More morning dives, Love Tunnels and Happy Hour sites. Both had loggerhead turtles, eagle rays, and groupers. I loved the formations at these sites. Some of the swells are now 10 ft. Maybe that's not pushing the envelope for some, but it was enough for me. What an adrenaline rush, in those big breaking waves, trying to find the cut to get back through the reef. Andy is that good. Wednesday evening found me back in SP. Went to check on Satan, still a no show. I enjoyed dinner at Jambel Jerk - which ended up being my favorite place. Next I went to the chicken drop, didn't win, but had a super time. Linda Carter, who runs the chicken drop, is so very funny. After that, I had time to browse a few shops before catching Category 7 at Fido's. What a great band! Enjoyed the tunes and good vibes of the crowd, but I had to leave early, the Blue Hole trip was the next morning. Waiting to catch a ride with Andy, I talked to two guys who had come up after a dive that day and.....no boat. The boat motor had quit, and the boat drifted away. Over an hour later, a swedish couple in a sailboat picked them up. What an exciting tale to be able to tell, and how lucky they are to be around to tell it.
I was waiting on the dock for the 5:30 am pickup by Amigos Del Mar. Picked up others along the way, and saw thimble jellyfish at Journeys End dock, the only signs of pica pica during my stay. Once at Amigos Del Mar dock, we transferred to their very nice 48 ft. boat, and along with 17 others, began the long trip. The weather still did not want to cooperate, but it was a great group, no complainers. I enjoyed viewing Caye Caulker and Turneffe from the water. 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.
The DM during his briefing only called it "Long Caye Wall", never naming the specific site. It was a great dive. Fish, critters, corals, sponges, many of the things that I had not seen diving around AC. The viz was a vast improvement over my previous dives.
Time for our long surface interval, and more importantly LUNCH! We arrived at Half Moon Caye, an enchanting island. The lunch was very good, and appreciated by all. A group of us did the nature walk to see the booby birds. The floor of the preserve is alive with hermit crabs, some of the largest I had ever seen, huge termite nests, and the occasional frigate or booby along the way. At the end of the path is an observation platform. Climbing up brings you to treetop level, with a view of countless boobys/boobies? (don't get excited men), frigates, and sizable iguanas. Time to climb down and get back onboard to do the last dive. I had asked our DM if we would be diving the Aquarium - the dive that many boarders say is one of the best. He said they would check out the viz, but probably we would, as it is normally the third dive. In just a very short time, we arrived at a site that I don't know the name of, and was told we would enjoy a drift dive from there and end up at the Aquarium. YES! If the last dive was a great dive, this one was a superduper, humdinger of a dive. Great schools of fish, eels, groupers, lobsters, turtles, corals, sponges, and much, much more - a superior wall dive. My only complaint is that we were not allowed to dive our own profile. I understand keeping us bunched up for the Blue Hole dive, it is a potentially dangerous dive, but there was absolutely no flexibility on the two wall dives. Other than that, diving with Amigos Del Mar was effortless diving. They made it easy. Everyone was happy with that dive, and the whole day gave us plenty to discuss on the long trip back to AC. The post dive belikins and snickers were a big hit as well. I arrived back at PB for another fantastic dinner, and was out like a light soon after.
What a great day, if you have time, do this one!
to be continued.......