Sunday, May 25, 2008

Belize Trip!

We're finally getting settled from being gone so long on vacation but we had an amazing time in Belize!

The diving was incredible and the island we stayed on was perfect. There is tons of animal life in the water and we saw different things every dive. The dive operators say you can never get bored with the diving there because you'll always see something, which we found to be very true! The Barrier Reef is the largest in the Western Hemisphere second to only the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. We started out with a dive the second day we got there. We haven't been since our honeymoon almost 4 years ago! Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a famous site with is a protected underwater park that you can dive and snorkel in. The animal life was amazing there and it was a perfect shallow (50 feet) refresher dive for us. We saw sharks, turtles, rays, spotted eagle ray, eels, lobster, barracuda, huge grouper, crab. The next stop was Shark Ray Alley where there are tons of Nurse sharks and sting rays in this one area. It was fun to watch our dive master wrestle huge Nurse sharks for us to "pet" underwater. Crazy.

The third day we did a 2 tank dive outside the Barrier Reef on the wall. It was just us with a dive master this trip and the current was pretty strong on these dives because we didn't go too deep. They were both great dives and we saw alot. Our dive master really liked harassing the eels and we had several actually come out of the wall and start swimming towards us showing us his teeth! We had to go to the Blue Hole since we were there. And was that day an adventure! We were picked up at our pier at 5:30 AM by the dive operators. It was 3 hour boat ride (not one bit of it was calm either) and we were prepared for an all day- 3 tank dive. It was a rough ride as we were making our way outside of the reef to the huge swells with our boat pounding up and down for hours. I was thinking- this better be worth it. No one got sea sick luckily and the boat had a bathroom (although you couldn't get up to use it or you'd fly off the boat). We made it to the Blue Hole and it was pretty cool to see. There were several live aboard dive boats parked there with divers and snorkelers but it was never crowded. The dive was planned for 130 feet. This freaked me out given the depth and how quickly we had to get down to 130' because of the dive time of only 20 minutes at that depth. (Bottom time of only 8 minutes with the majority of the dive being the ascent) The Blue Hole was created when it filled with water after the cave's roof collapsed. There is absolutely nothing to see when you are descending down into the dark until you hit 130'. And even then all there is to see are stalactites and cave like formations. It is very true you see way more animal life snorkeling. There were sharks immediately circling the boat when we stopped the engine as they are use to getting fed by people. As you descend into the Hole it gets very dark, black and spooky. People are known to lose their orientation because its so deep and dark. We tried to face the reef as we went down. As we ascended and swam back to the boat the sharks became interested in us again and started circling around us as we took off our gear and climbed on to the ladder. Cool.

The next stop was another dive site outside of the Blue Hole called Half Moon Caye wall. Belize is known for wall diving and I was excited because this was my first wall dive! It was a 65' dive and the visibility was great and the animal life abundant. It was awesome. We saw eels, tons of cool fish, barracuda cruise by and turtles. We then stopped for lunch at Half Moon Caye where our dive masters cooked lunch and we toured around the bird sanctuary. The last dive of the day was called Aquarium. We remembered one of our favorite dives in Bora Bora was called Aquarium too so I was excited, hoping it would be similar. Sure enough, it was. It was a 50 foot dive hovering over the reef and we saw tons and tons of cool fish, eels, turtles, etc. We dove through different coral formations and tunnels which was fun. Our dive master brought a coke bottle down full of rice and beans from lunch and periodically squirted some out. We'd instantly be surrounded by tons of fish fluttering around- it was so cool. After the last dive, we climbed into the boat and all had a cold beer before our 3 hour boat ride back! What a day!

The other days we rented a golf cart and went all around the island to check out other beaches, hotels, etc. It was overall a very chill. relaxed island with not too many tourists and where we stayed still had great restaurants on the water. The small town of San Pedro was right behind our hotel. We cruised up north to some resorts and found some pretty secluded resorts & beaches. Overall, we liked how quiet Ambergris Caye was and how nice the beaches were to walk into. We are already talking about our next trip out because we loved it so much. How can you beat amazing diving and perfect water and beaches!?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Congrats Mr & Mrs Pachiano!

We had so much fun celebrating Nicole & Marco at their wedding in Antigua!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We miss Belize!

Pictures and blog coming soon!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

And we're off!

We're headed out to Belize to scuba dive & Guatemala for Nicole and Marco's wedding!
Stay tuned for pictures!