Story and Photos by
LEE A. WOOD
I graduated from skin diving to scuba diving in the early `60's, in the Okanagan Valley, when regulators were behind your head and the mouthpiece had two hoses. I joined the Vernon Underwater Club and took my training from an ex professional trainer. He wasn't certified at the time so neither were we but upon completion of our training we received a membership card to the dive club.
The club membership card allowed us to buy equipment in the local dive shop and to get our tanks filled at the fire hall. The fire dept. had the only air facilities for many miles.
In the late `70's, I was living on the West Coast of Canada and got my PADI dive certification. I am an infrequent diver and I had made my last dive on Boxing Day '85. We were in Brentwood Bay, near Victoria, Canada, and it was snowing.
When my friend Paul asked me to join him for a trip to Zihuatanejo I jumped at the chance to get back in the water. I had often dreamed of diving in a place where the water was warm enough to dive without a wet suit.
In preparation for this trip I went to`Dive and Sea Sports' in New Westminster. There I was fitted out with a good: mask; snorkel; and a pair of fins that were chosen to fit my swimming ability.
The friendly helpful staff also gave me a good price because I mentioned my boss's name. At that time I was working in the special effects department on a TV series called `Level 9" and my boss was a professional diver.
Veronica fitted me up with my gear and put me in a taxi.
While bicycling along the bike path in Ixtapa I came across `Ixtapa Divers'. I stopped in and made arrangements to go for a one tank dive. As I know little Spanish and they know little English the communications were not that good. I tried to arrange to go when others were going so I wouldn't be the only one on the dive.
THE ROCK JETTY AND PIER AT PLAYA LINDA
ISLA IXTAPA AND ONE OF THE BEACHES AND RESORTS
(IN THE BACKGROUND)
THE BEACH NORTH OF THE PIER AT PLAYA LINDA
THE BEACH SOUTH OF THE PIER AT PLAYA LINDA
ONE OF THE RESORTS AT PLAYA LINDA
When I phoned the next day to see if the dive was on I was told to come out. I caught the bus from Zihuatanejo and at the dive shop I was fitted out with my equipment. Then a taxi took me to the pier at Playa Linda where I was met by the dive boats.
It turned out that the dive boats were just coming back from a two tank training session and one of the dive masters was waiting to take me out as they thought that my phone call was a request to dive that day.
The boat took us past Ixtapa Island (Isla Ixtapa), around the point (Punta Ixtapa), into the middle of Ixtapa Bay (Bhaia del Palmar), to a small island which is basically the tip of a large rock, called Zacatoso.
My dive master, Roel Hernadez, took me down to a sandy bottom and we followed the base of the rock. He showed me how to sneak up on small sting rays and hold them against the bottom so we could pet them. We caught a fish that swelled up like a balloon and we petted that, stroking with the grain of the quills of course.
At times we dipped to depths of forty-five feet and I notice a bit of a chill with only a T-shirt on but I got used to it quite quickly and we weren't often at that depth. Normally we were at a warmer thirty-five feet. Above forty feet the temperature was approximately seventy degrees.
We saw several trumpet fish as well as a very long eel winding its way between rocks. I never saw it's head so I don't know what kind it was.
Although it was a pleasant dive for me it was a bit tiring for Roel as it was his third dive of the day. He was constantly looking at his watch and when we got back near the boat I suggested we go up.
Pointing at his watch he indicated my hour wasn't up yet but I pointed up and he was happy to agree.
Like the trip out, the trip back was sunny and clear and we had a beautiful view of Ixtapa, Ixtapa Island, and Playa Linda.
NEW CONDOS BETWEEN PLAYA LINDA AND IXTAPA
RESORTS AT IXTAPA
THERE IS A SIMILAR BEACH ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND
EACH BEACH OFFERS A RESORT
while returning to Playa Linda
WITH THE RESORTS OF IXTAPA IN THE BACKGROUND
THE DIVE TEAM PREPARES FOR A LITTLE TROLLING ON THE WAY HOME.
THEY ASKED ME IF I WAS IN A HURRY TO GET BACK
I SAID, "NO", SO THEY SLOWED TO TROLLING SPEED
BOAT CAPTAIN, LUIS, REELS OUT THE LINE
REELING IN THE CATCH
DIVE MASTER ROEL DISPLAYS SUPPER
(A BLACK TUNA)
The temperature was about eighty-five degrees but Roel had no extra clothes with him and he was happy to accept my towel to dry off, as he was shivering. Despite the fact that I was enjoying beautiful weather it was winter for Roel and he had been down three times that day.
Later I learned that there is a dive tour on Isla Ixtapa and another at the South end of Playa La Ropa.
Ixtapa is definitely a destination for divers. Whether they be serious divers who want to try some night diving in Barra De Potosi or just casual divers who enjoy skin as well as scuba, the Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo area has something for everyone.
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