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#95301 - 01/06/05 11:38 AM Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Devo Offline
Devo  Offline
Hello all! First of all, I gotta say, this is such a fantastic board! I've been doing a bit of research for my first trip to AC (Jan 15-22), and I'm astonished at the volume of information that passionate Belize lovers like you guys have made available to newbies like me! Okay, enough exclamation points.

So my fiancee and I booked our trip to AC in hopes of finding a whole lot of relaxation, hopefully some warm sunny weather, and ideally some great scuba diving. I've dived at Cozumel, and while the water was pretty great, the island life was anything but relaxing. I enjoyed it, but I'm hoping for a bit less chaos this time around.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm curious about experiences others have had diving AC and the outer atolls. Will I be disappointed with Hol Chan compared with Cozumel? Should I only try to book excursions out to Turneffe and Lighthouse? Cuz that can get kinda expensive real quick-like. Ideally, we'd like to spend three or four days diving, and three or four days exploring the island and San Pedro. If anyone has diving suggestions (and any other suggestions!!!) or experiences they'd like to share, I'd love to hear them! Hope to hear from some of my fellow divers... as well as anyone else who'd like to meet up for a Belikin or three!

#95302 - 01/06/05 12:24 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,677
Bobber Offline
Bobber  Offline
Since I'm sitting here at the box, I will offer my humble opinion. First of all (my opinion), I've never seen anything as grand, varied and expansive as the Coz reef. The atolls are a bit different than Coz, but very beautiful and primo diving. The sites just outside the reef, just off AC, are a bit less exciting, but also very enjoyable at the same time. Hol Chan is a shallow but fun dive, lots of critters of all types and a lot of structure. Be prepared for just about any type of critter anywhere you dive. I might suggest making at least one trip out to the atolls, or even the Blue Hole. The BH is an experience in itself, but there are a few other dives that trip in fantastic spots. The trip can be rough if the sea is up, but it's all part of the experience.
We bailed out of Cozumel about 6 years ago because of the influx of people. We like our down time to be relaxed. In Jan you will find warm weather (typically 80's daytime, 70's night). You might pack a windbreaker for evenings. You will find a relaxed laid back atmosphere, friendly people, great food and beverages. If you can't relax here, you need professional help.

Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt
#95303 - 01/06/05 12:52 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Devo Offline
Devo  Offline
Bobber, you are a gentleman and a scholar! Thank you for your reply.

I've found that your opinion of the atolls is shared by many others, and I wonder what you mean by "exciting"... I definitely hope we can get out to Lighthouse (that's where BH is, right?) as I've heard that Half Moon is something of pure and simple beauty, and that we stand a good chance of seeing some Mantas! Speaking of rays (of a different sort!), what's your take on Shark-Ray Alley? I've done the Stingray City thing in Grand Cayman, and I enjoyed myself despite the throngs of splashing cruise-shippers jockeying for a touch of the rays. Is it anywhere near as jam-packed at Shark-Ray alley?

#95304 - 01/06/05 01:35 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,677
Bobber Offline
Bobber  Offline
Shark-Ray Alley is a hoot. We do it every trip, something about having those nurse sharks all over. Last trip we had about an 8 footer, and a bunch of 5 footers, plus the rays and some huge groupers. The boatmaster was chumming and we were right in the middle of a feeding frenzy, the sharks actually would scoot between your legs. If you have an UW camera, even a throw away, this is the place to take some good pics. There may be a few boats there, depending on the cruise ship situation, but nothing like Grand Cayman.
We did stingray city in Grand Cayman. We went out in a good size tour boat (picked out of an obscure ad in one of the magazines) and it was just our party of 4 plus another couple. We got there and saw 3 other boats, one cruiser, one cat and a sailboat, with people just hanging off them, all wearing big red lifejackets. Our captain said "cruise ship folks". We anchored about 50 yards from them and had a mildly amusing time. Shark -Ray is a lot more fun.
By less exciting I mean that just outside the reef is pretty much spur and groove, little canyons that you float above and sometimes dip down into, but a lot of things to see. Short boat trip tho. Out in the atolls you can get walls, wide sweeping plains that drop off into the depths, or even some good structure to weave around. I consider the Blue Hole to be a novelty thing, not a whole lot to see, just a deep dive and a bunch of stalactites, and probably a few sharks following you around. One of those things that you do once if you have the urge. The other dives on the trip are truly nice and lunch at half moon is a chance to look at yourself and say, "it don't get any better than this".

Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt
#95305 - 01/06/05 01:50 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Devo Offline
Devo  Offline
Man o man, I can't wait. I'm giddy about Shark-Ray Alley, as I even had fun at Stingray City! My poor fiancee (also a diver, but a bit skittish of the larger beasties) is a bit hesitant to do Shark-Ray, but now I really gotta find a way to convince her!

OK, I hate to keep bothering you, but Bobber, you're a treasure trove of info, and I'm San Pedro Daydreamin, so if you'll indulge me, I'm still curious. If we were to go on just one full day outing to one of the outer atolls, which would you say would offer us the biggest diving bang for our buck? I'm not hell-bent on seeing BH, as I hear it's just as impressive from the puddle-jumper as it is from below... but I'd love to see a whole lot of critters, and as many big guys as I can! With that in mind, whaddaya say, Turneffe or Lighthouse?

#95306 - 01/06/05 02:16 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 790
mobunny Offline
mobunny  Offline
Last August we went to Shark Ray Alley for our surface interval when diving with Protech. The other folks on the dive boat went in right away however, Irm and I were a little slow to splash (sorry for the lingo - just read "Shadow Divers"). The minute we put our heads in the water and looked around there was a school of about 13 nurse sharks of varying size. Just leisurely swimming by. Very fun and cool. Enjoy! mobunny cool

#95307 - 01/06/05 02:34 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 284
egcntrk Offline
egcntrk  Offline
Devo, gotta chime in here. I snorkel, and was hesitant about being in the water with those sharks, too. Tell your wife I jumped right in the water and never had a moments fear of them. It was a fantastic experience!

Maybe these will help get her in the water! Enjoy your trip!!!

#95308 - 01/06/05 02:41 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,677
Bobber Offline
Bobber  Offline
I enjoyed lighthouse a bit more than Turneffe, possibly the difference between a sunny day and a rainy day, but I think Lighthouse was prettier. When you are at the BH on the surface, it looks like you are just anchored in the middle of nowhere, not very impressive unless you are either flying over or underwater. I might do the trip again, just snorkel the BH and do the other 2 dives.
Before going to AC, my wife was convinced every shark ever born was issued a picture of her with an attack on site notice. Now she is usually first in the water.

Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt
#95309 - 01/06/05 02:53 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 10
Devo Offline
Devo  Offline
LOL! Thanks to you both, Bobber and egcntrk! I'll share your thoughts with Dawn and hopefully she'll have a change of heart! Perhaps if I can manage to convince her that the chum probably tastes a whole lot better to those guys that she does...

#95310 - 01/06/05 03:12 PM Re: Scuba thoughts?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 284
egcntrk Offline
egcntrk  Offline
You are welcome...should we show her the one of me petting the shark eek or would that scare the bejebbers out of her?

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