Posted 29 January 2012 - 05:18 PM
Just a thought - Pricing should never be the first (or second or third) consideration in choosing a dive operator. No. 1 on my list is "will they bring me back safely?" Nos. 2, 3, 4 are matters on which there is room for disagreement based on personal preference. I like the small fast boats, no more than 6 or 7 divers in the water with a Divemaster. Others like the social aspect of the big boats - that's a perfectly acceptable preference, it just isn't mine. I like an operator where everyone dives computers - longer bottom times. I like an operator that will give me the high pressure steel tanks (Aldora & one other I cannot think of right now are the only ones on the Island that offer this); I like having the extra air of a steel 120, and (as a fat diver), I really like the bouyancy characteristics of steel tanks; others (mostly the skinny types who can get underwater with 2 or 3 pounds of lead) really like the aluminum tanks and would not pay the extra cost for steel. I like an operator who does a longer surface interval on the shore - more time to outgas means longer & safer second dives. Is the operator convenient to where I'm staying? Will I need to take a cab to the Dive Pier both ways, or can I walk there & walk back? You'll find a lot of divers highly recommending a dive operator that they've been "diving with for years", but if you dig deeper it just might be because they've been staying at the same place for years, and it was simply inconvenient to try other dive ops. Saving $10 a day on a 2-tank dive, while spending $16 in cab fares to get to & from the operators pier just doesn't make sense. But that's OK, if you trust & like the operator, and it's convenient, why change? As to the first consideration, safety, there are maybe a hundred operators on the Island & only 2 or 3 I would disqualify based upon their history. Almost all are safe enough to trust; is having O2 on the boat, a CO Analyzer that's used on all the tanks & other extra safety features worth it to you for the extra you might have to pay? I'm risk averse, so I'll readily pay extra for an outfit and a crew that I know can handle any emergency. But if you are an experienced, well trained diver that always dives well within your limits, I won't fault you for deciding otherwise. So maybe after figuring out what you want, and narrowing the list to three or four operators, then you consider price. But frankly, in my experience, there just isn't enough difference in price among operators on Cozumel to make that much of an issue. That having been said, I like Aldora (which is probably among the pricier operators, but worth it to me), and I trust and will use Dive with Martin. There are probably another 40 or 50 operators that others will recommend, but I have no personal experience with them. But asking for a "reasonably priced" dive op recommendation strikes me as a bit of misplaced priorities. Tell us just what you want in a dive operator, and maybe where you are staying, then, after narrowing the field a bit with 3 or 4 possibilities, maybe you can ask for recommendations to choose among them. BTW, most operators that I have knowledge of will offer an afternoon 1-tank dive if there is enough interest - at least 4-6 people to cover the cost of the boat ride. If not, you might have to settle for a shore dive.