Cozumel is best known for its endless visibility, swift drift dives, and dramatic reef structure. Most think of turtles, eagle rays, lobsters, and moray eels (which are relatively common) rather than blennies, sea slugs, shrimp, and pelagic larval critters.
My first underwater memories were made over 17 years ago in Cozumel when I completed my Junior Open Water diver certification there. Since becoming an underwater photographer a few years ago, I hadn’t been back to this relatively accessible (from the US) and affordable Caribbean destination, and I am not sure why. I would guess that this is because it hasn’t received the same attention recently from underwater photographers as the Indo-Pacific.
With my travel-ready blackwater downline assembled and Aldora Divers eagerness to be the first in Cozumel to try organized blackwater diving, I swiftly added Cozumel to my dive calendar. It’s hard to make an entire trip out of exclusively blackwater diving, so I spent a majority of my day dives looking for Cozumel’s smaller reef residents that go unphotographed (and even unnoticed) by most. I was in luck to have fantastic dive guides that were equally excited to look for small critters on the reefs and in the seagrass beds.
Day time macro dives proved very productive, yielding numerous blennies, sea slugs, shrimps, conchs, Cozumel endemic splendid toadfish, and many other subjects. Our Blackwater exploration night dives turned up jellies, squid, larval pearlfish, larval flounders, and many other alien-like creatures. A handful of wide-angle dives resulted in turtles, spotted eagle rays,
lobsters, and moray eels.
Cozumel’s macro opportunities far exceeded my expectations, both during the day and at night (over deep water). Combining this knowledge with Cozumel’s already well-known wide-angle
subjects, affordability, and accessibility (from the US) make it a great place to practice all types of underwater photography. In addition to many dive operators to pick from, the island has excellent restaurants and many land-based activities, making it a suitable destination to include non-photographers as well.
I look forward to my next opportunity to dive Cozumel.
See more of Jon’s work on Instagram (@scubajonjake) or on his website.