As mentioned in the December report (which can be found here) we made plans to return to Cozumel in February, 2006 to see Eagle Rays (which we did not see except for one as we were heading back to the boat and looked down, a nice big one and beautiful even from a distance) and to see how things were progressing. I am happy to say that despite the dearth of Eagle Rays, Cozumel and the sites were all heading in the right direction.
More fish seemed to be returning, and we saw multiple schools of fish on almost every dive. They were also more "back to normal" in terms of seeming to be less skitish again. There were less lobsters than in December, and they seem to have found (and hidden) in their new homes. Trigger Fish abounded throughout the dives (Ocean and Queen) and we saw many special treats along the way, including a Bat Fish, a pair of Lizard Fish hanging out, Flounder and a juvenile Spotted Drum. And the usual denizens abounded, Angel Fish of all kinds, File Fish, Trunk Fish and more. The variety of fish was tremendous, and on one dive on Palancar, I lost count of the number of species of fish I saw. That coupled wwith some amazing swim throughs (complete with color, sponges and more), made it one of the most memorable dives I have ever had. Ever. Truly remarkable. As mentioned previously, even though shallow sites may not be the same that they one were, they are still great to dive.
And Cozumel itself was coming along - more stores were open. A Mall towards the south end of towwn which had been closed and damaged, was fully functional and looked brand new. The beach resorts were starting to open again, so we were able to do our surface intervals off the boat. While things are still closed and there is still some damage, the gains made in under two months bodes well for Cozumel.