we have never seen before since we have been strictly Atlantic divers before this. We saw a burrowing Pacific snake/eel. There were a number of fish that I never saw on the reefs of the Keys or Caribbean. The last thing that I THINK I saw was a pacific sea snake, a very venomous fish, but completely docile and no danger to divers unless the diver is foolish enough to grab him.

The water was murky and the temperature on my regulator said 78. That is WAY too cold for me. All in all it was a very good dive. The dive shop and Gil were professional in every respect. I saw no area where he was lax and he tended to everyone. My only regret is that we didn't go for that hamburger the first week, when the water was warmer. If we come here next year, I'd like to try the diving (and dorado fishing) in November.


  1. Looks like fun...have always wanted to dive since a friend of mine brought back gorgeous underwater photos he took when he was in the bahamas,but diving is a little impractical in Missouri. Paul I am so glad I am not the only one that doesnt like cold water, Sam always says I need it bathtub warm, and I ask. So whats wrong w/ that ! You need to get googles and a head camera, put on coco and drop a ball, bet she'd get you some great pics.

  2. sorry, meant goggles for coco..not googles.
    dont think her paws can work a keyboard