Belize Aggressor IV
November 5-12, 2016
Water Temp: 81F
Vis: 80-100 ft;
Weather: Partly sunny. Winds NW to NE around 10 kts.
Crew: Captain Alex, First Mate John, Engineer Simon, Divemaster William, Chef Jerry, Assistant Chef Carlos, Stewardess Jean
Sunday: Julies Jungle & Long Cay Ridge
Monday: Lighthouse Wall & Long Cay Wall
Tuesday: Half Moon Cay & Eagle Ray Wall
Wednesday: Blue Hole, Painted Wall, & Chain Wall
Thursday: Silver Caves & Black Beauty
Friday: Sandy Slope
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 moved North to Long Cay Ridge, another site with some great coral canyons to explore. All three dives, we were haunted by the grunting of a toadfish that managed to elude even the trained eyes of our divemasters.
With light winds and sunshine to start the day, we began our dives at Lighthouse Wall, just off of Half Moon Cay. The site boats some very dramatic coral formations rising up out of the sand at the crest of the wall, and several massive Spotted Eagle Rays were sighted cruising the in the sand just below the boat. The other highlight of the morning was a small crevice packed a dense ball of silversides dancing in the sunlight. The afternoon, we shifted back towards Long Cay and dove Eagle Ray Wall, where the shallows atop the wall made for a really fantastic set of dives. The night dive was especially memorable, with octopuses, tarpon, crabs, and really beautiful Spotted Scorpionfish hiding in plain sight.
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 swimthroughs, and the dramatic drop off into the depth made a great backdrop for several encounters with Spotted Eagles Rays and Reef Sharks. That afternoon, we played around on the West side of Long Cay at Long Cay Wall, a site with beautiful diversity of life both in the shallows and off the wall.
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. We made a quick stop at Painted Wall to finish off the morning. Painted Wall has some beautiful shallows on top of the wall and boasts some fabulous colors that really shine in the midday sun. As the winds picked up a hair, we shifted back over towards Half Moon Cay to a site called Chain Wall. Usually a good site for shark activity, today it really shined. At least three individual reef sharks, though more likely 4 or 5, circling in and amongst the group for the duration of the dive, making for a fantastic sharknado of a dive!
Our final full day at sea started with a trip to Silver Caves, always a popular site with divemasters and guests alike. Our guests were treated to a visit with the resident seahorse out on the wall, along with a couple up close and personal encounters with a friendly hawksbill turtle. To avoid some imminent weather, we shifted across to the East side of Turneffe for the remainder of the day. Once across, we dove Black Beauty, where we found the ever elusive Spotted Toadfish, along with a trio of Spotted Eagle Rays swimming in formation!
Our final morning was spent at Sandy Slope, where the sandy terrain filled with coral heads makes for a great sight to see some less-often encountered critters, like Yellow Stingrays and Peacock Flounder. 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!