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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Sun Dancer II in
Belize

Peter Hughes -- Sun Dancer II, Sep, 2012,

by Karen Woods, TX, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6718.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Maldives, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Utilla, Belize
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather dry Seas calm
Water Temp 83 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Back on boat with 500psi. Suggested depth limits to 100 feet.
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 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Excellent set up for photography. Dry tables on both sides of boat with 2 shelves for cameras. Camera rinse buckets and air pressure hose to blast dry equipment if needed. All dive masters were photo sensitive, handled all cameras with great care and often picked them up and carried them to entry point at beginning of dive for you. 3 of the dive masters were expert photogs and were available to offer lighting tips and other tips if asked including photography critiques and suggestions for better settings or lighting positions etc.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a great operation! Best live aboard I have been on in terms of service and comfort. Great diving, with 5 dives per day planned and executed. Boat accomadates 20 guests. Rooms are very comfortable. All AC works which has not been the case on prior trips with other boats I have been on. I was in room 10, walk out 10 steps and directly onto the dive deck! Only downside to room 10 is that it is very close to boat engine and noisy on the one 5 hour overnight trip from Belize City to Lighthouse reef. After that, no problem. Most rooms have 2 twins, very comfortable mattress. Small bathroom but perfect for divers. Great hot water, and water pressure. Marine head in each bath, but takes some time to flush. Flat screen TV with DVD player in each room with over 200 DVD's on board to watch at no cost. Big picture window in each room on main level. Lower level rooms were darker and had only port hole window and I would suggest requesting a room on the main level. The Owners suite was larger with a larger bathroom on lower level, but not decorated any better and in my opinion not worth the extra cost. Very large salon with comfortable tables for dining and large couch seating area with huge flat screen TV for movies. Electrical outlets plentiful in salon and 2 outlets over each bed in your rooms for charging. 24 hour coffee in salon. Wake up service daily by hanging a card on your door with requested time. They will also deliver coffee, tea, or juice with your wake up call to your room! Breakfast includes a cold buffet with fruit, toast and bagels and made to order eggs, omelets, oatmeal, waffles etc daily. Lunch and dinner menus are posted daily. Lunch is a buffet and dinner is served at your table, 4 courses with linen table cloths and napkins. Daily homeade soups and bread with dinner!!
The diving was excellent. A divemaster is in the water on every dive but you are not required to follow them. Can always dive your own profile. Easy navigation as most dives are wall dives, sink to depth, follow the wall one direction, turn around after 20-30 minutes and rise to top of wall and return and explore until you find the boat. Lots of great corals, sponges, fans. Many small critters, great for macro photography. Reef sharks on many dives, a few nurse sharks, turtle and rays. Many octopus on night dives, lobster, hermit crabs etc.
General plan is wake up and motor about 15 minutes to dive site during breakfast. Dive briefing and then 2 dives at morning site. Lunch and motor to next site. 3 dives at 2nd site (including night dive). Snacks and meals between dives. Wine and beer after diving at no extra charge. Warm water deck showers when you come on deck and then staff wraps you in a warm towel and give a quick neck massage after each dive! Nothing better!! Nitrox available for $100.00 for the week. Tanks are filled at your dive station by hoses brought directly to your tank. You never have to remove your BC from the tank the entire week. Rinse tanks for gear on both sides of boat and hose with fresh water for other rinsing is available.
Food was excellent!! Head chef is Jerry, assisted by Carlos. Both take great pride in their cooking and presentation and make every effort to accomadate your needs. Carlos shared recipes with me and commented that the Culinary Institute of America sent a chef to work with them for 4 weeks on recipes and food preparation. Barbara assists with all kitchen serving, room cleaning,the "boatique" and any other special needs you may have. She is awesome and fun.
All the dive masters are excellent and attend to any level of service you need. If you want close supervision, they will accomadate. Minor equipment issues can be addressed by them as well. My inflator mechanism stopped working on my BC and John switched out the device in order for me to complete the week of diving. Jerry ( the divemaster and ship engineer) helped me with photography advice, and helped me set up a slide show on their large screen in the salon to show at the end of the trip. I can't say enough about the excellent crew and their dedication to service.
On the day we dove the Blue Hole, we also stopped at Half Moon Caye to tour the island and the Booby bird rookery. Great stop and nice to get on land. We returned to port on Friday mid day. Had lunch on boat and then were able to leave boat for excursions or stay on board and relax. I opted to stay on board. Others went on an excursion for Cave Tubing for $110.00. They left at 1pm and did not return until 645pm. Took 1.5 hours to get there and back. Once there they hiked in the jungle carrying their tube and wearing helmets. I am told it was very hot and humid and lots of bugs. Tubing part was nice but no rapids, they were hooked together on tubes and pulled down the river. Most say they enjoyed it after the long hike to the starting point. I was tired after 5 dives per day for 5 days and was pleased that I chose to stay behind on the boat!
In summary, this was an excellent trip and dive operation and I would highly recommend this trip. Captain Eddy was awesome and his crew Divemasters Jerry, Karim and John, Chefs Jerry and Carlos and service and room maintenence by Barbara were fantastic.
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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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