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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in
Belize/Glovers Reef Atoll

April, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Duane Kromm, CA, United States
Reviewer   (4 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4047
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Panama, Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Sea of Cortez, California
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
75   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
1
Water Visibility
30   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Up at 700psi, letting divemaster know.  Stay with small group, but since
many dives were on the edge of walls one could drop down for quite a while.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Comments
I only use a simple digital, so not a big deal.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
We found Isla Marisol on Undercurrent reviews, and are we thankful.  It was
simply the best diving that I have ever done.  

Very healthy reef, coral and fish.  Turtles were on virtually every dive,
plenty of nurse sharks, rays, and eels - mostly but not exclusively Morays.
 An abundance of fish and lots of varieties.  More filefish, cowfish,
spotted drum and angels than I expected.  Remoras periodically hung out
with us to see about a free ride I think.

Did two night dives, saw octopus on both plus scorpionfish, sleeping
turtle, many lobsters and crabs, a shortnose batfish, and what two us
thought was a lime green lizardfish.  One octopus put on a show for us,
spent several minutes moving across the reef alternately spreading out and
then gathering itself to move short distances to another patch of coral;
quite a show.

The normal schedule was three dives a day, 8:30, back to the lodge for a
break, 10:30-11, back to the lodge for lunch, and then 3-4pm or a night
dive.  Twice we went further around the atoll and did our morning break at
another small resort or on a small island.

All dives were drift dives.  The current was usually quite manageable, only
periodically was it difficult to maintain position.  We usually dove on the
edge of the wall so some could dive the top of the wall and others could
work the sides.  Typical first dive depth was 75' followed by max of 60' on
subsequent dives.

Nobody with a computer had any problems with our profiles, we always did 3
minutes at 15'-20'.  The dive boat was always right there when we came up,
no matter how broken up our initial group might be by the end.

The normal group was 4-6 divers with a skilled, knowledgeable divemaster. 
A few times there were as many as 8 divers.  The boats were comfortable and
fast, with tops, side racks for tanks, all backroll entries and a good
ladder for coming up.  A big plus; we were always the only boat in the
ocean on our dives.

Glovers Reef is very healthy, appears to be well protected and was a
delight.  Isla Marisol is a very well run remote resort.  A very popular
bar, really good restaurant with regular fresh fish (although fried a bit
too often for our tastes), tasty fresh squeezed juices, plentiful food at
all meals.  There was always fresh fruit, juice, water, coffee, or tea at
all meals and for snacks between dives.  The cooks were constantly working,
always incredibly cheerful, and had no problem making me some toast with
peanut butter as my morning between dives snack, or I could have had a
choice of some of he previous day's desserts.

We are fond of remote places with communal dining, and this was no
exception.  Fun, entertaining, energetic fellow guests; the crew loved to
hang out in the bar with us after dinner.  Folks from other resorts and big
boats regularly stopped by the bar and occassionally for dinner.  The owner
Eddie Usher appears to be a well liked and respected person in the region.

Be sure to carefully plan your arrival as the boat only runs Sat and Weds. 
Don't cut it too close in case a flight into Belize gets delayed somewhere
along the line.  Sand fleas were a non-issue, they are spraying something
very effective.  But bring DEET just in case.

We booked two kinds of packages as my wife dives less than I do.  At the
end of the trip it was simply what is cheapest, and paying by dive was
cheapest - $35 each plus $15 a day for BCD and regulator rental.  The
diving cost us slightly over $1,000 for a week, our bar bill was $150 and
we tipped the staff about $450.  Look at rates, add airfare, a night in
Dangriga, plus these costs and you get your total.  No tip pressure, ho
hussle to sell anything else.

I cannot recommend Isla Marisol enough.
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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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