Go Wall Diving in Belize
by Marty on 11/20/13 05:22 AM

Associate Publisher David Benz traveled to Belize to dive Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Atoll aboard the luxury live-aboard Sun Dancer II during an owner's trip/wine appreciation week. And he made the most of it! See his trip in a stunning photo gallery.

DIVING IN BELIZE ABOARD SUN DANCER II

Three of the four only true atolls in the hemisphere, Turneffe, Lighthouse and Glover's Reef lie just over the horizon from Belize's mainland, beyond the barrier reef. These living rings of mangroves and reefs aren't volcanic like Pacific atolls; they're the result of thousands of years of coral building upon coral. Because of this buildup, Belize is a wall diver's paradise. Sheer walls like Painted Wall, Half Moon Caye Wall and Quebrada are adorned with huge crimson gorgonians and giant orange elephant ear sponges. Moray eels, spiny lobsters and tiny arrow crabs hide in every crack, crevice, cave and tunnels of these beautiful coral formations. The five-and-a-half diving days aboard the Sun Dancer II are spent along sheer walls interrupted by sand channels, where you'll encounter cruising pelagics — eagle rays, Caribbean reef sharks and more. At Half Moon Caye, you can go ashore to see one of the world's largest red-footed booby colonies.

Turneffe Islands Atoll is the largest of Belize's atolls, and closest to the mainland. Turneffe boasts excellent drop-offs and shallow coral gardens, as well as some of the finest fishing in Belize. Lighthouse Reef is the farthest from the mainland, and home to the much touted Blue Hole. Glover's Reef Atoll is the most remote and least visited of the three, and was recently designated a World Heritage Site.

Every Saturday at 6 p.m., the luxurious Sun Dancer II casts off from the Radisson Ft. George dock, located in the heart of downtown Belize City.

Diving begins Sunday morning and ends Friday before lunch when the Sun Dancer II returns to port. Sunday through Thursday there is unlimited diving throughout the day and a night dive each evening. Friday a half day of diving is offered.

CLICK HERE for the story sandlots of images, including a photo gallery...