Beach Cleanup SUCCESS!

Wow! We continue to be grateful for the generosity of our friends! As you know from reading this post, we arranged a Beach Cleanup to coincide with Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action.

We selected a short stretch of beach on the east side of our beautiful island. Here is what it looked like Before…

before photo of september beach cleanup at blue angel cozumel
Before…

Birds and sea creatures like turtles eat this stuff. It fills their stomachs and ultimately, ends their life.

plastic, plastic everywhere
Before…

With eleven intrepid souls, we headed out for about two hours to pick this junk up! We were joined by an island visitor from Ireland, who was passing by on his scooter, and asked if he could join us! An enthusiastic YES!!! all are welcome.

beach cleanup, cozumel
hard at work

There is still much to be done, but we did make progress…

beach cleanup, cozumel, mexico
…After!

Thank you so much to all who participated, and who support these activities! Special thanks to Eva and Blue Angel Resort for providing us with snacks and refreshments, and to Juan and Verna of chac-choc tours, for providing transportation and a helper!

beach cleanup crew, cozumel mexico
Thank you so much!

Congratulations, and thank you!!

We’ve been busy!

September is traditionally a quiet time of year here in Cozumel, but we have been keeping busy all the same!

Matthew is currently a Master Instructor, which means he is able to staff Instructor Development Courses. And he has been doing just that, helping out with a Course Director here on the island. Here’s a great photo of him teaching an Emergency First Response Instructor course for some IDC candidates!

Matthew Atkins, teaching EFR courseThe other exciting event this month was PADI Business Academy. It was an intensive two-day program, with hands-on workshops to help us with learning what to do, measuring how well we’re doing, and how to improve. How to serve you better! We had a great time there learning from the PADI presenters, seeing some old friends, and making some new ones.

PADI Business Academy attendees, September 2012 in Playa del CarmenAnd don’t forget: upcoming is our next Beach Clean Up, on September 29! See you there!

beach cleanup poster

BEACH CLEANUP! Save the date

As you know from reading this post, Blue Angel Scuba School is a big supporter of Project AWARE. September is Debris Month of Action, and we’re very pleased to be able to contribute! We have just confirmed a beach clean up afternoon for Saturday, September 29, 2012. Once again, we’ll be collecting trash on the east side of Cozumel where the sand, sun and surf deserve our attention in more ways than one. We can make a difference! If you’re around, join us; the more the merrier.

Thanks once more to Cozumel’s own chac choc tours for assisting with transportation! This is the third time they have participated, and in addition to providing us with a ride, the owner, Juan, is a wonderful addition to the trash picking team. Thank you so much! And thanks also (as always) to Blue Angel Resort for for providing snacks and refreshments, and for being such an awesome, supportive place to work, dive, stay, and hang out!

We will be posting photos to our facebook page, so if you haven’t pressed “like” yet, now is a great time!

beach cleanup poster

University of Alberta Scuba Club’s Cozumel Experience

We want to share this with you; a guest post from the University of Alberta Scuba Club. Here is what they had to say about their trip to Blue Angel!

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Over the University of Alberta’s reading week, the U of A Scuba Appreciation Society had the experience of a lifetime with Blue Angel Scuba School. We also had the privilege of being one of the first groups to organize our training schedule entirely through the newly formed Blue Angel Scuba School.

U of A group shot, with the No Problem boat in Cozumel

The initial planning for the trip, all the way through to the final execution of diver training, was facilitated by veteran dive instructors and dive operators; it was the experience of a lifetime, let us tell you why…

Diver Training

The U of A Scuba Club has been building a reputation for having a lot of diver training on our trips, and this trip was no exception. For the week that we were there we needed to complete 7 PADI Open Water Diver Referrals (the “open water” portion of the Open Water certification), two Peak Performance Buoyancy specialties, three Deep Diver specialties, two Night Diver specialties, one Rescue Diver certification and one Emergency First Response Instructor course!

**phew** That’s a lot of training!

Kari Taylor Atkins with three Deep Diver students!

Scheduling all that training into the the short week that we had was definitely a challenge, but we carefully planned every dive in advance and made contingencies for delays along the way (and good thing we did). Our seven Open Water divers took to their new underwater environment like… well, like fish in water! By our third day of diving, everyone was diving confidently in their buddy pairs.

New diver on the reef.

Everyone who signed up for diver training made leaps and bounds worth of progress with their diving skills, especially the divers who participated in the Deep Diver and Peak Performance Buoyancy courses (which are highly recommended by the divers that completed them). Even our novice divers made vast improvements in their skills throughout the week, simply by having a great set of dive instructors and divemasters as role models for the rest of us.

Diving

Boat dives were the main focus of our trip, and with most of our diver training out of the way, our group prepared for the spectacular views of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Out of the 10 boat dives that we did throughout the week, we got a comprehensive view of all the different ecosystems that interplay to form all of the beauty that Cozumel is famous for –  from the towering coral heads of Palancar Bricks, to the sandy shores of La Francesca and more.

U of A scuba club underwater in Cozumel

As a group, we racked up an impressive list of fish, shark, octopus, coral and plant species throughout the week. We had playful meetings with humongous parrotfish, majestic views of hawksbill turtles, lucky sightings of camouflaged seahorses, and nocturnal encounters with caribbean reef octopuses. Several of our participants even claim to have seen rarer green turtles and fleeting glimpses of eagle rays!

octopus on a night dive

Although shore diving seems to pale in comparison to boat diving on the reef, the Villa Blanca dive site in front of the Blue Angel Resort grew to be a favourite among many of our trip’s participants. The convenience of diving in proximity to our hotel rooms and restaurant was what initially drove our divers to explore what Villa Blanca had to offer, but after a number of day and night dives from shore, we quickly realized that the diversity of life on the shore dive rivaled some of the best diving from the boats! Juveniles were especially prevalent on the shore dive, but they were a lot trickier to find than their mature counterparts!

diver in the sunset

Fun on the Island

Our trips often coincide with Cozumel’s famous Carnival, and this year we were lucky to join in with the locals to celebrate the culture of the island. Cozumel islanders dress up in some of the most ornate costumes and parade down the main street with their music blaring and good times rolling.

dancing in the carnival parade in cozumel

After all the fun we had at the Carnival and underwater, we had to give back to the people and the environment of Cozumel. We did so by organizing an afternoon cleanup of a 2 km stretch of beach on the east side of the island. The soft white sand beaches of Cozumel are immeasurably beautiful, but they are marred by human garbage that drifts in the sea and washes up on shore. After a few hours of hard labour and 34 bags of garbage, we returned the beach to its natural and beautiful state.

beach clean up in cozumel, with the university of alberta scuba club

Our Thanks

Our experience with Blue Angel Scuba School was, in one word, AWESOME! It can’t be overstated how great our experiences were; from Open Water referrals and specialty training with Kari, dive mastering by nurse shark finder Aldo and eagle ray detector Norman, videography by Tony, and the one-on-one Rescue Diver and EFR training with Matthew, every part of the diving experience was professional and enjoyable.

Thank you Blue Angel Scuba School, you’ve created memories for a lifetime.

We’re now 100% AWARE!

Project AWARE banner

We have just become the only 100% AWARE dive shop in all of Mexico
What does that mean? Well, it means a lot! A lot of great things. Blue Angel Scuba School is leading the way in shark protection and ocean garbage awareness in Mexico, and around the world. As dive professionals, we recognize the significance of ocean protection. We love the aquatic environment and want to do what we can to ensure its preservation so that we, and you, and everyone, can enjoy it for generations to come. We know YOU value the ocean as we do, and we respect and honor your commitment to “protect our ocean planet – one dive at a time.”

Project AWARE bannerBy becoming “100% AWARE” we have agreed to make a regular contribution to Project AWARE, and what YOU get is a special certification card! Each certification program conducted by Blue Angel Scuba School will now include the special edition version of the certification card, allowing you to show of your support also. It’s a win-win-win!

Click here to watch an awesome video sent to us by Project AWARE!
http://animoto.com/play/4Q9AxV5qoMNoRWLNIk7WyA

We are EXCITED about this! and we hope you are too. And check us out on this map!Map of Project AWARE dive shops in Mexico Click on the map to learn more about Project AWARE!