Dispatch from the field – OGL expedition to Cozumel, Part 4

For their fourth and final dive day in Cozumel, Mexico, OGL divers took a fast boat and headed to Cozumel’s wild north coast. There they encountered not only the strong swells and high currents that the north coast is famous for, but also a completely different fauna and reef structure than is typically seen by recreational divers in the more placid waters to the south. Rather than the steep walls and cave-like coral overhangs of the southern sites, the divers were greeted by finger reefs resembling rolling hills and valleys.  Mounds of porites (finger corals) dotted with sponges, conch and triton snails formed a patchwork of life stretching farther than a single dive could cover. Above, a school of snapper lazily followed a massive grouper along the reef crest.

This final dive was a reminder that, although Cozumel’s reefs are among the most beautiful, diverse and pristine in the Caribbean, the frequently visited recreational dive areas are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg of this region’s remarkable biodiversity. After a strenuous finish to a remarkably productive week, the tired crew reluctantly packed their gear for the long trip home, all the while looking forward to the next chance to return to this remarkable place -one of the last best places to explore and preserve the vast diversity of the sea. Enjoy these last photos from the expedition!

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