What is Muck Diving ?

For those who do not yet know, muck diving must sound like horrible dives in atrociously dark muddy waters filled with slithery creatures moving about, inches away from your body, close enough for you to realize how slimy they are.

You can relax, muck diving just ain’t like that. True, some creatures are slimy but that’s just how we love ’em and don’t worry about their size,  the most prized finds are millimeters long.

It’s an exciting and surprising kind of dive that will reward you with the pleasure of finding the weird and wonderful marine critters you can see in National Geographic and many dive magazines.

In fact, muck diving is so addictive, it keeps divers and macro photographers coming back time and time again, often with better macro gear to keep pushing the size limit. Size does matter!

arrow-crab

Muck diving usually takes place in shallow sites with a sandy bottom. For better hunting grounds look for grass, algae, organic and man made debris where the critters live and hide

Hunting for the perfect shot, you need to slowly and patiently move around like a predator, scrutinizing every square inch in front of you to find the elusive critters moving around in the muck.

The best muck dives in Cozumel are shore dives, the best sites are actually right in front of the Jungle Divers shop. You can dive Cozumel all year long and the best time to muck dive is early in the morning, 2 hours before sunset and at night.

Muck Diving Considerations

Like any kind of diving, muck diving has its own sets of rules and principles which you and your buddies should be aware of to ensure everybody has a grand ol’ time.

  • Having a sandy or mucky bottom is now excuse for poor buoyancy. Good buoyancy will prevent silt blowing all over the place and scaring and hurting the fragile organisms you are trying to find. Keep those fins up!
  • Make sure you understand the dive plan. The group will be spread out, nose in the muck and the guide looking for critters to show you all. Don't lose sight of your buddy!
  • If you have a camera, make sure you know how to use the macro mode, get a wet macro lense and lights, it's all about light!
  • If you are not familiar with macro photography, contact us on tips about getting the right equipment for the right budget and courses on how to use your camera to achieve them National Geographic quality shots you've been drooling over so many times.
  • For divers without cameras, it's a good idea to carry a dive light and a magnifying glass.
Underwater Photography and Videography Jungle Divers Cozumel

Muck Diving in Cozumel...

When muck diving in Cozumel, it helps to know what critters you’ll be looking for. We have many varieties of flamboyant crabs and shrimps, weird frogfishes and toadfishes, stunning sea horses and pipefishes, sea slugs and snails, scorpionfishes and eels. If your karma is good and luck smiles down at you, you might even spot a nudibranch. Cozumel does not have the amount of nudibranchs you can find in other seas and oceans which is why it makes them the holy grail for the Cozumel muck divers.

Flip through any Caribbean field guide and find those weird, rare and odd critters and there’s a good chance you will see many of them in our muck areas.You can’t fail to be amazed at the amazing variety of each species crawling the ocean floor. Some are so rare, you might be one of a very few divers to have seen them.

An experienced guide with a keen eye is vital and even us who dive these sites every day, regularly find new and exciting creatures we have never seen.

The muck show does not end when the sun goes down, actually, night dives are the best for muck diving. Night is when all the small critters come out to hunt without fear of getting caught by the big guys. You see more crustaceans, octopuss and squids and even more exciting critters you can never see in the daytime.

What Can I See in Cozumel ?

Below are a select few examples of critters you can find while muck diving in Cozumel. Obviously there are many many more and finding them is what draws us out everyday and what makes muck diving so special.

You can scroll the galleries below and click on an image for a full screen version.

Snails, Slugs, Worms and Nudibranchs

Crustaceans

Fishes and Invertebrates

What Equipment Do I Need ?

To get good macro shots today is much cheaper than a few years ago and the options are limitless. Below is a guide of the minimum requirements to get National Geographic quality shots, the rest depends on your budget, like any addiction you’re never rich enough to satisfy the insatiable need for more gear!

Point & Shoot

Basic gear on a budget
Olympus TG-6
Olympus PT-059
Wide Beam Video Light
Slave TTL Strobe
Starts at $750us for Camera & Housing.
The Package Above is $1600us.

Mirrorless

Great Quality, Great Price
Sony A6500 with Macro Lens
Nauticam Aluminium Housing
Wide Beam Video Light
Hot or Slave TTL Strobe
The Package Above is $5500us.

Digital Single Lens Reflex

The Ultimate Package on a Budget
Nikon D7500 with Nikon 105mm Macro Lens
Nauticam Aluminium Housing
Wide Beam Video Light
Dual Hot TTL Strobes
Subsee +10 Wet Diopter
The Package Above is $8000us

So now you know the basics of muck diving. If you have any questions, need gear info or would like to learn and dive with us, please contact us for a great time and memories that will last for ever!

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