SCUBA Diving - Cozumel, Mexico

El Paso del Cedral

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Cedral is my favorite site, it is phenomenal. It is a backbone shaped reef in 40 to 60 feet of water, however, I never exceeded fifty feet. It separates a sand flat from a deeper one. Cedral's coral formations are large but relatively low-profile and run along the current so one can just float along and see everything. In addition there are some tunnels in the coral illuminated by pin-sized holes which create a super-natural effect.

Alt text One of the many brillant fish found around Cedral

There is so much wildlife on Cedral I could spend several pages on it. There are large barracuda and groupers along with huge schools of grunts and other fish. In addition to those I saw countless lobsters and some enormous crabs. At the start of the reef you can occasionally fine a massive, 7 foot green moray which locals affectionately call "Chuckie". There are many small holes perfect for the elusive Cozumel toadfish and I saw one on each of my three dives. Some of the schools of fish are so large that they seem like walls and there are so many impressive coral formations.

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Barracudas have a bad reputation. This mainly comes from a few undocumented attacks in dirty water. They are actually quite shy and can rarely be approached closer than a few yards. I find them facinating animals probably because of their ferocious reputation.

Cedral is only accesable by boat which is beneficial as the capitan will drop you at the start of the reef so nothing will be missed due to navigation errors. My dives started on a sandy area with small coral formations. Then came the main reef with the tunnels after which there tall and long coral formations with sand in between. The lobsters, crabs, and toadfish are found in the small coral formations. The reef houses "Chuckie" and the massive schools of fish. You are most likely to see the groupers and barracudas near the end of the reef. Be careful since the currents are strong here and your group can drift away almost immediately.

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The Cozumel toadfish is a variety of toadfish only found in the waters around the island. They are unusual and ugly but at the same time strangely beautiful. These fish can be found in the small creives and caves around the base of the coral but their difficult to come across unless you look diligently.


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