September 2007

Winter Diving In Remote Mexico

Plenty Of Lobster, But No Light

By Capt. Dave Davanzati
Capt. Dave’s Diver Emporium, Tucson

We do a scuba camp in the winter months that is to a remote location in Mexico. We actually cut part of the road into the area. It is just pristine and totally primitive.

We put in portable bathrooms with sun showers and actually built a leaching field with 55-gallon drums. We bring in everything for the divers from tanks and compressor to inflatables and pangas, which is a Mexican design boat which looks like a banana — lone and narrow but very seaworthy.

We set up a kitchen with propane stoves and barbecues and eat everything from pancakes to steak and baked potatoes with all the trimmings.  Each trip is an adventure because something always happens.

On one trip we decided to do a night dive and since the coast line literally has no aids to navigation and is black, it’s hard to navigate after dark. I always leave a lantern on a pole so I can find our cove.

Three other divers and I went out at about 10 p.m. and went south to a place where I knew the lobsters were. Anyway, we all got our limit of lobsters and were looking forward to them.

We made our way back toward our cove, but I kept going and going and no lantern in site. I finally realized that we had come too far so I turned around again, looking for our cove — but to no avail.

We were lost at sea in a 12-foot inflatable with limited supplies, and we were cold and wet from the dive. I became very concerned and scared.
I realized we had been missing our cove, so I brought us in close to shore and just went slowly so I could see the rock formations.

Finally, after three hours, I found our cove and we were safe. I felt we had come close to a real disaster.

When ashore, we of course fired up the stoves and started boiling our lobsters. I checked the lantern, thinking it had run out of fuel and I found out it had plenty of fuel and worked properly.

I asked everybody about the lantern’s going out, and one of the campers said, “Well, I thought everybody had gone to bed and had forgotten to turn it off, so I turned it off.

I wanted to yell at him, but I simply told him it was our way of finding the cove at night. He, of course, was very sorry.

After that, I got a couple of the lights, the kind you see on the road barricades when they do road repair. They are battery operated and turn on after dark automatically. No switch at all, and they blink all night long.

No more worries about that. Not even in remote areas of Mexico.