One Response to “Agressor”

  1. Snagel says:

    Belize Aggressor III trip report
    Original Post by Byte Me on ScubaToys

    March 5 – 12 2011, Belize Aggressor III, my first live-aboard trip. Went with a friend and a group of eight who had all been on live-aboards before, often together. The remainder of the boat was comprised of a group of 3 couples from North Carolina and two single ladies who had all been on many live-aboards. Everyone appeared to have a fair amount of experience (>100 dives) and WOW the camera gear they all had, 7 Subal Nikon housings, an Ikelite D7000 housing, Gates video camera setup, my humble new E-PL1 setup and three point and shoots. Great group to spend a week with!

    We boarded at 4:00PM Saturday, picked a spot on the dive deck, set up our gear and that was literally the last time we had to touch it (other than to put it on!) until we were back in port the following Friday. The well laid out dive deck made getting geared up, in and out of the water a breeze. A dedicated camera rinse tank, wetsuit rinse tank and buckets / spray bottles with defog and a diluted minty mouthwash solution which was sprayed into our 2nd stage regs complimented the warm water showers on the back of the boat complete with shampoo and conditioner. The camera table held all of our gear and the O2 analyzers, below that deck were power strips and more storage for our camera gear.

    Our room and the rest of the boat were well laid out with plenty of places to sit and relax. Everything was in generally good repair with a couple minor nits here and there but nothing worth getting worked up about. Food was typically good and plentiful. Would have appreciated a bit less salt and fat/grease but hey, it’s vacation, live a little! There was always a fridge stocked with fruit, pink lemonade and iced tea. Serve yourself soda fountain and Beliken Beer ½ bbl were found on the sun deck.
    Dive sites ranged from weak to really outstanding. Sayonara and Sandbox (on Long Caye) were weak. Silver Caves, The Aquarium, (both Long Caye) Half Moon Caye Wall and Chain Wall (on Half Moon Caye) were fantastic. Covered in lush soft corals, coral, fish, crustatians, inverts – really full of life. Half Moon Caye and Chain walls offered great diversity with a gently sloping sandy / grassy bottom leading to the coral wall which dropped into the abyss. Lots of fun stuff on those last two sites, juvenile fish, turtles, remora, lobster, hogfish, parrots, then up in the sand lots of individual soft corals housed scarlet striped cleaner shrimp, Pederson shrimp, juvenile fish and macro life. In the sand we saw lots of southern stingray, lots of different fish and conch in the grassy areas. At Silver Caves we saw a few black tip sharks, spotted eagle ray on about every other dive site on Long Caye.

    We did night dives on Mon, Tues & Wed at Painted Wall, Long Caye Ridge and The Aquarium. Painted wall was really nice, easy night dive, ran across some squid but didn’t see anything else special or unusual. My buddy and I were the only ones on the 2nd night dive with Instructor Jody. Lots of great stuff here, ran across some big crabs, a group of squid – even got to see one ink and jet away! I found a white striped toadfish and as we were headed back to the boat a feeding octopus. 3rd night dive most everyone did, found some more great stuff – another octopus, crabs, hermit crabs, southern stingray, eels, all kind of critters. On each of the dives I was really happy to have the Sola 600 Focus light – Tarpon and Chubbs were everywhere and boy those Tarpon love to follow your white light beam to whatever poor fish you’re looking at. A couple scared the heck out of me bolting past my head to grab their meal, until I switched to the red Sola light which was AWESOME for night dives. Didn’t scare stuff away as much as white light but still provided enough to see and was perfect for a focus light, kept the tarpon and the bloodworms, etc out of the frame.

    The last day was a total bust. We headed to a new site Thursday night so no night dive. The Captain changed the dive times from 8AM & 10AM to 6AM & 8AM. The wind kicked up and was coming from the North; it was a little rough so there were only a couple of us up for the dive. It was called after 15 minutes because of current and swells. Instead of finding a calmer site on the other side of the Caye the Captain dropped the mooring line and headed back to port – was REALLY disappointed by that.
    Once we got back a bunch of us went cave tubing which was a blast! Aggressor made reservations for us at a restaurant that seemed wholly unprepared for 16 people and not willing to step it up for us at all, so we left and ate at the Radisson, which was weak at best. On Saturday we woke up and took the water taxi to Ambergris Caye. Had a blast there just relaxing and taking in some happy hours! Should have blown off the Aggressor’s wine/cheese party and headed over there on Friday! Sunday AM woke up, hit the water taxi and back to Belize City for the flight home. Overall, a very good time, 23 dives in 5 days, 22.5 hours underwater, just shy of my goal of spending an entire day of my vacation underwater!

    I’ll do another live-aboard but not Belize. Definitely want to dive Belize again but I think I’d rather do it from Ambergris and go out with Ramon’s or someone else. We stopped to talk to a couple shops while there and they’ll do a day trip to Long & Half Moon Caye, Turneffe, etc. so we could get everywhere we got on the Aggressor from a land based op so my non-diving wife and friends could come along.

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