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Dive Review of Aqua Dives/Sun Breeze in
Belize/Ambergris Caye

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by mary Wicksten, TX, USA
Report Number 3334
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Palau, Yap, Hawaii, Galapagos, Cozumel, Caymans, Bonaire, W. Canada,
California, W. coast Mexico, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive guides stated time and depth limits but did not enforce them and even
violated them. Even when a diver went down to close to 150 feet, there was
no penalty.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
I still shoot film with a TTL Nikonos V. Got some really fine shots of
colorful life on the walls, but then I shoot a close range--3 ft. or so.
Anything at a distance (reef sharks, eagle ray, etc.) was "foggy"
due to silt or plankton in the water. Boats carry a cooler full of water
for cameras, guides hand down your camera if asked. No computers, film
processing available close by. Film and batteries are available in town but
expensive--bring your own. Dive operators appreciate your left-over
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Shallow areas of reefs are recovering from a recent hurricane, but doing
well--some live elkhorn and staghorn corals, big pillar corals.  Very
little bleaching anywhere. Colorful deep-water gorgonians, black corals on
walls, fairy and blackcap basslets--great photo ops.  Many tropical fish,
lobsters, large crabs, all sorts of sponges.  Saw hawksbill turtles very
close up, also shy eagle rays, big Caribbean ray, loggerhead turtle. Tarpon
made a pass, reef sharks in Blue Hole.

Sadly, visibility was very poor due to recent plankton bloom, wind blowing
off reef flats. Actually saw clouds of silt pouring over the wall. Scant
current, water flat to very slight chop.

For four days, our group mostly had a boat to ourselves.  Our guides
pointed out some cute animals and showed us some nice tunnels and
swim-throughs. There seemed to be an unwritten rule that any shark,
pufferfish, turtle or ray should be chased, grabbed at or otherwise
annoyed. Although fish feeding supposedly was to be at Shark-Ray Alley,
sharks were fed at another site, Esmeralda, and fish at Aquarium and even
in Blue Hole. Divers entering the water were mobbed by jacks, snapper and
sergeant majors. This gets tiresome very quickly. What does it do to the
local fauna? 

Our guides seem fixated on getting the maximum time underwater. One had an
extra long octopus and urged anyone out of air to use it so that everyone
else could stay down even longer. (What would happen if there really were
an emergency?) We made long traverses at forty feet or so, well over the
reef but below the 15-foot safety stop, which was also made on each dive.
We were supposed to go no deeper than a stated depth per dive, but
beginners and the guides themselves could be anywhere from 5-15 or more
feet deeper. My computer started going into the yellow on a couple of
dives--not an immediate problem, but I wonder what other people read on
theirs. There is a chamber on the island.

We were eager to go on a night dive in Hol Chan, "inside the
reef". Well, yes, but it ends in a notch that goes outside, creating a
stiff current except at slack tide. We were not there on a slack tide.
Imagine inexperienced divers careening over fire coral and experienced ones
overweighting and grabbing sand --you get the picture. We saw some night
shrimp, a 100+ pound snapper, sea cucumbers, crabs, and sleeping fish.

On my last day of diving, two of my companions and I joined an open boat
for a trip to Blue Hole and nearby reefs. The boat was jam-packed with
snorkelers and divers. Three obese divers constantly caused trouble as they
heaved their heavy gear over the side, squeezed out the in gate and sank
far below everyone else. Then there was the mad rush to get back aboard.
Don't hold on to the tag line and wait your turn--take your fins off way
back there, thrash around and grab the ladder, then shove two other frantic
newbies out of the way while you lurch upwards. One diver got badly
"narcked" in Blue Hole.  The guides went from being impatient to
downright nasty during the trip.  Visibility was poor, but at least saw the
famous stalactites in Blue Hole, very lovely and colorful life on walls. 
Lunch at Halfmoon Caye bird Sanctuary very pleasant. Be aware that you must
pay a $40 U.S. fee to dive at Blue Hole and neighboring areas.

Used my "off'gassing" day to take boat and bus trip over to
mainland and Maya ruins of Lamanai. Trip with "SeaRious
Adventures" went through mangrove swamps to village of Bomba, up bumpy
road to New River and then to ruins and museum. Guides knowledgeable, had
lots of drinks aboard, served breakfast, lunch and snacks. Saw birds, bats,
howler monkeys, army ants, 8-foot caiman!  Other day trips available.
Beware--very little on Ambergris Caye to do except diving, snorkeling,
fishing or other water-oriented activities.  Saw some ugly scenes
developing with non-diving, bored spouses.

Hotel clean, pleasant, right on beach but reef is too far out for a swim.
Can snorkel over sea grass beds. Tiled swimming pool, beachside shower
handy. Dive shop right next to hotel. Hotel restaurant had very good
Japanese food. Alcoholic drinks readily available, but watch out for
dehydration! Other restaurants, curio shops, night life within walking
distance nearby. Woodcarvings are a specialty, deals available if you shop
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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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