The Wave Dancer in Belize
We flew to Belize City, Belize from a gateway city (in our case Miami) in
about one hour and 45 minutes on American Airlines. In addition to American,
TACA and Continental Airlines also fly from Houston. Belize (the country) is
adjacent to Guatemala and Belize City is a typical Caribbean city of about
70,000 people. It is NOT safe to walk around in Belize City without an escort
and especially so at night.
We were met at the airport by the Captain of the Wave Dancer and we never
touched our luggage again. Belize airport is about 10 miles from the city; we
were transported by bus in about 25 minutes directly to the Wave Dancer. The
Wave Dancer is parked right next to its competition, the Belize Aggressor. The
Wave Dancer is noticeably taller because it has an extra (sun) deck. However the
layout of the diving area seems to be approximately comparable.
THE WAVE DANCER
The Wave Dancer is a 120 feet long converted oil boat. It has been outfitted
with 10 double cabins each having ensuite facilities. As expected the rooms are
small but you are only in your room to sleep. While we had only 18 guests out of
the maximum of twenty, there would be no problems handling the maximum number of
guests. The boat has four decks, three above water and one below. The lowest
deck has some guest cabins and three crew cabins. The main deck has the
remainder of the guest cabins, a nice photo table, and the diving deck. The
second deck is the dining area (inside and outside dining is available) and
entertainment area. The third (top) deck is the sun deck for those unafraid of
the tropical sun. The diving area is extremely well thought out. Each person has
two tanks and a storage cubicle that are assigned to them for the duration. Your
reserve tanks is filled while you are in the water using the other tank so there
is always a fresh tank available. Tanks are steel 80s filled to a minimum of
3000 PSI. Getting in the water is simply a giant stride off of the back of the
boat. There is a stationary hang bar and tank at 15 feet; getting out of the
water is via two ladders which go down several feet into the water. Staff is
available for assistance and gear pass up.
Diving is scheduled with two morning dives, two afternoon dives, and a night
dive. The only exception to this schedule is on Tuesday when we dive the Blue
Hole. The night dive is done at the same sight as the afternoon dive so that you
will be familiar with the terrain under water. All diving is done via computer.
Rentals are available if you don't have one. In general the diving was
excellent. Virtually all dive sites have walls. Most walls go down thousands of
feet. Most dive sites also have a shallow (30-50) area available as well. There
are swim throughs and coral heads on every dive site. The diving in Belize is
still pristine. There are many fish: Tarpon, groupers, trunk fish, lots of
angels of various Caribbean varieties, lots of little fish, Eagle Rays, an
occasional whale shark, turtles, butterfly fish, dolphins, etc. There are many
hard and soft corals, various sponges, etc. All of which are pristine and
THE BLUE HOLE
Diving the Blue Hole is on Tuesday. This is NOT a fishy dive but is a very
interesting dive nevertheless. It is the only organized dive which is escorted
and where all are asked to stay in a group. The Blue Hole is a cavern dive to
130 feet to see what used to be a cave in times gone. It is very eerie because
of the depth, visibility (clear) and overhead environment. We had one diver who
pushed the tables and had to be assisted but most people were very comfortable
and did not violate the maximum suggested depth. Due to the substantial depth
and nitrogen, there is a long surface interval between the Blue Hole dive and
the afternoon dive. This surface interval is spent having a picnic on a nearby
island and seeing some very rare Booby Birds and Iguanas. A nice interlude on
AND THEN THERE WERE THE DOLPHINS . . .
On the very first morning we saw two small pods of dolphins from the boat.
However on the last full diving day we saw, in water, a pod of 8 dolphins. They
frolicked with everyone for at least twenty minutes; one fortunate individual
got this on video tape. Truly a remarkable experience.
The last day was slightly different. We had an early pre-breakfast dive, breakfast and then paid our bill for miscellaneous stuff before the next dive. Following the second dive we washed equipment and dried it on the top deck. We had lunch and arrived back in Belize City about 1:00 PM where we walked 100 yards to the Ramada. There were various tours available in the afternoon and there is a Karioki Bar and Disco available in the evening.
In summary, there were 26 scheduled dives, five of which were night dives.
All dives except for the Blue Hole were unescorted buddy dives. However Wave
Dancer personnel were available if you asked for assistance. Equipment for
diving and photo/video were available for rent. All gear was high quality and in
good condition. PADI courses were available at an additional cost and included
AOW and various specialties including photo, deep, night, reef fish and reef
critters. Staff were helpful and extremely well organized without appearing so
or getting in the way. We had a great time are scheduled to return same time in
This text and accompanying photos by:
Belize, Wave Dancer Liveaboard, by Jerry Moss
Capt. gives hello speech, tells us about boat about dives about
meals etc. Drinks and meals included on trip. Nitrox free if you have card. You
can dive up to five times a day with about two hours between dives. Getting on
& off boat was very easy with big platform and two large ladders. Each
morning after breakfast fully site description. after lunch new site for
remainder or the day.
Deep dives off wall were of the oh wow type.. Saw several large spotted
eagle rays, one manta ray, one small shark five ft. blunt noise, Tarpoon very
large, snappers, turtles Large and small. their was very little we did not see.
On Tuesday we did the big blue hole. No big deal, vis. about 30ft there. every
other place vis between 100 to 150ft. after they take you to an Island for Lunch
& to see the Red footed boobee birds I think that was the name. I suggest a
Days on boat sat part at sea no diving, (sun, mon, tues, wed, thur) full dive days, fri returned to port after two morning dives. sat leave ship at 8:30am and we stayed until 1pm at the radison hotel across from the boat until time for the plane. Plane home everyone got bags, No real problems just had to run through Houston airport to get next plane. Only bad thing was the week went to fast... This was my first liveaboard and I will be going on another.
Belize, Wave Dancer, 1999, by Hawn Diver