Windward Adventures "Still, Only the Best of Cozumel"
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
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
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.
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
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
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
All snorkelers must be accompanied by a certified guide and closely
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
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.
and retrieving is accomplished using a complicated procedure with 4x4
trucks, rollers, winches and muscle.
“Hurricane” can carry 6 divers, “Gaviota” 4
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
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
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
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.