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Dive Review of Belize Diving Services/Iguana Reef Inn in
Belize/Caye Caulker

Belize Diving Services/Iguana Reef Inn , Aug, 2009,

by Michael, MD, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 5032.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Florida, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 86 to 88 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
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 No rinse tank (of any kind) on the boat.

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I just returned from a week in Caye Caulker, Belize. I traveled with my wife and two children. We stayed at the Iguana Reef Inn, which was lovely - I recommend it without hesitation. My daughter and I dove with Belize Diving Services, while my non-diving wife and son snorkeled with a different tour operator.

Belize Diving Services is located immediately next to the Iguana Reef Inn, on the west side of Caye Caulker. It's one of three dive operators on Caye Caulker (the others are Frenchies and Big Fish, which we did not try; there are other tour operators that advertise diving, but are actually acting as booking agents for others). As I understand it, Belize Diving Services was sold by its original owners earlier this year (at the time of this writing, the shop's web site has not been updated). The new owners are a very nice couple from the US, Chip Peterson and his wife. He's a tech diver, and is one of the few people in the area to dive with a rebreather. Apparently the new owners updated and/or overhauled everything when they bought the shop, plus they hired a trained technician. No nitrox, here or anywhere on Caye Caulker, but Chip said that's in the works.

Our main focus on this trip was for my daughter to do checkout dives to complete her open water certification. That went very well - she joined a class of three other students for these dives. The instructor, Anna, was patient and supportive.

Pros: Well-trained staff. Boats carry oxygen. Divemaster on each trip. No feeding the fish, nor touching the reef. Pre-dive briefing before each dive. Tanks and rental gear all seemed to be good quality and well-maintained. Staff rinse and store customers' personal gear. Shop provides dive computers to all divers. Shop works to accommodate customers' needs/preferences (for instance, my daughter is a junior, & so is limited to 40 feet).

Cons: I had two negative experiences. On one trip, there were a few logistical glitches - trouble starting one engine at the beginning, and at the 2nd dive site they dropped the anchor without it being attached to the line - and the staff made no effort to update the customers and mainly joked among themselves. And on that same trip, the choice of dive profiles was poor: 50 minute 1st dive, with a maximum depth of 85 feet and average depth of 54 feet; 46 minute surface interval; and then the 2nd dive at a site where the reef was at 65 feet. On my computer - Suunto Cobra 2, default settings - I had to spend fully half the 2nd dive floating 30 feet *above* the reef to avoid going into deco, and there was nothing to see (except, just before surfacing, a school of spade fish, the only thing that redeemed the dive). My daughter had stayed back due to illness; if she had been on the trip, we presumably would have gone to shallower sites in the first place...

In short, I certainly recommend the shop - but I also recommend not being shy to say how you want to dive. We had to cut our diving short due to (unrelated) stomach problems, but otherwise would have been more proactive on subsequent dives. There are lots and lots of great dive sites in the area, to suit all kinds of divers - shallow vs. deep, inside the barrier reef (flat water) vs. outside (choppier), close and farther away, etc. The shop also offers night dives, which we didn't try. And, I believe, Chip is working towards offering tech diving, so people who are into that might request more info.
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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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