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HURRICANE BLANCA HAS LEFT CABO SAN LUCAS
It’s time for Amigos Del Mar to get back to the scuba business – now that Hurricane Blanca has left Cabo San Lucas and headed north to California Alta – that is the U.S. portion of California, for all of you Gringos. out there. There are always hurricanes and tropical storms forming sown the coast of Central America at this time of year. They usually form into a storm and then develop into a hurricane and head for the Socorro Islands. They pass over the top of Socorro and then head left. As stated – this is the norm.
The water at depth is unseasonably warm in the Los Cabos area this year – even warmer than last year, which we thought could be a record. Since the hurricanes follow the track of warm water – as soon as they hit cold water, they veer off to follow the warm water track. Ergo Hawaii and parts west. But this year, the water temps are already in the high 70’s, so there is no cold water to direct the storms into the left turn. And to make it even more difficult – there is a track of cold water running a few hundred miles offshore from Alta California down through Baja California. So when the hurricanes tried to head west – they hit the bar of cold water and bounce back toward land.
But at least Los Cabos is just cold enough to keep the storms out at sea – rather than the direct hit like Hurricane Odile in September 2014.
The Los Cabos water is not going to get noticeably colder. So the best we Cabenos can hope for is that the cold water offshore the coasts of the three Californias just takes a hike – and lets the storms head out into the Pacific.
PADI 10 Year Achievement Award
Scuba Diving is not just about diving and getting wet – it’s also about people. Jonathan Vegas has just received his PADI 10 year recognition award. Jonathan has been active in the diving industry for fourteen years and has been working at Amigos Del Mar SCUBA for seven of those ten years.
Jonathan started out as a dogsbody working at a dive store filling tanks and doing general errands. He learned about boats and worked as a captain. Once he taught himself English, he got his divemaster license and then he went on to complete his IDC, or instructors training in Akumal, Mexico. On his return to Cabo, started out as an instructor in 2005 and worked with us for one year. He and his family then took a two year sabbatical to Japan. Odd choice for an escape, but not when you realize his wife is Japanese.
After returning to Mexico, Jonathan started up as an instructor. After a short time, he agreed to accept the responsibility for outside sales with the hotels, as well as his diving responsibilities. And then in 2013, Jonathan took the plunge and started a Management training position with the ultimate goal of running Amigos Del Mar. And in 2014 Jonathan officially took over as Manager as Amigos Del Mar.
Jonathan has no plans to leave the dive industry. Today his responsibilities include more paperwork than water – but we insist that he still gets wet. He is a certified nitrox instructor and also teaches our underwater photography classes. Jonathan wants to broaden his photography skills and pursue technical diving – in his spare time.
SCUBA Rescue Course on the Cabo Beach.
Amigos Del Mar SCUBA teaches a lot of people to dive. Our latest PADI Rescue Divers just completed their PADI Rescue Course on the Cabo beach in Los Cabos. We use the Mexican beach, which is the beach located at the end of Marina Boulevard – past the Naval Station. Cabo locals call it the Mexican beach because it is where the true locals tend to congregate – especially on Sundays.
Amigos Del Mar uses the Mexican beach to set up the required PADI skills to complete the SCUBA Rescue Course. The dive requirements include responses to a panicked tired and a tired diver. They must tow a diver to safety. They must deal with a distressed diver underwater and they must bring an unconscious diver to the surface. They also have to locate a missing diver by conducting three different search patterns.
My favorite part of the PADI Rescue Course are the Instructor directed rescue scenarios. The Instructor gets to create the ‘rescue situation’ and then the Rescue Diver candidate has to respond by assessing the situation, formulating the rescue plan and then put the plan into action. I especially like playing the part of the unconscious diver. Just don’t ask me why – because there is no real reason.
Our two current Rescue Diver Candidates are Guillermo and Ruben. Both of these gentlemen are Mexicans who want a career in the Scuba diving industry. This is just one step in the process to become a professional dive guide. Upon completion of their PADI divemaster courses, they will be eligible to guide certified divers on the scuba diving tours.
Do you know the SCUBA Catch of the day in Los Cabos? We see him in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park and Cabo Pulmo. Look close since he is hard to spot.
Synanceia horrida (Linnaeus, 1766)
The total length of a stonefish can be from 28 cm to 47 cm (11″ to 18.5″). The head, body and fins are generally dark brown. The skin is warty, scaleless and often covered in a short coat of filamentous algae. Thirteen sharp dorsal spines are each contained in a thick sheath of skin. The head has deep pits and grooves. The eyes are small and situated on a raised bony structure. The pectoral fins are enlarged and fleshy.
We often see the stonefish on the local dives in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park and in Cabo Pulmo.
Stonefish are extremely well camouflaged and often almost indistinguishable from their natural surrounds. The venomous dorsal fin spines can cause extremely painful wounds and other serious medical issues.
Stonefish are the most venomous of all fishes. The fish usually lies motionless, often partially buried in the substrate and perfectly camouflaged among surrounding coral, rocky reef, rubble, or aquatic plants.
The stonefish has 13 sharp strong dorsal fin spines that are contained within a sheath of thick skin. At the base of each spine there are two venom glands that discharge their contents along ducts in the spine. When disturbed, the fish erects its spines, but maintains its position on the sea floor.
Stings usually occur to the feet of swimmers or waders who have ventured away from clean sandy substrate and closer to the more complex bottom structure preferred by the stonefish. Multiple spines can often penetrate affected limbs, resulting in more extensive envenomation. The pain is immediate, excruciating and may last for many days. Muscular paralysis, breathing difficulties, shock, and sometimes heart failure and death can ensue.
Most scuba divers are aware that they do need to respect the marine life while underwater, but this is just one more reminder that the consequences can be drastic as well as painful.
To prevent stonefish stings, sturdy footwear should be worn on reef flats, or while wading on soft-bottom substrates adjacent to rocky or weedy areas. Scuba divers should always be aware of their environment – in all 360 degree. An antivenene for stonefish stings has been developed. In the event of a sting, the victim should leave the water, apply first aid and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Diving Pelican Rock in Cabo San Lucas Marine Park
The Amigo Uno was scheduled to start the dive day by diving Pelican Rock in Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. Amigos Del Mar had a mixed group of divers going out on the Amigo Uno. The group consisted of eight people, six of whom were certified and two were making their first dive ever. They may be on the same boat but we split the groups up so they are enjoying two entirely different experiences.
Luis got his group of experienced divers ready and then they stepped off the dive platform and started their scuba experience by diving Pelican Rock in Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. Todays group saw a variety of fish, including snappers, groupers, Moorish idols, parrot fish – to name a few. They also saw the green moray eels. it is almost impossible to dive in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park without seeing a green moray eel. Their second dive was at The Point – where we have the best opportunity to play with the sea lions.
The non-certified divers were escorted by Karen – a newly certified PADI instructor. They have already seen a safety video, but Karen still takes them through an extensive briefing and then gets them suited up and ready to enter the water. And then the dive starts!. The first step is to get them comfortable with their gear while on the surface of the water. And then they gradually submerge and wait to see what comes across their path. The instructor will point out various marine life – but their primary function is the safety of their charges. At the completion of the dive, they ascend together and, after the safety stop, enter the boat. And then they re-experience the dive as they review the experience while onboard.
What a great way to enjoy your vacation!
PADI announces FIVE STAR DIVE RESORT in Cabo.
PADI announces five star dive resort in Cabo – and is it any surprise that it is Amigos Del Mar SCUBA!
This designation is not given to just any dive location. It requires meeting safety and client satisfaction parameters outlined inn great deal by the PADI organization. Amigos Del Mar says: It’s safety first and then it’s all about having fun!
The requirements for the PADI Five Star include owning your own dive boats, because yes, some dive operators charter boats for their divers. And you have to own your own compressor – which is the big, loud, noisy thing that puts air into our scuba dive tanks. Then their is the documentation of maintenance and inspection for everything mechanical – which includes all the gear, the compressor and the boats. But Amigos Del Mar doesn’t stop there because if it moves then we have maintenance records. Even the trucks and trailers and the, OMG, dive dogs have maintenance records. So providing PADI with the necessary documentation was one of the easy parts.
Even the Cabo San Lucas port captain is impressed with the Amigos Del Mar documentation!
Since we put out the news about our new status as a FIVE STAR DIVE RESORT we have received an unbelievable amount of feedback from our clients. At Amigos Del Mar we build our reputation with our repeat customers – some of whom have been diving with us for over twenty years. And this too is part of PADI’s decision making. It’s not just safety and maintenance – customer satisfaction is also a MUST.
So first there was the PADI 25 Year Recognition Award and now the PADI FIVE STAR RESORT designation. Why would you want to dive anywhere else when you come to the Los Cabos area?
EXPLORE CABO DESTINATION DIVE SITES
Amigos Del Mar SCUBA takes divers on Across the Bay ecotours two to three times a week, and sometimes even four. When we head out on an Across the Bay ecotour, we leave the mouth of the San Lucas Bay and head north and slightly east. This is about an eight mile trip and takes about thirty minutes to get there. If you want to place it against the highway, we end up in the Santa Maria and Chileno area.
There are more than a dozen dive sites to select from when divers go out to explore a Cabo destination dive site. We love to make this dive trip because it is a completely different underwater environment from the local dives in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. Across the Bay has a sand based bottom with some vegetation and limited reef formation. It has an average depth of 50 to 60 feet and in some spots is as deep as 90 feet.
Besides the reef formation, there’s a better chance to spot a variety of rays. We can spot Diamond stingrays. Electric Rays, Butterfly California rays, as well as a few other species. And the Across the Bay ecotour is the spot where we are most likely to find free swimming turtles.
During the winter months we have the added bonus of spotting whales and their babies in the ocean as we traverse the bay. And someday we know we’re going to be surprised by whales swimming underwater.
It’s not hard to understand why would love to go Across the Bay and scuba dive in the corridor area.
SCUBA DIVE DOGS
Everyone that dives with Amigos Del Mar knows about the scuba dive dogs. And a whole lot of people that just walk by the store have had the opportunity to meet and pet the dive dogs – Manchas, Gringo and Rica. And now, Pato and Andres.
Last Friday was a very sad day for the staff of Amigos Del Mar. We spent the morning saying goodbye to Gringo. But we also had the pleasure of spending over thirteen and a half years with Gringo.
Gringo is now down at the Pedregal Beach with Manchas. Gringo, the most senior of the scuba dive dogs always loved the water and the boat. He would delight in a day spent diving with Kevin. The return trip, where he would stand guard on the bow, will always be remembered as he protected the clients from the marauding pelicans. Gringo especially loved his walks down on the Pedregal beach where he would run in and out of the surf to cool off from chasing the balls we would throw for him. And now Gringo is spending his eternity in the spot he loved most and next to his best friend in this world.
For those fans that missed it, Manchas was put to rest at the Pedregal Beach just after Hurrican Odile. And nowManchasand Gringo, the original scuba dive dogs are where they belong – together again.
So to all of those divers that spent some time with the dive dogs – Gringo and Manchas – say a fond farewell. And stop in and visit Rica, Pato and Andres, our next generation of scuba dive dogs.
Let’s talk about Cabo San Lucas Night Dive. Last Thursday evening, Luis and two drivers went on a night dive with Amigos Del Mar in the Cabo San Lucas Marine Park. Annette and Rob had been diving with Amigos Del Mar all week. We normally require a minimum of four people for a specialty dive – but we always take care of our good customers.
The check in for the night dive is 6:45 pm. After we get Annette and Rob signed in we head down to the marina and the dive boat. At about 7:10 pm there was just a very little bit of light in the sky and so that’s when we headed down into the water.
After the first 10 minutes in the water the sun had finished setting and it was pitch black 50 feet down. The first thing we spotted were the sleeping parrotfish. And no, we did not wake them up. Our next encounter was when two white tip reef sharks cruised past us. You never know what you’ll find when you goon a night dive with Amigos Del Mar.
Of course, we saw spiny lobster and slipper lobsters. Too bad it is a Marine Park and we only take pictures but NEVER touch. They really look like they would’ve tasted good. As we flashed our lights into the dark we could pick up the red light from the eyes of the crustaceans. That’s how we find the lobsters. You flick your light on, then flick it off and look for the red spots. We also picked up some crabs and shrimp eyes that way.
The water was 76 degrees and the visibility, with our lights on, was about 40 feet. That’s actually pretty good for a night dive. And for the finale, Luis, Annette and Rob swirled their hands through the water and created their own light show with the phosphorescence they created.
The fun times are one more reason to go on a night dive with Amigos Del Mar.