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May 9-16, 2015
Avg. Sea State: rough
Avg. Winds: 20 knots
Avg. Water Temp: 80F
Avg. Air Temp: 88F
Avg. Visibility: 60-80ft
Stewardess – Vanessa
Engineer – Fermin
Instructor – Ken
Deckhand – JR
This week we a couple guests visiting all the way from France, and the rest of group traveling together from California. Welcome aboard Janine, Martine, Dan, Sarah, Peter, Art, Rob, John B, Laura, John S, Barbara, Rebecca, Marcia, Rocky, Lynn, Mike, Susan, and John P.
We had a great week of diving aboard the Belize Aggressor III this charter. Though the level of diver experience and diving styles of our guests varied greatly, there was something for everyone on each dive site we visited. We had some divers that wanted a guided tour each dive, some buddy teams that liked to go explore the sites on their own, some divers that enjoyed hanging out along the walls, some that preferred the shallows, some that would sit at one coral head observe the marine life and activity of that area, and some (particularly our photographers) that could literally stay in one spot and take pictures of a single Jawfish for the entire dive.
Belize boasts the 2nd largest Barrier Reed in the world and the largest in our hemisphere. Belize also has 3 of the 4 Atolls in the Caribbean…Turneffe, Lighthouse Reef, and Glovers Reef (the other is Banco Chinchorro just north of Belize in Mexican waters). On the Belize Aggressor III, we dive mainly on Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef where we have our mooring system set up.
Dive Sites visited this week: Sandy Slope, Long Caye Ridge, Long Caye Wall, The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, South East Cut, Silver Cave, Site X, and Eagle Ray Pass.
The great dives started immediately with an exciting first dive at Sandy Slope on Turneffe Atoll. One of the first things we saw was a pair of Eagle Rays gliding across the sandy bottom down below. As the diving continued, we saw a hawksbill turtle, green and spotted morays, several Nassau groupers, black groupers, tiger groupers, and several barracuda. There always seems to be Creole wrasse and bar jacks in huge schools on the edge of the drop off. We found the lobster hotel, with over a dozen lobster sitting around one coral head, and spotted several more along the reef hanging out in holes, out in the open, and even walking along the reef…there were a lot of lobsters out and about. In the sand we found several pipefish and a pair of pipehorses, several flounder, a jawfish incubating eggs in its mouth, and tons of garden eels. As we headed up to our safety stop, we were greeted by a pair of large remoras.
After our dives at Turneffe, we motored over to Lighthouse Reef for the remainder of the week. The dive sites on Lighthouse Reef are wall dives with the top of the reef averaging around 30ft (10m), with beautiful coral structures and a variety of colourful marine life that inhabit these reefs. On every dive, you can see a variety of species of fish that inhabit our reefs, including different species of butterfly fish, hamlets, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, jacks, snappers, squirrelfish, triggerfish, filefish, chromis, and grouper.
While over on Lighthouse Reef, our guests had the opportunity to swim along with Hawksbill turtles on several occasions as they moved along the reef feeding on sponges. We also had a few Loggerhead turtles swim up to the group of divers at different times on a few dives.
In addition to the turtle encounters, we had some up close and personal quality time with Caribbean reef sharks on a number of dives. On some dives we had up to 4 sharks with us as we cruised the walls. There were also several other Eagle Ray sightings this week, sometimes solitary and sometimes in pairs. We even saw an eagle ray and a shark swimming together along the wall.
As exciting as we were having our encounters with sharks, turtles, and eagle rays, our divers were just as excited about our macro life…and not just the photographers. We had some awesome macro sightings this week.
We found pipefish, pipehorses, lettuce sea slugs, hamners tritonia, flapping dingbats, little slugs about 2mm long, several species of blennies and gobies, decorator crabs, wire coral shrimp, squat anemone shrimp, skeleton shrimp, and slender filefish. A lot of these macro subjects depend on their tiny size and camouflage to hide in plain sight. In addition to these tiny subjects, we also found other larger animals that hide in plain sight, like flounder, scorpionfish, and also a beautiful orange seahorse measuring around 7 inch long.
Night dives added other species to the marine life we had been seeing. We found white speckled nudibranch, octopus, squid, and sharp tail eels.
It was a fun week of diving with some really nice people.
I would like to thank our Honorary Crew Member, Rebecca, for all her help and for keeping the Captain and crew in check.
Big congrats to Barbara on her 100th dive, hope to see you again way before the 200th dive.
Thank you to all our guests! Hope to see you all again soon.
EAT, SLEEP, & DIVE!!!