So the final cherry on the already delicious Cancun cake had to be scuba diving at the MUSA underwater museum.
Just down the road from the hotel was the Marina Punta Este Dive Centre and for only £50 ($78 US dollars), they would take you on two dives. With Stef packing her sunbathing essentials back at the hotel for a day on the beach, I made my way to the dive centre for about 8am. There was a group of about 6 of us taking the tour, however, I was the only certified diver. For the others it was their first time diving. After we all got sized for our equipment, we all slapped on the suntan lotion. It wasn’t til after we were fully covered that we were told that as we were diving at a reef, the lotion would block the sun and kill it. Luckily for me, the lotion I had used was from the previous park and was eco-friendly. Unluckily for the rest of the group, theirs were not and they all had to have showers! When I dived at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the coral was mostly dead and faded. At no time were we told about the suntan lotion when we were there. I guess this is a result of human interaction and their chemicals.
I signed the waiver and watched the others get a short introduction to diving, which was by a massive shark replica with bloody teeth (not what you want to see before a dive!). After about 15 minutes of teaching, we were on the boat and on the way to our first stop.
Along with the crew, there were 2 couples from America and a couple from Asia. The Asian couple kept themselves to themselves but I got chatting to the Americans. One of them comes to Cancun a few times a year to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If only I could do that!
Our first stop was to teach the newbies the basics of diving. Whilst this was taking place in the crystal clear waters, I relaxed on the boat and caught some rays. I couldn’t let Stef grab all of the sun toady!
With everyone having been taught how not to die under the water, we cruised to the MUSA Underwater Museum just off the coast of Isle Mujeles, a small island near Cancun. The museum houses about 500 unique sculptures but we were there only to see a few. However, this museum is a bit different to most…it’s 8 metres underwater. The sculptures were placed there in 2009 and were designed to show the interaction between art and the environment. The materials used and the location they have been placed has encouraged coral growth and provides homes to many different species of fish.
Having suited up, I fell backwards into the water and waited for my dive buddy (one of the instructors) and the Asian couple to join me. The sea was calm and I couldn’t believe how clear and warm the water was – It was like getting into a bath and there was no need for a wet suit. I descended to the ocean floor and the journey began.
We made our way to the first work of art, the Volkswagen Beetle. It seems that nowadays everyone has a camera on the end of a selfie stick and the Asian couple were no exception. Now I understand that you want to capture the moment, but this dude could barely swim. Both of them were having difficulties under the water. I’d see them upside down, sidewards and really struggling with the flippers. But as long as you get a good selfie right? Not that it bothered me as it gave me more time to swim around taking my own photos!
The car was a weird experience. Being the first car I’ve seen under the water, our guide pointed to a massive crab that was underneath. The wildlife was endless and you couldn’t go a few seconds without seeing a group of barracudas and other equally impressive fish.
We carried on swimming and I could see the next art work making its way towards us. It was very creepy. It was a large group of people. Just standing there. In the middle of the ocean. There must have been about 30-40 people, all life size.
As we got closer, you could see that some were covered in coral and small fish were darting in and out. They were so life like. It was like people had actually been covered in cement and just placed there in some sort of mafia style hit. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was truly amazing.
After swimming around for a bit taking in the sights, we ascended to our waiting boat. The other group joined us on the boat and we sped off to the final stop – the Isla Mujeres Reef! The men that had taken their Gopros in with them (this was also their first time scuba diving) asked me how I managed to do both at the same time as they were all over the place. I did mention that I had nearly 20 dives under my belt. I told them to leave the cameras on the boat and just enjoy the next dive. They agreed! We were at the reef within no time and again, I was first with putting my gear on and into the water.
I got to the ocean floor and couldn’t be bothered to wait, the water was clear, the guides knew I was fine and the Gopro had a fresh battery!
There were plenty more fish here than at the Museum. Fish of all colours would swim around you, playing right in front of your face. They were extremely friendly and at times I believed they wanted their photos taken!
The others finally made it to the bottom and away we went. We made it to the coral and it was fantastic. I couldn’t believe the amount of fish and how colourful the reef was. I’d never heard of this reef before, however, I’d say it was more visually appealing than the Great Barrier Reef. By a long shot. Hopefully people can be more respectful of this reef and not let it get into the state that the Great Barrier is.
I saw some Arrow crabs, a couple of Starfish, LOADS of yellow fish and even some sort of coral plant life that when I clicked my fingers near them, they disappeared back into the coral. It was pretty cool.
After 35 minutes, it was the end of my little diving adventure and it was back to the boat for the journey back to the marina. As always, diving was an amazing experience. Every time I’ve ventured into the deep blue sea, I always find or do something that I’ve never witnessed before. The staff at the Marina Punta Este Dive Centre were excellent. They were friendly and knew what they were doing. I would completely recommend using them for your Cancun dives.