Wreck diving in Isla Mujeres with Sharks

islamujeres-isla mujeres-travel-mexico-love-backpack-blog-wanderlustIsla Mujeres, Mexico

Diving in Isla Mujeres

The last few weeks have been intense while also super relaxed. About two months ago mr. Viking and I set foot on Mexican soil again after having been working our asses off for 6 months in Greece. Now we haven’t quite been sitting still over here either, but without to much pressure. This winter we started our Mexico travels in Playa del Carmen, where we currently are as well. We had however never though of ending up here again after two months, but the island hopping we have been doing in the meanwhile pretty much led us back here. Now before I start telling you what we are doing here in PDC I’d love to tell you what happened from the beginning.

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Exploring the streets of Isla Mujeres and its street art

Two months ago

From Playa we take the bus to crazy Cancun. Fortunately we don’t have to go into town and a taxi ride to the city’s harbor was all we needed. We booked a hotel for five nights in Isla Mujeres – the Caribbean island translated into the ‘island of women’. It takes about 20 minutes to cross from Cancun to Isla Mujeres with a ferry service called Ultramar. They have a volunteering musician on board most of the time who plays Caribbean vibe songs along the way. While cruising the water to reach our destination the island already starts to flirt with us. The water is pure turquoise and the welcoming heat combined with the songs makes it perfect. Our goal was to go diving in Isla Mujeres, but we had no idea that Isla would become our home for a while.

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Playa Norte

Exploring the island

In Isla Mujeres we end up finding one of the most pretty beaches in the Caribbean called Isla Norte. There we decide to spend our first holidays. The short walk from our hotel to the beach makes us pass by several dive centers and we simply can’t help but walk into some and ask about diving in Isla Mujeres. We want to find a cozy dive center where we can do our Divemaster course. We also want to do a shipwreck dive for the fun of exploring it.

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Just a curious lobster

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A hungry Moray Eel taking a peek at us

Wreck diving

Together we talk about if for a few days yet soon we decide. We’ll do the dive at a Mexican Navy WW2 gunboat called C-58. Instructor Ivan from Sea Hawk Divers is the one to take us there and another diver is joining us. One the day of the dive, unfortunately, the weather is horrible. The waves are so high that all three divers have to puke before and after the first dive. Only the instructor and the captain remain non-effected by the waves. However, once we hit the water we all feel a lot better and the nausea disappears – that is until we have to climb back into the boat again.

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The back of the Gunboat C-58

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Penetrating the wreck

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Mr. Viking

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Selfie!

A ray surprise

The first dive leads us to the bigger part of the wreck as the gunboat was split in half during Hurricane Wilma in 2004. Actually we are so lucky that we all have great air consumption and can make it to the other part of the wreck as well. It’s about 60 meters away and we simply have to go with the current. There’s less to see at the other part of the wreck as it’s a bit smaller and not penetrable. Nonetheless, it was totally worth the visit. A group of beautiful Spotted Eagle Rays swim below us as we end our dive at the wreck and are halfway through the ascend. They say that in November the Eagle Ray season starts in Isla Mujeres and we were lucky to see some on our very first dive in Isla!

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Unexpected Spotted Eagle Rays surprising us from below

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The second part of the Gunboat C-58 wreck

Shark diving in Isla Mujeres

For our second tank we go to Punta Negra which got its name due to the Black Tip Reef Sharks dominating the area. As I spot one during the dive I try to notify mr. Viking about its appearance. As I look back at where I had seen the shark last it is now swimming towards me!

I am not afraid of sharks, but having one swimming right at me is a new sensation and I must say I am somehow pleased when it doesn’t come too close. While all of us simply hover around and stare at the shark it decides it has seen enough and turns around. What an amazing creature to see! I have seen some sharks in Panama last year, but they were far away and not curious at all. This one spiced our dive up a tiny bit even while we know its completely harmless to us careful divers.

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The Black Tip Reef Shark

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For a closer look at this magnificent creature

After the dives we head back for Isla and talk some more with Ivan. Should we do our Divemaster course with him and the shop while diving in Isla Mujeres or hold on a bit longer to compare our options? Mr. Viking and I talk about over a glass of wine… The next morning on the beach we decide that we should stay and do it!

Read more about us becoming Divemasters and what we did next!

And watch this movie 🙂

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*Photos by Thom Mattsson and Renate Rigters

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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