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Dive Review of Peter Hughes/Sun Dancer II in
Belize

March, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Greg & Pat White, IL, United States
Reviewer   (5 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 3364
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Most locations throughout the Caribbean, plus some in California, Hawaii,
and Florida
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
5
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limits (130 ft.) were mentioned during dive briefings, but to my
knowledge no one ever checked or monitored, except on the Blue Hole group
dive.  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
My wife and I are novice UWPs and found the facilities excellent.  Others
in the group were more advanced photographers, including one professional
videographer on assignment.  Everyone seemed satisfied.  There are two
large camera tables with compressed air, separate rinse tanks, and plenty
of outlets for recharging.  Computer facilities for digital viewing and
editing appeared more than adequate.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 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  
Captain Mike Tougas and his crew run an excellent operation.  They work
extremely well together and all seem to genuinely enjoy one another's
company and the company of the guests.  Comments in the previous Chapbook
about problems with air conditioning, poor choice of dive sites, unfilled
tanks, and restriced dive times were non-existent during our trip even
though the boat was completely booked.

All crewmembers were completely focused on meeting the needs of the guests
and making our trip as enjoyable as possible.  My wife and I are light
breathers so we routinely had dive times exceeding sixty minutes, usually
making us the last ones back on the boat.  Even then, we never had any
indication from the crew that they were in a hurry or that we were holding
them up.  Even with the full boat, our tanks were always refilled before we
even got our wetsuits off.  Warm towels and an individual back rub (Anne
Marie's are the best) were always waiting for us after every dive.

Even though we never felt rushed to finish our dives, the schedule is
relatively tight in order to fit in five dives per day.  We especially
noticed this at dinner time.  Our routine on other trips had been to
shower, relax, and take a nap before dinner, but not on this trip.  Because
dinner is a sit-down affair served by the crew,  everyone must be there on
time, leaving no time for a nap, and often not enough for a shower, after
the last afternoon dive.  However, this is the only way it could work and
still finish the night dive at a reasonable hour.  Once we got used to the
schedule it wasn't a problem.

One thing that really impressed me was the strong focus on safety.  We
began the first night with an abandon ship drill and thorough explanation
of the safety features and procedures of the boat.  My wife, who is a
nurse, and other medical professionals in the group were shown the location
of all medical supplies and equipment on the boat and asked if they would
be willing to assist if a medical emergency occurred.  We had never
experienced this before, but it seems like a really good idea.

The food during our trip was excellent.  The cook, Jerry, prepared tasty
and varied vegetarian meals for me and my wife.  At the same time, the
carnivores in the group seemed very happy with what they were served.  I'm
not sure I would classify the food as gourmet, but it was very close.  We
even had baked Alaska one night!  The food and drink were delicious and
there was always plenty of both.

Even though we've been most other places in the Caribbean, this was our
first trip to Belize, and we were somewhat disappointed in the sealife
considering everything we've heard.  There was not as much variety or
numbers of fish as we've seen elsewhere, and the coral was also not as
lush.  The best dives we had were mostly at Lighthouse Reef.  We did see
many more eagle rays here than elsewhere and saw a huge loggerhead turtle,
but otherwise most dives were relatively unremarkable.  As one previous
writer mentioned, the most interesting fish were often the ones that hung
out in the shadow underneath the boat.

One previous writer also complained about squeaking of the bumpers, which
are placed between the boat and the dock, during the last night on board. 
Our cabin was on the starboard side, right by the dock, and we heard no
squeaking at all, so this problem also appears to have been fixed.

This was our second liveaboard trip, but definitely our most enjoyable. 
The cabins on this boat are extremely large and well laid-out.  A/C in the
cabin was adequate and easily adjusted to our tastes.  Temperature in the
main salon was kept a bit colder than we like, so be sure to bring a jacket
and long pants if you get cold easily.  However, the food and service were
excellent.  The price is higher than many other liveaboards, but well worth
it.

The only warning I would give is to be sure and bring along a copy of the
somewhat onerous release forms you have to fill out and send in.  For some
reason, these forms are not forwarded to the boat, so if you don't take a
copy along with you (which they don't tell you to do), you'll end up having
to fill out most of the forms again, as did most of the people on our trip.
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Other dive reports on Peter Hughes Diving

All Belize Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Belize
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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