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Dive Review of Isla Marisol/Isla Marison in
Belize

Isla Marisol/Isla Marison, Mar, 2009,

by Craig Grube, VA, USA (Contributor Contributor 18 reports). Report 4673.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Tahiti, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Cozumel, Turks & Caicos, Fl Keys, Little Cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Generally need to stay within sight of DM if they are comfortable with your skills. Most dives down 55'-65' and for 50-55 minutes unless you hit about 700 psi early.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse tank on boat for camera. A sink for rinsing at the dock and the crew was very helpful handling gear in and out of the water.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Isla Marisol is about an hour boat ride from Dangriga Airport; take Dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness. Depending upon which boat they use and the sea conditions, you may get wet. The covered boat is obviously the one you hope for. Glovers Atoll is pretty remote and the resort is almost a complete escape, so forget about cell phone or blackberry coverage. They do have wireless internet if you bring a laptop. No TVs to be had. You are there to dive, eat the excellent local cuisine, and hang out at the bar over the water, where Mora makes a mean cocktail, if you arent too tired from three dives a day. They do have kayaks if you want to explore the atoll. Depending on time of year you may end up with few divers, like we did. For the first 4 days there were 8. For our last 3 days, there were two of us to share this private island with the friendly staff and the numerous pelicans that seem to dive bomb the water all day long putting on a great show. The accommodations are rustic but more than adequate, as we had two full size beds, a ceiling fan, a few tables and open closet. The bathroom is simple, with limited hot water in the shower, and the toilet takes NO paper products but is a flush toilet. If you or your significant other requires elegant bathrooms, then take a pass. However, if you can live civilization light the diving and solitude are well worth it.

Before I get to the diving, I must mention the food. Jenice and Alicia prepare regional dishes with fresh ingredients such as hand-made fish tacos, fresh snapper, lobster, a variety of potatoes we had never heard of but totally enjoyed, and steamed vegetables or slaws. We had excellent hot breakfasts of eggs prepared everyway you can think of and potatoes. The lunches were hot and varied. In 7 days I dont think we had the same thing twice. Desserts were freshly baked puddings or cakes and excellent coconut or banana ice cream. I cant say enough about how much we enjoyed the local cuisine, and the amazing variety of fresh fruit juices.

The diving was excellent. Kitty was a great divemaster with amazing eyes for spotting small critters, eels, lobsters, octopus or whatever was around. If she is comfortable with your skills she gives latitude. Most of our 3-a-day dives were 45-55 minutes plus a safety stop. The boats were based on number of divers, and we rode in 3 different ones over the week. Captain Ishmael was friendly and helpful with camera gear, plus he plays a rockin bongo drum in the bar. Most boat rides were 5-10 minutes. Make sure you request trips to Long Caye Wall to dive, even though its a long 15-20 minute ride. All safety stops are done back at the resort or on land at Long Caye. We were there the first week of March and the water was in the high 70s, so bring a wetsuit as the water is a bit chilly. Land temps were in the low 80s, but a little cool at night so bring a sweatshirt or jacket. Also bring Deet as the no-see-ums can take a toll if the wind dies down.

The reef was relatively healthy with lots of sponges, many huge and of odd shapes, and plenty of gorgonians and sea fans. In addition to the usual Caribbean tropical fish such as angels, trunk, cow, trumpet, etc., we saw several reef sharks on a couple of dives, eagle rays on several dives including swimming with a pair for 5 minutes on the top of the wall. The black grouper were very large and on every dive. We saw green sea turtles as well as one massive loggerhead. Lobsters seemed to be roaming quite a bit as well and scorpionfish were spotted on numerous dives. We typically saw fat green moray eels or smaller spotted eels. On the night dive we saw several slipper lobster, white spotted toadfish, and several octopi, including one roaming around the reef.most of the sightings on the night dive was thanks to DM Kitty and her hawklike vision.

The owner, Eddie Usher, can be found diving, managing, or chilling and frequently joins for lunch or dinner and you can get a great history of the island from him. He is trying to get the island to all wind and solar power, and sources most food items locally in Belize. One suggestion would be to have the north side beach cleaned of trash once or twice a day as it detracts from an otherwise gorgeous island. My son and I had a great week of diving, hanging out and eating great food. Returning to Isla Marisol during whale shark season is high on our list of where to dive in the near future.
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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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