Unfortunately Covid-19 put a stop to our planned trip to Mexico for spring break. We managed to make a safe trip to Playa del Carmen in August though. It’s certainly an interesting experience to travel these days, we were lucky in that all the airports we traveled through were pretty quiet and so distancing was easy. We spent the time there diving as much as possible, both reef and Cenote.

Once we decided to go, I decided to use the opportunity to learn to use the xDeep/Hollis sidemount rig with a good instructor and in warm water not cold. I had managed to buy a great BC right before the world shut down, great timing, but now I get to try it out. I bought an xDeep Stealth 2.0 Rec and added a pair of Hollis DC1/212 primary/secondary regulators; these are an older style, were used, but I had them serviced, and they work like new. Having added Hollis SPGs, xDeep cargo pouch, xDeep tank cam-bands, and some custom tri-glides from Sump UK it seemed about time to get it all wet!.


We didn’t really have a plan, so the following schedule is more of a retrospective.

Day Site Type
Wednesday Casa Cenote (Cenote Manati) cenote
  Cuevitas reef
Thursday Chun Zum Bul deep reef
  Cueva del Pargo reef
Friday Garden of Eden cenote, sidemount
  Dreamgate cenote, sidemount
Saturday Santa Rosa reef, drift, sidemount
  C-53 Felipe Xicotenantl wreck, sidemount
Sunday Zapote (Hell’s Bells) cenote
  Maravilla cenote
Monday Mama Viña wreck, sidemount
  Barracuda reef, sidemount
Tuesday Pared Verde reef, sidemount
  Grand Class/Ambassador reef, sidemount

For Friday dives fran picked two reasonably sedate cenotes to practice getting gear on and off in the water, trim, and gas management. It’s pretty different, but remarkably it doesn’t take long to get used to it!.

A Few Photos

Sandi and a turtle

Sandi behind a very relaxed green turtle, just eating and ignoring us.

Hells Bells

Hells Bells; a unique underwater structure in both Zapote and Maravilla cenotes.

Sponge Macro

Close up on one of my favorite subject, sponges. This is using my new Sony FE 90mm F/2.8 Macro for the first time underwater.


A juvenile trunkfish in a sponge.

The amazing francisco

The amazing francisco, from Dive Life in Playa. unfortunately the photographer was in the process of losing one tank and bouyancy at this point in the dive.