We’re back, but I’m still diving in my mind

We are back in the United States. Snow is coming down. Saturday I was sweating in pure humidity. Today I am wearing layers and not going near doors or windows. Going to Mexico in January was a smart move. Coming back to winter wasn’t as smart.

Put another way, when I walked onto the tarmac yesterday afternoon at the aeropuerto in Cozumel it was 84 degrees and brilliantly sunny. When I walked out of the airport at the end of our travels, it was 26 degrees, with a wind chill at 15. A 70 degree swing is inconsiderate.

But the trip back was easy. We’ve been to Cozumel once before, around spring break last year, and the airport there was a disaster. Even the locals were stunned. On this trip, we asked several of the frequent visitors about their experiences and they’d never had a problem. They assured us that two hours at the airport is plenty, when three hours wasn’t close to enough last year. Spring breakers breaking things, then. That had to be it.

Sure enough, two hours was about right. Returning the rental car, easy. Checking in, no big deal. Security, moving briskly. (Though the Yankee lost two plastic-tipped crocheting needles to the security theater gods. Just two. They overlooked, entirely, a whole sleeve of other equally dangerous plastic pointed weapons of the fabric arts.) We made it through and only had to wait about 10 minutes before the plane started loading.

Outside, then, one last time in the Mexican January. On the plane, and into the air. We landed in Atlanta, got through Customs — Atlanta does this better than anyone else on this side of the country, in my experience — found a little spot for a bite to eat, and a TV with the playoffs. It was in Atlanta where we said goodbye to my mother. Her plane was this way, our plane was that way. It was in Atlanta where she booked a hotel. Better to extend your vacation in a Holiday Inn Express for a day or two than spend the last few hours driving through ice. The weather, yesterday, was worse in Alabama than it was in the northeast. We got snow today, but they had snow and a dangerous few layers of ice beside.

We got about four inches.

They had about seven inches. Plus the ice. Also, most of the roads around here will be treated and passable tomorrow. down there? Who knows.

But enough about the cold stuff. Let’s look at a few more shots underwater.

It’s even warmer in video! Please press the play button and float along some of the beautiful formations around the Palancar reef.

Fish and coral and sponges of Palancar reef, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

She doesn’t breathe. She really doesn’t.

While we devotin’ full time to floatin’ under the sea!

Here’s another perfect brown bowl sponge (Cribrochalina vasculum) specimen.

Under the sea we off the hook
We got no troubles
Life is the bubbles
Under the sea

My mom, getting her dives in …

This is the blue chromis (Chromis cyanea) — a damselfish. It is a shallow water fish, living on reefs, or swimming just above them for plankton. They are often collected for aquariums. You can see why.

Their biggest threat is the expansion of the lionfish, which is an invasive species throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic east coast. Another concern is the loss of live corals, but there’s not a lot of data there yet, apparently.

Here’s another example of some beautiful purple rope sponges.

And so we’re back, but I have enough photos and videos to pad out the site for days and days.

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