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Dive Review of Aldora/Brisas in
Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Aldora/Brisas, Oct, 2003,

by Peter J, FL, USA . Report 836.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bonaire, Dominica, Fiji, Florida, Guanaja, Little Cayman, St. Lucia, St. Vincent
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No Deco, long suggested safety stops
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Must ask for camera rinse bucket. Good care taken by crew in handling cameras

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Another hearty recommendation for Aldora Divers. From pre-trip emails to end-of-trip settling up, a first class operation. As mentioned often before, the steel 120 cubic foot tanks and two-hour-plus surface intervals allow for extraordinary bottom time and relatively deep second dives. I was picked up at the Brisas dock in one of Aldora's speedy outboards at 7:40 am which got us out to the most popular dive sites well before the lumbering cattle boats made their appearances. Never dove with more than 4 other divers, often with only 2. All gear, save wetsuits, was handled and rinsed by Aldora's crew throughout the week, affording me the indulgence of some smugness as I walked down the dock with only my wetsuit in hand, watching as the larger ops packed 10 to 20 divers in their boats, all of whom had to rinse and store their own gear.
Divemasters Memo, Bill and owner, Dave (who was pulling some extra duty to accomodate an unexpected number of clients) did everything in their power to accomodate my wishes and needs. Bill, especially, has a kind of Zen way of leading a dive without leading: he's always looking for --and often finding-- the exotica of undersea Cozumel, but never herds his divers, nor rushes them. I, being the only photographer with Aldora that week, was often some distance behind, framing a shot. I was always able to keep the group within my field of vision and never felt pushed to keep up. While I dove with divers of varying skills and experience, I never felt hindered by any (except for one dive with a bottom-kicker who was quickly segregated from most other divers on subsequent trips). One reason for this is the long-hosed alternates carried by the DM's, providing extra air for those who ran low.
The boats are smallish, maybe 28 footers, with tanks secured one in front of the other with bungies. Water always provided and encouraged, camera rinse bucket provided upon request. Backroll entries following DM's reconnoitering of site and current.
Morning dives were the typical 100-foot-deep or more Coz wall dives with swim-throughs and reef-top finales. (most profiles are very nicely shaped, with gradual ascents built into the topography) Surface interval at pleasant beach recreation area, )Playa del Sol, with large, shaded dining area and very decent, inexpensive and generously portioned Mexican food. Scrupulously cleaned restrooms. Lots of beach activities available, though divers, of course, will want to just chill and offgas. Afternoons still provided some deepish dives, but with more time spent in liesurely search and examination of critters at lesser depths.
Brisas is a perfect dive hotel. Large, vaulted-ceiling rooms, fully tiled, with nice balconies equipped with good-sized drying pegs mounted on the wall, as well as plastic stack chairs and table for additional drying. Good size interior table for laptop or camera work, TV with lots of Cable channels, many in English with Spanish subtitles. A short tunnel leads from the hotel lobby to the "beach" and the dive dock where all the ops will stop for passengers. The famously large pool, with multiple depths including a 6-foot wide, 4-inch-deep shelf which runs inside the perimeter, is an apres dive afternoon gathering place.
Food is adequate, though it's certainly worthwhile to take the pleasant, 15-minute stroll into town to sample some of the better restaurants like La Choza or Prima or take a cab ride to El Morro. There's a huge department store/grocery store on the way, just a 5-minute walk from Brisas, where you can stock up on bottled water (a must, though the first bottle's on the house from Brisas), bananas, batteries or a refrigerator, if you're so inclined! The town, San Miguel, is best sampled on Sunday night when the cruise ships are absent. When they're in port (and you'll see as many as seven on any given day!) the area near the waterfront is awash with (literally and figuratively) ugly Americans.
Look for incredibly healthy reefs, excellent vis, really fun swim-throughs, lots of medium to small fish, with Filefish and Angels surprisingly numerous and, yes, some current, but nothing to be overly concerned about, at least in my experience. Aldora's worth every extra penny I paid for the quality and quantity of my dive minutes.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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