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Dive Review of Amigos Del Mar/Mayan Princess in
Belize/Ambergris Caye

Amigos Del Mar/Mayan Princess, Jan, 2012,

by Robert Barada, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports). Report 6421.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Palau, Yap, Fiji, Cozumel, Bonaire, Cayman Brac, Hawaii, California Coast, Belize, Bora Bora
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 35 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions The DM called the dives at 55 minutes; by the time you got back on the boat it was 60 - 65 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Mayan Princess was clean and spacious, looking out at the water from the patio. We had a 2nd floor room, which is recommended. Someone on the first floor left his wetsuit out to dry on the patio and found it missing the next day. Their kitchen facilities were bare bones, with a small refrigerator, a microwave, two burners, and a coffee pot. Bring your own coffee and filters if you want to have coffee the first morning. There were very basic cooking utensils. We ate breakfast in our room before going to the dive operation. We prepared dinner a couple times during the week. The "continental breakfast" was very basic. A hard roll or bread to make toast, a few fruit items, and coffee: bring your own cup and plate from your room. The water was potable, but didn't taste like it. They have gallon jugs of water at the desk, but you were charged for it.

The hotel is in downtown San Pedro. There are grocery stores almost every block. We ate lunch at Lily's next-door top the dive op between our 2nd and 3rd dives. Good food and reasonable prices. We had dinner out and enjoyed Carambas, Wild Mango's (best), Blue Water Grill, and Estele's.

The dive operation at Amigos Del Mar was inconsistent. We had Renee and Tony on our boat - two guys that had worked together for 25 years. They were superb! We had between 6 and 10 divers on a 24 foot boat, mostly very experienced divers. The other boats in our group -- about 30 divers -- had varying experiences. You bring your gear to the dive op and they wash it and store it for the rest of the trip. The dive sites are between 10 and 15 minutes from the dive op, so you do the surface interval back at the dock and they have water, Tang, coffee and fruit.

The first day we woke to driving rain and very strong winds. The rain stopped by the time we got to the dive op, but the wind was still blowing strong. We went out through the pass in the reef to find heavy seas. We back rolled off the boat. Getting back on was exciting to say the least. The boat was heaving up and down pretty severely and the ladder was short. You take off your BC and fins and hand them up. The DM is in the water at the ladder and he assists you. We ran into the dock for the surface interval and only 6 of us went out for the 2nd dive; the others thought it was too rough and had a hard time getting back in the boat. They cancelled the 3rd dive in the afternoon and cancelled the next day's dives because of the wind and the heavy seas. We did 3 dives a day for the rest of the week.

The diving off Ambergris Caye was pretty good. The topography was spectacular with plateaus and canyons with sand at the bottom. On average, the top of the canyons was between 45 and 60 foot deep and the canyons were as deep as 85 feet. The coral life was pretty good for the Caribbean. We saw lots of fish life, nurse sharks on every dive, a few gray reef sharks, groupers, turtles, lobsters, crabs, eels and lots of spotted Eagle Rays. Once we had dolphins swim by us at the safety stop. The Dive Master would call the dive at 55 minutes so by the time you did your safety stop and got back on the boat, most dives were over 60 minutes. We dove Nitrox the whole time and our computers said were never at risk of deco.

This dive op feeds the fish and handles the nurse sharks and eels. I didn't pass judgment on these practices, but some did. The DM would grab the nurse sharks by the fins and roll them over. Once they relaxed he would roll them right side up and invite divers to hold them for pictures. Once he took food down and coaxed 5 or 6 nurse sharks to one spot and held a number of them. And he coaxed a large green moray out of his hole and held him as well for pictures.

We went to the Blue Hole with this dive op on Tuesday. They use a 48-foot dive boat that is very comfortable. There were over 30 divers for the Blue Hole trip, some of which were very inexperienced for a 140 foot dive. It was about a 2-½ hour boat ride to the Blue Hole, most of it in very rough seas. There wasn't very much to see at the Blue Hole; some stalactites and a few reef sharks. You stay at 140 feet for about 8 minutes, and then start your ascent. This is a "have to do it once" dive, but I wouldn't do it again. We did two spectacular dives after the Blue Hole, one at Half Moon Caye Wall and one at the Aquarium. After about 12 hours on the boat, it was a very tiring day.
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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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