Sunday, November 27, 2005


We spent Saturday evening discussing the sponge phenomenon and after some research (I won´t share the out of control scientific assumptions that were made after a few beers) it is inconclusive as to whether the sponges are curently spawning knowing that they have just been through a hurricane or if they are reproducing because it is that time of year. Damn, we were hopeing that we came up with a new theory and could become famous for our observations. Well, maybe we can still become famous as the theory is inconclusive. Maybe we should be addressing Dave as Dr. Dave not Senor Dave....hmmmm....

On an educational note, we did enjoy our reserach and decided to share our findings with you. The reefs are full of sponges of many varieties so the extra information can not be harmful, it can only enhance your next diving experience.

sponge - a multicellular animal (metazoa) below the tissue grade of construction. Sponges belong to the phylum Porifera. There are approximately 5,000 living species classified in three distinct groups, the Hexactinellida (glass sponges), the Demospongia, and the Calcarea (calcareous sponges). They are important components of a coral reef ecosystem. Sea sponges are the simplest of multi-cellular animals. A sea sponge is a bottom-dwelling creature, which attaches itself to something solid in a place where it can, hopefully, receive enough food to grow. The collar cells serve two purposes. First, they beat their flagella back and forth to force water through the sea sponge. The water brings in nutrients and oxygen, while it carries out waste and carbon dioxide. Second, the sticky collars of the collar cells pick up tiny bits of food brought in with the water. Another type of cell, called an amebocyte, takes the food to other cells within the sea sponge. Sea Sponges are very effective filter feeders, since they are able to capture and eat particles as small as bacteria as well as much larger particles.

Most sea sponges are hermaphroditic (having both sexes in one), but produce only one type of gamete per spawn. (i.e. some play the male role and the other plays the female role, even though they are both capable of playing either role). The sperm is released into the water column by the "male" sponge and finds its way to the "female" sponges, where fertilization occurs internally. Eventually, the planktonic larvae are released from the female sponge and float around in the water column as plankton for only a few days. They then settle down and start growing. The next time the sponges reproduce, they may change sexual roles.

This inforamtion does support in some wild and wonderful way the ´Dave´theory that the sponges know that they have been reduced in population after Wilma. In further research, this is not one site that can conclusively state that the sponges spawn at a certain time of year. What they do say is that the spawning does happen in cooperation with the moon.....full moon, spawning....though i hate to say it, this is the same to the female bodily functions as maybe we are not that far from being similar to other organisms...interesting...

So this concludes our scientific research for this week...before I get accused of going way to far on this.....

December is approaching, the newspapers were all ovewr the snowfall through central Europe and we heard that Canada also got a cold I think it is time for a quick trip to Mexico...all for the sake of research.....

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Finally last night we were all able to sit down, have a few beers and discuss reef conditions. With Thanksgiving approaching it has been busy and we have been in the water, not ont he computer. So our apologizes for being late on the report, but business first, reports second and sleep third.

Dave went diving yesterday with Bill, Cindy, Roger and Dave. (another Dave, customer Dave, no he is not confused thinking he is diving with himself) First dive was to Islote. The conditions of the reef are excellent! Dave knows that reef like the back of his hand and his report is report.

He said two very interesting things. Yes, some coral is gone BUT what this has done is left some creatures lookig for a new home so the sealife is great. Five Octopi!!!! Tons of Moral eels, lots of fish and it is easier to find everyone as they are a little displaced. This is encouraging and makes for a great dive.

Now the most interesting part of all of this, which we need to do some research on, is that Dave saw the sponges spawning.....if you dont know about the spawning of the sponges, this amazing reproduction is done once per year. In last August, you can see the spawning of the sponges on the reefs for a few hours. If you can catch this phenomina, it looks like the sponges are releasing snow. Dave´s rendition of this, this is not scientifically proven nor have we dont eh reserach yet, is that the sponges know that there has been damage and are reproducing themselves after their population has been threatened. This is very cool and neds some time on the computer to research.

Our findings have been extraordinary. before each dive we hold out breathe (not for too long but we do it wondering what we are going to find) and we are finding that the ocean is taking care of itself. When we think that we are going to faced with a bad site, or damage, the ocean is giving us yet again some great gifts. The removal of some coral has opened us up to new sitings of sealife, our friends are coming out of their holes to play and we are having some great diving....we have always said that there is never a bad dive and now we can honestly say that even after a hurricane, there is still no bad diving, it is just different.

SO the report is good news! Oscar, Bebe, Roman, and others are having the times of their lifes discovering new things, feeling like they are diving in some different areas that they have not seen before. The turtles are still around and over 30 were spotted ont he reef just yesterday. For the regular visitor, the reef has not changed. For the guys, they are thrilled to see the ocean and its inhabitants functioning differently and giving surprises, nice surprises each and every day.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


The dive center is up and running at the Corto Maltese, the boys are kicking butt and somehow everyone is finding us, despite our displacement. It is true, `If you build it, they WILL come´

We have all found this little change a little stressful, but I think we are finding our place. The dive center is different, we miss our Bodega (storage unit which none of you really saw) BUT dives are going out, new customers are finding us, the beach is fantastic and all the staff at the Corto Maltese are welcoming the divers and staff at the Abyss Dive Center. It may be a nice match for the next few weeks. ´Close one door and another one opens´and we have found that multiple doors are opening up for us since our little catastrophy at the other beach location. (not really a catastrophy but it feels like that some days)

The best news is Saturday Nights are back at the Abyss and the BBQ´s are running!!! Regular divers, locals and other business owners joined us for fish, chicken wings, great guacamole and just a few beers...just a few...with everyone stating how great it was to have the BBQ´s back...Tulum staff, Playa staff and of course Carlos were having a great time and were able to have thier first beer together since the hurricane.

Tourism seems to be picking up with airlines starting to understand that Mexico is not destroyed. Really, the wokers everywhere along the coast are busting butt to get ready for Thanksgiving. All habitants of Cozumel are wearing a great t-shirt that says ´The Island stronger than Wilma´and this is true.

People are finally getting back to routines and we are able to discuss our options at the Blue Parrot, so hang tight. We should hopefully know where and how we will be operating for Christmas so that we are easily found. If you can´t find us, just ask....local businesses are supporting us to ensure that customers get to their favorite dive center.

Let us know when you are arriving and keep on eye on the blog....if we are off line for a few days then either we are diving or taking a well deserved day off...which all of us need from time to time..Catch you in the blue soon....

Sunday, November 06, 2005


So if you have been following the news, Dave has decided to set up a temporary location down the beach so we can assess the structural damage at the Dive Center. Our manana world seems to be turning into proxima semana (next week) so we decided to relocated for a few weeks...

The temporary location is three hotels south on the beach at CORTO MALTESE HOTEL which, is at the bottom of 10th street. Inga, who is a customer or ours, friend and the current owner of the hotel, kindly offered this location to us after hearing about our situation.....thanks Inga, you are a star....and she has agreed to do the BBQ´s as well! Yipeeee!!!! SATURDAY NIGHT BEACH BBQS ARE BACK! Inga is a great cook and can put many to shame with her menus so if you are in town, come and join us on Saturday nights.....

Now for logistics...we know logistics are not supposed to be a part of your vacation so we have minimized this part. Our dive schedule remains the same, meeting time 8:30 a.m. for the two tank morning dive, 12:30 snorkel trip and 1:30 meeting time for the afternoon dives. Night dives are available for those who are being parked at the Costa Del Mar outside the Pirata, so you will not have to walk too far....and signs will be up for all to see on the really, there are no logistics....same old, same old...

Dave and all the employees will be floating around on the beach if they are not floating around in the water with divers, so look for the familiar faces of Oscar, Fernando, Gabino and of course Jefe David. Oh and by the way, there is a bar at the hotel, a beach bar with food, for your post-dive cocktail and snack. Nothing really will change except the size and shape of the dive center so things will still be familiar. We even think, though can not confirm yet , that beers are cheaper....heheheheh.

If you are not sure where the bottom of 10th street is, (straight down the street from Java Joe´s and the Rana Cansada) or not too sure which way is south, (Navigation Specilaty may be needed if you are confused) just give us a quick email and we can provide you with full directions from your hotel.

As soon as we find the proxima semana god who can help us with this little teeny, weeny problem that may or may not exist in the building of the original Abyss, we will let you know. I feel like we are introducing a new product like Coca Cola did and may end up with the New Abyss and the Abyss Classic.....sounds like it is time to open the public offering of the Abyss, sell shares and get a Board of Directors....the dive centers are multiplying faster than Dave can have kids!!! Look out!!!!

The Saturday Night BBQ this coming Saturday will be a bash, so dont miss it! All our firends from Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and all diver friends will be down on the beach so come andjoin in the fun....7 p.m. sharp soyou dont miss the first beer bucket to be handed out and the first beers to be drunk to celbrate the re-opening of the Dive Center after Wilma. Cheers!

Saturday, November 05, 2005


This blog is getting famous....and the emails are coming in requesting more information. Thanks for spreading the word to everyone...information is king and we are happy everyone is getting it. So we apologize for not being online but we are still working hard to get back to normal....again I will stress our normal, not anyone elses normal.

The most important news currently is the status of the dive center in Playa Del Carmen. Dave has been running around looking for alternative locations until we are able to get this resolved. The issue is structural damage that STILL is unresolved. We are stuck in the land of ´Manana´ so things are taking longer than we would like. With the mystery still lurking over our heads, we are reluctant to move everything into the dive center, set up as normal (there is that word again) and find that in December we have to move everything out and fix a structural issue. The unanimous decision is to find a temporary location, set up shop, work with contractors to find the issue at our orignal location and then move back. Complicated, very complicated and really we dont want to tire you with this....

So tonight Dave will have his final meeting and make a decision. The most important thing for us is to get a location, let everyone know where we are and start diving in Playa Del Carmen. Tulum is still fine and we will be diving every day next week. Thank goodness for flexible employees, who are happy to find out each morning where they will be working. And thank goodness for Dave´s ingenious idea to open in Tulum. Many dive centers in Playa Del Carmen are not operational at this time...but we are taking people out any and every day we can in Tulum.

Now the other infamous question. The Reef....what is going on. We have to say that the media, oh the media how we love the media, has lumped any damages to the reef into the entire Caribbean I would suspect that the world now thinks that the reef no longer exists. Well let me be bold and contratict the international media. The reef does exist here in Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and elsewhere. Cozumel and Cancun, the most damaged areas on land may have some areas that were harmed but without seeing if for ourselves....we will refrain comment.

Reports from other dive centers who have been diving in Playa Del Carmen state that the reef is fine..yes some coral is gone, that is expected, but remember that we know the reef better than anyone so when an inch of coral is damaged, or a fan coral is missing or a fish has moved we know. It is similar to your house, you know when it is dusty or a little messy but if we come to visit we knot know or see this. There was some debris on some of the northern sites that seem to have come from damage in Cozumel, but divers are going out and cleaning things up. The situation is being assessed and everytime people go out diving they are reporting areas that may require our attention...thank goodness we all pay attention and thank godness we all care about what is going on out there.

The good news is that starting Monday morning, Senor Dave will be going out with all of us to assess the situation...yes, if you can witness this rare activity, Dave will load up the boat with tanks, employees and maybe some of our regulars and go on a reef hunt. HE IS GOING TO GET WET!!!! The camera will be out for this one...and we guarantee footage! This is his personal mission after being out of the water after Wilma and he wants to report to you, our friends, exactly what he finds...hearsay sucks so the truth will be posted Monday night...or maybe Tuesday morning as we may have a little get together to celebrate the new temporary location.... everyone deserves a break after these last few weeks and an opportunity to let loose....

Now great news, we can re-introduce the Saturday night BBQ´s at the new location...this was one of the criteria for the new BBQ´s, no way!!!!! The first one will be this Saturday and Nicola has announced that she will cook for this!!!! Yippeeeee!!!! No promises for the other Saturdays but she will cook for this Saturday. Look out for grilled fresh fish, BBQ chicken, thai coconut veggies, lemon grass rice and anything else that will be dreamed up for the bash. Ummm, roasted garlic mash...ummmmm HURRICANE COOKIES...

Everyone else in Playa Del Carmen is fine. The Rana had their annual Halloween Bash and drew a great crowd...Java Joe´s is again the hub for information and filled with locals each morning. The fun is still around even though we are not back to normal (oh, there it is again)

Stay tuned for the update tomorrow....and check to see where we will be before you come to visit for El Dia de Gracias (Thanksgiving)