A Rainbow Over Cozumel/My First Trip With Barnacle Busters by Adam Chapin

On May 26, I arrived at LAX at 3am, sleep-deprived. The airport was cold and practically empty except for a small group of smiling travelers, the Barnacle Busters. At the time, only a few of them were familiar me. Little did I know that by end of the trip, I would consider them all friends.


After a short layover in Dallas, we arrived safely in Cozumel. As soon as we entered the airport terminal, the skies opened up and a torrential downpour flooded the streets so much that our taxi to Scuba Club felt more like a boat than a van. Thankfully however, there would be almost no more rain for the entire week. In fact, the next morning, a rainbow could be seen over our hotel and in the distance as we headed to our first dive sight, the Paradise Reef. It was a sign of the amazing week that was to come.


It had been a few years since I had gone diving in the tropics, so every dive we went on left me in awe of its beauty. Over the week, I experienced my first drift dive, wreck dive (C-53 Felipe Xicontencatl), deep dive (including the 90-130’ Devil’s Throat swim through), night dive, and cenotes dive (Chac Mool), and by the end of the trip, I had completed enough specialty dives to earn my Advanced Open Water certification. Special thanks to Buck for taking his time to review the textbook with me in between dives.



Some of the highlights for me included breathtaking swim-throughs at Palancar Reef, a 4-5’ sea turtle grazing on the ocean floor at Paradise Reef, a 6’ green moray eel swimming out in the open with its gorgeous undulating body, a gigantic spiny lobster roaming for food in full view, a pair of nurse sharks cruising along the edge of a reef, a thrilling wreck dive that was guarded closely by 3-5’ ft long barracuda, a night dive off the shore in the middle of a thunderstorm (we thought the flashes were from someone’s camera!), and my first cenotes dive which felt more like a breathtaking spacewalk than a dive.





Almost better than the dives were meal times, which were always fun thanks to the amazing group we were with. Everyone had positive energy and were a pleasure to talk to and connect with. We always were able to laugh at ourselves. For example, I quickly became known as Malaria Mary thanks to the 100 or so mosquito bites on my legs that I gained on Day 1. (Special thanks to Alice for teaching me to apply hot air from a hair dryer to the bites to make the itch go away!)


Special thanks to my patient roommate and dive buddy Mic Mandula. Thanks for compromising with me on A/C temperature settings and for putting up with the sound of me blasting my mosquito bites with a hair dryer every morning and night! And another special thanks to Buck, Chris, and Karen for serenading us with their voices and ukulele at the End of Trip Party. All in all, I had a terrific time and would highly recommend traveling with the Barnacle Busters to those of you who have yet to do so.

2 Openings for Indonesia Trip

I case you hadn’t heard, we’ve had a couple of cancellations on our Thanksgiving Indonesia Dive Trip. That means an opportunity for two lucky divers! This itinerary is crafted to take advantage of all the different types of underwater exploration that the remote Coral Triangle has to offer. We’ll be visiting three different islands with distinctly different types of dives; including muck, reef and wall diving.

The dates are November 12-26. An total price of $3599 includes the airfare, all land and boat transfers, all hotels, 3 meals per day, 22 guided boat dives, tanks and weight rental, free WiFi, and 2 nights accommodation in Singapore. If you are interested, do not delay. Email Buck at rainbowdive@sbcglobal.net for all of the details.

Barnacle Busters Hit Honduras

CoCo View Vernacular

A strike in baseball is bad; but to a bowler, it’s good. Similarly, having an old, rusty clunker in your front yard is frowned upon, but at CoCo View having a wreck in your “front yard” is amazing Picture a landscape of aqua clear blue water, hammocks swaying in the breeze, parrots cawing in the distance, and a submerged world with a sunken wreck, DC-3 plane, and oodles of marine life, and you have the front yard we got to play in for a week.

Our adventure started off not with a bang, but with a frustrating whimper. After more than 2 hours in line waiting to check our luggage, and then racing over to Tom Bradly Int’l terminal to wait in TSA security, we were finally off to our gate. A quick stop at a bar for a bon voyage celebratory drink, and then it was the big blue skies to Roatan.

CoCo View Resort (CCV) is located on Roatan Island, just north of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea.  It’s situated on the south shore of Roatan, perched on the edge of the world’s second largest coral reef. As CCV’s website boasts, it’s “The most returned-to dive resort in the world.” They offer diving and snorkeling to your heart’s content with shore diving available whenever you desire. To paraphrase one reviewer, “It’s not a resort to go and party or tan, but a great place to go if you’re a diver.  It caters to the dive community.” Located just a few fin kicks away in their front yard is the 140’ wreck of the Prince Albert, Newman’s Wall, and Coco View Wall among other attractions. CCV is isolated and very much like a liveaboard on land.

For me, aside from the incredible diving, the trip represented a break from the norm. As Belle describes her poor provincial town, I didn’t see the baker with his tray like always; the same ol’ bread and rolls to sell. Rather, the days melted into one another. The day of the week was insignificant. We’d wake, eat breakfast, head out on the dive boat, return from diving to have lunch, head out on the dive boat for a couple more afternoon dives, return from the dive boat to rinse our gear and get ready for dinner, happy hour with Willie at the bar pouring drinks, eat dinner, and then repeat the following day. I didn’t think I’d ever say it, but it was almost too much diving. Almost. With the potential of four dives daily from the dive boat, unlimited shore dives and night dives, as mentioned earlier, it is the place to go if you’re a diver.

In addition to eat, dive, eat, dive, drink, eat, sleep, repeat, we also enjoyed an informative and fascinating lecture on sand. Really! Sand! We got to dance with a local troupe who performed some native dances. Everyone benefited from Patty’s lecture on buoyancy. As we told Patty, if she were heading a cult, we’d drink the cool aid. She is entertaining, engaging, and truly knowledgeable and experienced. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also comment on experiencing beautiful and vibrant tropical sunsets surrounded by friends and fellow divers. Oh, and a drink from Willie. It was tough returning to reality and the norm after a week at CCV.

If you get a chance to make it to CCV, be sure you check out Mary’s Place.  Take your time to see and enjoy all the “Tchotchkes” tucked away on the shelves.  You’ll be glad you did.

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