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#70323 - 06/28/03 02:35 PM Local Diving?
Coco Loco Lady Offline
Okay, we don't arrive till Feb. staying at Coral Bay Villa's. But have tons of questions. Our local dive shop told us that the local diving wasn't any good due to the last couple of hurricanes. Is this true? Is the snorkeling better than the diving? We are planning a trip out to the atolls, but also would've liked to do some other dives. Any suggestions on which are the better places to dive? We are fairly new divers and have also been told to steer clear of the Blue Hole. Any and all suggestions would be so very helpful. This will be our 1st time to AC.
Coco Loco Lady
_________________________
Coco

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#70324 - 06/28/03 03:00 PM Re: Local Diving?
Diane Campbell Offline
Your local dive shop needs better information.
Firstly - the waters off Belize contain a LOT of space - no way one storm could create enough damage to spoil diving in Belize. The hurricanes were in 2000 and 2001.
Secondly, the underwater sights are absolutely spectacular.
I'm an avid snorkeler - my "special spot" on the reef is in the best condition I have seen in many years.

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#70325 - 06/28/03 03:02 PM Re: Local Diving?
Diane Campbell Offline
One more thing ------- Turneffe is awesome.

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#70326 - 06/28/03 07:02 PM Re: Local Diving?
seashell Offline
The diving off of San Pedro is good, some of it is great! The Atoll diving is awesome. For either area, I recommend that you dive slowly and calmly and look at your surroundings, the corals and the fish. Don't just look at the Dive Master's fins as he races you from finger coral to finger coral. Observe your surroundings as you ever so slowly and gently make your way through the dive. May you find the area as beautiful, peaceful and full of surprises as do I.

Since you are new divers, I also do not recommend the Blue Hole to you, however, I *do* recommend that you dive it when you have more experience.

Let me quote a post of mine from a couple of months ago, about the Blue Hole. In it, there are opinions from three others as well:

From April 23/2003: I got to thinking about all of the posts about the Blue Hole that I have seen and/or participated in since I started hanging out here. That sent me to the search function and that found me a number of posts of my own extolling my joy in diving the Hole. It also found me the words of some others, for example a fellow named Chris (post partially edited for space and context):

"There are many divers out there who worship the Blue Hole....I'm one of them....Please accept that folk respect the fact that YOU don't want to dive it (edited out unneccessary portion), but also accept the fact that for many of us the Blue Hole is something that is spectacular beyond words and gets better every time we dive it. Safely, of course."
##
And something from the Axeman:

"the Abyss awaited us.
Once moored, our Dive Master, Clive and Horace, the captain went through the predive safety brief, this dive we would have 2 DM's..one lead DM, one trailing...All were told of the risk of a deep dive, and the presence of sharks, adding to the excitement for me! I was electrified...every hair stood on end...my senses were as sharp as a teenager....
Splash...we all rolled off like lemmings into the sea...dropped to the sandy white shelf that surrounds the cold dark abyss..with all prepared and ready for decent we headed for the edge of cliff..and the deep unknown drop to max depth and the cut back shelf at 130' which has both Stalagtites and Stalagmites...as we approached the edge I felt the adreneline rush that I always feel when faceing the unknown...

The white sand beneath me faded into a black forbodeing midnight blue expanse, we had begun the mad headlong dash to our target depth...I stayed right behind Clive as planned, we talked before and I let him know my target depth was as deep as he went...
I cleared my ears continuously as the pressure first double, then tripled...

Clive finally flared out at 157' as did I..with the others stopping at 130'...we made our way over to the cut back shelf to see the shadowy, dimmed rock formations...

I waited the denizens of the deep...shy as they are..I took a few deep breaths and felt the tell tale signs of nitrogen narcosis..like multiple rapid shots 151 rum...I stuck to Clive like a puppy...heard him tap a warning alert on his tank..His hand signing the much awaited SHARK gesture..they had come to see who had intruded into their home...5 Black Tip, 2 Lemon shark..all 30' above and 40' towards the center...Now the rush really hit me...the possiblity of danger..combines with incredible depth had me as giddy as a school girl on her first encounter...
They kept their distance, and it was time to ascend...by now Clive had started up and the other DM had moved down to my side as he knew I was alittle narc'd( i had signed to him)He gestured for me to wait after looking at my gauge, I had used very little air and was very calm...as the other went up the Black Tips came in under us,then passed within 20'...again the rush hit me...I was close to the edge..the possible end of exsistance....they passed like graceful paper airplanes...curious but not adgitated...we began our slow ascent ever watchful of their position...they went off on their powerful, sleek mission...the search for food...

Seemed like forever to reach the top...but we did once again return to the edge of the wall and did a 10 min safety stop at30'..sitting on the white sands reveling in the momment!
For the record..this dive was devoid of almost all sea life except the sharks...but to miss this would be a shame..it will forever remain imprinted in my mind and heart."
##
And more recently from dbdobermans' report:

"Finally, we arrived at the Blue Hole, and after a very detailed briefing, the crew did a great job getting everybody into the water. For the dive, we were split into two groups, each having a DM leading, and one bringing up the rear. Even with a caution to watch our depth, I looked at my gauge at one point, I found myself at 140 feet. If you do this dive, pay close attention, this was so easy to do. I was awed by the stalactites, and wish we could have had more time down there, but we soon headed back up to 40 feet, and it was time for the sharks.

I knew they were probably there, but had totally forgotten about them. They were provided a little snack (not a diver), and came fairly close in. This happened quickly, but I think there were two reef and one bull shark. The viz was not that good, and as they zoomed in out of the gloom, it was very surreal. They left as quickly as they had appeared, back into the murk.

Back onboard, I heard comments ranging from "unbelievable" to "wasn't worth it".
If you stop to consider how amazing it is to dive such a geological wonder, a cave not completely collapsed, forming an almost perfect circle, those amazing stalactites, it should seem incredible. We headed to our next dive site."

##
And speaking for myself, I find it almost spiritual and the more times I dive it, the more things I notice; little chambers in the walls, the composition of the stalactites, etc. I never fail to be awed by the geologic and diving (think Jacque Cousteau) history of this magnificent place. And while I've been aware of some narcosis in the Hole, I can still very clearly remember the majority of my first two dives into it, those being so special to me. And how each and every time I've returned to the surface, I'm grinning from ear to ear and singing "Again, again, I want to do it again!"

Just like San Pedro itself, some people get *it* and some people don't.
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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#70327 - 06/30/03 08:27 AM Re: Local Diving?
pryor1997 Offline
just returned from AC 2 weeks ago, did one dive to atolls and two days local diving. the local dives were great, we saw turtles, eels, nurse sharks, lobster, huge groupers, canyons , coral, it only took 5 min by boat to dive site, we came back to dive shop for surface intervals and relaxed then went back out . We started at 9am done by 1pm , (dove with amigo's del mar.) the ease of the local dives without a long boat trip left us refreshed an ready to do more when we returned. the trip to blue hole was 2hrs by boat each way, 3 dives then 2hrs back, the diving on the atolls was more rich in coral and marine life than local dives and definitely worth doing, but we came back ready for bed from the long day. it was great to have a mix of both..
hope you have a great trip

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#70328 - 07/09/03 03:21 AM Re: Local Diving?
ScubaLdy Offline
I have watched the reef steadily improve. Yes, the hurricanes did some damage. However, the thrill of diving the same sites on a regular basis is like watching your garden grow. The Azure Vase Sponges are reaching a good size again. I found a good number of medium sized Brown Barrel Sponges, mostly deep. The fish population has exploded. The Arrow Crabs were the size of my open hand. I do not remember the reef being this healthy even before Mitch.

However, I have heard that the north end of Turneff is still in poor condition, compared to the south end. I heard of one couple that DEMANDED to be taken to the north end, as that is what their brochure told them they were entitled to.
The diving at Lighthouse Atoll is famous. The Blue Hole is not for everyone. I worry about divers without a lot of experience going there. I have a lot of dives under my weight belt, am PADI advanced certified and have been purposely narc'ed to know how it feels. I personally didn't like the experience. But that's just me. Seven minutes at 132' with no life just doesn't interest me, and I DO NOT want to be in the water when sharks are being chummed. But that's just my opinion. Lot's of people do.

I was in San Pedro from May 15th to July 1st and the weather was rough, so I didn't get out to the walls. Many days were too rough to even dive the reef although there were operators who did take people out. More than one boat was swamped and there were six dive accidents in six weeks.
My life means a lot to me and I insist on safety first.
The bonus I got was spending time snorkeling –which I had never taken time to do. I will not tell you my secret places, but some of my best video was shot under some docks.
Harriette
cool
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Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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#70329 - 07/09/03 07:43 PM Re: Local Diving?
Coco Loco Lady Offline
Thanks so much for the wonderful info. Happy to hear the local diving is so good. Will not dive the Blue Hole too inexperienced. Hope to make it out to the Atolls one trip and do plenty of local diving/snorkeling. Whatever the weather allows ~ so looking fwd to experiencing AC! cool
Coco Loco Lady
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Coco

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