When I first joined the SJF Scuba Club, I expected that the experience was going to be enjoyable, but it turned out to be “excellente”. I knew that there was a large amount of work for us to complete prior to our trip to Cozumel, Mexico: Marine Biology, First Aid certification, PADI diving instruction (both in the classroom and in the pool), not to mention the many hours of fundraising. The process was long but worth it!
This experience was amusing and exciting and most of all - memorable. There are so many stories to share! While we were in Cozumel, we dove through the Palancar Reef for five days straight: two dives per day and one night dive - a total of eleven dives. The first stride jump into the salty ocean was nerve-wracking - it was a different environment for all of us but one that we got to share together. Over the first two days, we finished up our PADI Open Water course that we had started in the pool back in Yellowknife and became PADI Open Water Certified Scuba Divers! Everyone did an amazing job. Once we descended and were under water, it seemed natural because of our pool training. Although I expected it to be quite difficult, it was actually relaxing to view a whole new world of beautiful marine life that still amaze me now: nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, a rare toadfish, a hundred-year-old turtle, lion fish, dolphins, and many more. The night dive was a completely different environment; many new creatures like octopi, lobster and glowing planktons come out at night. Unfortunately, the diving couldn’t last forever and we had to return home, but before we did, we got the chance to take a land excursion.
On the land excursion, we ventured to the land of Tulum, Mexico. The first stop: Mayan Ruins. We learned bits of their past and history as we walked around the park. We then took a short break near the end to do some exploring of our own. After we headed to Jungle Maya to take a short jeep ride where the cenotes, and zip lining activities were located. Firstly, we tried out the repelling descent into a cenote. At first, I was excited and anxious about wanting to go; however, I deeply enjoy these thrilling type activities. Next on the schedule, we went zip lining. Now that was one of my favourite parts of the trip. There were five towers that ranged from 25-65 metres high. Once the zip-lining was finished, we began our snorkeling adventure. We swam far into the dark cenote viewing the rocks and structures both above and underwater. This was truly something beautiful that I did not expect. Lastly, we took two more zip lines towards the entrance of the park and had a Mexican feast. What a day to remember!
The opportunity to go scuba diving is something I will never forget. Diving in Mexico is something you don’t do very often and takes a lot of work to accomplish. I am so fortunate that I got to experience this with my scuba friends and our amazing chaperones. This trip is definitely something worth repeating, and I will 110% join again in my senior year to gain my Advanced Open Water Certification!
- Written by SJF student Ruby Danh