Grab Your Friends and Family and Go Make Some Memories
Dive adventures come in all forms. While it's true that I lean towards technically challenging dives in unusual locations, I have a soft spot for unique dives that can be enjoyed by all divers, from novices to the most experienced.
I love creating memories with friends and family, and dive trips are a great way to do that. So, if you have been looking for an unusual dive you can enjoy with kids and adults, this is the dive for you.
Art and Reef Preservation
Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) is a popular dive off Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico. In 2008, Jamie Gonzalez Canto, the Director of National Park Costa Occidental Isla Mujeres, began planning his vision for an underwater museum that would create artificial coral reefs Artificial reefs are beneficial as they help restore depleted or damaged marine ecosystems, which has been worsening as a result of overfishing and storm exposure.
What makes this artificial coral reef unique is how it has been produced. Canto partnered with British Sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor. Together, they created one of the largest underwater attractions in the world with upwards of 500 life-size installations across 420 plus square meters of formerly barren sea bed, situated between the island of Isla Mujeres and the coast of Punta Nizuc, Cancun
Jason deCaires Taylor said, “It is named a museum for a simple reason. Every day we dredge, pollute and overfish our oceans, while museums are places of preservation, of conservation, and of education. They are places where we keep objects that have great value to us. Our oceans are sacred.”
Oceans, Marine Life, and Art
Taylor is an award-winning sculptor and underwater photographer who understands the dynamics of the marine world. He attempts to integrate his art with the ocean for a breathtaking symbiotic collaboration. He uses low-carbon, pH-neutral materials designed to be colonized. Even more remarkable is how effortlessly the sea takes over the sculptors, doing her magic, transforming the artwork into something even more mesmerizing and powerful.
The Silent Evolution is an installation with over 400 individual statues modeled after 90 of the locals from the nearby fishing village in Puerto Morelos. When diving and snorkeling amongst the installation, it appears that these individuals are standing in defense of their ocean. the installation it appears that these individuals are
Reclamation, another beautiful installation, representing an angel with her arms lifted to the heavens. Her wings are shaped by Gorgonian sea fans rescued from the seabed after storm damage. This site is an amazing place for you to practice buoyancy control.
The park is accessible for both divers and snorkelers, and a great thing to do during sit time in-between dives. The dives are between four to eight meters and give you more bang for your buck with options for extended dives.
Spectacular Marine Life Encounters
The manufactured reef is now home to more than 2,000 juvenile corals.
Each sculpture is effectively an artificial reef that provides new habitat spaces for marine life. I've seen elkhorn, staghorn, and brain coral, in addition to the reclaimed Gorgonian sea fans in the artscape. For divers like myself, it's encouraging to see the coral reefs thriving in areas where they have been bleached.
The sea life is spectacular. Get your camera ready for an underwater symphony of colorful tropical fish, from parrotfish and angelfish to sergeant majors and triggerfish.
Moray eels find nooks in which to hide and silently watch the divers passing by. You may even see eagle rays and stingrays coasting along the sandy bottom. While these flashy guys are always fun to see, also take a moment to explore behind the fans and coral. You may be lucky and see seahorses catching a ride on the current.
Don't Depart without a Cozumel Layover.
Of course, when you're in the area, dive into some of the natural reefs. You will find that you have an abundance of options from Cancun and Isla Mujeres to Cozumel. My money is on the friendly island of Cozumel. Cancun is a popular, overdeveloped beach town and destination for college kids on Spring Break, whereas Cozumel remains a welcome port of call for divers.
Since Jacques Cousteau explored Cozumel in the 1960s, the island has dazzled divers worldwide. The small island boasts some of the world's best reefs, walls, and marine life.
Take advantage of the San Francisco Wall. At 14 to 35 plus meters, with strong currents, this site is for advanced divers in your group. It is a phenomenal dive where I've seen barracudas, turtles, spotted eagle rays, and nurse and black-tip reef sharks.
Another favorite Cozumel dive site is the Palancar Caves. This dive offers a labyrinth of underwater caves, tunnels, and swim-throughs. The water is typically crystal clear, and as you descend, you'll be dazzled by natural coral formations, fish, and an occasional turtle.
Cozumel topside, expect excellent service, comfortable dive resorts, good food, and the chance to wind down far from the hustle and bustle of the city.