We did two morning dives with Paradise Dive Shop. The boats are very small and too many people were on board. Caribbean diving is much more relaxed than we are used to. We did Tres Cocos, and didn’t see much since we were getting used to diving again and enjoying the warm water. Tres Cocos did have spur and groove canyons that are pretty cool to swim over; you get the feeling of flying. Our next dive was Esmerelda, a drift dive, which had much more sea life. We saw a Nassau grouper and a large barracuda.
Our afternoon was very hectic! Rich did the dive at Hol Chan. We did the trip with Under De Sea. Our divemaster was Alonzo Flota and the boathand Candy Man. I did not do the dive, but I snorkeled above Rich and saw the fish he saw. I enjoyed watching him. We then went to Shark Ray and I was a little scared of the sharks and rays, but then I finally touched one and fell in love with touching them. They are so smooth and friendly. They swim up to you looking for food. When they realize that you do not have any, they fold into a taco and rub you. It was a fun experience--a trip I would recommend to any visitor. We turned in a roll of film to make sure camera was working.
DAY 6--JAN 4
Alonzo helped us arrange our big dive with Amigos Del Mar and divemaster Changa. The boat left at 6am and my tummy was a little upset (more nerves than anything else). The boat ride was the longest, bumpiest, most excruciating 2 hours, but we finally made it. When we arrived at the Blue Hole, I was scared to death. The thought of plummeting almost 150 feet was a little nauseating. I thought the idea was suicidal. The group decided to do the non-deco dive and stay down for only 8 minutes. I was way okay with that. We started down and reached a depth of 147 feet and saw incredible things. We swam through stalactites that were over 20 feet long and existed since before the ice age. I was feeling pretty comfortable when I saw sharks. Five bull sharks began circling towards us. They were about 15 to 20 feet long. In the silhouette of the deep blue abyss, they were actually graceful and beautiful. The experience rocked!
Next stop was Halfmoon Caye, one of the best dives in Belize. The coral formations were so colorful, beyond description. We saw an eagle ray and a too friendly barracuda. Rich wanted to take his picture, so he followed the barracuda for a while. After taking a few shots, he rejoined me, only to turn around a few minutes later to find the same barracuda only 3 inches from his mask! Needless to say, Rich almost crapped his wet suit. We started out in Eagle Ray (not impressive) and ended at the aquarium. We did see a BIG ASS giant reef spider crab. His claw was the size of my forearm. The boat ride home was not so bumpy, and we saw a school of dolphins chasing the boat. A few of us jumped in and watched them underwater, a very beautiful and majestic sight.
DAY 7--JAN 5
We slept in: 6:30am and I watched the beautiful sunrise--incredible. We met Alonzo and Candy Man at the dock at 1pm for diving, big surprise!!! Our first dive was Tackle Box, an incredible swim-through. We entered the swim-through and saw billions of silversides in a giant bait ball. Huge jacks were buzzing through the bait ball as we watched in awe. An incredible image!!! Our second dive was Cypress, equally impressive. We saw a baby hawksbill turtle (about 2 feet by 3 feet). He was very goofy and wasn’t really bothered by us. A giant barracuda also did our dive with us. We also saw a lizard fish and a small spotted eel.
DAY 9--JAN 7
Alonzo picked us up at the dock and we headed for our first location, the Love Tunnels. They were named that because some crazy divers were married there (a.k.a. Punta Arena). It was great--we did three tunnels and went to a depth of 100 feet. We saw lobster, spider crab, baby octopus, shrimp, and grouper. Dive #2 was by far my favorite. It was the Amigos wreck (Delores)--a freighter that was sunk about 70 feet down. When we arrived at the freighter, nurse sharks and grouper came up to us. Alonzo fed them some food and they became our best friends. I held sharks and swam with them. Groupers followed us around like puppies. The dive was incredible; I never thought that sea life could be so interactive. Dive #3 was outer Hol Chan--Pillar Coral. Grouper, nurse sharks, lobster, sand worms, and beautiful coral formations were all there.
DAY 10--JAN 8
Our last day on Ambergris and last dive. We decided to do the Amigo’s wreck again. Nothing is ever quite the same as the first time. Other divers were there, so it was not as much fun, but an eagle ray did come to see us.