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First Trip to Coz

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
Hi all,

I rolled back into the driveway not an hour ago. I thought I was too hyped up to fall asleep, so I started typing the story.....wrong. The jet-lag and driving just kicked me in the a$$; so I will need to retire. Here's a sneak preview. Tomorrow, I'll post the whole story, along with many more photos and perhaps a video link (if I get that far).

Cheers (and good night)

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So I guess your going to wimp out on me for diving today- it's supposed to be above freezing for the first time all week and the lake is waiting.;)

I'm all full on Grade A steak. You can't expect me to have an appetite for low-grade dog food for at least a few weeks, amigo.


I think I have all my ducks in a row now. For anyone interested in the quick-n-dirty vid I made, you can get it using any FTP software. I tried to host it on a server, but ran into more trouble than I cared to deal with. If anyone knows of a solid site, please give me the 411. The vid is a compilation of 5 or 6 dives I did on the Palancar Reef. I played a bit with editing to the music early, but towards the end, decided to let you see a complete dive. Since my girlfriend (who did the filming with our Olympus c-5050) was unable to follow me, all vids are taken from the surface. I think she did quite well, despite getting smacked around by waves the whole time. The downside of this is that you can't get a feel for the relief. What frequently looks like a level dive, actually varied by as much as 40 feet. Oh well...better than nothin.

The numbers:

Port: 21
User: deeperblue
Pass: unirdna



Forget all that FTP mumbo jumbo. If you'd like to see the vid, copy and paste this link "https://www.ibackup.com/qmanager/servlet/share?key=17287157714543522uuuuuuu" The password is 'deeperblue'. It may be that only 1 or 2 people can be downloading at one time, so try later if the link is dragging.

Ted :D

We (me and the girlfriend) flew in directly to the island on Sat afternoon. Immediately, it was obvious that this was not going to be a 'sanitized' vacation. Dense jungle surrounded 3 sides of an airport consisting of one runway strip, seemingly too small for any passenger jet to land.

Upon check-in to our hotel, I immediately hit the beach. In less than 5 feet of water I saw an octopus tearing up a big crab. A little further and we spotted numerous little rays and flounders hiding in the sand. I took it upon myself to do a bit of 'experimental harassment' of these, and quickly found out that the flounders run, but the rays stand their ground. After a few close calls, I decided to let em be ;).

It was too windy for any boats to go out on Sunday....then Monday. But on Tuesday, we got out to the "Gardens", "Palancar" and the "Horseshoe". I was immediately comfortable in this water. Depth ranged from 40-150 feet, but I spent most of my time in 50-80 feet. True, there were numerous critters to be seen in the shallow reefs near shore. But the big fellas were all in 50 feet or more; so that's where I wanted to spend my time.

I know that the dive reflex is triggered by 'cold' water on the face, but despite the 80 degree F bath, my reflex kicked in faster than it ever has in the cold. Within minutes, I established a 2 min down, 1 min up pattern. I've never had it this good in the cold. As if my envy of you salt water folks wasn't bad enough before...now it's downright ugly. Of course, not all of you salties have 100+ feet of vis either, so maybe my envy is somewhat misplaced ;).

The wind picked up again on Wed...then Thus....and even Friday (but we got out anyway and endured the boat ride). On the days I couldn't get out, I did manage to do a bit of shallow diving adjacent to a breakwall near my hotel; but it wasn't the same. If I wouldn't have gotten out Friday, I would have become completely unbearable to have around, as my crankiness grew with each hour that wind kept me from the reefs.

Well, I realize that if I type up my whole experience, I'm going to fill page after page, and bore the bajezuz out of everyone, so I'll just let the photos do the talking. If anyone has a question or comment, I'd be happy to strike up the chat.

Hope you enjoy.
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Great story and great pics Ted, especially the last one. I envy you the trip, even with the weather. It gets me going, anticipating diving season this summer.

Excellent vidoe man! You guys did an amazing job. That's better than anything I've ever downloaded. I'm not kidding. Great stuff.
Thanks for sharing such a amazing dive!
p.s. I'm jelous.:)
It should be noted that Ted popped the question while he was down there and is now offically Engaged!

Congrat's buddy!;)

Damnit Ted. You made it happen again. Everytime I log on to DB I don't go long before I turn a shade of green. Your story just put me in the hulk-x-ray range... Awesome story with amazing pictures to back it up!

Just downloaded your video. The aircraft looks amazing. Was it a Boeing 747? Just kidding. Great stuff. Keep it up!

Congrats also on the engaging thing! :) You sure are insane. Best wishes! :D
Originally posted by Jon
It should be noted...

Oh, should it? Now how am I gonna warm up to the plethora of DB women :hmm .... And just as I was homing in on oceanswimmer. :eek:.

Yeah, I made a lucky girl luckier. God knows, she's earned it :hmm. I played with the idea of flinging the ring into the water and saying, "you want it, go get it". But in the end, I asked her while lying on a hammock by the ocean.

Glad you liked the video, stitch. I honestly threw it together in less than 15 minutes using just plain old MovieMaker. Nothing flashy, I assure you.

Tommy, the plane was a boeing something-or-other. Not a big 747, but bigger than I expected to be able to land on Cozumel's donkey-trail-of-a-runway.

That last pic is of my fi...... my fia........ MY FFFF...... I can't say it. I hate the 'f-word'. We'll just say "the lucky broad that's going to get to call me her husband" (she's rolling her eyes at me right now :D ). The shot was my idea, and I'm not shy saying that I was pretty pleased with myself.

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Congratulations on the engagement!!

great pics of the trip, too!
Tell me a little more... what Hotel? and what boat service took you out.. was it a snorkel trip out or out with scuba divers.. I've never had much luck freediving off a boat down in Coz. How about that boat traffic during the shore dives.. wasn't it nuts? I always pack the flag..
Very surprised you had rough seas off of Coz.. mighta been a good time to catch the Ferry over to the mainland for a bit of cenote diving..
How about those currents.. sometimes they're pretty strong down there..

Great video, Ted. I envy you your profiles -- I've done some freediving down that way (Akumal more than Coz), but my depths/times were a lot more wussy.
very very nice video :) and congragulations ...
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Thanks for the congrats and attaboys.

Re: the vid hosting. I joined 'ibackup' on a trial basis. But I think I'll stick with em after the 30 days run out. For $3.00 a month, I can host any files I want....and as far as I know, there is no bandwidth restrictions. I'll probably throw the Sports Illustrated 'Deadly Dive' article on it soon (so I don't have to send out 1/2 dozen emails each Monday morn at work ;) ).

Back to the trip.

We stayed at the Melia Cozumel, also known as the Paradisus. It's the northern most hotel on the island. It's an all-inclusive deal, but they don't hold you over the coals. You don't have to get the 'meal' plan. We got the 'drink' plan (all the booze you want for $100 a piece for the week). A fair deal I thought (since they use purified water to make the ice), but if I return, I won't do it again. I'm more concerned with exploration and adventure than I am with drunken tanning. We had fair diving off the hotel beach, but the current got whippin in about 20-25 feet of water. It snagged me from the back once and spun me around. I quickly motioned to the lady to not come out any further. It's surprising how defined the current / no current lines are. There is no debris or algae to cue where is starts or stops.

We used ecodivers http://www.cozumel-diving.net/ecodivers/ for all our dives. Jorge Alonso, the owner/manager, had a good way about him, and took the time to discuss the kind of diving I'd want to do. Their boats are small and experienced ;), but they are fast and get the job done. We had the flexibility to modify our plans while we were on the water, and we got to go to low/no population areas. The most divers we ever had on a trip was 8. Sure can't say that for the cattle boats that were chumming the shallows with snorkelers. Even though we dove with the scuba divers, we were only charged the snorkeling price (30 bucks a piece - 3 dives). And they had plenty of bottled water on board too. We followed along with the scuba divers, and did not need a flag because the small boat drifted close to us and kept a keen eye out for boat traffic. We only had one 'close' encounter, and that was with a drunken party barge. I was quite pleased with Jorge, and I highly recommend ecodivers if you've had trouble getting what you want from the scuba shops.

I never got over to the cenotes during the trip. I'm kicking myself now for not getting off my dead ass and jumping on the ferry. There were many days when the wind was too rockin for any boats to go out. I really should have put something together :head.

My dive profiles are not as good in Wisconsin water. My down-times are comparable, but my recovery times are at least 2X. Something about water that warm and that clear sets your body/mind at ease. The comfort level was off the charts :).

vice versa ;).

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What were you usig for the filming. Looks a lot better than anything that ever came out of my 5050.


Awww....Ted is no longer 'available'.....(sigh) :waterwork

Seriously now,
Congratulations and kudos to you for the great post and pics!
I appreciate your giving credit to Jorge Alonso of ecodivers; when an outfit helps freedivers get to good sites, and deliver good service, they deserve recognition and referrals.

.....hmmm Cozumel.....sounds so inviting! :p
Please post more pics, or let us know if you have posted from this trip in the member's Gallery!

If you like warm waters and great viz, Fiji and Oz are pretty sweet! :cool:
So......where's the honeymoon? :eek:


"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius…" ---Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Originally posted by Pezman
What were you usig for the filming. Looks a lot better than anything that ever came out of my 5050.


All video was taken with my 5050. The reason it looks better than usual is the result of my computer genius :eek:. Hehe. If you use the right encoders/converters, you can remove that static that accompanies qt files. The compression process actually acts to remove the 'grainy' look because of it's need to save space. Instead of making the exception, the encoder ignores the small piece of static, and matches that area with the same color as the surrounding area. I don't think the process was designed specifically to do this, and in truth, this reduces resolution on high-quality vids. But in this case, it serves a useful purpose. I still save the original QT files because you never know when a better encoder might come out, and I when that happens, I will want to start with the original. But for now, the best bang-for-the-buck compression I've found (for the 5050, that is) is to convert to MPEG1 then to WMV. Ya gotta admit that 10 megs for a 4 min video with stereo music is pretty good.

We all know that Apple and Microsoft have a long history of conflict. The bad blood is still flowing, and so, getting video converted from QT to WMV is not a drag-and-drop process. I use an intermediate converter called EO Video to turn my QT files into MPEG1's (VCD format). But there are many more that will do the same thing and give you similar results.


A few more pics, ocean ;).
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Video processing


Interesting info about the mov -> mpeg -> wav.

What compression factor do you choose for the final output?

Also, what video editing program do you do the cutting and splicing in? Do you do that as QT clips before starting into the format conversion?

I've played around a little with editing Oly 5050 video clips in Adobe Premiere 6.5, but was a little underwhelmed by the results (either got clips that were clear but huge, or ones that were small but fuzzy).

Premiere......don't get me started on that program. That was the first one I tried to use too (many moons ago). So many folks make that same mistake. Premiere is a good program for editing, or even making vids from scratch. But it is NOT a program one should use for tinkering with homevids. And it sucks even more for trying to convert/compress video because they own copyrights to only a few mediocre codecs.

Here's the play-by-play of what I did (there are many other ways).

1. Convert quicktime files to a format that Moviemaker will recognize (I prefer MPEG1).
2. Copy sound (MP3) file to MovieMaker
3. Copy MPEG1 files to MovieMaker
4. Edit Vid files (alla dragging the start/stop bar)
5. Saved movie to disk using 340 kb/sec, WMV (Windows Media Video) compression.

Gravy ;).


ps. Thanks for the pic link.

Sorry to keep hammering you w/ questions, but I'm impressed by the results. I've done some similar conversions using mov2mpg, but the machine that I was using didn't have much space, so the mov->mpeg phase had some compression on it and that seemed to degrade the clips a bit. Did you do the mov->mpeg encoding part w/o compression and then do the compression from within movie maker?

Stangely enough, the other camedias use mpeg1 -- I'll bet that there's a firmware mod out there that will allow the 5050 to shoot in mpeg format, but I haven't been able to find it. IMHO, the use of quick-time for the video is the one glaring flaw in this camera -- apart from that it's about the best piece of gear that an amateur could want.
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