Launching and retrieving is accomplished using a complicated procedure with 4x4 trucks, rollers, winches and muscle.
"Hurricane" can carry 6 divers, "Gaviota" 4
The 40 ft Falicity has the capacity to carry 14 divers at 25 knots and can have divers enjoying the unique experience of Hanan in less than 1 hour.
The 38 ft Hatteras "Falice" has the capacity to carry 18 divers or snorkelers at 14 knots. Because of its relatively "normal" speed it is used mainly for longer duration excursions, (even overnight) or dive/fishing charter
The 26 ft Aldora V has the capacity to carry 8 divers or 12 snorkelers. It is extremely sea worthy for its size and with twin Honda motors it is very reliable.
Daily trips and schedules
We at Aldora Divers have the unique ability to provide organized and safe diving on the Windward (eastern) shore of Cozumel. The Windward Side is absolutely pristine and offers many things that are never seen on the heavily visited Western shore. The wrecks of Spanish Galleons, pristine fields of soft corals, forests of Elk Horn Coral, and large animals, these are a predictable part of diving the Windward Side of Cozumel. This document will describe the basis that we have established for safe and enjoyable exploitation of this treasure.
First, look at a video from YouTube:
Starting in 2004, Aldora Divers began exploring the possibility of offering dive and snorkeling services to the windward, eastside of Cozumel. Many operational issues had to be addressed but were overcome and by mid 2004 exploration began.
It was found that the waters of the windward side offered an incredible variety of dive experiences—that are quite distinct from the western leeward side of Cozumel. It was apparent to us that Cozumel was indeed, one island but two quite different dive destinations. Aldora explored many areas and designated a variety of dive sites to provide great experiences for almost all levels of divers, while there remain many miles of unexplored reef to examine.
One of the biggest concerns for taking divers there was the very situation that should make it so attractive for divers-- the remoteness and lack of support that might be needed in stressful situations. We at Aldora developed a plan and procedures that far surpass any safety of the sea, legal, or diving industry requirements. We became convinced that a properly outfitted and supported excursion to the Windward side of Cozumel, could be made with safety equivalent to that of most dive locales. Those procedures and requirements are described later on in this document.
Starting in December of 2005 Aldora began commercial operations on the windward side of Cozumel using two boats launched from the beach area of Chen Rio. Since then Aldora has added service from the town of San Miguel using larger more sea worthy boats. Currently the total capacity to serve the Windward side of Cozumel is 42 divers. However, the ability to make excursions is limited by wind and sea conditions and diving there will not be available everyday. As of this writing Aldora is the only Cozumel operator who can offer this service on a regular basis, and certainly the only one who can do so with a high degree of safety.
Given the remoteness of the Windward side and lack of support there it was determined that to operate safely a number of procedures and criteria would have to be developed that would go beyond standard safety of the sea requirements. These include:
To make sure that support is always available we never will dispatch a boat unless there is a redundant means of propulsion (two motors), or another boat under Aldora's control is available on the windward side. That usually means two boats go on each trip no matter how few divers are on board.
Each boat must have redundant navigation and communication equipment and hourly reports must be made to the Aldora Communications center.
Each Boat must have, in addition to basic requirements, an emergency locator device (EPIRB).
Each Boat must have a two hour supply of Oxygen on board
Each Dive Guide must be specially trained in the issues surrounding diving in remote locales and sensitivity to the special environmental conditions that exists.
Each Dive Guide and Captain must have CPR and Oxygen Provider training and have annual refresher courses.
Before any boats are dispatched the management of Aldora Divers will be required to evaluate all available weather reports to determine that the trip can be done safely.
All dive excursions must be led and closely supervised by a Certified Dive Instructor.
The standard dive briefing must include the special environmental considerations that are needed for the Windward side.
Dive Groups must be limited to six divers maximum.
Each Diver must be Advanced Open Water rated.
Each Diver must carry emergency signalling devices, at a minimum an inflatable marker.
All snorkelers must be accompanied by a certified guide and closely supervised.
Snorkelling groups are limited in size to eight people.
All snorkelers must use inflatable snorkeling vests.
All snorkelers must be given a briefing dealing with protection of the ecosystem.
While still relatively unexplored, we have found and named dive sites both in the north and the south. The standard three-dive trip now is centered on Hanan Beach for the first dive. Please note that all trips may be modified by weather, sea state, or other conditions.
For boats launched at Chen Rio the first dive is at Hanan where the surface interval is taken on the beach. The second dive is at the Galleons, where the remains of a very old ship can be explored. For the third dive it is likely to be at Leatherback Reef or Ventanas Reef with a return to Chen Rio.
For boats coming from the leeward side, around the north end of the island the first dive will be at Hanan as well, followed by the Galleons, and then the third will be at a site of the groups choosing, possibly El Castillo or Barracuda Reef back on the leeward side.
The surface interval at Hanan Beach will include a light lunch and may include a discussion of the special environmental state of the area.
As part of our overall capability to serve the windward side of Cozumel, Aldora can provide special extended stay tours for small groups interested in an environmentally focused primitive experience—one that very few will ever get the opportunity to enjoy. Aside from Scuba on these spectacular and unspoiled reefs, these tours may include camping on the beach, hikes through the mangroves, bird watching and exposure to a number of the indigenous species of mammals that inhabit Cozumel. Accommodations will be a reasonably comfortable camp on the beach and meals will be based on fresh caught seafood if we are lucky, with backup food stores if needed. As with our regular Windward excursions our camp will be in constant contact with the Aldora base in town.
A trained and locally knowledgeable biologist will guide each tour providing a truly educational and exciting experience, making sure that our impact on that special environment is not impacted by our presence. An itinerary and pricing will be developed for each group desiring such a tour.
Excursions Departing from the Windward Side
Two beach launch capable boats are kept on the beach near Chen Rio. Either one or both can be launched most of the time and can serve as primary dive boats, or as support boats. It is a labor and equipment intensive task but quite necessary in order to provide safe and reliable service to the Windward Side of Cozumel.
Departing from the West Side of Cozumel
For trips originating on the west side of Cozumel we use larger more comfortable boats. Depending on the size and type of outing, we can use the most appropriate boat. These trips navigate around the north end of the island. Normally the seas conditions are pretty rough and that is why we can only send over the most seaworthy boats.
Aldora has a downtown office and communications center on Calle 5 sur. With a 60 foot high radio tower we can have instant communications with any location around Cozumel. Aldora also has a facility at the Chen Rio beach resort with backup equipment and supplies. Aldora also has two rugged 4x4 trucks that are capable of reaching Hanan within 1 hour of an emergency call.
Please contact Aldora Divers for rates and schedules.