We officially launched Punta Sur Divers almost a year ago in summer 2020. It’s been an exciting and challenging ride. We’re super excited about being able to run a dive shop in our own style and by our own high standards. We’ve all worked for different companies for years, and it felt like the perfect moment to carve our own path. Here’s what’s been going on with us and our community over the past year.
Jorge (Cubano) participated in several triathlon races last fall and this spring, including the Ironman, Half Ironman, and Ultra355 (5K swim, 300k bike and 50 km run!). As always his training and dedication have paid off, and he earned first place in the Ultrathon, 2nd place for his age group in the half Ironman, and 11th place for his age group in the Ironman. We are so proud of his accomplishments!
Cris has been selected to participate in the SAM Leadership program which brings together conservation-minded people who want to learn about strategies for promoting the conservation of the Mesoamerican reef system. She’s excited to deepen her understanding of citizen science, reef conservation and public policy.
Nacho has really enjoyed teaching a variety of courses lately! Whether it’s an Open Water Course or the Rescue course, he loves training divers and sharing in their enthusiasm for exploring the underwater world.
When she’s not changing diapers or attending daily royal balls in her living room, Cait has been busy responding to your emails and helping set up your dive reservations. She also keeps track of the dive sites you visit and updates our ever-evolving Island Guide, so if you have any questions about pricing, our services, or visiting Coz make sure to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The two hurricanes that passed through in October really hit us hard. While the storms weren’t devastating, many people on the island (including us) went days without power and had permanent damages to their homes. We’re grateful for the way that our neighbors, friends and colleagues pulled together to check on and support each other in the days following each storm.
Creativity and solidarity
Anyone who’s been here during the last 14 months will tell you that covid-19 hit us HARD. Everyone living on Cozumel depends directly or indirectly on the tourism industry, and when tourism came to a near standstill last year, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us. There were people here who had nothing — no income, no savings, no support from the government and no help from their employers. Eventually the government organized a biweekly delivery of food and basic supplies to any resident in need, and several grassroots groups and informal organizations have also formed to help support the most vulnerable community members. Many people were forced to leave the island because there was absolutely no way to make a living here.
We’re grateful that we were able to make it through those tough months and launch this dream project. We’re also really proud of our community. Several creative entrepreneurial endeavors have sprung up out of necessity, and you’ll see those if you visit. A perfect example is the new outdoor food truck patios where you can select from a number of cuisines and eat outside at picnic tables. They are an inspiring example of how people used their limited resources and worked collectively to innovate due to the current covid protocols and diminished tourism industry.
Reef Conservation and Sustainability
You may have noticed that our national marine park now follows a reef rotation system to allow popular sites a chance to recover throughout the year. This month all dive operations are avoiding visits to Punta Dalila, Palancar Horseshoe and Palancar Gardens. Don’t worry — we still have the OK to visit most of your favorite sites, and we know long term that it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure we don’t overtax the reef!
We believe at PSD that our own choices, both big and small, have an impact on the health of our ecosystem. Some of our efforts to be a responsible, sustainable business include:
• composting the waste from your snacks during the surface interval
• providing sanitized reusable water bottles on board rather than single-use plastic cups
• encouraging customers to bike to and from the marina meeting point using bikes from our partner company, Rent a Bike Cozumel
If you’re looking for a way to give back when you visit (or even from afar), we have lots of ideas for you! Here are just a few:
Donate money (or your time) to one of our community kitchens that are serving individuals in need. More info about Cocinas Comunitarias de Cozumel here.
Check out volunteer opportunities with Friends of Cozumel. They organize ongoing volunteer activities and are currently focused on providing water purification systems to low-income families.
Learn about organized beach and mangrove clean ups here.
Donate money or school supplies to Cozumel Chrysalis group, a highly-regarded local organization that provides resources to children whose families can’t afford to basic requisites for attending public school. In Mexico, families of kids who attend “free” public schools are responsible for paying for uniforms, registration fees and supplies — and sometimes they are simply unable to cover those costs.
Check out the CCRRP (Cozumel Coral Reef Restoration Project) to learn about current efforts to preserve our reef system and local volunteering opportunities.