When you think about Mayagüez, a city located at the west coast of Puerto Rico, the least thing that would come to your mind is scuba diving. Surprisingly, there are around 35 dive sites nearby this city as Jaime “Papo” Braulio, the owner of The Dive Shop, told us.
So, we met on a Saturday at 7:00 a.m. at a dock in El Seco neighborhood, Mayagüez, to begin our navigation on the 28-foot “Papasan Too” boat while being excited to start our scuba diving adventure. Since we would be diving in high sea and waves sometimes might get rough, we set up our own BCs and regulators before beginning our navigation. Papo, the boat captain and Open Water Instructor who served as the Divemaster, informed us brief guidelines about safety measures, equipment and the use of the life jacket, among others.
Luckily, we navigated in a sea that was flat as a lake, resulting in a smooth boat ride.
Our first destination was “Jardín de Mariana” (Mariana Garden) diving site. Our 20-50 foot scuba diving at this site was fantastic. The water was warm and the underwater visibility was great.
It was amazing to see the coral reef full of marine life all around. The view of jack fishes schooling over the top of the reef, and brilliant foureye buttlerflyfishes swimming among the lacy pedestals of abundant sea fans was one of the highlights of our first dive. We also had the chance to dive around sponges and a wide variety of corals, such as lettuce coral (Undaria agaricites), pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), and gorgonian and hard corals.
Of all the ecotreasures discovered at this site, we must say we were lucky to spot a Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) that looked camouflaged among sponges and corals. Also, I was surprised as I admired the biggest elkhorn coral colony (Acropora palmata) that I have ever encountered during my 15- year scuba diving experience.
After this dive, we enjoyed a nice 45-minute surface interval that was perfect for eating delicious sandwiches and drinking soda and water, all provided by The Dive Shop.
Then we headed to the second dive site known as “Barracuda City”, which was full of ledges at around 35-40 feet underwater area. While we explored these ledges, we were impressed by the wide variety of beautiful fishes swimming around us. Nurse sharks, cero fish, lionfishes, trumpetfishes, mahogany snappers, schoolmaster snappers, yellowtail snappers and many species of grunts, all in plain sight!
Be sure to bring your waterproof camera since the concentration of fish at this diving site offers ample opportunities for great wide-angle photo shots of these ecotreasures. The assortment and abundance of reef fish make it easy to take pictures of one fish at a time.
We were back on shore before 1:30 pm. The boat ride lasted approximately 45 minutes each way, so the time spent was basically invested in what we liked most: diving. By the time our adventure ended, we were already thinking about planning to head back there for more diving!
We definitely recommend this scuba diving adventure and The Dive Shop, considering their great service and boat features. The “Papasan Too” boat is comfortable and has a maximum capacity of around 6 divers besides the captain and Divemaster. The boat has a roof, which serves as sun and rain protection. Also, the boat has available a storage box where you may keep your stuff dry during navigation. There is even a small changing room in the boat.
Papo stated that he has been an Open Water Instructor for the past 42 years. Besides providing a great service, Papo is very attentive that everyone follows security measures. You may contact The Dive Shop to schedule diving adventures to be held either during the day or at night, from Monday to Sunday. Reservation requires a minimum of four divers. The diving adventure that we experienced requires an Open Water Diver certification. Please contact The Dive Shop for further details regarding this adventure, and diving equipment rentals. T.: 787-833-6455, E.: email@example.com