Cozumel Helmet Dive Excursion Reviews
This is a delightful taste of diving for those who have never had the opportunity. The helmets are heavy enough to weigh the participants down so that s/he can easily walk on the ocean floor (which ranges from 15-25' in this area). There is a roped in area which not only gives the participants something to hang onto, but also represents the maximum area the participants can roam, given that the air-hoses tether the helmets to a limited area. Within that area, sunken ship elements have been placed and have been there long enough to develop their own ecosystem of grasses, coral, etc. Because they are regularly fed, many fish and other sea creatures have chosen to live in this area and interact with the helmet divers. For me and my family, it was breathtaking to see and touch fish, a sea urchin, a starfish, and even an octopus as part of our underwater tour. Was this "staged"? Certainly! But not in a negative way -- to the contrary, the result was to give a beginner the very best of what diving has to offer and possibly to whet the appetite for more diving experiences.
The photos taken were just amazing and fairly represent our experience. My sister had a dive camera with her (which was readily permitted -- in fact our guide used her camera to shoot photos of us), but we were delighted to purchase the professionally filmed and edited video along with scores of excellent still shots.
It may be useful to note that one of our group decided he couldn't deal with the helmet dive, and so the guides quickly outfitted him with fins and mask and he snorkeled above us, getting a very good experience, too. One of the divers even fed the fish near him so that he could get a close-up view of their beauty.
Because this "dive" experience is particularly good for beginners, there was an abundance of staff members below water with us -- our main guide, two additional divers, and a camera-man -- I felt very safe the entire time knowing that the divers could get me to the surface very quickly if there was some problem. For me, the helmet became invisible as I viewed the gorgeous underwater sea-life. I posted a photo of me saying, "ooooh..." and I believe this was the expression on my face the whole time I was underwater! After the dive, we were invited to continue the fun by swimming or snorkling in the area above the next set of divers, at no additional charge.
We were not pressed at all, but decided to enjoy lunch at Jeanie's (the helmet dive takes place in the water near the deck at the back of the restaurant). I'll write a separate review on that, but it was excellent and we enjoyed watching our videos and pictures while we ate.
Concluding, if you are certified to do deep, open-water dives, then you likely will not choose this activity, which is tailor-made for those who do not dive. The "staging" only consists of limiting the area to the reach of the air-tethers and encouraging sea life to visit the area. However, for anyone who wants to enjoy a charming under-sea activity, I heartily recommend the Helmet Dive.