Print

Print


After the saga of my voyage to Belize, which was told in part 1, it is time
for the main course.
This is my trip report so it might be exhausting for some.  You, who are
interested mostly in diving, might want to skip a few sections and go to
the diving section.
 
The Boat:
On Saturday afternoon we boarded the Belize Aggressor III.  I won't bother
to go through a standard description of the features of the boat because it
is on the Aggressor's web site:
http://www.aggressor.com/
 
Just a few points of my own impression.  The maximum capacity of this yacht
is 18 divers.  We were 17 and although this is not a small number of
divers, it was very spacious.  With the exception of the meals, in which
4-5 divers had to eat in a different room, it felt very comfortable.  The
diving deck is very spacious, there is enough space for each diver's gear
and a lot of space for donning.  The cabins were quite small with a lower
queen size bed and an upper regular size one.  There were showers and heads
in each cabin (a refreshing change after the Bay Islands Aggressor in 1996
and the Kisiwani in East Africa in 1998).  The best feature (for me) was a
TV-video set in each cabin.  One could take a video from the boat's video
library and watch it in the cabin.
 
The Crew and The Attitude:
 
There were 6 permanent crew members and the captain's wife:
John - the captain,
Annie - his wife who joined this cruise,
Thelma - the cook - excellent cuisine!
Marry - the cook's aid and the stewardess,
Erwin - the photo pro and divemaster,
Juan - a divemaster,
John - the boat's engineer, first officer and divemaster.
 
All of them did their best to make our stay very pleasant.
 
They were all very helpful and ready to assist.  They found out very
quickly that most of the divers on board were experienced so they did not
interfere with the profiles.  Everyone could do their own profiles and
nobody tried to enforce any silly "rules".  The few divers who needed a
divemaster to show them around, were usually taken care of although one of
them did complain that she was used to getting more attention on other
boats (can you guess where she was from? Look at the participants list :-)
).  Anyway, I really liked the attitude.
 
The Company:
 
Out of the 17 divers on board, 14 were couples:
Kathleen and Delph - Two young Germans, living in the U.S.
Ted and Jennifer - two shrinks from Houston and New-Orleans
Elsa and Yohan - a Dutch couple
John and Janet - two MD's from Texas
Bob and Doris - a nice couple from U.S. west coast
Kathy and Mike - a Monterey couple
Merry and Phil - from Boise ID
and there were the three singles (at least, on the boat we were singles ;-)
 ) Joan from Manhattan, Dara from Boston and yours truly.
 
Doing a liveaboard with 16 strangers is always an interesting experience.
One gets to meet different people from different places.  The advantage is
that all of them are divers, so they can't be too bad (at least most of
them).  This is a trip report and not a group anthropological analysis so
I'll just add one remark:
1.  People seemed to hide behind a book.  During surface intervals,
everyone who was spotted in a public area, was holding a book.  It seemed
like people were intimidated to be caught looking for company :-)
 
The Food:
 
Like all the Aggressors (according to the rumors and my limited experience)
the divers were offered great food and lots of it.  6:30-7:00 cold
breakfast.  7:00-8:00 hot breakfast.  10:00ish snacks.  12:30 lunch.
16:00ish snacks. 18:00 lunch.  After the night dive - cookies for the
hungry mob.  Free sodas, free wines (the local cabernet sauvignon is highly
recommended), free local alcoholic drinks (which almost nobody had
touched).  Bottom line - too much food but very hard to resist :-)
 
The Diving:
 
One of the better places I've seen.  Visibility was not always perfect but
I don't think that we had less than 50' vis and there were dives with 100'+
vis.  Most of the moorings are on shallow reefs, on the edge of sheer
walls.  This combination enables deep wall diving with a shallow reef tour
to offgas at the end of every dive.  Most of the dives, no matter how deep
were concluded by a long shallow reef safety stop.
 
The walls were quite interesting, lots of soft corals, barrel sponges and
fish.  We didn't get to see too many big fish but it was o.k.  A few nurse
sharks, rays (sting and eagle), turtles and giant moray eels were a lot
more than I have seen in Bay Islands Honduras.  The only walls that I have
seen that were more interesting, were in the Red Sea so I would rate the
Belize ones quite high.  On some reefs, the amount of fish was surprisingly
large and it was awesome to swim through large schools of fish.  I am not a
photographer but I think that there was lots of stuff for the macro nuts as
well as for the wide angle freaks and the video geeks.
 
The diving is done along the barrier reef which is located east to Belize.
It is about 3-5 hours boat ride from the city.  It consists of several
islands and reefs which almost scratch the bottom of the boats.  The first
two days we dived around Turneffe Island and the next three and a half days
were along the Lighthouse Reef.  If anyone gets to choose, the Lighthouse
Reef is the most impressive area and a "must".  From here on, the details.
For those of you who are curious about the types of fish, go elsewhere.
For me, everything that is smaller than a 2' Tarpon or an eagle ray is just
a colorful fish :-)
 
The list of the dives, the locations, depths and times and some remarks
about special things that we saw or did, will be sent to the list in a day
or two.
 
 
With best regards,
 
                       Kuty