Articles About Cozumel

Cozumel's Reefs
So Much Life Just Below The Surface
by Fernando Gonzalez

Diving Cozumel; the great joy and relaxation that comes from being under water, and remaining submerged from l5 min. to even 9O min. while experiencing a unique diving environment. Here lies the second largest barrier reef in the world!

Everyone is always amazed at the variety of colorful fish, sponges, and coral formations. The diversity that makes up our coral reef system is like walking through the middle of the Amazon Forest, but underwater.

The magnificent diversity of the topography is seen from one reef to an other, in as little as a 2 nautical mile range, as well as the same reef but at different depths.

The western reefs of the island, the world famous Palancar, and Colombia, among many others, are amazing. The first thing we notice are the magnificent colors of black, purple, red, green, orange, blue, yellow, brown, as well as other colors the human eye can not discriminate. If you stop and really look, you'll be surprised to find at least 10 different species of sponges in a small area (1 sqr. meter or 3.5 sqr. ft). In deeper water some sponges can grow to gigantic dimensions. We can find about 3000 different species, some in fresh water as well. They all have an outstanding regeneration process ; developing into full adult size from a small piece of another one. But it is a slow process, taking a few years. They reproduce sexually as well as asexually, and usually in Spring and Fall, but this varies. You can witness this process, literally seeing the release of sperm, which invade females through their water circulation system and fertilizing process goes on for about 2 weeks.

Sponges also play an important role for the reef dwelling animals. Many invertebrate organisms live in the crevices deep inside the atrium of the sponge, such as brittle stars anemones, arrow crabs, pistol and cleaning shrimps. Many other sea animals find protection, either temporary or permanent, inside the small internal spaces of the sponges. Researches have found crabs, clams, flat worms, barnacles and others, living within sponges.

In addition to the western reefs, the north and eastern reefs have a great diversity as well, but it is almost like diving on a different island. Come and enjoy Cozumel's hidden beauty.

Fernando Gonzalez A.

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