Belize Aggressor IV
November 12-19, 2016
Water Temp: 81F
Vis: 80-100 ft;
Weather: Partly sunny. Winds NW to NE 10-15 kts.
Crew: Captain Alex, First Mate John, Divemaster William, Divemaster Conway, Chef Jerry, Assistant Chef Carlos, Stewardess Jean
Sunday: Julie’s Jungle & Site X
Monday: Cathedral & Long Cay Wall
Tuesday: Lighthouse Wall & Long Cay Ridge
Wednesday: Half Moon Cay Wall & Chain Wall
Thursday: Blue Hole & Silver Caves
Friday: Sandy Slope
We started our trip with an overnight crossing of 50 miles out to Lighthouse Reef. Our first two dives were at Julie’s Jungle, a site on the Western side of Long Cay. Julie’s is a nice easy place to start a week of diving, with lots of interesting canyons and channels in the coral structure along the crest of the wall. From there, we shifted South to Site X, a site just off the Western side of Hat Cay. X is different from many other sites in that it is dominated by several large sand chutes, which makes excellent habitat for lots of sand and rubble-dwelling critters, including yellow-headed jawfish, peacock flounder, and sailfin blennies.
As the winds stayed mostly Northerly, we decided to start our day at Cathedral, a positively beautiful site that we can only dive when the winds are just right. Today, the site was in fine form with beautiful soft corals of many varieties dominating the shallows and a couple curious reef sharks cruising the wall looking to see who had come to visit. Our afternoon was spent just down the reef a little ways, at Long Cay Wall, another beautiful site with brilliantly colored sponges decorating the face of the sheer wall. Our friendly reef sharks from the previous dive followed us down the reef and make several nice passes with the group.
Today we headed over to Lighthouse Wall, on the East side of Lighthouse Reef. The site boasts large sand flats in the shallows, and dramatic pinnacles of coral along the crest of wall, before it falls off into oblivion. The marine life was cooperative, with one group of divers finding two separate hawksbill turtles, two eagle rays flying in tight formation, and a very friendly reef shark all in the space of about ten minutes. The afternoon was spent over at Long Cay Ridge back on the West side of Long Cay where during the night dive, one of our divemasters found a spotted toadfish, a fish that isn’t even supposed to be found at Lighthouse Reef!
With some stronger Northwest winds picking up, we took shelter in the lee of Half Moon Cay, where we had an enjoyable morning exploring the numerous swimthroughs that cut in and out all along the face of the wall. One of the swimthroughs was so packed with swarming silversides that once inside you could barely see the entrance or exit.
Our final full day at sea started 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, we had time for a brief jaunt ashore at Half Moon Cay, where you can get up close and personal with nesting frigates and red-footed boobies. For the afternoon, we dove at Silver Caves, back on the West side of Long Cay. Always a successful dive, we had a great look at the resident seahorse and a visit from Snowflake, our friendly local reef shark. The last night dive of the trip was a solid success with octopus, squid, slipper lobsters, and massive channel crabs. As thanksgiving dinner was served, we slowly made our way across to the West side of Turneffe Atoll where we would dive the next morning.
Our final morning was spent at Sandy Slope, where the massive sand chute fringed with dense coral heads always makes for an interesting dive full of inquisitive spotted morays and plentiful jawfish throughout the sand.
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!