Thursday, June 30, 2005

Shangra-La Dive Site in Playa Del Carmen

Two wonderful and unbelievable activities happened yesterday. First for all for those of you that don´t believe Nicola dives, guess what, she was in the water in Playa Del Carmen. Wish we had a photo, but we dont. You will have to just trust us on this one.

So, eager to get into the water, Nicola, and a visiting family of three, Dana, Brent and Loren, hopped onto Orca 22 for a two tank afternoon dive. Gabino, our boat captain was happy to race to a new area that he has not been to for a while. Jorge, our visiting boat help from Tulum, was eager to do some snorkeling in Playa Del Carmen while watching the divers below.

Steve had prewarned Nicola that visibility was extraordinary, but he did not tell her that the fish were out in full force....nor did he tell her that possibily the group could be embarking on one of the best dives they could have that day....

So Dana, Brent and Loren were taken to the Shangra-La dive site about 10 minutes from the dive center. This is a semi-secret sight that Mitch and Diego showed Nicola many years back and for whatever reason, she decided to visit here for the first time in about 2 years...

It is hard to express the magic of this 12m/40 ft dive...our dive family came up in Nicola said.....the schools of fish were bigger than the ocean, or at least it seemed that way....and no she did not drink before this dive....and yes she does love to exegerate but we dont think she was this time...

This magical moment happened, unsuspecting, like this. Normal decent, diver check, coral looked great....slight current to make everything that much easier...a slight curve to the left and WHAM....thousands upon thousands of silver fish. The dive group swam closer to the school, thinking they would all disappear. Then the miracle dive happened. The entire school surrounded the divers and created a canopy of silver that ranged aboput 20 meters in diameter. After about 10 minutes, the divers moved on to find schools of pork fish and snappers. As they continued they found that the school of fish built a blanket over top of them, leading them to the end of the fantastic...a stone fish was spotted under a rock, spider crabs around some barrel spnges and finally a bat fish. Could a better dive be had? Always, just wait until our next one. Never any guarantees, but these surprises are why we dive, and love every minute of it!

Wish you were here, don´t you...well we are thinking of you we get into our dive gear and out of it, make a back roll out of the boat and take our first breathe underwater. And of course we still sit around and have a beer or two after 5 o´clock...never before....but always after....Cheers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Adventure #2

Due to some heavy rains, we have decided to postpone our adventure until Thursday or Friday. Sorry for the delay, but we want to make sure that the adventure is a success. Also, Budgie is now an offical member of our Adventure team here in stay tuned....

Saturday, June 18, 2005

North 22°

We have a wonderful surprise for all of our divers. We are excited to let you know the results of our planning over the last few months, and even more excited to get this new project going.

Before I jump into the guts of North 22, I want to provide you with some background. Now, remember many, many months ago, Senor David decided to open a dive center in Tulum. We thought it was purely a selfish move so he could live in Tulum...then he dropped his BIG IDEA. The method to his madness, or as we like to refer to it, the madness to his method, was to begin dive adventures here in Tulum for our faithful customers/friends. After a few beers, the vision was understood. Dave wanted our customers to be able to dive new, unexplored areas not seen by others. He wanted to re-create his diving experiences from 10 years ago where he learned and discovered the wonders of scuba diving in Mexico.

So with computer in hand, and many nights of long discussions, North 22 was developed as a mapping project where customers can participate in the development of a reef map for the Tulum area. To date, only nautical maps exist and we want to creat a comprehensive reef map for diving and ecological purposes.

The project combines courses, exploration dives and mapping. We have gone as far as putting a package together that includes lunch, diving, courses and accomodation. It makes your dive trip planning easy and puts a little zest into your diving. Many of you have dove with us for years. We could not embark on this project without you and wanted to find a way to include you in this adventure. I think we have suceeded-I think you will find this exciting, educational and challenging. For those new to the dive center, this is great way to meet our customers and staff.

The project particulars are on the webpage at If you have any questions dont be afraid to ask. If there is a group of you that wish to participate in the project outside of our scheduled dates, let us know and we will see what we can arrange.

He has done it again that Senor Dave. Baby Ryder is giving him a boost of energy that will continue, so keep posted for more new and exciting things happening.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Abyss Adventure #1

A decision was made the other day to ensure that we continue to find new dive adventures for all of us, employees, clients and new visitors. We love the reef and the cenotes but our mission here at the Abyss is to provide diving diversity, safety and fun for all. The Tulum group took it into thier own hands to conduct the first Abyss Adventure: A Night Dive in Casa Cenote...

Four people were part of this adventure group, Nicola, who you all know, Daniella, our dive instrutor at Abyss Tulum, Andy, our snorkel guide and sales person extraordinaire at Cenote Dive Center and Manuel, the eco-guide from Sian Kaan Tours (Cesiak). These four met at 7:30 pm for the first night dive conducted in Casa Cenote.

For those not familiar with Casa Cenote, it is a mangrove cenote located beside the ocean in Tank-ha Bay. This cenote is unique as it has a tunnel that leads to the ocean enabling reef fish to travel into the fresh water environment where they spawn. Though the tunnel is off limits to open water divers, the cenote is considered an open water dive as there is no overhead environment. This makes is perfect for the night dive adventure.

We had a mission to look for phosphoresence in the halocline, discover what it would like to conduct a night dive in fresh water as none of us had done this and uncover the animals that appear at night in the spawning ground. Oops, and we were doing the night dive to count towards Andy´s advance course...which he passed with flying colours...but more about the adventure.

With a bundle of energy, the four of us climbed into Betsy and made the trip to Casa. Rapidly and with a focused intent which we have not had for a while, we put on our gear and went into the cenote..upon the descend the smiles were growing the deeper we wonderful...the moon was clearly spotted through the clear waters of Casa, the animals were out in full view and sleeping. We were able to hover and watch the habits of sleeping fish...this we found fascinating, but hey we are was difficult to pull us away. Our thrill really was coming from seeing Casa Cenote in a different light or in this case no light at all, giving us a whole new view of this diving environment.

Four divers ascended with huge smiles after our adventure great this dive was and how wonderful it would be on a full moon....we spent the trip home dicussing the next adventure and when we could open up this dive to all of our clients/friends. The decision, the dive is now an official night dive for our clients in next time you come to visit, book for our adventure tour in Casa Cenote. You will probably find four eager people coming with you for another glimpse of this great environment.

Next adventure: Monday Night-destination and activity to be revealed Tuesday

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Well, it happened, the baby is here and we are all still in shock! David Tomlinson is now the proud father of a little baby boy. Okay, details, details we know. Thank goodness this is being reported by a woman or else you would probably just get ´yes, it is boy. Lets have a beer.´

So Ryder, as he has been named, was born May 20, 2005 to David Tomlinson, the brainchild and guru of the Abyss Dive Center and his right hand woman, Julie in the wee hours of the morning. After a last minute decision to have a c-section was made in the wee hours of the morning, with the proud parents bringing Ryder home to Playa Del Carmen two days later . Julie, bless her heart, is doing well and settling in to motherhood beautifully. Ryder is a great baby and as you can see a beauty! We have decided that he has Dave´s feet and of course his hair (though we were expecting a pony tail but i guess that will come later) and has inherited Julie´s nose, eyes and mouth. The legs, well that will take some time, not sure if they are Julie´s or Dave´s. (sorry those were chick details, but good ones)

So, thank goodness for grandparents, as Dave´s parents were here for two weeks at the time of the birth and Julie´s mom has quickly followed for 10 days. We have kicked Dave out of the dive centers for a while so that he can settle into his new lifestyle and get to know his new little one.

The staff have been very supportive of this transition and continue to take our customers to the ocean and cenotes. Business is as usual though we always look forward to Papa´s return.

So who would have guessed. It is true, Dave is dad and he is very happy with this addition. Many of our customers have known Dave for many years, we have all known Dave for many years. This day, we thought, would never come but times change and things move forward. Dave assures us that things will not change, especially beers after the dives (which I have to say have not) but I think we will see Senor David settle into fatherhood well.

To Dave and Julie, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Well-wishers can email us at Dave is on email everyday now at 5 a.m. waiting to feed his new one. How bizzare...but true. Yes I give my head a shake each time I call and hear a crying baby in the background.

So, come and visit so you can get a glimpse at the next new Abyss dive instructor in the making.....this is a great excuse to come for a summer break and share in the pure joy of this moment.