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Dive Review of Belize Aggressor III in
Belize

Belize Aggressor III: "Coming back "home"", Nov, 2016,

by Joel E Jakubson, CA, US ( 2 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9357.

No photos available at this time

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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Do you know how some divers always want to go somewhere new, and others keep coming back to the same place again and again? Well, I am somewhere in between, but the place I keep coming back to is the Belize Aggressor III.

This marked my eighth trip on a Belize Aggressor, starting in 1990 (it might have been the BA I)and continuing on the BA III in 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2016.

Why do I keep coming back? It is a combination of the people and the diving. I knew 4 of the 7 crew from previous trips, including the Captain Chris(who I met in 2004), Engineer Fermin (20094 or 2009), chef Yanis (2004?) and steward Randy (2009 or 2011). I consider these people my friends, and I hope they feel likewise. Even the staff at the Radisson (where I stay the night before the trip) recognized me. As a solo traveler, it is nice to see familiar faces on a dive trip.

The diving, to me, seems to have some of the best variety that the Caribbean has to offer. Sheer walls, 30 ft shallows (important for off-gassing on a five dives per day schedule), great soft corals and sponges, lots of nudibranchs, small critters (arrow crabs, Peterson cleaning shrimp, neck crabs, etc), turtles, and a smattering of pelagics (sharks, eagle rays). We saw dolphins from the boat, but not on dives (although I have in past years). The number of turtles was less than my trips in April, which is closer to the mating season, so keep that in mind if turtles are your thing.

As I said, I usually travel alone. This trip, however, my niece and her friend came along, as I have promised her for years to take her on one of my dive trips. She had 10 lifetime dives prior to the trip, and her friend had about 30-35. I assured her that even though liveaboard diving seems intense, I find the diving is easier than land based resorts (no hauling gear on and off the boat, no getting cold between dives, eyc.). Indeed, by the end of the week, they both had done every dive (25), and been certified in both Nitrox and Advanced Open Water. Well done!!

The diving is split between Lighthouse Reef (50 miles SE of Belize City) and Turneffe Island. While usually the diving is 75% at Lighthouse, because of the winds the dives were split 50/50 between Lighthouse and Turneffe. This was no real hardship, since the final dive day Friday had a wonderful dawn dive at Turneffe with white spotted toadfish, spotted eagle ray, and free swimming green moray. Our last dive of the week at Turneffe was at the Elbow, where we had multiple spotted eagle ray encounters and spend part of the dive drifting with the current.

The diving is almost all wall diving, which make navigation easy for the lazy amongst us. The two morning dives are at the same site - on one dive you go one direction along the wall, and on the second dive you go the other way. Then the boat moves for the two afternoon dives and the night dive (also at one site).

Except for the Blue Hole, dives are not led (although you are welcome to dive with the divemaster/instructor on any or all dives - there are always at least one in the water). If you do get "lost" the crew will launch the inflatable to pick you up. It happened once to one buddy team during the week, and they were greeted back on the boat with much hilarity and good natured abuse.

This was my third time diving the Blue Hole. I never liked it before, but this time the water was the clearest it had ever been and I actually had a good time. I still prefer the cenotes in the Yucatan, but what the hell - the boat was there so I dove! BTW, the Nitrox divers (11 of 13 of the guests) dove 24% for this dive - the rest of the week the Nitrox was pumping between 29% and 31%. This is a couple of percent less than my last trip, and I think may be because deeper divers can actually get close to the 24 hour O2 saturation limits, particularly on Friday when there is a dawn dive and you essentially have six dives in a 24 hour span.

The daily schedule is as follows: Cold breakfast 6 AM, hot breakfast 7 AM, dive 8 AM, mid-morning sweet snack, dive 10:30 AM, lunch 12 PM, dive 2:00 PM, mid-afternoon savory snack, dive 4:30 PM, dinner 6 PM, night dive 7:15 PM, hot chocolate (adult variety available) after the night dive.

The boat - I won't go into detail on the boat. You can check it out on the Aggressor website. The cabins are below deck, with ensuite bathrooms and showers (although the showers are so small that I always do all my showering using the hot water showers on the dive platform). The dive deck, salon, kitchen, and dining room are on the main deck. The upper deck has the BBQ, hot tub, sun deck, and wheelhouse/captains quarters with a second smaller sun deck above the wheelhouse.

The food - OMG, what can I say about the food? The dinners included creole fish, chicken parmegian, beef tenderloin, grilled ribs, chicken, and rib-eye, roast lamb, coconut curry shrimp, and of course turkey with all the trimmings Thursday (after all, once a year Thursday is Thankgsgiving.) Most lunches had hot soup - carrot and ginger was my favorite, although the tortilla soup on Mexican lunch day was also great. There was home made pizza lunch day, burger day, Belize day (stew chicken & fish with rice and beans, beef stroganoff, etc. Desserts included ice cream, Bananas Foster, Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate cake, bread pudding, etc.

So, for me, if I want a dive trip where I KNOW that the diving will be great, the crew great, the food great, and typically the guests are also experienced and outgoing, then I go on the BA III. Of course, YMMV.
Websites Belize Aggressor III   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bonaire, Bali, Belize, Caymans, Turks & Caicos, Akumal, Hawaii, Palau, Fiji, Great Barrier Reef, New England, New Jersey, California
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There United connecting in Houston for me. Also American through Dallas, and Delta through Atlanta.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 77-82°F / 25-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Boat requests 120ft max (I think, or it could be 110 ft) except for Blue Hole. Blue Hole is the only guided dive, except for drift dives.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Large camera table and rinse tanks on dive deck. Rental/loaner policy - if you do not have a camera, you can rent by the day (Olympus TG-3). If your personal camera gear fails (as mine did for the first time), they will loan you a camera free.
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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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