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Belize Aggressor III Captain’s Log
July 8-15, 2017
Sea State: light chop to choppy
Avg. Wind Speed: 10-15 knots
Avg. Air Temp: 87F
Avg. Water Temp: 84F
Avg. Visibility: 100ft +
Steward – Randy
Engineer/DM - Fermin
Instructor – Daniel
Divemaster – Monique
Deck Asst. – Jason
Saturday July 15, 2017
3:00PM – Guests Board
5:30PM – Safety briefing & Introductions
6:30PM – Dinner is served!
On any given day on any of the dive sites on Turneffe Atoll or Lighthouse Reef Atoll, you can see a good variety of reef fish, coral, and sponges of Belize. This includes different species of Angelfish, triggerfish, hamlets, basslets, chromis, butterfly fish, snappers, groupers, damselfish, jawfish, blennies, gobies, pufferfish, trunkfish, grunts, wrasses, jacks, and parrotfish, to name a few. There are also barracudas and eels that are in abundance. On pretty much every dive you can see trumpetfish hunting by shadowing other fish, or trying to blend in with a school of fish, such as blue tangs or Creole wrasse. All these fish, along with the wide variety of colourful corals and beautiful sponges can make one feel like they are diving in an aquarium. Though Belize is not known for either pelagics or macro subjects, there a plenty of both. We get frequent visits from Reef sharks, Eagle rays, Southern stingrays, and turtles, that make for some awesome diving encounters. As for macro, there are no shortage of tiny shrimp, slugs, tiny fish, and crabs. For example, there are plenty of decorator crabs and lettuce sea slugs hiding in plain sight, you just have to find them. Scorpionfish and flounder are also usually staring up at divers from a perch or in the sand, going unnoticed, as the divers swim right past them. There are occasionally there are sightings of more rare creatures, like mantas or whale sharks, as well as critters like seahorses, pipehorses, batfish, frogfish, or the spotted toadfish that is indigenous to Turneffe Atoll. From time to time we get to dive with wild dolphins, and a few occasions we were approached by manatees.
On any night dive, there is a high possibility of seeing squid hanging out, or watching octopi feed along the reef. Nudibranch that usually hide during the day can be found on rope sponges or crawling on the reef. Nocturnal creatures are out feeding and put on a show at night. Tarpon tag along like puppies looking for a treat, while using your lights to hunt small fish. Crabs and lobster come out and scurry along the reef.
Overall, Belize has great diving with an abundance of marine life, beautiful reefs, and easy diving. Below are some highlights of this week’s charter.
Sunday July 16, 2017
Dive Sites: Sandy Slope & Long Caye Ridge
Our day started at Sandy Slope on Turneffe Atoll and ended at Long Caye Ridge on Lighthouse Reef Atoll. It seemed like everything came in pairs today, with sightings of pairs of Eagle rays, a pair of golden tail morays out swimming on the reef, a pair of pipefish in the sand, a pair of big black groupers doing a mating dance, a pair of Caribbean reef sharks cruising along the reef. We also saw garden eels, jawfish, green morays, a nurse shark, octopus, squid, and a big hawksbill swam up behind one of the divers.
Monday July 17, 2017
Dive Sites: Half Moon Caye Wall & Eagle Ray Pass
On Half Moon Caye Wall, we saw lots of stingrays in the sand and a huge eagle ray in shallows. There were some pretty friendly groupers hanging around, and large barracudas watched from a distance. In the sand, we also found peacock flounder, headshield slugs, flapping dingbats, and a group of 5 pipefish. Later in the day at Eagle Ray Pass, we found a big scorpionfish, some neck crabs, neon gobies at a cleaning station, and an eel hiding in hole.
Tuesday July 18, 2017
Dive Sites: Painted Wall & Long Caye Wall
Today we saw over 8 eagle rays, 4 of them were together swimming in formation. A big green moray peered up at us from under a rock, 3 reef sharks cruised along the wall and one came up in the shallows, and a friendly nurse shark swam up to the divers, then later another, much smaller one, did the same. We found a scorpionfish hiding on a rock and a spotted moray hiding under a rock. We saw over a dozen lettuce sea slugs on that dive, as well as neck crabs, arrow blennies, schools of jacks, tarpon, groupers, barracudas, a channel clinging crab, and a small hawksbill turtle.
Wednesday July 19, 2017
Dive Sites: Blue Hole & Silver Caves
We did one dive at the Great Blue Hole for our first dive of the day. The Blue Hole was once a cave above ground where some massive stalactite formations grew over many years, thousands of years ago. Today we have to descend to depths of 100+ft to see those stalactites.
For the rest of the day, our dives were at Silver Caves. On the wall, a pair of Eagle rays swam toward the group of divers, then they did a slight detour around the group. There were dozens of trunkfish and black durgeons swimming around, and just a lot of fish in general hustling and bustling around this site. Down the wall we could see a Caribbean reef shark, and above a hawksbill turtle swam along the edge of the drop off. As we headed toward the boat we spotted a scorpionfish, and from our safety stop we watched a little nurse shark swimming around under the boat.
Thursday July 20, 2017
Dive Sites: Cathedral, Nurse Shark Ridge, & Long Caye Ridge
Today we did 3 different dive sites and had an exciting day of diving. At Cathedral we saw a Caribbean Reef shark and her pup…a tiny little shark about 2ft long. As we went into the swim-throughs, we were engulfed by a school of silversides & tarpon that were hanging out in the caverns. We found a sleeping Southern Stingray covered with sand, and a tiny lined sole trying to camouflage itself as a piece of debris. A nurse shark swam around hunting on the reef. At Nurse Shark Ridge we found neck crabs, a spotted moray, a green moray sleeping under a rock, and a huge lobster on reef. As we hopped in at Long Caye Ridge, we witnessed what was definitely the highlight of the day, and possibly of the entire week. We watched 3 sharks doing a mating ritual, and had 2 mating sharks actually swim right between the group of divers. That was certainly not something we get to see very often.
Friday July 21, 2017
Dive Site: Painted Wall
We came back to Painted Wall to do our early dive, and ended up doing both morning dives here before heading back to port. It was Eagle Ray central today with several groups of Eagle Rays. There were groups of 5, 3, 2 and solitary eagle rays. We saw a total of 16 different Eagle rays this morning. Painted wall is also full of life and colour. Beautiful purple sea fans waved in the surge, and colourful fish swam about the reef. It was a great way to end a fantastic week of diving with a fantastic group of people.
Congrats to our Iron Divers…Josh, Jonathan, Buddy, Tom, Ted, Jen, and Katrina!
Congrats to Eliza, Josh, and Jonathan on becoming our newest Nitrox divers!
Congrats to Jen on completing her Rescue Diver course!
Congrats to our Milestone divers: Jen (100 dives), Francesca (300 dives), and Ted (900 dives)!
Hope to see you all again soon!
EAT, SLEEP, & DIVE!!!