Riding the underwater breeze in Cozumel The boat cruises north from Palancar Horseshoe, where our group of divers had encountered the adrenaline rush of being propelled past massive coral formations by swift Yucatan currents. We've just experienced the exhilarating sensation of flying underwater via drift diving, Cozumel-style.Fortunately, we don't have to wait very long for another chance to sample the legendary underwater velocity that keeps bringing droves of divers back to Cozumel. At our next stop, Tormentos Reef, the strength of the current dominates all other sensory factors. After descending quickly to the white-sand bottom, we are rapidly carried along a series of 10-foot high stony coral formations encrusted with colorful growth. The unrelenting strength of the current becomes apparent as I turn to face my dive buddy and find it necessary to use long, strong strokes of my fins to stay in place. Tormentos consists mostly of a coral ridge that runs parallel to the shoreline. A dip behind one of these formations not only allows a brief rest stop, but also provides a peek at sponges that colorfully contrast with their larger host corals. While squirrelfish loiter nearby, green morays and splendid toadfish make their homes in some of the many crevices. Fortunately, the island's seasoned divemasters always seem to know when and where to make a house call to find these hidden creatures. Larger species seem to feel comfortable drifting out in the open with the divers. Most noteworthy are the barracuda and several species of groupers. Divers also will see an abundant supply of parrotfish audibly crunching on the reef, as well as an array of angelfish, butterflyfish and triggerfish. But fish are only part of the underwater story in Cozumel. Large heads of brain and star coral dominate the scenery, with large sponges and gorgonians adding splashes of color. Giant anemones in neon shades of orange and green vibrate frantically in the current. Once mastered, the!clear currents of Cozumel provide some of the Caribbean's most enjoyable drift diving. It's a good place for a novice to gain experience, but even the most advanced divers will find themselves gazing in awe at the health of the island's lush reefs. For more information about diving Cozumel, click on the home pages below.
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