NEXT062 Celebrating Independence in Cozumel!

Posted on : 16-09-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs, Travel



Cozumel has been preparing for celebrating Independence from Spain (100 years?) for weeks now and the day is finally here! There are brightly lit decorations in red, green and white everywhere from hanging beaded lights wrapped around street posts to waving flags everywhere (I even contemplated getting a tiny Mexican flag tattooed on my ankle).  We enjoyed an incredible meal with our friends at one of our favorite restaurants, La Cocay before walking up the newly expanded sidewalks along most of the one-way streets running up to the main street that follows the water’s edge.  As luck would have it, my sore foot from the oxygen tank falling on it yesterday began to protest at the idea of walking another ten blocks to all the festivities so David, Abbe and I bowed out to return to the quiet of our hotel rooms and get a good night’s sleep before diving in the morning.

Although the Mexicans are certainly proud of their independence, on the whole they are certainly less obnoxious about it then we northern Americans can sometimes be although the certainly will have lots of music and cerveza along with a big fireworks display at midnight.  All down the streets leading up to the festival being celebrated on the island were quiet. Not a firecracker popping anywhere; however, as you got closer to the main square the main thoroughfare was blocked off and policia were directing traffic out of the way for parking.

Some of me feels guilty for turning down the opportunity to go watch a few hundred of my favorite people in Mexico as they celebrate their day (you are more apt to see a father holding hands walking his child down the street as anything untoward ) but then again, I did have the privilege of undergoing a re-birthing experience with one of my friends who is trained in such regards right there on the beach in front of our hotel today so I’m feeling rather quiet and enjoying listening to the hum of the air conditioner trying to lull us to sleep.

As one of our friends said today, “if more people travelled around the world and experienced different people and views, there’d probably be 90% less violence towards one another”.  I sure agree with him.  Get out there and explore other places and find out how other people live and think.  The mind you open may be your own?

Where will you explore tomorrow:

Families in Cozumel

NEXT061 Choosing to Look at the Positive!

Posted on : 14-09-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs, Heart Talks



Oy vey! The good news about today is that I finally enjoyed a thorough swim through of the Palancar Reefs in

Palancar reef - Cozumel

Cozumel–complete with swim throughs and diving at 84 feet without ANY panic attacks. It was pure joy.  The animal life is extraordinary.  There were baby fish nurseries everywhere, two big sea turtles and lots of beautiful coral and sponges.  It was so nice to just enjoy the dive instead of being afraid for the onset of a panic attack.

Then we decided to go back to Paradise Reef (maximum depth of 45) to see the Sea Horses (which were bigger than anyone had ever seen before and all kinds of solid colors).  My husband and I were the last into the water and had stood up with our BC’s on and were scooting to the seat where we could put on our fins and I inadvertently knocked a full tank right onto the arch of my foot. YOWSER!  I think it may be sprained but I’m happy to report that I am going to live (insert smile).

Instead of getting all melodramatic about missing the Sea Horses and a long dive (75 minutes!), I had a nice broken English/broken Spanish conversation with the Captain of the boat and one of the dive helpers about the Independence Day celebrations tomorrow.  They both took such good care of me with bags of ice and concern.  After it happened and I assured the Dive Master that my foot was not broken, I was taking off my wet suit and noticed the our dive assistant, Oscar, had the most concerned and worried look on his face.  I assured him that he was no problemo and that the tank falling was certainly not his fault.  You just can’t imagine how loving the Mexican and Mayan people are down here you guys.

Need to do some more exploring about Cozumel, according to the taxi driver last night who, conveniently, used to be a tour guide for Cozumel, has a history of being considered a holy place for the Mayans who also believed that every Mayan should make a pilgrimage at least once in their life times.  And to think that I’ve been here so very many times, how truly blessed I am.

I’m off to eat dinner in the Restaurant on site. I believe it is Italian tonight.

Where in your heart of hearts do you think you need to make a pilgrimage at least once in your lifetime?

Blue Parrot Fish

NEXT060 Diving In Spite of Anxiety

Posted on : 13-09-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs, Featured, Heart Talks

Tags: , , ,


If you have anxiety attacks, constant low-grade anxiety and/or bouts of panic attacks (with mine I usually either feel like I am going to lose absolutely lose control and go crazy or die) then you can probably guess that scuba diving may not be the best choice of sports for someone like us to partake in, especially since shooting up to the top after a deep dive of 60 feet or more for 45 minutes or so would definitely cause your lungs to pop.

Well, I love scuba diving so much that I have been determined to find a way to be able to dive in spite of anxiety.  My panic attacks and anxiety began years ago after a weekend of heavy partying when the recreational drug I’d been doing decided to rip through my brain and disarm any defense mechanisms, doubts, worries and fears I was harboring. The good thing about it, was that I got scared enough about losing my mind that I got my butt into therapy. The bad news about it was the endless days, weeks and months of anxiety and panic attacks.  When I began having them it was at a time that medicine and therapy did not have much to offer unless you were psychotic or needed intense levels of valium of which I was neither.

Fast forward a couple of decades, log a bunch of therapy, getting sober, learning meditation techniques, all kinds of healing and Reiki treatments and I was able to enjoy long expanses–even years–of no anxiety or panic attacks. In 2000, my husband and I got certified in scuba diving and began going on regular diving trips almost immediately.  I loved the feeling of freedom that I got from swimming in the ocean. The fish, coral, sponges and marine life were hypnotizing. I was hooked.  Then a series of things happened while on diving trips from 9/11 to my best little Cairn Terrier friend dying when we were away on a trip and out of nowhere my old friend the Panic Attack came out of nowhere. In fact, I was on a dive at the Palancar Reefs in Cozumel about 75 feet under water when the first panic attack hit me.  It was so not fun.  Pretty soon thereafter, every other dive would end up with me having a panic attack.

Again, I went back to therapy and healings and have been on a very healthy eating program that involves no flour, sugar, caffeine or nicotine. All of this has been good for me, but I would still have the edge.  You’d have to be a diver to understand why I’ve been willing to put myself through the uncomfortableness of diving with a good chance of experiencing a panic attack.  Finally through working out my anti-depression medication (Effexor XR 37.5MG 3x/day) and 0.5 Xanax 2 times a day when diving, I’ve been able to enjoy already 6 dives with no anxiety or panic.  I’ve also been humming a Bahai saying, “Yabaha allah u abha” when I swim which immediately makes every dive almost a form of worship and I also think the fish enjoy hearing it too.

Last night we went on a night dive with a Master Diver who is not one of our favorites. We chose the Paradise Reef because we’d heard about all the sea life (including 8 seahorses) that our other dive friends had seen that day.  The Master Diver did say there would be fast moving current so we needed to stick together but a.) we had no idea it would be so fast moving and b.) we didn’t realize there was a big ole cruise ship docked at the nearby harbor.  On a night dive, I prefer not to have a really fast current because there is so much sea life to witness (like the little purple octopus changing to blue) that you really want to just hang around awhile and observe to see who comes out and what is going on.  It was a good dive in spite of all of us divers rolling on top of each other sometimes like a pile of puppies because of the strong current.  We’d been told that because the dive was shallow, we’d probably go as long as an hour but all of a sudden 37 minutes into the dive, the Master Diver was clanking on his tank and moving his flashlights for us to surface.  I saw big bright lights up above so I assumed the full moon had broken through the clouds.

We were soon to find out; however, that the fast moving currents had taken us about 5-10 feet from a big ole huge Carnival Cruise Line.  And through all of this I did not have any anxiety or panic attacks and was so looking forward to the dives this morning.

I’m outing myself about the medication that I am taking and how it is helping me because if there is another diver out there (or anyone who is experiencing anxiety or panic) I hope my experience/information can help you.  This is definitely NOT something to do without the help of a trained doctor (psychiatrist) and I have over 175 dives under my belt as well so I know all about safety and paying attention with diving.  Please don’t try to figure this out for yourself, do ask for help.

And may you enjoy diving as much as I do.  Today, I saw little tiny trunk fish that were about as long as half of my pinky. So worth the effort you put in so that you can get the most out of life!

reefs of Cozumel

NEXT059 Diving Into the Divine

Posted on : 12-09-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs

Tags: , , ,


Scuba diving is like swimming or a form of worship at least from my point of view and evidently from many other scuba divers viewpoints as well.

It’s wonderful to return to the reefs that were buried or at least covered in sand from Hurricane Wilma and to see that just a short five years later, many of the coral are rebuilding along with the other sea life.  Today we saw lot’s of fish with babies including two juvenile Spotted Drum fish

Juvenile Spotted Drum Fish

and many File fish

Scrawled File Fish


and two or three Giant Turtles

Sea turtle


We’re off for a night dive if the lightening from the rain clouds continues to stay off in the distance.  The sky is completely grey right now but the sea is calm and although there is no sun peaking through the clouds there is this one bright blue azure strip of blue in the middle of the sea that goes for miles.

Are we in heaven? I think so.  Come join us, the water is warm1

NEXT058 Some People’s Treasure is Another Person’s Pleasure

Posted on : 12-09-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs


I’m always amazed at how beautiful the Caribbean is and how many different hues of blue there are in one body of water depending on how deep it is where you’re gazing and where the sun is shining on it.  Today as we rode in the taxi from the center of town out to our hotel, I looked out at deep dark blue to bright turquoise to a  beautiful pale blue. On the land; however, there were such different scenes from partially built hotels or condos that have been standing like skeletons in the jungle for years now with their exposed rebar reaching out to newly built high rise condos and shops built to lure the never ending sea of cruisers from the ships that come through on a continual basis. Being old hat visitors to our favorite island, we know to avoid the first three-four street level both latitudinally and longitudinally from the main boardwalk to find the really good restaurants and interesting shops.

I often wondered for the people who live in Cozumel or who commute via hover boat from the mainland to work in Cozumel if they ever get bored of the beautiful water, Frangipani bursts of orange in the trees or the variety of gorgeous birds and butterflies but, at least the people who I’ve interviewed, always seem to be as much, if not more, in love with their land as we continue to be.

We did a shore dive today to get used to our gear again etc. and were heartened to see that slowly but surely the coral are coming back from Hurricane Wilma’s visit from five years ago.  Saw a lot more species of fish hanging out closer to the shore then we have before and plush waving in the current anemones.  One of our new dive friends that our group made today on a boat dive, took an incredible video of a big sea turtle (I will find out what kind he was and report back) munching away around the reef and letting our friend video him from all angles. He was a gorgeous beastie with a beautiful shaped head and beak lots of big brown spots on his creme colored shell and head and a very placid and peaceful disposition.

All in all it is a truly wonderful experience to get away from the never ending heat of Texas and enjoy the humidity of Mexico as it drips off of you most ever second that a breeze is not blowing.

What treasures do you drive or ride by everyday that you may take for granted but someone else might see the absolute beauty?  How can you look at your world in a different way?

Coral Reefs

Posted on : 15-05-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Coral Reefs


This weekend I had the privilege of viewing a slide show hosted by Maurine Shimlock and Burt Jones consisting of underwater photos culled from over thirty years of scuba diving. Wow. They were amazing because of the unique creatures they shot as well as places they visited (Fiji, Borneo, Galapagos, Mexico, etc.).