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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Sun Dancer II in
Belize/Belize Reef

Aggressor Fleet/Sun Dancer II: "Belize is still great, but watch the sharks (they are watching you)", Jun, 2015,

by Craig Gibson, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8436.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The crew on Sun Dancer II is excellent! They maintained just the right level of friendly interaction while keeping the relationship professional. I wanted for nothing while I was on this trip and 2nd Captain Megan is beyond compare. I have been on many boats and stayed at numerous resorts, but Megan's excitement really made a difference for me and my wife.

The rooms and accommodations were very nice. Just like our previous trip, the food was excellent. While the camera tables are big and located in a great location, the air hoses did not work at either table. There were plenty of places to charge our batteries on the dive deck or up in the galley (if you want to keep them dry and salt-free).

The dive conditions were not quite as good as our last visit, but we can't control the weather. The lionfish are obviously out of control and I agree with their policy of spearing them. However, the direct feeding of the lionfish to the sharks and eels has made them significantly more comfortable (and aggressive) around divers. They now swim within inches of divers instead of several feet like they used to a few years ago. We had two instances on separate dive sites where a shark actually bumped its nose into a diver's camera which was held directly in front of the diver's face. In the first instance the diver screamed a huge cloud of bubbles, but did keep the regulator in her mouth. The other instance resulted in an excellent close up photo of the shark's face. However, there seemed to be a yellowish cloud surrounding this diver during the remainder of the dive.

On another dive a huge eel had taken the lionfish off the spear which was being offered by the dive guide and retreated to its hole, but then it aggressively came back out and approached a diver's camera. Luckily, she reacted by bringing her fin up which resulted in a kick to the eel's head. I got some good video and another diver got an excellent photo, but I really fear this interaction is a turn for the worse. I assume the next step will be the sharks/eels attacking the GoPros on a stick. One dive guide told us that the sharks/eels can tell the difference between cameras and fish, but they are obviously attracted to the cameras (or maybe it is what's behind the camera).

I have seen other Caribbean operations spear the lionfish and immediately cut off their fins. Then they either take the fish home to eat (which has a nice mild flavor), or just leave them on the ocean floor for some other critter to snack on. I believe this may be a more responsible long-term solution.

Although these close encounters provided our group with a great deal of excitement, I don't want to ignore all of the other excellent dives. Every dive provided us with tons of sea life and a great deal of variety. However, the Blue Hole (their signature dive) is a disappointment. The briefing included a lot of discussion about the depth of the dive (130 feet) and the related concerns which I suppose would be beneficial to most new divers. However, our entire group consisted of seasoned divers with 100's of dives. Once you get to the bottom of the profile (which, by the way, you must do very quickly) the only thing to see is a few large stalactites. There is very little life down there except for a bunch of two legged critters making lots of bubbles. After spending the allotted 10 minutes swimming around the columns we made our way back up to a sandy shelf around 20 feet deep for a long safety stop. The little bit of sea life activity here made the safety stop a little more enjoyable, but the divers couldn't help kicking up the sediment. I'm sure that I would have preferred to take my chances bumping noses with the sharks than doing this dive. I guess it is one of those dives that you need to do once, but I already had.

I really do not want this review to sound negative as I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and I believe the Sun Dancer II is still the best boat in the Aggressor fleet.

We were scheduled to fly home around noon on Saturday and limited ourselves to the two morning dives on Friday. The boat took us back to the dock by lunchtime where we had the option of various land activities. Most of us went on a cave tubing excursion which involved a van ride of about an hour to a nice national park. The facilities included several private changing rooms and public bathrooms. They provide you with a headlamp and life vest, and then lead you on a walking tour which is really very interesting. The guides are very knowledgeable about the area and, after taking you through a dry cave, they point out a number of unusual trees and plants. After about 30 minutes we came to the river where our tubes awaited and we started the gentle 45 minute float through the caves. This was a nice relaxing activity to finish off a great trip.

They took us back to the airport Saturday morning for an easy flight home. Belize is a great English speaking country which should be on your short list to visit, I plan to return.

Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Bonaire, Dominica, Fiji, Galapagos, Hawaii, Honduras, Malaysia, Maui, Mexico-Caribean, Mexico-Baja, Palau, Philippines, TX, FL, NC, NM
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There American flies direct from DFW. The boat sends a van to pick you up and, if necessary, a truck for the bags. The drive to the boat takes about 15 to 20 minutes depending on traffic.

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The only depth limit was at the Blue Hole as the other dive sites were restricted by the ocean floor. They asked that you return with at least 500lb of air, but really didn't specify a time limit.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The sharks and eels were not camera shy so we obtained a lot of good video and photos. The other sea life was about average, not bad but not great either. The boat has two large camera tables with shelves underneath, but the air hoses had rusted away and were not operational. Every diver on the boat had at least one camera and we had enough room for everyone to take care of business (in stages). However, since the weather was cloudy most of the time I ended up leaving my DSLR in the room and just took my GoPro down. With a small UK video light the GoPro was able to pickup some really good video and photos.
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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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