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Dive Review of Ambergris Divers/Belizean Shores Resort in

Ambergris Divers/Belizean Shores Resort, Feb, 2008,

by Stanley Holz, NH, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3872.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We had a great time at the Belizean Shores Resort on Ambergris Caye. The place was beautiful with huge rooms...actually apartments with kitchens...well maintained grounds, and a truly magnificent pool area. They had their own $5 per person water taxi service, so we were able to get into San Pedro regularly for shopping and eating. The town is pretty funky, but it has some super places to eat and lots of neat little shops. The people we met were all very friendly.

Diving was a mixed bag. Our dive op, Ambergris Divers, was not the on-site dive op, so we had no gear storage at the resort. Ambergris Divers picked us up at the pier daily at 8:30 am and stored our BC's and regs at their place. We had to carry our wetsuits, fins, and masks with us every day.

They used 35' twin outboards, with little room for tanks. Typically, the tanks sat at the back of the boat. When we got to a site, the boat driver would hold the gear on the side of the boat while you got into your BC. The seas were very rough the whole week we were there. A typical dive was done with 5-6' seas. We'd get through the calm area inside the reef, then across a wild region of breakers, then finally into the open sea with the big waves. Pre-dive briefings were good. We were allowed to dive our computer profiles, as long as we came back with 500 psi. All dives were drift dives. The driver always knew where his divers were and he would bring the boat around quickly for the pickups. Getting back into the boat was a challenge, and could not be done unless you handed your BC up first. So the routine was to doff your gear in the water, hang on to the tag line, hand up BC and fins, then grab on to the ladder and climb up the side of the boat. I dove Nitrox...NO ANALYZER WAS AVAILABLE OR OFFERED. They said it was 32...period.

The diving itself was not as good as I had hoped for. Mostly spur and groove with 40-65' visibility. There was lots of surge, so the bottom was stirred up in many of the sites. Also, there was silting of the reefs, so many of the sites were brown and lacked color. The diving got better as the week progressed...I don't know if the sites were actually better or if the conditions improved. There were a ton of nurse sharks and huge grouper all over the place. We also saw several spotted eagle rays and turtles. I was commenting about the lack of parrotfish when we hit a site that was teeming with them, so there was a big variation from one site to the next. On our last dive, Esmeralda, the DM brought a chum bucket to attract sharks. He brought about a dozen in and, at one point, held one upside down and petted it. I got a chance to pet its belly...very odd. I know this is frowned on, but the sharks certainly didn't seem to mind and it was a unique experience.

The big dive of the week, and the one I was looking forward to all year, was the Blue Hole. We left at 5:30 am for the two hour ride out to the hole. Luckily, the seas were fairly calm that day so the ride wasn't too bad. The whole way out we were accompanied by spinner dolphins and flying fish. Our dive profile was a 23 minute dive, with a rapid descent to 130'. At 130', we would enter the "Roof" which is a wide tunnel filled with stalactites and stalagmites, then exit along a wall and start our ascent to a 45' reef.

At about 45' I felt a wicked thermocline...water temp dropped from 80 to 65 degrees in a foot. By 60' I noticed that the water was turning brown and the viz was dropping. By 100' there was zero viz, no light, and all I could see was a dark brown muck. I could, luckily, just make out the fins of the diver directly in front of me. My strobe has a modeling light, so I turned that on, but it barely penetrated the dark. In the "roof" I could glimpse a shadow of formations, but all I could do was take some pictures by shooting blind. So, this was a total disaster of a dive.

The DM said he has been diving the Blue Hole for 12 years and has never seen it like this. He had no explanation as to what happened. Lucky for us, this trip also included a stop at Half Moon and Long Cayes. At Half Moon Caye we had a beach barbecue lunch and toured the bird sanctuary. The island is a nesting ground for boobies and frigates, and we saw tons of them. We dove Half Moon Wall which was one of the best dives of the week. Finally...a wall dive! Great, colorful reef with lots of fish. On Long Caye, our last stop, we dove the Aquarium which is aptly named. Healthy reef with endless schools of colorful reef fish...another exceptional dive. Later in the week I spoke with a diver who had just returned from the Blue Hole trip. She said they had barely 10' visibility on their trip and saw nothing. I guess this was just a bad week for the Blue Hole.

Summary....super resort, generally accomodating dive op, and average diving in rough seas. Next year, back to Bonaire.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Most of the Caribbean.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 79-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments We always had plastic fresh water buckets on the dive boats. The staff would make sure we had enough buckets to handle the cameras. Other divers and/or snorkelers were always told not to use the camera buckets to rinse their masks.
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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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