During our recent trip to Mexico, I was most looking forward to my first scuba diving experience. We had rented a car and were driving all around the Yucatan, but I knew checking scuba diving off my bucket list was something I really wanted to do on this trip. Having never gone scuba diving before, we wondered if we would get nervous or claustrophobic 40-50 feet under water; but we wouldn’t know until we tried it. After searching online for diving companies in the Yucatan, we found Scuba Mex out of Paa Mul, Mexico (just south of Playa del Carmen) and we are so happy that we did.
On the day of the dive, we woke up early in the morning and headed over to the Scuba Mex dive shop on the Paa Mul beach. There were several people sitting out front chatting with each other & waiting for the boat to depart at 9 am. We were greeted with a big smile and a big Texas handshake from John, one of the owners of Scuba Mex. He welcomed us into his scuba shop and gave us the run-down of what to expect for our first time scuba diving. He partnered us up with two experienced divers to learn the basics & safety maneuvers in the shallow water before heading out to the nearby reef.
I was partnered up with an 18 year veteran named Alfonzo, and Liz got a very experienced and sweet diver named Cindy. They took us over to practice the basics needed to make sure we would be safe under the water and to practice using our regulators. Our instructors were so patient and calm with us as we tested our equipment and got used to the feeling of breathing under water. These two seasoned veterans made us feel calm with their patience & experience.
Once we practiced clearing our masks, popping our ears, and replacing our regulators, we hopped on the boat & headed out with the crew to explore the bottom of the ocean. Unfortunately, Liz had just come down with a cold and was having some trouble popping her ears because of her congestion. It is impossible to dive if you are unable to pop your ears. I was a little worried about this too before jumping in, but I got the hang of it once we were under the water. Liz gave it a try out at the reef, but on the way down to the bottom (about 40 feet below), she couldn’t pop her ears and the pressure in her head proved to be too much. So she went back up to the boat and spent the next hour sunbathing and chatting with Juan, the boat driver. Hopefully we will get her back out there again soon.
Alfonzo and I jumped in with our gear, it was a little scary at first as we were descending into the ocean. One thing that I kept having to tell myself is to control my breathing and trust my equipment. I had to keep reminding myself of this the entire time because breathing underwater doesn’t feel natural, and it’s a little freaky! As we descended further and further, another world opened up. It was stunning & I couldn’t keep from smiling to myself in amazement of what I was experiencing.
After a couple of minutes, we met up with other the experienced divers from our boat, and we all spent the rest of the time diving together. The crew at Scuba Mex were so wonderful, they welcomed us into their community of divers on our first go, and we really felt a part of their club. It was such an amazing experience diving with everyone. All the divers would keep their eyes open and when they spotted something cool under the water, they made sure to get our attention so that the rest of us could check it out too. This particular area has an amazing (and easily accessible) reef, and is known for sea turtles and other unique sea creatures. The water was so clear & the reef was so beautiful, it was just stunning under the water.
Once I felt like I was getting the hang of moving around a little and seeing what the other divers were doing, I began to really enjoy the freeness of moving in the water. I loved exploring the reef and seeing all the different types of fish and wildlife living here. It was truly amazing.
I am so pleased that we chose Scuba Mex for my first experience diving. The crew were top notch and we felt like we had been diving with them for years. Beyond that, everyone was so friendly and helpful. and we can’t wait to visit again. Actually, we have decided to return here to get our certifications in scuba diving, because you can actually do your certification while enjoying a real reef (and not a boring swimming pool). We sincerely want to thank John and his crew for being so professional and friendly; it was an amazing experience that we will never forget. Thank you for marking off one of our Bucket List items and adding many more to it.
- Are you interested in diving in Paa Mul with John and his crew? Check out their website here: http://www.scubamex.com