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Dive Review of Ambergris Divers/Belizean Shores Resort in

February, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Stanley Holz, NH, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 3872
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Most of the Caribbean.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
79   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
We always had plastic fresh water buckets on the dive boats.  The staff
would make sure we had enough buckets to handle the cameras.  Other divers
and/or snorkelers were always told not to use the camera buckets to rinse
their masks.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
3 stars    
We had a great time at the Belizean Shores Resort on Ambergris Caye.  The
place was beautiful with huge rooms...actually apartments with
kitchens...well maintained grounds, and a truly magnificent pool area. 
They had their own $5 per person water taxi service, so we were able to get
into San Pedro regularly for shopping and eating.  The town is pretty
funky, but it has some super places to eat and lots of neat little shops. 
The people we met were all very friendly.
Diving was a mixed bag.  Our dive op, Ambergris Divers, was not the on-site
dive op, so we had no gear storage at the resort.  Ambergris Divers picked
us up at the pier daily at 8:30 am and stored our BC's and regs at their
place.  We had to carry our wetsuits, fins, and masks with us every day.
They used 35' twin outboards, with little room for tanks.  Typically, the
tanks sat at the back of the boat.  When we got to a site, the boat driver
would hold the gear on the side of the boat while you got into your BC. 
The seas were very rough the whole week we were there.  A typical dive was
done with 5-6' seas.  We'd get through the calm area inside the reef, then
across a wild region of breakers, then finally into the open sea with the
big waves.  Pre-dive briefings were good. We were allowed to dive our
computer profiles, as long as we came back with 500 psi. All dives were
drift dives.  The driver always knew where his divers were and he would
bring the boat around quickly for the pickups.  Getting back into the boat
was a challenge, and could not be done unless you handed your BC up first. 
So the routine was to doff your gear in the water, hang on to the tag line,
hand up BC and fins, then grab on to the ladder and climb up the side of
the boat. I dove Nitrox...NO ANALYZER WAS AVAILABLE OR OFFERED.  They said
it was 32...period.
The diving itself was not as good as I had hoped for.  Mostly spur and
groove with 40-65' visibility.  There was lots of surge, so the bottom was
stirred up in many of the sites.  Also, there was silting of the reefs, so
many of the sites were brown and lacked color.  The diving got better as
the week progressed...I don't know if the sites were actually better or if
the conditions improved.  There were a ton of nurse sharks and huge grouper
all over the place.  We also saw several spotted eagle rays and turtles.  I
was commenting about the lack of parrotfish when we hit a site that was
teeming with them, so there was a big variation from one site to the next.
On our last dive, Esmeralda, the DM brought a chum bucket to attract
sharks.  He brought about a dozen in and, at one point, held one upside
down and petted it.  I got a chance to pet its belly...very odd.  I know
this is frowned on, but the sharks certainly didn't seem to mind and it was
a unique experience.
The big dive of the week, and the one I was looking forward to all year,
was the Blue Hole.  We left at 5:30 am for the two hour ride out to the
hole.  Luckily, the seas were fairly calm that day so the ride wasn't too
bad.  The whole way out we were accompanied by spinner dolphins and flying
fish.  Our dive profile was a 23 minute dive, with a rapid descent to 130'.
At 130', we would enter the "Roof" which is a wide tunnel filled
with stalactites and stalagmites, then exit along a wall and start our
ascent to a 45' reef.
At about 45' I felt a wicked thermocline...water temp dropped from 80 to 65
degrees in a foot.  By 60' I noticed that the water was turning brown and
the viz was dropping.  By 100' there was zero viz, no light, and all I
could see was a dark brown muck.  I could, luckily, just make out the fins
of the diver directly in front of me.  My strobe has a modeling light, so I
turned that on, but it barely penetrated the dark.  In the "roof"
I could glimpse a shadow of formations, but all I could do was take some
pictures by shooting blind.  So, this was a total disaster of a dive.   
The DM said he has been diving the Blue Hole for 12 years and has never
seen it like this. He had no explanation as to what happened.  Lucky for
us, this trip also included a stop at Half Moon and Long Cayes.  At Half
Moon Caye we had a beach barbecue lunch and toured the bird sanctuary.  The
island is a nesting ground for boobies and frigates, and we saw tons of
them.  We dove Half Moon Wall which was one of the best dives of the week. 
Finally...a wall dive!  Great, colorful reef with lots of fish.  On Long
Caye, our last stop, we dove the Aquarium which is aptly named.  Healthy
reef with endless schools of colorful reef fish...another exceptional dive.
 Later in the week I spoke with a diver who had just returned from the Blue
Hole trip.  She said they had barely 10' visibility on their trip and saw
nothing.  I guess this was just a bad week for the Blue Hole.

Summary....super resort, generally accomodating dive op, and average diving
in rough seas.  Next year, back to Bonaire.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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