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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in
Belize/Glovers Reef

June, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Diane Pogrant, NJ, usa (2 reports)
Report Number 1771
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
PNG,Australia,Yap,Palau,Fiji,Hawaii,Red
Sea,Caymans,Bonaire,Belize,Bahamas,Florida
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
84   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
0
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
You and the divemasters computers and air. I did 55-74 minute dives. Night
dives were 45 minutes max.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Comments
I'm not a photographer, but there is plenty here to shoot. There are no
special accomodations for cameras, but the crew is very careful with all
gear. A rinse tank on the boat was set up for the videographer. No
developing on 35mm film. Bring your own laptop for viewing digital stills.
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
5 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
Isla Marisol  Glovers Reef Atoll Belize
This is not a plush resort, but a high-end scuba and fishing camp. One
comes here to dive or fish, not to loll around in the sun. Food can be
excellent to mediocre, depending on the cook.  Cabañas are basic.
There are screens but the no-see-ums are smaller than the mesh.
Cabañas have both ceiling and free standing fans, which we kept on
at all times. There is no air-co. Bathrooms are small and clean, with
desalinated water for showering. The rooms could use a comfortable chair
and table for reading or working on cameras. Reapplying insect repellant
before retiring for the night is needed if one doesnt want to wake up with
new bites. The cabañas have nice porches with chairs and hammocks,
but sitting on them is an invitation for the no-see-ums to feast. So your
choice really is to be in your cabaña or out in the bar at the end
of a long dock. The dive dock is perhaps the buggiest place, being
surrounded by mangroves and grass.  I put on my lycra skin before going to
dive. Out in the boats, away from the islands is the best place to get your
tan. Sans lycra upon returning from a dive, I often sprinted back to my
cabaña to avoid the bugs.

The diving is very good. I spent 2 weeks there both this June and last
July, doing 73 dives over those 2 trips. All dives are drift dives, always
with a dive master. The reef shows no effect of divers and has no trash.
The reef critters are wild with no conditioning by dive masters.
Wonderful. Some combination of large groupers, sharks, rays and turtles
show up for nearly every dive.  One section of the reef had batfish for me
every time I dove.  There were also oceanic triggers nesting, many pairs of
scrawled and white spot filefish, butterfly fish and angelfish of all
descriptions. The reef itself is mostly shades of beige, which, when
backlit by the afternoon sun looks like spun gold. Lovely.  Lavender fans,
purple sponges and gorgonians, yellow tube sponges and orange elephant ear
sponges provide colorful touches. And the ever-flowing rivers of blue
fishes: creole, snappers, runners and many others. There are large numbers
of juvenile spotted drum here.  Enormous rough and smooth barrel sponges
abound here, sometimes with interesting critters nestled inside. Scorpion
fish, green and moray eels, trumpet fish, and many kinds of jacks. Looking
through my Caribbean reef fish books, almost everything is here except the
biggest sharks. 
The dive masters are special. Last year I had an effervescent fellow,
willing to do anything I wanted, always on the lookout for big stuff, he
usually found it. We had sharks, rays and turtles on nearly every dive.
This years divemaster was the best personal valet divemaster I have ever
had in my 25 years of diving and 800+ dives. I literally had only to get on
the boat and get off at the end. Gear was perfectly set up, fins, weigh
belt, mask, and set in precisely the same spot each time. If I was
forgetful and left my dive socks in my mask instead of in my booties, they
were back in my booties for the next dive. Everything was rinsed after each
dive; fresh cold drinking water always was available on the boat. Should I
forget to put on weight belt or fins, there was gentle reminder before he
brought my tank to me and assisted me into my BC. Heavenly. This was the
first dive trip I went home from with my back feeling better than when I
left. Of special note: there are a few 50 and 60 cubic foot tanks for light
air users, which also helped my back. Nitrox is not available. All other
dive gear, including computers, is available for rent. Dive limits are
imposed by computers and air. You do have to come up when the divemaster
runs out of time or air. We were always close.  My dives were from 55 to 74
minutes. The 84 degree water was like a bathtub; the occasional upwelling
was refreshing, not cold. 

What is very special is the opportunity to have an island all to yourself. 
You and the divemaster on a private dive.  You and the fishing guide, alone
in paradise. The cook catering to your needs and desires.  By the end of a
trip here, you have new friends and the desire to return . . . soon.

I am the husband of the reviewer above, and a diver and fishpainter for
more than sixty years. I got to Belize when it was still British Honduras,
and many times later including a chartered boat dive trip the whole length
of the barrier reef and two other atolls in Belize, Turneffe, and
Lighthouse as well as many other dive sites in the Caribbean and the
Bahamas. We chose to go to the isolated atoll of Glovers reef hoping that
it would still be untouched by resorts, hotels, spas and other damages
civilization has done to the waters and sea creatures of the Caribbean. 
After two dive trips to Glovers I can say with conviction that it is the
last place left in the Caribbean that is still like it used to be sixty
years ago, for the number and variety its fish, and for its direct
simplicity. If you go there to enjoy hot tubs, lie in the sand while
uniformed waiters bring cold margueritas and shiver in air-conditioned
suites watching TV you will be totally disappointed. If you go for the
diving, the fly casting, the off-shore game fishing and the direct
simplicity of a family owned island, with good food, boats, guides and
glimpses of how it used to before travel agencies and hotels, then Isla
Marisol is the right place to for you. 
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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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