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

Aggressor Fleet/Sun Dancer II: "Sun Dancer II trip, September 2014", Nov, 2014,

by Greg Evancio, AB, CA ( 1 report). Report 8265.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was my 4th trip aboard an Aggressor/Dancer fleet boat, and about my 20th liveaboard trip. By far it was one of my best to date. The diving was eye-poppingly amazing, the crew was fabulous, and the overall experience was one I find hard to match in all my previous diving.

I flew into the international airport on September 24th, and was met outside the arrival terminal by Karim, one of the dive guides on the boat. Note: if you fly business class, your bags will be marked to be taken out first, and should wind up on the carousel ahead of the rest. After waiting for 4 other people, we got on a van and drove for about 20 minutes into Belize City, to the Radisson Hotel Fort George dock, immediately behind the hotel.

Our bags were hauled to the boat by the crew. Once on board, I grabbed my personal gear and found my stateroom (printed on a sheet on the bulletin board right inside the main deck door). The room was smallish, with 2 single beds side by side. A small closet sat at the foot of 1 bed, with hangers supplied. The A/C worked (not always guaranteed!) but was either on full blast or off. My roommate & I compromised by shutting the A/C vent, so only a trickle of frozen air got through. It was tolerable. The bathroom was small, and very smelly. This came from the marine toilet. It was a suction type, where you press the button on the side and hope all the "business" gets vacuumed away. It didn't really work well throughout the trip. On the plus side, good towels were supplied, as was hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, and liquid shower soap. There was even a small hair dryer provided.

Aboard the ship, footwear is really optional. I brought sandals, but only for shore trips. The rest of the time I was barefoot, as were most of the passengers & crew. Setting up the gear was straightforward. I got my assigned tank slot from a crew member, and had plenty of room to put all my gear together on the stern dive deck. During the trip, the nitrox tanks started out with 29-30% O2, but this dropped over the week to 26-28%. I feel that if I'm paying for a nitrox rental, I should at least be getting 30% consistently. I was offered a reduced nitrox rate to make up for the lower percentages. This was a nice touch, but it should not have been necessary.

Diving in Belize in September was awesome. After a few years of doing trips to the Socorro Islands off Mexico, in water 77F/25C, I was really happy to be recording temps of 82-85F/27-29C! A 3mm wetsuit was fine, and several people were using shorties. One guy actually went with just a rash guard shirt and shorts, and was fine. Underwater, the scenery was amazing. Visibility was often poor, but we had lots of animal encounters, with moray eels, spotted eagle rays, sharks, and turtles. After doing a checkout dive or two, we were left pretty much alone by the dive guides, once they judged that we weren't going to kill ourselves underwater. Buddy diving was strongly encouraged. Dolphins were reported underwater, but I never saw them. We did see quite a few riding the bow wake of the boat. On the night dives, many people saw slipper lobsters, octopus, a few transparent squid, and even a few sharks cruising through the shadows. Large tarpon often cruised near us, hunting in the beams of our lights. We spent almost all the trip cruising around Lighthouse Reef. As mentioned above, lots of fish to see, with common sharks and eagle rays. There was abundant soft coral, which looked to be in good shape. Turtles showed up now & then too. We did a couple dives around the Turneffe Islands, which I passed on. The consensus was that those dives were boring, not nearly as good as the ones at Half Moon Cay & Long Cay. We also did a trip to the Blue Hole, which is weather dependent. If the winds are blowing the wrong way, the boat can get blown onto the coral. This is a very unique site, worth seeing. One afternoon a shore trip to Half Moon Cay was offered. I declined, favouring a long nap instead.

The food was very good, in my opinion. Buffet style for breakfast, lunch, and a couple of dinners. Otherwise, dinner was table service, on tablecloths. I packed a nicer collared shirt for dinner, just for a change. Our chef Gerry, and assistant Jean, did a great job during the trip.

I got an ear infection during the trip, which put a crimp on my diving for a day. I was without any meds, stupid me. Some good advice would be to bring ear drops, motion sickness meds, pain killers, and anti-inflammatory meds. Also some waterproof medical tape for binding toes and fingers. I was very fortunate that there was a nurse traveling on board, who offered me some meds for my ear.

Something good to do when the trip ends, is to leave spare batteries on the boat. I left some odd-sized batteries, CR2 and CR123 sizes, in case other people after me came up short for cameras or dive computers. You never know.

Overall I had a fantastic time aboard the ship, despite the cabin problems and the nitrox. The captain, Megan, seemed to have a bottomless well of energy, and was always ready with a smile and good advice. The rest of the crew were friendly but seemed quite tired. Considering that this was the 2nd of 2 back-to-back 10 day trips, I can't say I was surprised. My best compliments to Captain Megan, First Mate John, guides Karim & Conway, engineer Simon, chef Gerry, and assistants Jean and Alia. I would definitely go back on this boat for another trip.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Cayman Islands, Socorro Islands
Closest Airport Philip W. Goldson International Airport, Belize CIty Getting There Connection via Houston, on United Airlines

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, surge, no currents
Water Temp 26-28°C / 79-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-20 M / 33-66 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Buddy diving strongly encouraged. Buoyancy evaluation done during Day 1.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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