Belize Aggressor IV Captain’s Log
April 8 – 15th 2017
Water Temp 81 Degrees F
Exposure Suit – Board Shorts to 3mm
Visibilty 80 -120ft
After an exciting ten weeks in the Dominican Republic snorkeling with humpback whales, the Belize Aggressor IV crossed over all the Caribbean back to our home port of Belize City.The bustling cruise ship port is closed for the day and the regal Belize Aggressor IV adorned with her blue and white colors lay across the cruise port dock ready for another exciting week with guests from Mexico, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. We share our first sun set together as we settle in to a wonderfully prepared meal by our Chef Carlos and his super helper, Jean and Elia. We depart after dinner and transverse the shallows on the out skirt waters of Belize City. Captain Eddy heads straight to Lighthouse reef to give the divers the full Belizean diving experience.
With divers anxiously waiting to plunge in, the dive crew prep the deck and we jump in head first with warm waters surrounding us. The sloping walls of Long Cay reef are filled with soft coral gorgonians waving in the slight water flow. Creole wrasse cascade down over the wall and stopping every so often at a cleaning station as they are being cleaned by small Blennies. A hawksbills turtle rests on top of the reef as divers get up close and personal. We make a quit move over to Long Cay Ridge in hopes to find the shiny scaled tarpon that like to lay in the coral cuts of the reef. The first dive the tarpon weren’t around but we kept winding through the beautiful coral cuts with purple sea fans lining the cuts. All along the reef small little holes in the reef make good homes for Secretary Blennies. These little guys love to open their mouths when divers approach. The second dive of the afternoon was filled with tarpon in the cuts. In between dives these large silvery fish moved in to the dive site. The stoic fish sit silently as we approach with one opening it’s mouth wide open.
We had our first taste of the diving out at Half Moon Cay. The brilliant white sane contrasts with the deep blue waters just on the outside edge of the wall. The colors of the waters range from a beautiful sky blue in the shallows transitioning to a deep azure blue. The wall here drops straight down. No gradual slope here. As soon as we jump in and drop down to depth we have a rustic shelled hawksbill turtle come from the gorgonian filled coral ledge down over the wall to greet us. Everyone’s attention is on the hawksbill while a leviathan of a turtle comes from the east. A massive Loggerhead turtle, twice the size of the hawksbill lumbers up and over the reef. The shell of the loggerhead is battered and has big grooves. As the turtle moves out of sight we have yet another fantastic sighting. An ornately patterned eagle ray skirts below us off the wall. Everyone gets a good look at it gracefully gliding at 100 feet followed by a Caribbean reef sharks minutes after. All guests the guests came up after that dive with cheers and stories of everything they saw. Not to be outdone, the second dive here was just as exciting. More hawksbill turtles and this time we had two very curious Caribbean reef sharks with us the entire dive with an eagle passing under us once again. The shallows of the dive were loaded with colorful tropical fish and a pair of scrawled file fish above the reef spinning around one another and another pair of white spotted file fish mingling with the gorgonians atop a small coral head in the sand. A good size southern sting ray rests in the sand while getting pecked at by small cleaner fish. The ray rises from the sand as it sees the group and slowing makes it’s way over the pearly white sand. Time we made our noon move to the next site. Julie’s Jungle is up next and we get another taste of long cay. More and more turtle are being spotted during the week and we take some time to have a look alittle close at the reef and find a few flamingo tongues.
We are back at Half Moon Cay for the morning and it doesn’t let us down. Another massive Loggerhead turtle bounces back and forth from guest to guest. Reef sharks hang around us from a distance. From the surface a hawksbill turtle dives down in between the group and begins to feed on a sponge attracting a Nassau grouper and two species of angelfish, the Queen and French angel. Without a care, the turtle pecks away at the sponge while particles of sponge drift away and the angel fish nibble at the scraps of sponge. We started to look for some macro life during our afternoon. The gorgonians are good places for things to hide and we were able to see two very well camouflaged neck crabs clinging to the stalks and as well a glamorously speckled flamingo tongue. Back up on the reef, a Gawdy ClownCrab hid amongst the brown encrusted sponges.
It’s our Blue Hole day!!!! Time to make that windy route to our featured dive site of the week. Although the reef is barely 10 feet deep, the blue hole sinks down pass 400 feet in a perfect circle shaped reef area. We only do one dive here because we are seeking the stalactites formations at 120 deep below. We have a chance to wind through the formations for a short period of time then we make our way back up to a shallow area where we can do an extended safety stop over some beautiful sand and turtle grass area. After off gassing we have a wonderful dive at Chain reef. We had two curious reef sharks by us the entire dive. The wall leads into the sand with flowing gorgonians and purple sea fans crowning the top of the reef. Deep Sea gorgonians blossom in the very slight current as they feed with the water flow.
We had such a wonderful set of morning dives!!! The painted wall dive is very shallow under the bottom of the boat as the we swing in the wind. Bermuda Chubs greet us as we dive in. Only 18 feet deep, the reef is alive with yellow tailed snapper and electric blue chromis. Just as we reach the edge of the wall an eagle ray sweeps into our path then we can make out another eagle ray a little bit deeper and further off the wall. Some guests were lucky to have a chance to see 5 eagle rays in a formation drifting by the reef. Descending down the wall, the Painted Tunicates cover many sponges and corals giving the dive site it’s name. Just really good diving here is all you can say. Sliver cave is up next and the divers get a chance to hone their buoyancy skills while getting to enjoy a nice long swim through. The cave is encrusted coral that we enter from the wall side and make our way through the windy narrow channel all the way up to the top of the reef.
Sorry to say its our last dives of this great charter. Sand slope is a beautiful contrast of reef and a little white sand diving. The big groupers here are very friendly and the eels come right up to you. We had another eagle ray do three or four passes in front of our guest and then we slow things down to look over the white sand cascading down the slope. If you time your time and have a keen eye you can find peacock flounder laying flat on the sand. We hand a big arrow crab hiding in a sponge and two short nosed pipe fish blending in the debris on the slope. The funniest thing with this dive was that we had five remoras hovering around the back of the boat waiting for our divers to come up and latch on to. Jeremy got a close look at one as it made a resting point on his tank!!! It was a great week and nice to be back in our home port of Belize again. Thank you to all the guests that made it possible. Safe trip home and hope to see you soon!!!