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Dive Review of Nekton Diving Cruises/Nekton Pilot in
Belize/Central

Nekton Diving Cruises/Nekton Pilot, May, 2005,

by James & Kandace Heimer, TX, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 1683.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Tahiti, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico (E & W Coasts), Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, N & S California, St Maarten, St John
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 80 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth 130 feet; "back on board" times specified at each location while dive deck was open, e.g., dive deck opened at 8 am with back on board time of 11:45
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 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 Separate rinse tanks for cameras maintained and enforced on dive deck and near camera tables one deck above; camera tables spacious with carpet surface; well set up for digital photography: 42 inch flat panel screen with computer hook-up to review photos, including video; limited software for photo enhancement available; no E6 processing; photo contest at weeks end (fun event, we were all amatuers).

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was our second trip aboard the Nekton Pilot. We did the central Belize itinerary. We did five days on Lighthouse Atoll (walls) and one day at Turneff (sloping bottom, coral heads). The wall diving was consistently spectacular with 82+ degree water, 100 foot visibility, flat seas and warm, sunny weather. Hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, eagle and sting rays, tarpon, large grouper, baracuda, and a single manta ray were the major pelagics. Lobsters and crab abounded, plus all the usual tropicals. We were usually anchored within sight of the Belize Agressor and Sun Dancer.

The Nekton has a capacity of 33 divers - we had 27. They ranged from experienced tech divers to one couple doing their open water certification. The spacious lounge accomodated us all at dinner, and the Nekton opne dive deck approach avoided crowding there as well. The dive deck opens after a morning briefing from 8 to 11:45 and you are welcome to dive any time during that period. The ship repositions during lunch, and the deck opens again from 2 to 5:45. A night dive is conducted at the afternoon location after a presentation by a crew member on a marine topic of interest - usually starts around 8:30. Diving is unsupervised, unless you request a guide by one of the dive masters, and you are free to dive your computer. Divers log themselves in and out of the dive deck on a "muster board."

The food was excellent - several members noted having to add lead to their weight belts during the week. Dinners ranged from prime rib to fish to bbq ribs and chicken. Lunches included a mexican, sandwich, and hamburger buffets - soup was included at each. Breakfasts were hearty (eggs, pancakes, waffles, fruit, hot & cold cereal, home baked breads and rolls, and juice).

One problem was delay in getting from the airport to the boat on the vans that Nekton provided (via a hotel stop for dinner) - crowded and ran late - we were finally bedded down about midnight Saturday. One van ran out of gas leaving the boat for the departing flights. The biggest downside is the state of the accommodations. We had a lower deck room and experienced (as did most) moisture dripping from the chilled water piping that provide AC above the ceiling tiles. This dripped on bedding and the (rather worn) carpet, leaving damp spots. The marine heads in the bathrooms in each room could have benefited from stick up deoderizers.

The boat repositions for Ft Lauderdale at the end of May with a stop in the shipyard - hopefully some upgrading of the rooms will occur. In any event, we liked the upper deck rooms from our first trip better.
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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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