Tag Archives: Belize Dive Resort

Is Diving the Blue Hole in Belize Safe?

Standard

Safe to Dive the Blue Hole?

According to the U.S. Gov. Travel Advisory to Belize the simple answer is not really:

U.S. Gov. Travel Advisory to Belize:
Rental diving equipment may not always be properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize’s more challenging sites.

Deaths and serious injuries have occurred as a result of the negligence of dive tour operators, the lack of strict enforcement of tour regulations, water taxis diverging from routes when tourists are in the water, and tourists’ neglect of their physical limitations.

The Embassy strongly recommends that anyone interested in scuba diving or snorkeling while in Belize check the references, licenses, and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to or paying for a tour.

The Embassy further recommends that U.S. citizens be forthcoming in reporting pre-existing medical conditions to their dive tour operators, and comply when a dive tour operator prohibits participation in such activities due to a U.S. citizen’s health condition.

Safety precautions and emergency response capabilities may not be up to U.S. standards.

The reality is that as a “Certified” open water diver you are responsible for yourself. Too many divers come down on holidays and because the Dive Master is guiding the dive assume that the dive master is responsible for their well-being. When is the last time you checked (smelled) your air the way your were trained to in your open water certification course? What about the pre-dive safety check B.W.R.A.F. (BCD, Weights, Releases, Air and Final). Do you dive with your buddy? What about continued education, do you strive to be a better diver? Have you taken a Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty or moved on to become and Advanced Open Water Diver? Do you dive within your limits? Did you take a refresher if it’s been a while?

The Blue Hole is a bucket list dive for many tourists coming to Belize. Unfortunately as there is no regulatory body for Scuba Diving in Belize the standards are much too slack. In my opinion the standards should include a minimum number of dives and a minimum number of dives deeper than 90 feet. They should also be keeping the Maximum depth of the Blue Hole to 140 feet. When I dove the blue hole my max depth was 137 feet and I was plenty deep enough to see the stalactites. It is well-known that the Blue Hole dive breaks the recreational diving limits. I personally don’t see the seven extra feet I dove as an extreme breach compared to the 20-30 feet some unexperienced divers are doing.

The following are my suggestions for a safe(r) Blue Hole Dive.

  • do get some warm up dives in prior to the blue hole or/and take a refresher
  • don’t dive the day before
  • choose a reputable operator
  • check your equipment
  • dive with a buddy (I usually tell couples to hold hands)
  • be the last down to depth, the first to start on the way up, and the last to leave the safety stop
  • watch your air consumption and neutral buoyancy
  • ascend slowly
  • do not dive if you have any medical history that has not been cleared by a doctor (preferably a Dr. that knows something about diving!)
  • if any of these suggestions don’t make sense to you learn more about diving before diving the blue hole!

Definitely Belize does have some issues with diving safety, not all dive shops are created equal and more importantly too many tourists are all too willing to relinquish their own responsiblity for their diving. Plan your dive, dive your plan!

Safe Diving!

Cheers,

Carlos

Teaching a Fish to Swim

Standard

So I have decided to certify Daniel.  Strange when your student knows more about the marine world than you do! I was, however, a little worried that all of those fish he’s hooked would come and give him some payback. A few made their presense known, I’m still not sure if they were happy to see Daniel, or just keeping their eyes on him.

Scuba Certification in Belize

Daniel Studying

The reasons to get certified to Scuba Dive in Belize are multiple, warm water, the second longest coral reef in the world, ease of travel from North America and more. What’s stopping you? You can get started today with elearning: https://www.padi.com/elearning-scuba-registration/default.aspx?irra=21909

Discover Scuba Diving in Belize

Standard

Have you ever wanted to try Scuba Diving but you’re not sure if you will like it? How about trying Scuba Diving without the time commitment of certification. Discover Scuba Diving is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) activity that gets you in that water quick! The Discover Scuba Diving activity is also commonly refered to as a Resort Course as you can continue to dive to a maximum depth of 40 feet while you are at the resort!

Belize Dive Resort

Diving in Belize!

Essentially you watch a video that gives you the in and outs of diving. The Golden rule in Diving is “Always Breath”. You then do an equipment orientation explaining the various parts of the scuba unit.

Scuba Diving in Belize

Scuba Equipment

The next step is you walk in off our beach and you take your first breaths underwater! At this point you learn a series of skills all the while being in water in which is not too deep to stand.  These skills are actually quite useful while snorkeling as well! Clearing your mask, and the regulator as well as learning how to cautiously breath in the first breaths after you’ve cleared it. You then swim around in water which is too deep to stand to increase your comfort level, and practive equalising your ears as you descend.

Discover Scuba Diving in Belize

Learning Dive Skills

The next step is to experience a real dive to a maximum depth of 40 feet. Off we go in the boat outside the Meso American Barrier Reef right in front of the resort. Once at the mooring line we descend slowly as a group with the Dive Master and Instructor monitoring you as you descend. Don’t forget to equalise!

Diving in Belize

Belize Diving

Remember to check out the medical form before you come down to the resort. If there are any yes’ to any of the questions you need to be checked out by a doctor before you can dive. Get it done while you’re at home to save time and money! You can find the PADI medical form on our Belize Diving page.

A Private Island

Standard

Back in 2010, just before Maya was born, Isabelle and I were in Belize City awaiting Maya’s arrival so we spent some time in a hotel room watching television. I can’t remember the show but there was a top ten list for the world’s private islands that you could rent. The show went on to describe them including a private island in Belize. The description of the islands sounded a lot like Tranquility Bay Resort except of course the price tag!

Snorkel from the Beach in Belize

Paradise!

All right so we are not a private island, we do have a neighbouring resort about a quarter mile away and there is even the town of San Pedro with close to 20 000 people on the south end of Ambergris Caye. We are about 12-14 miles away from town…. I think that can count for being secluded!

Just like the private islands we’ve got great water sports! Scuba Diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and Sailing!

Snorkel from the Beach

Snorkeling with a Turtle

Belize Diving

Isabelle and I diving in Belize

Kayaking at Tranquility Bay Resort

So you tell me, why spend $2000-10 000 usd per night when you can find paradise for a lot cheaper. Our rooms start at $99 usd/night in low season and the most expensive in peak season is $350 usd /night (rates don’t include tax and service charge). That of course does not come with white towel service, but really…. your on a beach! Our staff are friendly and fun, our guests are laid back and enjoy the beautiful location that we offer.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

Standard
Isabelle and I decided it was time for a day off, and we wanted to experience what are clients do when we send them to the Blue Hole, right here in our backyard, Belize.  The Blue Hole is a sink hole in light house reef atoll 35 miles from Ambergris Caye. It is perfectly round with a diameter of 984 feet and a depth of 407 feet.
Belize Scuba Diving, The Blue Hole

Come and Dive into the Blue Hole in Belize

So off we went early in the morning to meet up with our ride to Light House Reed Atoll.

Amigos Del Mar's Dive boat for the Blue Hole, Belize!

It was a perfect day for the trip as the seas were calm which meant a very smooth ride! The guides were awesome and took great care of us. A shout out to Gio, Mike, George, Edgar and the rest of the crew. The Blue Hole itself gets mixed reviews from divers as it is a “bounce” dive.  A maximum depth of 130 ft with a bottom time of eight minutes means that you spend most of your time descending and ascending. Regardless I really enjoyed the dive. It was cool to see stalactites while diving. On the way down we also saw Midnight Parrot fish and I think the largest Spotted Drums I’ve ever seen.

Caribbean Reef Shark in the Blue Hole, Belize

Carlos and Isabelle at the Blue Hole with Amigos Del Mar

The second dive was my favorite, we were just off Half Moon Caye on the East side on Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The corals were really vibrant but there were a lot of fish as well. Barracudas, Nassau Groupers, French Angel Fish, Snappers, Grunts, Wrasse, Hog Fish and More. I now understand why Nassau Grouper are endangered, they are so curious I almost bumped into a couple!

Curious Nassau Grouper

Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber at Half Moon Caye.

Isabelle horsing around

This Loggerhead Turtle showed up right at the end of our Dive!

Half Moon Caye is where lunch is served. It was so good I went back for seconds when I was already full! The Island is a UNESCO world heritage site and hosts the red footed booby bird. Half Moon Caye is also a nesting site for turtles!

Half Moon Caye, Light House Reef Atoll, Belize

Booby Bird Sanctuary on Half Moon Caye

Red Footed Booby Birds

The Gumbo Limbo Tree, aka The Tourist Tree because it has red skin and it peels!

The last dive is “The Aquarium” (also the name of our restaurant at Tranquility Bay Resort! 🙂 ) This is a great wall dive with a lot of marine life! As you finish the dive you end up in about 10 feet of water on the edge of the Atoll. The corals are spectacular! The Blue Hole trip can also be done as a snorkeler if you are not a diver, either way it is a great trip. In fact before Isabelle and I moved to Belize we did the Blue Hole Trip as snorkelers. Amigos Del Mar is a first class dive operation and we are happy to send our guests to them knowing that they will be well taken care of! Amigos has recently raised their price but I think this trip is definitely worth it and an overall great experience. We also saw dolphins on our way out to the Blue Hole.

Tube Coral at The Aquarium

This is a Decorator Crab, they use debris to camoflage themselves. It looked like something from The Hobbit!

Brain Coral at The Aquarium with Feather Duster and Christmas Tree Worms

We had a smooth ride home!