Saturday, March 11, 2017

Semarnat Delegate in Quintana Roo diving with the Bull Sharks at Phantom Divers.

On March 4th 2017, we had the honor of diving with Renan Sánchez at Phantom Divers who is the Delegate of Semarnat in Quintana Roo. He accompanied us on our legendary Bull Shark diving, so he had the opportunity to live this amazing experience. We talked about the marine life importance in the ecosystem, including the Bull Sharks that visit Quintana Roo every winter. He knows about the big efforts of Saving Our Sharks for the protection and conservation of the Bull Sharks, and is really proud of all the work done. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fishing cooperative members diving with the Bull Sharks

Last Sunday February 26th, was such an honor for us diving with the members of fishing cooperatives in Quintana Roo. Along with Luis Lombardo of Saving Our Sharks and Jaime Gonzalez of CRIM the fishers came to live this lifetime experience: diving with the Bull Shark. They were so happy at the end of the diving because they have the luck to see 10 bull sharks during our legendary dive.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Four protected areas announced in Cancun

During COP 13 held in Cancun in December 2016 four new natural protected areas were declared by presidential decree. 

Now is more than 91 million hectares the total of land that have been desiganted for environmental conservation.  This area of the biosphere reserve of the Mexican Caribbean is half of the Mesoamerican reef system. 
The biosphere reserve of the Mexican Caribbean comprises the marine portion of the municipalities of Lazaro Cardenas, Isla Mujeres, Benito Juarez, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Bacalar and Othon P. Blanco. 
Whit this new decree Mexico reaches 181 protected areas, almost 6 million hectares only in the Caribbean. The protected area is equivalent to the size of the state of Campeche. 
In Phantom Divers we are truly committed to the conservation of the environment so we are very excited about all this new protected areas in the caribbean.
An excellent video of the new protected area in Quintana Roo: Biosphere of the Mexican Caribbean

For this event we had the presence of Alejandro del Mazo Maza, commissioner of CONANMP, who is willing to collaborate with Saving Our Sharks in the management of the diving activity with the Bull Sharks, following the manual of good practices. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Saving Our Sharks Bracelet

Every winter we receive a special visit in Playa del Carmen: The Bull Sharks.

During the bull shark season, every time that people go diving with the sharks, get a Saving Our Sharks bracelet. it's a donation of $5usd.

As many of us already know, the Saving Our Sharks association in Playa del Carmen is truly committed to the protection and conservation of the Bull Shark.This association
has as main objectives the education, monitoring and tagging of sharks. This project helps to gather information to gain a better understanding of these species.


There are two types of tagging for sharks:
  •     Internal: requires capture, incision to insert and suture, later released.
  •     External: It is applied with a spear gun.

The transmitters send a signal that has a receiving radius of 500m to 1km. The receiver is located in specific places to know if the observed sharks are the same as they have been seen in previous years.
20 receivers are currently installed along the Mexican Caribbean coast.

This activities are really important because it is necessary to continue collecting information for research purposes that will allow us to understand them and work with them for their protection. These studies require expensive equipment and materials so it is very important to donate.
With information from Saving Our Sharks.

Monday, July 25, 2016

How to pack your scuba diving gear for travel

Packing for dive travel presents a big problem. Spread before you is a huge arsenal, each piece indispensable to fulfilling your travel fantasy. To carry along all of the regulatorswetsuitscomputers,masksfins and camera equipment and other scuba gear necessary for a serious dive mission (along with their backups and batteries), you’ll need a fleet of roller bags. But your airline has severe limits on the amount, size and weight of bagagge, and violating its limits can add up to an colossal cost. How can you make it all fit?
It might seem beyond the limits of physics to bring it all along, but savvy adventurer have developed tactics, techniques and tricks for maximizing baggage allowances, avoiding ridiculous fees and making sure it all gets to where it’s assumed to be in one piece. Professional photographers and technical divers are some of the best of our breed at rebellious packing, schlepping easily damaged high-tech tools to the most faraway destinations on the planet.
Here’s guidance from four experienced dive travelers who know how to get all of their gear around the world securely without breaking the bank.

Every airline is required to publish its baggage quantity and overage costs so travelers know what they’re getting into. Professional underwater photographer and rebreather fanatic, who has been known to fly with an excess of 250 pounds of gear, starts every trip with the fine print on airline websites. “Although it is slow, I try to read the airline rules so I have an idea about how best to pack,” he says. “Having frequent-flier rank on an airline helps too. For example, I get two free 70-pound bags on one airline three for international travel.”
Airline ticketing representatives and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents control your destiny in many ways. Smiling and being cordial makes a big difference to people who deal with irate travelers on a regular basis. “I try to be excessivily nice at the checkpoints of all airports because I know they are doing their job and do not understand what all of our gear is,” says an underwater videographer, who learned an important lesson in public relations on a return trip from Mexico to home in Seattle. “The airport officer decided my backpack carryon with all my camera and computer equipment was too big to go through the security checkpoint and wanted me to check it in,” she says. “I ended up getting the pack through, but it taught me a lesson about the power of gate agents and airport officers.”
For a rebreather instructor and underwater photographer, supervising all of his gear on the road “is almost impossible except if you get creative with your carry-on luggage.” Laptop, camera, lenses and dive computers ride on his back and in the cabin, and the rest of his gear goes into the hold. A pro photographer and manager, dons the most pocket-laden vest he can find. “The best hang down to your thighs and have 12 to 20 pockets,” he says. “If the nerves carry-on weigh-in occurs, these vests can easily hold 10 to 20 pounds of stuff in the expandable pockets. Yes, you will look like a famous fisher on a fly-fishing trip, but nobody said diving was a fancy activity.”
"Reusable Ziploc bags are essential for coordinate items, and the 2-gallon version can vacumm-seal clothing."
For the delicate equipment you absolutely must check, think security above all else. Says Palmer, who once sacrificed his clothes for a bag with his camera: “Most travel bags for divers are soft-sided, so making a protective ‘frame’ is really helpful. Fins are great for this, as are shoes placed sole-out on the ends of the bag.” He also uses soft items such as wetsuits and clothing to make perimeter protection “from the full-on airline-handler assault. Socks make great padded sleeves for pieces like dive computers and camera lenses,” Palmer continues. “I usually backup my 5 mm wetsuit for any backup glass ports I might bring for my underwater camera housing, which rests safely in the protective framework I have set while clothing fills in the gaps.”
Don’t look over your kitchen or workshop. An experimented diver packs breakable items, such as the heads of rebreathers, individually in Tupperware and puts the containers in his luggage. “It doesn’t add much weight and protects the items,” he says. For Palmer, “ Reusable Ziploc bags are essential for organizing small pieces, and the 2-gallon version can vacuum-seal clothing.” Plus, “Zip ties are indispensable. They are the perfect TSA-approved disposable lock for your check-in bags. All the times I bring a big handful in the pocket of one of my bags.” (Don’t forget a TSA-approved cutting tool, in case you have to open them.)
Airline lugagge rules are continually changing. The reasonable weight limit on a past trip will likely be lower today, so there’s no substitute for communicating with staff, asking the right questions and — in some ultimate cases — simply imploring for mercy. “Many airlines are now weighing and requiring approval for carry-on bags, so I take a different approach,” says. “If I know they are checking carry-on bags for weight, I open up my backpack or hard case and show them the equipment inside. To date, I have been welcome only with kindness and understanding.” Palmer employs a similar strategy. “Polite treatment can almost always get you through. Start with, ‘Yes, it is a little heavy, but this is packed with computers and photo gear. Don’t you have a special allowance?’ 50% of the time it’s all you need to say. The other half of the time you need a little planning ahead. I always carry a lightweight nylon fabric bag stuffed into a pocket of my carry-on. In a pinch, I can whip it out and offer to transfer some heavy items (batteries, a regulator, etc.) into the additional bag. Often the airline employees are just trying to get a bag below the authorized weight limit out of fear of losing their job and will be most grateful for your improvised solution.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

Best Caverns for Cenote Diving you Should Dive

Cenote diving is an amazing experience but should in general only be done by more experienced scuba divers.
A cenote is a dip or natural pit that's the result of a collapse in limestone bedrock. Because of the collapse, groundwater that lies beneath is exposed. Cenotes are often found along coastlines and on islands, especially in Yucatan in Mexico.
When you dive a cenote you're exploring the covered water, and you're essentially in a large pool that measures several meters in diameter. Because the water is filtered naturally, it's clear, making for great range of vision.
Cenote diving also related to as cavern diving is different than diving in open water. The most obvious logic is you will have an overhead environment, and you will not always be able to make a direct vertical ascend. Consenquently, other rules count for cavern diving then for Open water diving.

Things to recall for all cenote / cavern dives:

  • To look around the cenotes you should at least be open water certified.
  • Your dive guide should be a certified cavern guide and be full cave certified. Please do not vacillate to double check this before you sign up.
  • Your dive guide must use full cave equipment when guiding you into the caverns.
  • There should not be more than four divers in your group guided by one guide. The ratio is always 4:1
  • You should not enter the cave zone, I replicate you should not ever enter the cave zone even if your guide asks you to do so
  • Respect the rules of 3rds. When you have used 1/3 of your breathing gas, you should turn around to get back to your entry point
  • Make sure you master your buoyancy, and you use proper finning routine, so you do not stir up residue which could lead to a silt out and disorientation.
That said, cavern / cenote diving is different any other experience you'll have in the world of scuba diving. If you want to check out some of the best cenotes on the planet, start with the list of 3 of the best cenotes to dive:
  • Angelita
  • Dos Ojos
  • The PIt 

Cenote Angelita

This cenote is determined magical by those who have had the chance to inspect it. It's very large, dropping down 61 metres or 200 feet. You'll find incredible range of vision in the fresh water that's within the first 30 metres or 100 feet.
Before you reach the saltwater layer, you'll come upon a layer consisting of hydrogen sulphate that's often pictured as mystical in aspect because it looks like a dense, large cloud from above, yet it has a very strange colour from below.
How to get to Cenote Angelita?
Angelita lies about 17 km to the south of Tulum, Mexico. After walking for a short while through jungle terrain, you'll make your way to the large yet secret cenote known as Angelita.
Who should dive Angelita and who shouldn't dive it?
Advanced divers with a minimum of 20 logged dives should check out Angelita, as it is a deep dive offering a mystic experience. New certified open water divers should not enter Angelita. There are many other cenotes more proper for Open water divers.

Cenote Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos means "Two eyes" in Spanish. This cenote is one of the world's best underwater caves / caverns, as its home to the deepest cave crossing in all of Quintana Roo. Once in the super clear, warm water, you'll find this distinct cenote is beautifully adorned with stalagmites and stalactites. On clear sunny days, sunbeams shine into the water creating an awesome lights show which should not be forgotten. This is one of the many reasons why cenote diving is so much fun.
Location and how to get to Cenote Dos Ojos?
Dos Ojos lies about 17 km north of Tulum and south of Playa Del Carmen. A short walk, as well as a journey down some steps, will get you to the cenote. There are facilities around the cenote, like a small souvenir shop, a "secret" sun deck with nice chairs and wooden platforms / dive deck for easy entry into the cavern.
Who should dive and who shouldn't dive Cenote Dos Ojos?
There are two main cavern dives that most divers do when diving Dos Ojos. The first dive is often along the Barbie line. The "Barbie line dive is a formidable dive with no real strong swim throughs and a lot of open "space" giving the light ample chance to shine in and create magical views. If you ever dived the Barbie line, you'll understand the name. If not, we'll not spoil the amazement.

Cenote The Pit; Why should you dive it?

Located in the jungle, The Pit is an exceptional cenote that's part of Dos Ojos. It's roughly 119 metres, or 391 feet, deep, making it the deepest of all the cenotes in Quintana Roo.
At severe 30 metres or 100 feet, you'll notice the superb rays of the sun smashing with a cloud of hydrogen sulphate. You can continue past this cloud to the deeper parts of the cenote. But you should only do so when correctly trained.
How to get to cenote the Pit?
The Pit lies roughly 48 km to the south of Playa del Carmen, 12 km north of Tulum, 1 km to the south of Xel-Ha, and 10 km to the south of Akumal. To arrive to this cenote, you'll need to walk over a rocky trail for about 300 metres through the jungle. Then, to get to the water, you have to jump down another 6 metres. The pit is known as a challenging dive and can be hard to get too.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

An under water river, cenote MUYAL HA


The cenotes are a very characteristic natural deep wells of Mexico, resulting from the collapse of limestone layers, exposing groundwater beneath them. They are filled with water and connected to a marine cavern.

Located at only 15 min. from Playa del Carmen; well hidden into the jungle there is Muyal Há cenote, perhaps one of the most unusual formations of its own unusual kind.

With a similar structure like Angelita cenote; this one has the special characteristic of being a deep well; where the seawater has a high amount of hifrogen sulfide and more evident opacity, and fresh water above this. It has the same appearance as a river surface. There are even trees and fallen leaves, which makes this cenote even more surreal.

This dive is as simple as diving in fresh water with very good visibility, directly to the bottom, untill about 26 meters where you start to appreciate the density of salt water and a large white cloud of sulfuric acid suspended in layers around a rock "island" in the middle and towards the deepest part; which gives an appearance of a " water river", underwater. 

Other important points of view in Muyal Ha, are clusters of huge stalactites, air bubbles, decorating walls and little caves you can find some old bones residents.

Don`t miss this special dive, only with PHANTOM DIVERS!