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It's not the Caribbean...

by Terry Sovil

Guitar FishAs a full-time diver in Manzanillo I often hear comments that go something like this: "I tried a dive in Manzanillo but after diving in [island name here] in the Caribbean it's just not the same." Why would it be?

Is visiting New York like visiting Los Angeles? Is Manzanillo like being in Winnepeg? That doesn't mean New York, Los Angeles, Manzanillo and Winnepeg aren't great places to visit or live. They are different places and you have to adjust your attitude and your expectations to enjoy them.

Tube BlennyIf someone visits another place and expects it to be like the place they just left they will always be disappointed. If your expectation is for "same" why travel? It is much the same for diving. I've been diving in many varied areas and they all have something special to offer. Bonaire has fantastic shore diving, gentle seas and warm water. Cozumel has spectacular visibility and drift driving. Lake Superior has cold waters with wrecks that are preserved like new in pristine fresh water.

Manzanillo travel sites always mention Scuba and Snorkeling in the top 5 "things to do" on their lists. I often wonder if they actually believe that. If you can adjust your expectations to account for lower visibility, not as much coral and cooler water you will find awesome underwater experiences that offer fish and bottom life that will far exceed anything you have ever seen in the Caribbean!

Diving Manzanillo for over a year I am always pleased and surprised to see something I've never seen before on almost every dive. I am constantly reaching for fish guides to figure out what I just saw. The Pacific Coast in our area has one of the most diverse populations of bottom life anywhere.

Zebra Moray EelWhy the differences? Well, most Caribbean spots are small islands. They don't have huge coastal developments. Most eastern Pacific areas are on mainland and there are coastal cities, development, runoff and discharge along the coast. Diving the Los Angeles shoreline was one thing but getting 25 miles offshore to Santa Catalina Island offered an incredible difference in visibility and water quality.

If you have diving friends, or you are a diver, that prefers the Caribbean, adjust your expectations just a little and have another look below the surface of the Manzanillo waters. You will be pleased to find a huge diversity of critters to watch or photograph. You won't be disappointed. This isn't the Caribbean but that doesn't mean it isn't GREAT DIVING.

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