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July 2005 Vol. 20, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A Good, Safe Operator on Cozumel

from the July, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Serious divers going to Cozumel look for serious operators such as Aldora Divers and Living Underwater (reviewed in the May Undercurrent), so when our traveling feature writers find an exceptional operator, we like to pass it on:

Earlier this year I scheduled a one-week dive trip with Aquatic Sports Cozumel. Owner Sergio Sandoval has run his small family-owned business for more than 30 years. He and his son, Sergio Jr., provide the underwater guide services.

I was always on the largest of Sergios two boats, which had a covered deck area with enough seats for eight friendly people, thought there were never more than four. Other than the bunks in the cabin, there was little space to store large, housed cameras and he needs an adequate rinse tank. On the other hand, there was a marine head -- a luxury on Cozumels smaller boats. Tanks were filled to 3200 psi. Nitrox is available.

The dives were always guided. Although we were advised to stay within sight of either Sergio or Sergio Jr., I was never hand-held. I was encouraged to dive my computer, but decompression dives were prohibited. Because boat traffic is very heavy, the Sergios always towed a tethered marker float. They asked me to signal when I had 500 psi remaining and make a safety stop under the float. After I surfaced, the boat, which had been following the float, would come pick me up. The first mate or captain was always there to carry my tank and assist in donning and doffing. They provided safety sausages for those who didnt have their own.

Each day, Sergio picked me up and dropped me off at my hotel (Iberostar). On the first day he loaded my gear aboard. From then on, he transported my gear back to his marina, rinsed it and hung it in his secure locker till the next day. I watched other hotel guests shlep their gear off their dive boat after every trip and haul it down the long pier to the dive shop for their own rinsing and storage.

During my week we hit many highlights: Devils Throat, Palancar Gardens, La Francesa, Punta Sur, Columbia Reef, Central Pass, plus Santa Rosa and San Francisco walls. My two morning dives were separated by a one hour break for a light lunch and time for a siesta or stroll along a beautiful beach. The afternoon dive was several hours later, allowing time back at the hotel. Sergio also provided great night dives very close to his marina where there were no currents to worry about.

Aquatic Sports Cozumel accepts Visa and MasterCard (Phone 011 52 987 2 0640 or email: scubacoz@scubacozumel.com). Sergio charges US$69 for the two-tank morning trip and US$37 for a onetank afternoon dive. The Iberostar (www.iberostar.com) is close to most of the dive sites, but a half hour from downtown San Miguel by cab. The five-year-old all-inclusive hotel is beautiful, with two-story bungalows spread throughout manicured grounds. The food in its three restaurants is great! Reservations must be made by a travel agent or online booking service.

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