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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Belize Aggressor III - September 2010, Part Two

Todd and I took a lovely trip to Belize aboard the Belize Aggressor III.  Here is the continuation of our trip report.  Or, you can start with Part One.
Todd got this great photo of a Barracuda eating a Lionfish

After a great day of diving in The Great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye on Tuesday, on Wednesday, we headed back to Long Caye to do some diving with sharks.  The vis wasn't so great for the shark dives (although we did enjoy some time with the sharks and some Goliath Groupers).  On the Wednesday afternoon dive, we dove at Painted Wall, where the fish seemed to hang out with us as if we were their best friends.  Not only were there huge schools of Sergeant Majors and Chubs, there was also a Grey Angelfish who followed Todd and I along the wall, playing in our bubbles and being far more friendly than any other Grey Angel we've ever seen.

One of the sharks on our Wednesday shark dive
A Goliath Grouper at Long Caye

Me with the super-friendly Grey Angelfish

Thursday was the day that we did a dawn dive (we were in the water at about 5:30am).  We then did all of the dives for the rest of the day (the regularly scheduled ones), which meant that we did SIX dives in one day!  It was a long day, that was for sure, so when I wasn't in the water or eating a meal, I was taking a nap.  You see why I don't run while we're on a dive vacation :)  We did one of the dives at Long Caye, then a series of dives at Half Moon Caye, which was still just beautiful.  At one point, we went through a swim through that was filled with thousands of small silver fish.  Beautiful!!  The only bad part was that after one of our morning dives, a whole bunch of trash floated up to the boat.  The trash was composed of many things - shoes, bottles, nipples from baby bottles, paper, plastic stuff...  And there were little fish swimming right below the trash in its shade.  Very strange.  In the afternoon, we headed back to Turneffe for a few dives there.

Goofing off on the hang bar beneath the boat on our safety stop
There's a White Spotted Toadfish (Unique to Belize) under that rock!
Todd gets a photo of something (Jawfish, maybe)
Todd goofs off by giving a "Dive briefing" at Painted Wall

Friday, we started the day with two dives on Amber Head, which is at Turneffe Atoll.  Once these were over, we cleaned our equipment and set it out to dry.  I ended up doing every single dive that was available on the trip - a total of 26 for the week, and up to 6 in one day.  Whew, it was exhausting!  We steamed back to Belize City for more exciting adventures.
Five!  There are Five Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish in this shot!  Amazing!

Friday afternoon, we had free time, so Todd, Bill and I went and found a Geocache (that gives me a new country!).  Then, we had some excursions.  We split into two groups, and the other group went to see Mayan Ruins.  Todd, Terry, Bill and I headed out to the jungle with our splendid tour guide, Rudy.  We went cave tubing!  This was so much fun!  Basically, we got a tube, a hat with a light, and a life vest.  First, we took a dip in the river (the Caves Branch River) and then took our stuff and hiked about a mile or two through the jungle.  Along the way, Rudy would stop and show us insects, trees, and bats.  He did an excellent job explaining what their uses for and what they were about.  

Eventually, we made it to a little pool where the river was deeper.  We spent about a half hour swimming around, jumping off the rocks, and generally having a great time!  Then, it was tube time.  We got in our tube and floated back down the river through caves and jungle.  It was really fun, and so nice to be in such a small group.  No photos though, since we didn't want to haul cameras through the jungle or risk getting them wet.

After the tubing, we headed back to the Aggressor, where we showered up and then had a fun cocktail party on the sun deck.  We celebrated with the crew, enjoyed some delicious food and drink, and watched the sun set.  We also got a chance to tour the Sun Dancer II, which is another liveaboard and is part of the former Peter Hughes Fleet, which is now owned by the Aggressor Fleet.  It was a nice boat, but I sure do love the Aggressors.
Todd and me, with Divemaster and Engineer Juan at the Cocktail Party

We had dinner at the Smoky Mermaid, very close to the dock.  It was SO HOT, it was terribly uncomfortable.  The service was SLOW, and the food was not so good.  I might not have cared about the food as much if it weren't for how bad the service was.  I did really enjoy my pina colada though.  

After dinner, we headed back to the boat to begin our packing and get to bed.

Saturday... our last day in Belize!  We got up early and then headed out to the Belize Zoo as a group.  Our tour guide led us around to see all of the animals there.  I particularly loved the Tapir, the Ocelot, and the Spider Monkeys.  The Howler Monkeys weren't doing an howling, which made me sad.  I also got to meet some fire ants, who loved the fact that I was wearing flip flops.
An Ocelot at the Belize Zoo

Todd and Me at the Belize Zoo

We were then introduced to "Junior Buddy," who is a Jaguar and the pride of the Belize Zoo.  Junior Buddy was born in captivity and was raised completely in the Belize Zoo.  We paid an extra $10 per person to go inside a cage in Junior Buddy's cage.  They locked up JB while we were walking through his home, and then let him out once we were safely in the cage (it was me, Todd, Terry, Bill and Nick).  Then, we were able to pet JB and feed him chicken.  He jumped on top of the cage and licked our foreheads!  It was too fun!

Getting licked by a Jaguar

Feeding Junior Buddy a chicken bone

Junior Buddy

Our tour guide took us to a little restaurant near the zoo called Amigos.  Todd and I had the weekend special - ribs - and plenty of beers.  It was really a great lunch.  Then, it was time to head to the airport.
Todd enjoys Belikin Beer at Amigo's

Amigo's - Wonderful lunch near the Belize Zoo

Todd and me at Amigo's

The flight to Houston was uneventful, and we said goodbye to our friends near customs in Houston.  We arrived past the time of the last flight to Baltimore, so we overnighted in Houston at the Holiday Inn.  We had dinner there and relaxed a little, then headed on home to Baltimore in the morning.

What a wonderful trip to Belize, and such a great time with our friends!!!

Check out all of Todd's photos in the Picasa album below.  You can also see more of his photos, as well as purchase options on his Redbubble site.

2010 Belize

1 comment:

marathonmaiden said...

gahhh, it definitely looks like it was a WONDERFUL trip. licked by a jaguar?! really scary sounding but WAY cool :)

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