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Belize Aggressor III :

 

Log Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Entry By: Captain Jay Roberts









 



Belize Aggressor III - Captains Log May 28 to June 4, 2016

Weather:
  Air Temp: 86 fahrenheit / 30 celsius
  Water Temp: 84 fahrenheit / 29 celsius
  Visibility: 80-100ft

Crew:    
  Captain: Jay
  Engineer: Fermin
  Instructor: Andre
  Instructor: Kenley
  Chef: Yanis
  Steward: Randy

Guests: Bill, Michelle, Bob, Cheryl, Kris, Ken, Walt, Al, Jean, Jeanne, Jim, Mary, Sam, Kevin, Fred, Trevor, Jim, Lisa

Dive Sites:
  Sunday - Long Caye Wall & Site X
  Monday - Tarpon Caves & Half Moon Caye Wall
  Tuesday - Blue Hole, Island Tour, & Silver Caves
  Wednesday - Chain Wall & Painted Wall
  Thursday - SE Cut & Long Caye Ridge
  Friday - Quebrada

Saturday May 28th:
18 divers from Kevin Sweeny’s SCUBAdventure of Naples, Florida joined us aboard the Belize Aggressor III.  Awesome seeing Kevin again for the fourth time around the fleet!  Guests began the boarding process at 3:00PM.  Guests grabbed a cocktail on the Sundeck, relaxed a bit from the flight, then each guest setup SCUBA gear and were shown to their cabins.  We had our welcome aboard briefing and champagne toast at 5:00PM.  Around 8:30PM we set sail for Lighthouse Reef Atoll.

Sunday May 29th:
This week the Captains Log is going to be a little different.  I’ve chosen a day time encounter and a night time encounter that one guest or every guest saw this week.  I’ve also included some photography tips, so enjoy this weeks log!

The Sailfin Blenny - I love these little guys and gals.  We typically see the male (black in color) in rocky rubble piles or residing in a vacant conch shell on the sand in 3-35ft.  The female is a modeled white color.

Photography tip - you can use a plastic cable tie or what I call “an encouraging device” near the blenny’s shelter to get the male to SHOW OFF his dorsal fin.  Use patience, it can take several minutes for the little guy to warm up to you, then take the shot!



The Caribbean Reef Octopus - We normally see one or more of these beautiful iridescent blue-green to reddish brown colored creatures cruising the reef in 5-60ft. teasing out crustaceans with their arms.  They may also spread their skirt out like a tent to trap small prey.
 
Monday May 30th:
The Tarpon - These large silver fish congregate during the day 0-40ft. and feed at night.  We typically see them right beneath the BAIII during safety stops on nearly every dive!  

Photography tip - tarpon can be very challenging to take a great photo of due to the reflective nature of their scales.  If you have a bright sunny day and are in shallow water a white balanced ambient shot can be very attractive.  But if you are looking for that color rich photo, then lots of photos will be required with subtle manual adjustments to get just the right shot!
 
The Lesser Electric Ray - Very cool little rays.  We typically see them in the shallow sand flats from 10-60ft.  They don’t move much and will not unless they feel threaten.  Be careful, if touched they can deliver an electric shock!

Tuesday May 31st:
The Longsnout Seahorse - We have been seeing several of these dark brown seahorses on the walls 50-80ft holding onto red rope sponges with their tail.  Most of the sitings have been early morning or late afternoon.  Not much luck finding them during the bright daylight hours.

Photography tip - seahorses are very territorial, but also wary of divers.  So, if you want a good shot make sure you take your time and don’t rush in with the camera lens or strobes.  The fast gesture can create water movement the seahorse senses and will quickly move from what could have been a great shot!

The Sculptured Slipper Lobster - Michelle and I saw this species during the night dive traveling along the rocky bottom around 20ft.  In Belize we have frequent sightings and is typically seen roaming alone in search of food.

Wednesday June 1st:
The Caribbean Reef Shark - The most popular shark we see in Belize and is frequently seen on every dive from 0-150ft deep.  Most are curious in nature and will come in for a closer look if you breathe easy and hover for a minute or two.

Photography tip - if you watch sharks long enough you will find they normally swim a pattern on the reef.  So, setup near the wall or within a sand channel carved through the reef.  Be patient and you will find the shark will pass overhead or a few feet in front of the camera for a chance at a great shot!

The Spotted Moray Eel - These eels open and close their mouths not as an act of aggression, but for respiration.  Typically found in 5-35ft and tucked into the reefs during the day and out hunting by night.  We have seen as many as 10 of these handsome eels during one night dive.

Thursday June 2nd:
The Slender Filefish - We typically see juveniles hiding in the gorgonians from 10-60ft.  They use the gorgonians to help camouflage themselves from hungry predators like the Lionfish.

Photography tip - have your dive buddy position a hand or their body on the opposite side of the gorgonian and the photographer.  The filefish will move from it’s hiding place just enough for the photographer to get a clear shot!

The Arrow Squid - Jean, Mary Kaye, and Jeanne found several of these during the night dive.  A common sighting 0-130ft in schools of 5, 6, or more.  Usually feeding near the underwater lights of the BAIII.

Friday June 3rd:
The Nurse Shark - Sleeping under a ledge in 35ft is where these sharks are normally found and the last dive of the week was no exception.   

Photography tip - try not to disturb the shark, if it begins to move then it might feel threatened and speed away.  Approaching from the tail never makes for a good photo, so look for an angle in front or along the side and shoot quickly!

Upon arrival in Belize City, several guests took in the sights at Altun Ha (mayan ruin) and others went on a River Cruise up the Belize River for manatee, bird, and monkey sitings.  The cocktail party commenced at 6PM and the following divers received some awards:

Iron Divers - Michelle, Bill, Walt, Ken, Kris, Al

Saturday June 4th:
…Well that’s the week folks and at 8:00AM the crew said their good byes as the guests departed the Beautiful Belize Aggressor III.

EAT, SLEEP, & DIVE!

Captain Jay Roberts