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Sunday – Sandy Slope & Long Caye Wall
Monday – Half Moon Caye Wall & Sandbox
Tuesday – South East Cut & Cathedral
Wednesday – Chain Wall, Dos Cocos
Thursday – Silver Cave & Long Caye Ridge
Friday – Blue Hole
Stewardess - Vanessa
Engineer - Fermin
Instructor – Jody
Deck Asst. – Anna
On Saturday we greeted our guests at boarding time and got everyone checked in and set up for their week of diving. Our 16 guests…Mark, Guy, Tom, Wojciech, Michal, Jen, Lucas, Terry, Jim, Patty, Judith, Sharon, George, Christina, Lisa, and Tyler were all eager and ready to start their week of diving aboard the Belize Aggressor III.
Sunday: Sandy Slope & Long Caye Wall
For our morning dives we hopped in at Sandy Slope on Turneffe Atoll. This is a great site to do a check out dive and get re-familiar with your equipment. Sandy slope has a vast area of sand at about 30ft right below the boat that has a gradual slope towards the depths to the West…to the North, South, and East of the sandy bottom are surrounding coral heads making a horse-shoe like formation. The corals and sponges are very healthy and colourful and there is an abundance of fish life. On our morning dives we saw an Eagle Ray, several morays, lots of Creole wrasse, groupers, barracudas, lobster, a yellow stingray, peacock flounder, Sargassum triggerfish, and lots of yellow head jawfish.
At lunch we did the crossing from Turneffe to Lighthouse Reef and tied up at Long Caye Wall for some amazing afternoon and night dives. The diving around Lighthouse Reef are primarily wall dives, with the top of the reef averaging around 30ft and the depth of a couple thousand feet. As we made our descent down the wall, we saw a Hawksbill turtle about 50ft below us. Further down the wall a Caribbean reef lazily swam by. We admired the awesome coral formations and colourful sponges as we cruised along the wall. On our way back to the top of the reef, we were surrounded by hundreds of bar jacks, creole wrasse, sardines, several permit, tarpon, and horse-eye jacks. These schools of fish were out and about criss-crossing each other and it reminded me of 5 oclock traffic at a busy intersection. There were also black durgeons and trunk fish swimming around each other in mid water. As we made our way back to the vessel, a 6 ft nurse shark swam past us and headed toward the shallows…as we followed along, it took us straight to a little hawksbill. We were able to end of the dive watching the little hawksbill feeding.
Monday: Half Moon Caye & Long Caye Ridge
Today we had fun with sharks. Most of the dive we had 2 Caribbean Reef sharks passing back and forth lazily along the wall. There were also sightings of a hawksbill turtle and a green turtle. In the sand, stingrays cruising along the bottom, razorfish were darting around, hundreds of garden eels were out swaying with the surge, schools of blue parrotfish/goatfish/jacks were feeding. There were a couple very friendly Grey Angelfish that swam up to check out the divers. We also came across several barracuda and groupers. As we searched through the grass beds, we found flapping dingbats, pipehorse, pipefish, lancer dragonette, and several small crabs and shrimp.
Long Caye Ridge has some beautiful and massive barrel sponges. It also has some fun swim-thrus that we went to explore. There is an abundance of reef fish that inhabit this dive site…trumpetfish, scrawled filefish, lots of snappers, squirrelfish, barracuda, parrotfish, Angelfish, rock beauties, hamlets, groupers, and damselfish to name a few. We aslo found a spotted moray and a goldentail moray on the reef.
Tuesday: South East Cut & Cathedral
This morning was another day of fun with sharks at South East Cut. Caribbean Reefs and a blacktip came up to check out the divers close enough to get their pictures taken. There were also lots of Nassau groupers hanging around as well as a massive barracuda. We found several lobster on the wall and came across a rare Goliath grouper hovering under a ledge on the wall. As we were untying the mooring to move to our afternoon dive site, an Eagle ray jumped out of the water right near the bow.
Some of the guests were asking about macro, so we went critter hunting on the wall at Cathedral…but before that, we stopped to look at a hawksbill turtle as it swam along the wall and made its way past us. We did end up finding some cool critters…skeleton shrimp, wire coral shrimp, neck crabs, slender filefish, lots of banded coral shrimp, arrow blennies, rough head blennies, crinoids, Christmas tree worms, arrow crabs, squat anemone shrimp…and though not a little critter, we spotted a scorpionfish right on top of the reef. Several tarpon kept us company as we did our safety stop.
Wednesday: Chain Wall, Dos Cocos, & Quebrada
Well I guess the fun with sharks continued at Chain Wall. As soon as we hopped in, we could see a Caribbean Reef shark swimming across the sand below the boat. We made our way to the wall and saw another one cruising along. We basically hung out right down the drop off and watched the sharks passing back and forth for most of the dive. There were also a lot of Nassau and black groupers, some lobsters, several stingrays, peacock flounder, sailfin blennies, yellow head jawfish, a few huge hogfish, Queen triggerfish, barracuda, and lots of jacks.
For our second site of the day, we headed over to Dos Cocos. This is a beautiful wall dive with massive gorgonians, huge sponges, lots of beautiful soft corals and tons of fish. We saw a reef shark down below in the deep, found a free-swimming green moray, watched a hawksbill feed on sponges while a lionfish, a Queen Angel and a triggerfish fed of the scraps. Also on that dive a beautiful Eagle Ray glided past us on the wall.
After lunch we hopped in at Quebrada. This was another beautiful dive, with tons of reef fish, healthy reefs, and beautiful sponges. Down below a Caribbean Reef shark cruised along, while above a little hawksbill went to the surface for air. The fish activity was amazing, and we just stopped along to watch the trumpetfish hunt, look at the very beautiful Indigo Hamlets, and watched a juvenile drum dancing about. There were also schools of blue tangs, creole wrasse, and bar jacks buzzing about.
Thursday: Silver Caves & Long Caye Ridge
On Thursday morning at Silver Caves, once again the sharks came around…3 Caribbean reefs. In addition to the sharks, we watched an Eagle Ray gracefully swim by, swam along with turtles, and saw a gigantic green moray moving around on top of the reef. There were several tarpon in formation and lots of jacks right under the boat.
That afternoon we headed back over to Long Caye Ridge for the afternoon and night dives. There were lots of schooling fish under the boat. Several barracuda hung out near the mooring line. We found a very well hidden scorpion fish, several neck crabs, wire coral shrimp, some Pederson shrimp at their cleaning station, flounder, sailfin blennies and lots of schooling creole wrasse.
On every night dive this week we found octopus and squid. There were some where we saw feeding morays, a sleeping turtle, tons of nudibranch, and feeding tarpon.
We finished off the week at the Great Blue Hole Natural Monument. He headed down in this once ancient cave to see massive stalactite formations that have become submerged after ice melted thousands of years ago, and now hang down at the depths.
What a great week off diving, and thank you to all our wonderful guests.
Congrats to Jen on her 100th dive, and to Judy on her 200th dive.
Congrats to our IRON DIVERS this week…Christina, Mark, Michal, and Wojciech.
Special thank you to Fabio for sharing those amazing pictures (we are putting some in the Capt. Log), and thanks for accepting Christinas IRON DIVER award as she was busy getting her massage.
Hope to see you all again soon…EAT, SLEEP, & DIVE!!!