Dear Fellow Aldorians,
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the island of Cozumel, as it has most of the world, to a halt. Consequently, Aldora dive operations have been shut down indefinitely. The hardworking staff at Aldora, who rely on hourly wages and tips, are suffering financially from this trauma. Their daily income all but disappeared overnight.
Now is our chance to give back to those who have given us so much joy over the years.
1. We at Aldora use technology and procedures to give each of our divers extraordinarily long dives at the best dive sites in Cozumel.
2. We at Aldora Divers always provide personal service to our divers. That means that our small groups will always be of similar interests and skills. 2 divers on each of three boats...that happens a lot with Aldora.
3. We at Aldora Divers have multiple boats and support staff and always can take care of our divers needs, in most any situation—not just on a good day.
4. We at Aldora Divers have special policies and programs to make sure that our clients always experience the very best of Cozumel. Not only do we regularly service the very best sites in the National Park, like others can, but we also offer Aldora's Special Ops. This provides safe and unique dives that NO other operation can. Diving the east side when weather permits, diving the newly identified beautiful dive sites way up north, and most uniquely the caves of the Sleeping Sharks (more on this later).
5. Aldora Divers has one 40 ft diesel powered boat that is fast and comfortable. While other small shops leave their customers landlocked and dry on blustery days. While cattle boat operators still go out, Aldora does too, we just don't treat our customers like bovine carcasses.
6. Aldora Divers offers the Villa Aldora, but exclusively for our dive customers. The Villa Aldora is prime waterfront property that is held at greatly reduced rates when compared to other similar locations, plus it has amenities that no other hotel in Cozumel offers...frequently referred to as the "best kept secret in Cozumel".
7. The Aldora office and the Aldora Pier are conveniently located just steps from the central square and Ferry Pier. The Aldora office is always staffed with English speaking people whose charter is to make every aspect of your trip comfortable. If you happen to be staying downtown we can pick you up right there and there is no need for taxi rides to distant marinas. We of course pick up our divers at their hotel docks, even one in the North.
As you may know Aldora provides exceptionally long dives by using high capacity tanks (50% more air) and computer aided multi level dives. Indeed the average including deep dives and ALL divers is over 1 hour 10 minutes per tank and that is about double what the cattle boat or mom and pop operators provide. In addition to all that time diving, you do it at only the best dive sites to the far south, and in small groups of similar divers. Most other shops have a surcharge for what Aldora does everyday. And we do a very good job of keeping experts and novices separated and in our 8 boats. Finally on diving, Aldora, and only Aldora can provide our Special Ops service. That means a multitude of newly identified and pristine sites near the north end of the island, and the absolute greatest adventure is "the Caves of Sleeping Sharks"—you must view the video to believe.
Then there is the consideration of dive quality. Cattle boats almost always have groups go down with 1 dive guide for every 8 people, frequently in a scene like being in a glass of water with an Alka Seltzer tablet. Most of the small boat operators will take 8 divers per boat. It is our opinion that any more than 6 divers makes it unsafe, or at least uncomfortable, to do the wonderful swim throughs that make Cozumel so special. At Aldora we limit dive group size to a maximum of 6, and there can be a big difference in the dive quality between an operator who has groups of 8 and those with 6. Our average load is 4 divers and we always, always make sure that all divers in the group have similar skills and interests. In that effort we are not perfect but we do a very good job and that way we can always take our divers to the very best dive sites commensurate with their skills. In addition, gas burn and time are never part of the site selection decision.
Infrastructure is important too. Under the harsh service in Cozumel, boats break all the time...that is just a fact of life when you run engines 365 days a year. With the fleet of 8 boats Aldora Divers is usually able to keep two in standby at all times. Thus when a boat breaks we can have another of our fast comfortable boats at the scene within minutes. Aldora has a well paid highly professional staff, all PADI Master Scuba Instructors, and waiting in the wings are others who would love to work for Aldora (that means we can be very selective in who we hire). At Aldora we have the infrastructure of the big operations--with the personal service of the small ones.
Then we have many special policies to better serve our customers. Have you ever heard of a diver not getting to do a night dive because the operator did not have enough divers to make a trip profitable? At Aldora we will do night dives two nights a week, even if only one diver wants to go. Have you ever lost a dive day because your arrival was after the dive boats left the dock? We guaranty diving on your day of arrival. Have you ever heard of a diver being stuck without diving because a hurricane shut down operations? We have Hurricane Insurance, which provides free diving in the future for days missed on your trip—that is without paying for those missed days! Have you ever gotten cold after getting out of the water? Our crew will give you a fleece lined dive parka to warm up in. Do you enjoy dragging your dive gear back and forth to the boat? With Aldora, just leave it on your tank and our crew will clean, store overnight, then have it all set up on the boat for you to dive the next day. Are you ever a little nervous after being out of the water for a long time? All of our dive guides are PADI Master Scuba Instructors and help those divers get comfortable, just as part of the diving.
The charge for this level of service, when defined as a two tank dive, is $93 and that is a bit more than the others in Cozumel charge. However, if you calculate the cost per hour of diving we are the cheapest by far. Plus you get all the extra services as if you were a millionaire on private charter, and one not so obvious factor-infrastructure. Certainly many people now days have enough sense to avoid the cattle boat operators who do have lots of infrastructure to serve the masses, but there are a lot of mom and pop operations that have just one small boat of their own. What happens when that one boat breaks down? Best outcome is that they scramble to rent a boat that nobody else would dive in and you are delayed, losing precious hours of vacation time. Or you lose a day of diving...or worse. Then what happens when their one good DM is sick? You get stuck with whatever person they can find on the street!
Perhaps this is why the President of Mexico, Philipe Calderon, chose to dive with Aldora multiple times in 2011/12. The photo below shows a very happy President... in the middle of the Aldora Dive Staff.
So, why pay a little more to dive with Aldora? In essence, the small premium you pay for diving with Aldora is like insurance--Insurance that you will have a wonderful dive trip regardless of the stuff that invariably befalls dive operators here in Cozumel.