Belize Aggressor - January 2009
The reader’s digest condensed version of this blog would simply read “One of the greatest vacations, dive or otherwise, that I have ever experienced! No regrets, and would do it again without thinking!”
Started out on an early flight to Atlanta... Delta now has direct flights to Belize City from Atlanta. I was met at the airport in Belize City by a representative from Aggressor... I was easily identified as an Agressor passenger by the bright pink luggage tags that they had sent me a week prior to the trip.
The ride from the airport to the dock was in a comfortable, air conditioned mini bus... someone at the dock handled my bags from the drop off point at the dock, out to the boat.
Once at the boat a crew member quickly helped me out with room assignment, stowage of dive gear as well as stowage of empty luggage (The cabins do not have an abundance of space, so empty luggage can be stored in other cubbies on board). The efficiency and friendliness of the crew quickly became a theme for the week.
The boat is 110 feet long and could accomodate up to 16 divers, I believe... we had 12 divers including Stan Waterman, a world reknown pioneering underwater videographer... his credits include “Blue Water White Death.” Also on board was the Aggressor crew of six... two Captains, a mechanic/maintenance man, head chef, photographer, and an assistant... it should be noted that alll crew members pitched in with all duties... all were certified divers and three actually led dives during the week... also, all helped serve and clear at meal times, handed warm towels to divers after hot showers on dive deck, made the rounds with post dive snacks (cookies, brownies, conch fritters).
The cabins were small, as would be expected... a double bed with a twin bunk bed above... sink and vanity and a small bathroom with a marine (Naturally) toilet and a small shower... good water pressure and ample hot water.
Each bed also had a small storage area at the foot of the bed for cameras, wallets etc...
Each diver was assigned a designated area of the dive deck for their gear, including an underseat storage are, rack with suit hangers and a tank rack with only one tank... there were fill hoses within reach of all tanks, so tanks were simply filled between dives, instead of switching gear from tank to tank. Very convenient.
Also on the dive deck was a large camera table, O2 analyzers and nitrox sheets, water coolers, rinse tubs for gear and cameras, cooler with dry towels for after a post-dive on deck HOT shower... and on the back of the boat, on the dive platform, were two hot showers! Sweeet!
A crewmember started the day for the divers by walking the hall with a bell, to let us know when breakfast was ready... after breakfast, another bell was rung out on the dive deck to rally divers for the pre dive briefing.
Two dives in the morning and two dives after lunch as well as one night dive after dinner each day - two dives were also available on Friday for those with afternoon departing flights on Saturday.
After dinner each day we were treated to movies and talks by Stan Waterman... he is an excellent speaker and has a wonderful sense of humor! Always entertaining.
The diving.... all wall diving for the most part... the boat would hook to mooring lines near the drop off... we spent the remainder of the air exploring the shallower bottom under and around the boat. The visibility could have been better... around 50 feet for most dives... have heard that June is a much better month for diving Belize.
Regarless, some creatures of note... Giant octopus, yellowtail stingray, reef shark, a hammerhead (Maybe!).
And with all due respect to DAN’s recommendations, there was a hot tub on board that we enjoyed immensely everyday!
Overall the experience was outstanding! The crew was incredibly service oriented, friendly, and all had great sense of humor.
The week wrapped with a short presentation by the Captain, and the showing of a DVD that the crew made of the week... available for sale... $65.
This is a trip I would do again in a heartbeat... as a matter of fact I am going on the Cayman Aggressor in May, and am looking forward to a similar experience!