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Dive Review of Belize Aggressor III in
Belize/Central Offshore Cayes

Belize Aggressor III, Aug, 2004,

by James Heimer, TX, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 1895.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Hawai'i, Tahiti, California, Texas, Belize, Honduras, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Aruba, Bonaire, Malaysia, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 84 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limited to 110 feet based on nitrox 32 (even for those using air)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Covered dive deck had spacious camera table with multiple shelves below for other sensitive photo gear and electrical strip for battery charging. Crew was extrememly knowledgable about underwater photography and avid photographers themselves; assisted divers with (all had digital cameras) set up of equipment and photo tips. Rental cameras (Olympus 4000 series or 5050 with Inon strobes) provided free of charge to those (2) who had cameras flood. Large rinse tank for cameras only at stern near dive deck. Only limitation was on ability to download and edit photos - boat had only one computer with small screen and limited installed software (i.e. no Photoshop), but did have universal card reader and ability to burn CD's.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Aggressor III was well kept and well laid-out for diving. Although the accommodations were the smallest we have encountered on six liveaboards (only one person at a time could stand up and move about on the cabin floor and the double bed was partially overhung by a bunk, giving the "inboard sleeper" the feeling of being in a coffin), they were clean and we didn't spend much time in them anyway. The cabins (except one) are located on the bottom deck. Try to avoid cabin 8, which is farthest aft next to the engine room and gets a lot of noise when the boat is moving - which is not very often during sleeping hours. The deluxe cabin on the top deck may be worth the extra money, if you want more space.

The salon / dining area and dive deck are above the cabins. The dining area is divided into three 3-person and two 4-person tables. The salon has a large screen TV and DVD / VCR player and limited seating on sofas. The dive deck is directly aft of the salon and has spacious accommodations for the full load of 18 divers with plenty of room between tanks, storage bins under the seats, and hanging bars for wet suits above. Air filling stations are at each set of 2 tanks and nitrox is available. Entry is down steps from the dive deck to a wide platform across the stern. Exit from the water was via ladders on each side. An inflatable was always on standby at the end of a tag line. A hang bar and emergency air second stage were deployed at 15'. One unusual characteristic of the Aggressor, which is a single hull vessel, was its tendency to swing 90 degrees and more about the mooring. Sometimes it was out of view, when returning after a dive, but it would swing by, sooner or later.

The top deck was partially shaded with an area for sunning and a bar area, plus the pilot house and deluxe cabin.

The food was good, but not as good as that we have had on our other five liveaboards (which approached excellent on some). There was plenty at each meal and snacks between dives. Wine, beer, and some alcohol were available après diving.

The walls of Lighthouse Reef (Long Caye, Lighthouse Caye, etc.) are spectacular with healthy hard and soft corals. The bottom drops off from 20 to 30 feet under the mooring to several hundred feet on the wall. Turtles, sting and eagle rays, barracuda, large green and spotted morays, and grouper were the larger marine life encountered. The excellent (repeat, excellent) dive staff participated in all dives and pointed out micro critters like pipe fish, pipe horses, pike, sail and arrow blennies, net crabs, and juvenile fish species. The staff were as enthusiastic about the diving as the paying customers, and they would be in the water, whether or not anyone wanted a guided dive - photographing and exploring. On the return trip, Friday morning diving was at the less impressive Turneff Islands (sloping rather than steep walls), but the very last dive was joined by a family of dolphins (mom, pop, and baby). In general, the condition of the reef was excellent, and the fish life was plentiful, but the larger stuff was sparse.

The Aggressor leaves Belize City on Saturday night and returns about noon on Friday. Although the trip does not officially end until Saturday (you sleep aboard the Aggressor Friday night, but Friday dinner is on you), a Friday afternoon departure back to the US is possible if you skip the last night and morning dives. You can do up to 27 dives during the week (including a group dive to the Great Blue Hole), with the pool being open for two dives at any time between 8 and 11:45 am in the morning and 2 and 5:45 pm at night, plus a night dive around 8 pm.

This is our second trip this year to Central Belize; enough said about the quality of the diving. Although the Aggressor boats are operated as individual franchises, we would seriously consider other Aggressor vessels in the future based on our experience here.
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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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