Another winter, another dive trip. This year we had planned to hit Grand Cayman in February but after Hurricane Ivan hit last fall, we decided to hit another location. Belize was on my list so we put together a group to head there for the beginning of April. After the success of beachfront rooms with kitchens we had in the Bahamas last year, we found a spot to do it again in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Aqua Marina Suites fit the bill nicely so we brought the whole family again.
We got lucky with the weather. The day we arrived was the first day they had been able to dive in three days since the weather and seas had been rough. We had blue skies and decent seas all week. The in-house dive operator was Aqua Dives. They did a great job. With François and Carlos as Divemasters and Ryan (aka the Golden Child) at the helm, we enjoyed good dives all week. Most dives had the same profile. Decent to the sand/reef bottom at 50 feet, swim down some sand chutes with some swim-throughs to about 90 feet, loop up and finish the dive above more canyons at about 40 feet. It would have been nice to spend more time deeper since that was where the action was but alas, the nitrogen got in the way. The fun stuff we did included:
- Night Dive - We made a night dive in Hol Chan Marine Park. I have NEVER seen so much stuff in one dive! We saw rays, lots of them. I counted about nine in one sweep of my light. We saw sharks, eels, lobster, crab, octopus, squid, big grouper, tarpon, and did I mention rays? And we never got deeper than 30 feet. Not a bad way to spend an hour.
- Blue Hole - I had heard differing reports on whether the Blue Hole is worth it. It's along ride (up to three hours depending on seas) for a short, deep dive. We hit about 135', we saw the stalactites and then we started coming up. Glad we went, but don't need to go again. We had lunch on Lighthouse Atoll with the Boobie Birds (insert own joke here) and did two more dives in the vicinity. They were nice walls with a lot of life and swim-throughs. Again I wouldn't have gone all the way to Belize and not dove the Blue Hole, but I don't think I need to go again.
- Hol Chan Marine Park Snorkel - We paid a $10 entry fee to spend a surface interval snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley. It was pretty neat to have all the rays right up close to you and see all the nurse sharks.
- Golf cart rental - One afternoon after the diving, we rented seven golf carts so we could go out as a group and see the island. First a little bit about the golf carts. They are like regular carts on steroids! They are gas powered, have a second row of rear facing seats where the clubs usually go and have big knobby tires for getting through sand and over rough roads. Everyone has one done there. Next, a little about the roads. They don't have any, at least not in the traditional sense. It's all sandy paths, spreading out to the sides as the middle gets too bumpy. (Kind of like the road to Blue lake.) Remember Ambergris is a small island. There is another island right to the north separated by less than 50 feet. They have a hand operated cable ferry to take you and your golf carts over. That was a neat experience, especially on the way back when they had to pull against the tide. We continued north about three miles to Land's End Resort. They had a nice big beach and pool where we relaxed for the afternoon. A few guys even took out their Hobie Cat for a little spin. It was a very fun adventure and a great trip.
Let's go diving!