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I was on a dive trip in Cozumel last week when the Norte hit the island and closed the port down for a day. Luckily, I was diving with Aldora and they were able to make arrangements for a group of six of us to dive the East side of the island. It was remarkable how calm the East side was during this period. We launched our boats from Chen Rio and even though we were the only group diving on this side of the island we felt safe in knowing they launched two boats for us. One boat was to carry our dive group and a second one was to serve as a backup in case of emergency. The diving was a totally different experience from the West side of the island and was well worth the drive over. We would like to thank all of the guys from Aldora that made this trip possible. It was a special trip and a great option for when the port is closed.
I've dived the east side and done cenotes. (I do the cenotes when I stay on the mainland.) If I was on Cozumel and couldn't stand a non-diving day, I'd opt for the east side over taking the ferry to Playa and hooking up with a cenote guide. The reef structure on the east side is totally different then the west side. Not better or worse, just different. It's worth checking it out if you get the chance.
agdiver, since you were just over there, now that Aldora has a full-time operation set up, do they rent tanks for a shore dive or is it boat only? (I'm heading down first week of Dec. Last Dec we had pretty crappy weather. Just looking for some alternate plans ahead of time... just in case. )