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Best Caribbean
Scuba Diving

Cozumel, Saba

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Best Caribbean Diving
Part 2

COZUMEL

Cozumel, just 12 miles off Mexico's Yucatan coast, is generally considered to have the clearest water in the Caribbean. Visibility is almost never less than 100 feet and sometimes reaches as much as 250 feet, far surpassing even Bonaire where visibility on the best days may top out at 100 feet.

Cozumel's spectacularly large sponges are considered some of the world's finest. Elephant ear sponges may grow as much as 10 to 12 feet across. Because of the constant ocean currents, all of Cozumel's diving is drift diving where divers take advantage of the underwater winds by floating with the flow. Soaring along between one and 1-1/2 knots, drift divers cover as much as an eighth of a mile or more on a single tank, far greater amounts of territory than they could otherwise.

New divers may find the continual current unsettling. Once you begin moving, you don't stop until the boat picks you up at the end of the dive. Cozumel is probably best appreciated by those who feel totally comfortable breathing underwater.

Advanced divers will especially prize the reef known as Punta Sur, celebrated for its huge caverns and steep dropoffs where you can drift/swim through a series of caverns loaded with marine life, finally exiting at an opening called the Devil's Throat at 123 feet.

SABA

Saba, together with neighboring St. Maarten and Statia, form the Windward Islands of the Dutch Caribbean. Known as "The Unspoiled Queen" because it is so little developed, Saba retains all of her natural, tropical beauty both below and above the sea.

Saba is best known for huge underwater pinnacles that rise to within only 80-feet of the surface. Nourished by deep ocean currents, these spectacular, heavily-encrusted seamounts attract large pelagics normally seen by few divers. Two more unusual underwater features are lava tunnels and hot springs.

With so much attention focused on the sea mounts, the rich coral reefs receive second billing. They are first rate, however, populated with colorful tropicals, big resident grouper and patrols of roaming jacks.

Everything is protected by the Saba Marine Park. Its extensive boundaries range from the high water mark to a depth of 200-feet all around the island.

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