Belize Aggressor IV
September 14-24, 2016
Water Temp: 84F
Vis: 80-100 ft;
Weather: Partly sunny. Winds easterly around 10 kts.
Crew: Captain Alex, First Mate John, Engineer Simon, Divemaster William, Chef Jerry, Assistant Chef Carlos, Stewardess Jean
Thursday: Sandy Slope & Amber Head North
Friday: Julies Jungle & Site X
Saturday: Eagle Ray Wall & Long Cay Ridge
Sunday: Sandbox & Dos Chichas
Monday: Blue Hole & Silver Caves
Tuesday: Half Moon Cay Wall & Silver Caves
Wednesday: Chain Wall & Painted Wall
Thursday: Lighthouse Wall & Long Cay Wall
Friday: Amber Head South
We started off our final ten-day charter with some beautiful weather and quick crossing over to the Western side of Turneffe Atoll. Our two dives for the day were Sandy Slope and Amber Head North. Both sites have large sandy patches interspersed with thick coral heads, which makes for an abundance of life, ranging from Jawfish to Stingrays.
Thursday night, we finished our crossing out to Lighthouse Reef where we spent the remainder of our charter. Our first two dives were at Julies Jungle, a site on the Western side of Long Cay. Julies has a great collection of coral heads cut through with canyons at the crest of the wall that fade into smaller coral heads up in the sandy shallows. For the afternoon, we shifted down South to a site off Hat Cay called Site X. While Site X has many different environments to explore, we spent most of the dives in the shallows playing with the numerous yellow-headed jawfish.
Today we started with a beautiful spot called Eagle Ray Wall, just off the North end of Long Cay. Eagle Ray has some fantastic shallows at the top of the wall where numerous schooling jacks and chubs gather. The site is also a great spot to hunt down Lettuce Leaf Nudibranchs. For the afternoon, we moved around the corner to Long Cay Ridge, a site dominated by numerous cuts and canyons along the crest of the reef.
Our first dive of the day was all the way at the Southern end of Long Cay at a site called Sandbox. As the name suggests, there are big stretches of sand making a nice home for big hermit crabs, stingrays, and all manner of other interesting critters. For the afternoon we shifted further North to Dos Chichas, a spot full of truly massive barrel sponges. Just below the boat we had a very cooperative green moray that hung out and gave most of the group a chance to see him free-swimming around the coral heads.
We started off our day with a trip up Lighthouse Reef to the Great Blue Hole. A must-see for visitors to Belize, the Blue Hole was once a massive dry cave and since it has flooded the bottom sits at over 400 ft! Our divers spent a brief, but exciting dive exploring the massive stalactites that line the walls at 100-130 ft. After the Blue Hole, our group spent the morning relaxing and preparing to get ready for a week more of diving! The afternoon we headed over to the West side of Long Cay to Silver Caves, a favorite among the dive masters. There we had beautiful schools of silversides filling the caves that give the site its name. Outside of the cave, the colors of the site were quite vibrant and a couple of guests were lucky enough to get a nice close look at a passing eagle ray.
Today we headed over to Half Moon Cay Wall, on the East side of Lighthouse Reef. The site boasts large sand flats in the shallows, where we found hermit crabs, garden eels, and stingrays. Over at the crest of the wall, there are numerous canyons and swim throughs, and our group had some wonderful encounters with a small group of Nassau groupers at the base of one canyon. The group had so much fun at Silver Caves the previous day that they unanimously requested to spent the whole afternoon there for a second day in a row. Once again, the site did not disappoint with a visit from a friendly reef shark, known as snowflake for the white spots on her head.
We spent our morning over at Lighthouse Wall, where the coral formations come up dramatically out of the sand and then fall off into the oblivion making for a great site for wide-angle photos. Of course, the macro life is pretty fun too, with one guests finding a coupe pipefish lurking up in the shallows. For the afternoon, we played around in the waters at Painted Wall. There, the abundance and diversity of small reef fishes and vibrant walls of healthy corals and numerous sponges made for a wonderful afternoon and evening dive. Numerous squid and several octopuses made for a wonderful way to spend the evening.
Our afternoon was spent over on the West side of Long Cay at Long Cay Wall, always a favorite. We had several great wonderful encounters with a female reef shark who kept circling a guest and Divemaster for several minutes before heading off into the blue. Of course, the macro life was vibrant as well, on the night dive one of our guests even managed to find a spotted sea hare!
For our last day, we explored an infrequently dove site called Amber Head South. It made for a nice relaxing way to spend our final morning at sea with visits from several species of stingrays and many lurking in the nooks and crannies in the coral.
Once again, we bid farewell to another group of new friends that we hope to see again soon. Thanks to all for a wonderful week!