At the age of 23, Tiffany H. Carey moved from her hometown in Chicago to Lawrence, Kansas, where she attended the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. After graduation, she moved to Manhattan Beach, California, following a proposal of marriage. This year she joined Skin Diver as its copy editor, and finding the enthusiasm for diving infectious, decided to get certified. She dived the Sea of Cortez only one week after her final certification dive off Catalina Island.
Michelle Danner has been a diver for five days. A UC Santa Barbara graduate and native of California, her fears of the Pacific Ocean kept her feet dry. After becoming the managing editor of Skin Diver magazine in February of 1999, she began to appreciate the beauty of the ocean. Following more than a year of harassment by her fellow staff, she jumped into a swimming pool in Los Angeles and finished her certification in Cabo San Lucas.
After becoming certified in 1991, Tamara Collins spent two weeks diving the reefs of Belize and vowed she would write about it for Skin Diver. Two years later she became the magazine's assistant editor. Now the editor of Skin Diver Online, Tamara organizes online stories of incredible scuba adventure taking place around the world. This time it's her turn to hit the road. With laptop in hand she's off to Cabo San Lucas and the Sea of Cortez.
Ty Sawyer, Skin Diver's Senior Editor, has been to every Cabo Dive Fiesta--this one and the last one. He plans to repair the good name of Skin Diver after Tamara, Michelle and Tiffany caused the town to drop to its knees and cry, "Mercy, for God's sake, mercy."
This year Ty has pledged to hide the treasures for the treasure hunt better than he did at the last Fiesta. And somewhere offshore awaits the damn baitball that eluded him last year. But don't expect him to come back with a tan, as the Mexican Navy uses the glare off his body as an aid to navigation.
Daryl Carson, assistant editor of Skin Diver, is a man of mystery. No one can figure out how he made the journey from his homeland in the south to glamorous LA. It is rumored that he learned to read while walking from his double wide trailer to the school bus stop. He was fascinated by billboards and spent hours staring at them, trying to sound out the words.
Through pure determination and better oral hygiene, Daryl landed a job at Skin Diver about two years ago. It was the perfect combination of words and water. Today, he is allowed to travel to places like Cabo, where he dives and stares at billboards, sounding out new, foreign words.
Setting the Wheels in Motion
The heat washed over us and slowed us down a pace as we lugged our overstuffed dive bags toward Kathy's van. Kathy Knoll, Skin Diver marketing rep, would be our hostess and fearless leader for the next three days of the Fiesta as we mixed a little business with a lot of pleasure.
Jayde, Tracey and Tiffany relax after the dive at North Wall.
Crammed into the van and heading for the Finesterra Hotel, we decided a few Mexican beers would be our only salvation in this desert heat. We toasted Cabo, Kathy, the Fiesta and our good fortune.
Instructor extraordinaire Kevin Colter from Amigos Del Mar.
Ours was the first wave of Skin Diver staff members to descend on the Cabo Summer Dive Fiesta. There was Jayde Ashlin, artist, Tracey Ordway, publishers' assistant, and Michelle, Tiffany and Tamara, who will be sharing their dive experiences for the first few days of the Fiesta.
After checking in and conducting a little business with dive operators in the area, we were off to the pool for some R and R. Three pools led down in terraces to a wide caramel sand beach and the Pacific beyond. The pool was warm and delicious; the bar shaded and cool.
Approaching The Point, our second dive site.
Energized and ready for dinner, we set out for the Da Giorgio, a beautiful cliff side restaurant with a splendid view. As the sun sank below the horizon, we got to know some of the other sponsors of the Fiesta--Jason from Sport Chalet, Doug from Sea and Sea, Eric from Mares and the Solmar's Jose Luis. With these friendly faces and the spirited banter heard at the table, we knew the Fiesta would be a success.
The Welcoming Party at the Hotel Solmar.
Nine-o-clock came bright and early as we stepped aboard Amigos Del Mar's dive boat the next morning. We had new divers and old veterans onboard. Tracey and Tiffany had just been certified, Michelle was on an open-water referral, and Jayde and I were old pros. Justin, a Fiesta participant and dive instructor from Sport Chalet, was surprised and quite pleased to find so many women onboard; the ratio of men to women is not usually in a single man's favor.
Jayde and Tracey work the sign-in desk.
We made two dives, one at North Wall, the other at The Point, and spent our surface interval at Lover's Beach. (Read about the dives from three different perspectives below.)
Solmar's Jose Luis and Skin Diver's Kathy Knoll.
We were back to the dock just in time for lunch, a shower and a mind-melting walk across the scorching beach (we could have skipped the shower and just bathed in our sweat) to the Hotel Solmar for the opening party.
An hour after our arrival, the party was in full swing. The banners were up, the mariachi band was taking requests, guests were set up with all-you-can-eat-and-drink wristbands and raffle tickets, and the prizes were arrayed on the table for wishful thinking.
Publisher Al Hornsby with underwater photographer Marty Snyderman.
With full bellies and a good buzz, we all piled into the hotel's gym for a slide show presentation by award-winning underwater photographer and Skin Diver contributor Marty Snyderman. Divers ooed and awed at the images of sharks, mantas, sea lions and clouds of fish. You could feel the diver's excitement build as they realized the possibility of coming face to face with these creatures on the reefs of the Sea of Cortez.
The guests get to know each other at the party.
That night was an early one for the Skin Diver staff. The Fiesta's guests may have been raising the roof in Cabo's decadent downtown nightclubs, but we were wiped out and ready for bed. Who knew what the next day would hold, and we wanted to be ready.
Michelle's Dive Log | Tiffany's Dive Log | Tamara's Dive Log
[Intro] [Day 1] [Day2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day5]