Diving Reports

January 25 - February 1

Weather: sunny and relatively calm conditions.
Air Temp: Lower 80’s
Water Temp: Average of 78 F
 
We woke up on Sunday morning to a beautifully calm day with slightly cloudy conditions that cleared up in the afternoon. On this first day of diving for the week, we headed for a 15-minute boat ride to the north and did eastern side dive sites at Turneffe. Our Dive Team this week swelled to four, with Captain Carlton (aka Capt), Divemaster John and Denroy, and Dive Instructor Anne-Marie. Our first site was Lettuce Lane, where we found water temperatures at 79 degrees F with about 70 feet of visibility. This site offers long sand chutes running from the shallows to the wall edge between bands of coral formations, with the top of the wall at 60 feet deep. Here we observed blue Creole Wrasse swimming just off and over the wall. A couple of Dog Snapper sidled over the reef wall dodging soft corals and sponges as they went, while School Master Snapper hung together in small groups next to the cover of a Giant Barrel Sponge. As Green and Spotted Morays are always spotted on our dives, we were disappointed this time and we found two of each curled up in reef recesses and poking heads out to see what’s going on. A Spanish Mackerel swam by purposefully and at a steady gait over the wall eyeing the Creole Wrasse malevolently. A large Trumpet Fish hung suspended in a vertical position in the branches of a soft coral whip. A Spotted Drum was seen swimming back and forth near its hiding place in the reef, while large Midnight and Blue Parrots swam by eyeing spots to take a possible bite out of on the reef. Then it was time to look for small critters so we combed the reef peering closely for sightings. We weren’t disappointed as we were able to find Flamingo Tongue Snails feeding on soft coral branches, Lettuce Leaf Slugs, a Black Spotted Nudibranch, and a Harliquin Pipefish. Lindsay’s Back Porch was our next dive after the hour-long surface interval. Our first sighting as we descended was a Nurse Shark resting lazily on a sand bed between two small adjacent overhangs. A startlingly beautiful coloured Scrawled Filefish hovered over the bottom and moved cautiously away flashing its bright blue lines. More Spanish Mackerel swam by over the reef as John pointed out two Spotted Morays and a few large Lionfish. Another Pipefish was discovered, but this one was the Shortfin. A Smooth Trunkfish was observed with its black and white colouration, and a few Queen Conch were observed in sand bed areas sticking their eyes out from under their shells. After our lunch break, we commenced dive three at Cockroach Caye Shallows nearby our last dive site. On this dive, the rays came out to play and we identified two Southern Stingrays digging in the sand with their hidden mouths, and three Spotted Eagle Rays gliding by us in mid-water. Lots of lobster were seen in hiding places all over the reef, and a Green Moray Eel swam by us looking for the next safe place to hide somewhere on the reef. While we were looking at more Flamigo Tongue Snails feeding away on the soft coral, we came across evidence of a recent Hawksbill Turtle visit to the bottom given away by missing chunks from a Loggerhead Sponge, Gray Angels picking at loose pieces of recently dislodged sponge, and turtle poop on the bottom. Before surfacing for the safety stop, we found a cleaning station with yellow juvenile Blue Head Wrasse, an Arrow Crab tucked in nearby, and Pederson Shrimp bobbing around for attention. 
 
Our second day of diving on Monday offered the same beautiful conditions. We headed for the northwest side of the atoll and chose the Terrace as our Blue Hole check out dive for the week. Water temperatures were 80 degrees F with visibility at about 60 feet. Seven of the nine divers in our group wanted to do the Blue Hole the following day, so they followed John to the check-out depth of 100 feet. The other two divers decided on a 60-foot dive on the same wall. Divers spotted a predatory fish not often seen, the Greater Amber Jack, with its long silvery body and dark gray stripe running diagonally down through its eye. Four Green Morays and one Spotted Moray made their presence known peering from holes in the side of the wall, and one of the green ones was spotted swimming from one hole to the next. Two Spotted Drums were also observed circling around their chosen spot on the reef. A few medium sized Cubera Snapper swam by one after the other, and a Peacock Flounder was spotted camouflaged perfectly to blend in with the patch of coral it was resting on. An interesting discovery was a seahorse found clinging to a soft coral branch. And, as if that wasn’t interesting enough, on the seahorse’s side rested a tiny yellow worm-like creature with a red saddle, which has only been spotted by our Divemasters here at Turneffe. It is so small (only 1mm long), that its detail can only be observed with a magnifying glass. Divemaster John discovered this unique find on a dive a few years ago, and named it “Johnnie’s Little Thing”. Dive two started after our usual 1-hour Surface interval at Mandy’s Dandy where Hawksbill Turtles all seemed to show up at the same time, and we saw three of them in various activities of swimming, feeding on sponges, and swimming to the surface for air. Two Green Moray Eels were seen between the reef heads, and a Spotted Cleaner Shrimp was found sitting comfortably in a Branching Anemone. After lunch, our next dive was not far away at Elkin’s Bay. Here we observed another Hawksbill Turtle, and an almost invisible Scorpionfish blending into the coral perch he had chosen and starring grumpily up at the divers as they went by. Camouflaged species were plentiful today as we found three Neck Crabs in soft coral branches and a Decorator Crab using leaf algae for cover. A large Channel Crab was discovered under a Giant Barrel Sponge, a Spotted Moray Eel was nearby, and green Social and Giant Tunicates were identified. A fish that is often seen on dives, and sometimes overlooked, is a member of the Sea Bass family is the Coney which comes in different phases of reddish-brown, reddish-brown and white, and dark gray and white. One was seen sitting near a cleaning station with Pederson Shrimp nimbly nipping and picking microscopic parasite from its body, and popping in and out of its gill-openings. One of the Pedersons even braved venturing into the Coney’s mouth, and came out safely when the cleaning was done. Creole Wrasse hovered near by the same cleaning station and juvenile Bluehead Wrasse in their yellow phase swirled around them picking off their parasites. A rare find on this dive, only because they’re so small and often passed by, was the Sea Plume Shrimp. 
 
In what seemed like perfect weather – sun, a light breeze, and calm conditions, our dive boat set out with divers promptly at 7:00am for the Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef. This early departure allows us to be one of the first boats at the Blue Hole for the day. After our usual one and a quarter hour ride, we arrived there first as usual, and made our entry descending to the 40-foot shallow edge of the hole. Seven divers followed John down the wall to the 130-foot planned depth, and the other two divers remained at 50 feet for a shallower dive. Water temperature was 77 degrees F, and the visibility at 130 feet was 100 feet giving us a clear view of the gargantuan stalactites and the Caribbean Reef Shark that came swimming by. At the shallower depth we experienced the same water temperature, and 60 feet of visibility. A Hamlet hunt was decided on for the identification activity for this dive. Barred, Tan, Black, Butter, and Indigo Hamlets were all spotted. This may seem like a lot, but there are seven other known varieties to add to that list. A family of Squat Anemone Shrimp lined the edges of a Branching Anemone, trying their best to match the colouration of its brown and white branches. As divers swam toward the surface interval depth, a large Greater Amber Jack was seen swimming by. That was the second sighting this week of this uncommon predator. After a slow ride south down the middle of the atoll, we pulled in at the Half Moon Caye dock to sit out the rest of our hour-long surface interval. Following that, we made our way to the southern end of the caye and divers descended on the Chimney for our second dive. The water was slightly warmer at 78 degrees F and offered 80 feet of visibility. Once all descended, divers swam across the brightly-lit white sand bed to this site’s majestic coral wall and plunged down the “chimney” swim-through, which starts at a hole on the top of the wall, and spits out divers at 80 feet. While swimming along this lush coral wall, two Caribbean Reef Sharks swam by at close range eyeing the divers curiously as they went. One of them doubled back for another look and swam past the group again. A Hawksbill Turtle swam gently over the top of the reef heads crowning the wall, and four Green Morays were seen in succession through holes in the reef wall. When we swam over the top of the wall to head for the sand bed, we found Southern Stingrays puttering around in the sand sounding out their prey. A welcome sight was a tight school of eight medium-sized Permit, stopping occasionally to peck at the sand as they went by. After another interesting and relaxing dive, we headed for Half Moon Caye to have our fried chicken picnic lunch under the welcome shade of the coconut trees on the beach. This National Monument and World Heritage Site is co-managed by the Belize Audubon Society, whom has a rangers’ station on the island. John visited the ranger’s office to hand in park tickets and show the divers the natural history display there for both marine and terrestrial wildlife, before he lead them off through the littoral forest to the Red-footed Booby Bird Sanctuary. The Boobies share the rookery with Frigate Birds, but they are not amicable neighbours as the Frigates poach on the Boobies for fish, and also on their chicks. After taking lots of photos from the observatory platform of birds preparing nests for the Spring hatching season, everyone walked back down the well-groomed path to the dock area for a cooling swim at the back of the boat. Our next dive took us to the Aquarium to the west of the Lighthouse Reef atoll, where we found 70 feet of visibility on this busy stretch of reef. The top of the wall here is only 35 feet from the surface and is covered with sponges, hard and soft corals, all battling for space with some growing over others. This creates an explosion of colours and textures that are truly pleasing to the eyes. As our divers slid over the side of the wall to do a 50-foot dive, we spotted a Hawksbill Turtle swimming gently alongside the wall eyeing nooks and crannies looking for just the right sponge to feast on. A Spotted Moray Eel peered out at us from the safety of its hole in the reef, and a large Tarpon was observed swimming very slowly and still asleep, unconsciously waiting for the sun to start going down before waking up. After swimming up to the top of the wall, divers found an unusual Geometric Encrusting Tunicate which shows off a beautiful black and white pattern that looks like it were carefully embroidered. A Slender Filefish was discovered trying desperately to conceal itself inside the fronds of a Sea Plume’s soft coral branches. A Flamingo Tongue Snail slowly marched up the base of the Sea Plume bent on a good meal. A Fireworm was spotted hanging onto a Common Sea Fan, and Secretary Blennies rotated their goggle-shaped eyes with only their heads exposed from the tiny holes they made their homes from in the top of abandon coral heads. A cleaning station revealed Neon Gobies perched on top of a large Brain Coral head that jumped straight onto the sides of a Tiger Grouper that hung over the coral head, and a Slate Pencil Urchin was seen wedged between growths of Blushing Star Coral. There was so much more, but we’ll just have to come back next week to chalk up more sightings.
 
On Wednesday, we set out for our fourth day of diving in the same perfect weather we’ve been experiencing for the past few days. We headed for Lobster Bay on the southwestern side of the atoll where we descended to 70 feet for our usual multi-level dive profile. Water temperatures were 80 degrees F with 60 feet of visibility. Divers saw a number of healthy looking Nassau and Black Groupers on this dive, as well as some unwelcome Lionfish. A few Decorator Crabs were seen with Hydroids sprouting from their legs and claws as the hung onto Gray Rope Sponge branches, and Flamingo Tongue Snails were close by feasting on their favourite meal of soft coral. Dive two was done close by at Pine Ridge with a school of Dog Snapper spotted, and more Black and Nassau Groupers. Abundance of these predators are always a sign of a healthy reef. A large Rough Tail Ray was seen sitting in a sand bed trying to take a nap, but it swam away when disturbed by the approaching divers. Since Wednesday is our night dive day, divers took the afternoon off and came back for the night dive at sunset. We left for our usual spot at 5:30pm and headed for a shallow reef area to the north of the Northern Bogue channel not far from the resort. We saw the usual resident lobsters getting active and climbing over the reef, Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers were busy munching in the sand. Two Puffer Fish were startled by divers lights, and appeared confused by the bright beams. Another large Rough Tail Ray was laying in the sand nearby. Two Common Octopus were discovered crawling across the reef heads in search of their favourite prey of crabs and shellfish. An unusual find of a motionless Slipper Lobster was discovered blending into the reef. Divers came away with great photos to look at over dinner.
 
Our fifth day of diving on Thursday, saw a change in the weather with a cool north wind, and partly cloudy conditions. The dive boat ventured out to the southern end of the atoll to see if they could do a dive at the Elbow, but the north wind and outgoing tide caused bad visibility conditions, and divers retreated to a site nearby called Front Porch. Here they found water temperatures at 78 degrees F, and visibility at 60 feet. A large Hawksbill Turtle made its way to the surface as for a breath of air close by, just as divers were descending to the edge of the wall. Two swimming Green Moray Eels seemed to accompany the divers for the length of the dive as they made their way along the side of the wall. A wary Common Octopus was discovered peering out of its lair in the side of the reef, with only an eye visible through the entry. Two White Spotted Toadfish were found, and with a click and tap from John’s noisemaker, he was able to encourage them to poke their heads out of their holes enough for the photographers to get great photos. For dive two, we moved up to the southwestern side and did April Fools. Here we found yet another White Spotted Toadfish for more great photo opportunities. A large Black Grouper was spotted near some bright green Coralimorphs, where upon closer inspection, we found Pederson Shrimp giving this fish a thorough cleaning. A sizeable Hairy Channel Clinging Crab was found inside a Giant Barrel Sponge, and one of the diver photographers came back with an excellent photo of two Flamingo Tongue Snails, one sitting on top of the other, with their mantles overlapping each other as well. Calabash Caye Wall was our third site for the day, and we found a Giant Anemone at about 40 feet which is a bit unusual for these reefs as they are usually found in shallower water of 20 or less feet. However, it had no anemone shrimp in or near it at all. Photographers came home with great photos of the complex shaped excurrent openings of an olive-yellow Ball Sponge. Other noted sightings were of a large King Mackerel hurrying across the reef, Pork Fish moving gently around a Giant Barrel Sponge, and a respectably large sized Barracuda that hung motionlessly in an almost black colour phase, as it waited for unwitting prey.
 
Our sixth, and last day of diving for the week on Friday started out with a cool light breeze from the north, partly cloudy skies, and calm surface conditions. So we decided to dive on the wall right in front of the resort, doing our surface intervals and lunch breaks on land. We found excellent visibility of 80 feet, and rather cool water temperatures at 75 degrees F. Barracuda Bay was the name of the first dive site, and right after our descent, we found a White Spotted Toadfish tucked neatly in its hole. We decided to cull our Lionfish population, so both John and Denroy would pick off those they could find with their Hawaiian slings. This drew in Nassau and Black Groupers who took advantage of the easy meal when the dead Lionfish where removed from spears and the divers moved on. These groupers continued to follow the divers in the hopes of getting more easy treats. Lobsters peeked out nervously tuned into the action and wanting to stay out of the way. A large Channel Clinging Crab sat motionlessly in its reef crevice having its daytime nap. Just as divers were starting to ascend to a safety stop, a fast moving small Caribbean Reef Shark swam under them and scooped up the last dead Lionfish left on the sand. After the surface interval, we went back out to the wall in front of the resort and did dive two at Wishbone. More Lionfish hunting was in the offing and the divers were joined by Queen Trigger Fish anxious not to be left out from the Lionfish buffet. Nassau Groupers also showed up with a Yellow Fin Grouper in tow. A large Roughtail Sting Ray flapped and dug in the sand creating a big cloud of white silt as it foraged purposefully for a meal. After lunch at the resort, dive three took us to a site named for its position near the resort, Front Door, directly in front of the main building. After descending and gazing at a few clusters of beautifully brilliant Azure Vase Sponges with Arrow Crabs nestled in them, and tight groups of Sea Pearl Algae balls nearby, divers moved over to the coral wall which features coral heads adorned with healthy sponge, soft and hard coral growth. A few Giant Barrel Sponges sat near the wall edge and forced a question from divers later asking about the growing rate of these giants. Research has not been able to determine specific growth rates as they vary from smaller to larger individuals. However, oil-drum size Giant Barrel Sponges are believed to be between 100 - 200 years old, with largest measured individuals being as much as 2000 years old. Divers had a pleasant surprise and great photo opportunity for the last dive of the week when an 8-foot Caribbean Reef Shark showed up swimming by divers at close range only 20 feet away on top of the wall, before it moved away and out of sight. This sighting left divers with lots to talk about at the end of a great week of diving.
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January 18 - 25

Weather: some overcast conditions, some rain, and some sunny periods.
Air Temperature: Upper 70’s
Water Temperature – Average of 78 F

On Sunday morning for the week’s first day of diving, we had easterly swells and a breeze out of the northwest. We decided to take our chances and dive at North Creekozene on the west side of the atoll. When we arrived, surface conditions were beginning to get choppy and water temperatures were 78 degrees F. We descended on the large send bed at the bottom, and worked our way from one coral head to the next as we crossed the sand bed to the reef wall in about 60 feet of visibility. Divemaster John and Dive Instructor Anne-Marie led the divers as we had varying experience levels and abilities with our small dive group this week. On the sand bed, we passed by resident Garden Eels sticking out of the sand bed holes with faces resembling ET. At the edge of the wall we spotted well-hidden Burrfish blending into the surrounding coral. Not wanting to distress this sensitive fish, we moved on and swam around the Giant Barrel Sponges that make up part of this reef. Between sponges, we found a Hawksbill Turtle perched there and picking on a ball sponge. This gave the photographers good opportunities for turtle photos. Numerous colourful reef dwellers swam around busily as we tracked back across the top of the reef. Near a few clusters of sponge varieties, we observed clouds of minute Mysid Shrimp hovering in the cover of the sponges and feeding on microscopic marine organisms. When we surfaced from this 60-foot dive after 40 minutes, we found conditions getting increasingly choppy. We decided to move and take cover on the southeastern side of Turneffe and started our second dive at Chrissea where we found surface conditions considerably better. As we swam along the wall which starts a tumbling descent at 50 feet, we found usual reef resident predators of Green and Spotted Moray Eels sticking their heads out of reef holes. We looked out over in the deep as a large school of blue Creole Wrasse came raining down on the top of the wall and swam in streams between the sponges. While combing the top of the reef, we found a Spotted Drum doing its usual circling near its hiding place in the reef. We also observed Lionfish hovering threateningly near cleaning stations waiting to snap up blissfully unaware small cleaning fish and juveniles. We planned to return with Hawaiian Slings and do a Lionfish sweep of the area soon. Divers had a chance to see a White Spotted Toad Fish on this dive. These fish are endemic to Belize and not often seen anywhere else on our barrier reef other than the Turneffe Islands. Dive three was done to the north Calabash Caye Wall. On this flat reef area adjacent to the wall we observed bunches Green Finger Sponges scattered between large stands of Giant Split-pore Sea Rod soft corals. As we passed by these soft corals, trumpet fish were seen hovering vertically between the branches. Mutton Snapper and large Bar Jack swam across the reef intently focused on encountering possible unwitting prey. Spotlight Parrotfish moved effortlessly over the reef using only their pectoral fins to swim and their tails appeared to steer them like rudders. A small Golden Spotted Moray was found peeking out of a reef head, and to our surprise, a juvenile Pipefish was found as it blended into the reef almost perfectly where it rested. Whipping out the magnifying glass to have a look at a Branching Anemone, we found a Spotted Cleaner Shrimp nestled in, its transparent body dotted with white spots and legs of purple and white.
Our second day of diving on Monday had us visiting the west side of the atoll again, as the winds started blowing from the east. Conditions were overcast with periods of light rain. We started off at Creekozene South in its sand bed dotted with coral heads. Water temperatures persisted at 78 degrees F, and the visibility was about 70 feet. Two of the four divers wanted to do the 130-foot dive to the Blue Hole the following day, so they had to complete the check out dive at this site doing a 100-foot dive here. The other two divers stayed shallower at 70 feet and everyone had a 45-minute bottom time with this multi-level dive. We also decided to do a sponge hunt for the day and see how many sponges we could all identify. The western side of the atoll is ideal for this as the sponge growth there is very healthy and prolific. During the course of the three dives, we were able to identify 20 different varieties of sponges, including Azure Vase, Orange Ball, Red Star Encrusting, and orange Elephant Ear to name a few. This wall also has a healthy growth of Gorgonian Deepwater Sea Fans, and Black Grouper can always be spotted hanging in mid-water off the wall. As we encountered and identified a gray Branching Vase Sponge, we noticed long white antenna curling over the edge of the sponge. Upon looking inside the sponge, we found two large Coral Banded Shrimp with their white and red candy coloured bands. As we rounded the bend of the wall, we came across a huge Barracuda with an impressive sized head, hovering motionlessly close to the reef. Off the side of the wall, a school of slivery fast-moving Mackerel Scad darted through, shimmering as they swam rapidly past the Barracuda and over the wall. Under a small coral head near the end of the dive, a large Tiger Grouper poked his head out and shifted his eyes nervously before deciding to make a hasty retreat. For the next dive site we headed further south to Elgene’s Inn which showcases a sloping reef wall, and here we continued our sponge hunt. We were able to identify large Yellow Tube Sponges, Netted Barrel, Stinker and red Erect Rope Sponges. A pair of medium-sized Spanish Mackerel moved hastily along the wall on the hunt. We also observed a juvenile Spanish Hog Fish which takes on the role of a cleaner at cleaning stations when it’s small. It darts around with its purple and golden yellow colours, fearlessly cleaning groupers and large Bar Jack that hover over these cleaning stations for a polish. Blue Chromis are sometimes overlooked because of their size and abundance on the reef, but these plankton-feeders have a brilliant reflective blue colour that is truly pleasing to the eye. Dive three took us to Amberhead which starts out in a sand bed scattered with small coral heads and clusters of soft coral, and sponges. So the sponge hunt continued. As we swam across the sand bed, the bottom changed to a solid coral reef bottom rising up with reef heads of varying sizes all across the top. Here we saw many large Giant Barrel Sponges, Brown Clustered Sponges, Black Ball, and Gray Star Encrusting. A sponge that is often seen but not always correctly identified is the Orange Icing Sponge, as it grows around the rim of Great Star and other hard corals in a symbiotic relationship. Also, overlooked is the white Variable Boring Sponge which grows like small white coral branches from the middle of Star and other mound corals. Here we took a macro view and found a small Swimming Crinoid, part of the feather star family, attached to a soft coral branch. Sea Pearls or Sailors Eyes, in the Green Algae family, were pointed out partially covered in lavender-coloured algae. A black tube sponge that could not be identified in any of our Humann books, wound up being bright red when exposed by a dive light.

Day three on Tuesday offered sunshine with partly cloudy skies, and a mild chop on the surface for the ride to the Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef. After an hour and 15-minute boat ride, we arrived at the Blue Hole with five divers and two snorkelers. While two divers went to 130 feet with Denroy, the other three remained on a shallow dive on the rim of the Blue Hole with Anne-Marie. Here the designated fish hunt began. Water temperatures were 75 degrees F both in the hole and in the shallows. Visibility at depth was 100 feet, and a good 80 feet in the shallows. Again, no Caribbean Reef Shark were spotted at depth as we continue to speculate they are hiding deeper where warmer water might be found welling up from springs in the cave. With such great visibility, details of the cave formations were easy to see at every angle. On the shallows, Gray Angels were observed picking at Gray Rope Sponges while Brittle Stars clung to them. Large Midnight Parrots combed the edge of the deep, with moss sprouting from their open beaks. Two large Lionfish hung in crevices on the side of the wall. Near the edge over some coral rubble we observed small blue-sided Chalk Bass which are uncommon in the Caribbean, yet seen reasonably often in Belize. Since we were on a fish hunt, we looked around and tried to identify some small reef dwellers and found we could list Harlequinn Bass, Tobacco Fish, Glassy Gobies, Bicolour Damselfish, Butterfly Fish, Blue Tangs, and juvenile Yellow Tail Snappers. There were others, but we couldn’t write fast enough. We ended the dive after 30 minutes and headed south to the Half Moon Caye Wall for our second dive. Here the water temperatures were warmer at 78 degrees F, and visibility was at about 70 feet. We descended in the dazzling sunlit white sand bed as a small, tight school of Blue Runner Jacks came whizzing by. Blue Parrot Fish and Hog Fish sifted through the sand for food as we passed on our way to the reef wall. Three divers went through the swim-throughs in the side of the reef wall, and the rest went over the towering reef tops. On the edge of the wall, we found a small juvenile Spotted Drum Fish darting back and forth trailing its long black and white dorsal and tail fins like tiny sails. A pair of Indigo Hamlets hovered between a Yellow Tube Sponge and a small head of Brain Coral. As we went over the side of the wall and joined the other divers who went in and out of the swim-throughs we encountered a very friendly Cubera Snapper no less than two feet long. The snapper was joined by an equally friendly and in-your-face Nassau Grouper with a protruding tummy that was obviously full of spawn. This time of year is grouper spawning at the full moon. One of their spawning aggregation sites is to the east of this wall, on a point of reef that faces the open Caribbean Sea. Juvenile blue Creole Wrasse hugged the reef holes, and a shower of purple and gold Fairy Basslets darted back and forth under a Scroll Coral on the side of the wall. As we moved away from the reef wall and back over the sand bed to look for Green Turtles in the grass bed, we passed hundreds of Garden Eels poking up out of their sand holes, and saw Goat Fish foraging through the sand with their barbels, creating small clouds of white silt as they moved along. Resting on the bottom in the middle of the Garden Eels was a Barracuda who remained perfectly still as if stalking the Garden Eels. Also occupying the extensive sand area we came across a Queen Conch bed that was scattered with what appeared to be hundreds of mature conch. We spotted one Green Turtle on its way for a breather at the surface as we commenced our safety stop at the end of the dive. We headed for Half Moon Caye for our usual fried chicken picnic lunch under the coconut trees and chatted about our sightings on the dives. After our meal, we all headed down the path to the famous Red-footed Booby Bird Sanctuary. While on our way there, Snorkel Guide and naturalist Abel, led us through the littoral forest pointing out the local flora and fauna which included the green Leaf-toed Gecko which is endemic to Half Moon Caye. The birds were all clucking away contentedly in the shade of the Zirocote Tree branches, and photographers were able to take good photos from the top of the observatory platform. Since Frigate Birds share the rookery with the boobies, the male Frigates were proudly displaying their inflated red pouches to attract their female counterparts. After our walk back to the picnic area, it was time to board the boat and head for the next dive site called Aquarium on the west side of the atoll. Here we found warmer water temperatures at 80 degrees F, and 100 feet of visibility. We descended to the top of the wall at 35 feet and were crowded by the resident Bermuda Chub and Sergeant Majors whom followed us over the edge of the wall. On the side of the wall, we spotted green Social Tunicates, Giant Tunicates, and Painted Tunicates. A Mantis Shrimp peeked out of a hole in the coral sporting its purple claws before retreating nervously into hiding. A nosy Barracuda followed the divers uncomfortably close until Divemaster John pointed his finger at him and signaled him to back off. The Barracuda seemed to understand and turned away to follow again at a more comfortable distance. This dive site has a huge selection of both fixed and moving marine life, and we found some interesting small creatures. An Arrow Blenny was pointed out, as well as an Orange-sided Goby. Two large Tarpon swam by below us off the side of the wall. After coming back up to the top of the wall near the end of our dive, one could see teeth marks in some of the algae-covered old coral where parrot fish had obviously crunched off pieces of coral to get the algae that they feed on. Lots of School Master Snappers could be observed hovering around the reef heads. Before we knew it, the dive was over, but we had spent 50 minutes on the dive. It was time to surface and head back to Turneffe.

Day four found us with a light breeze coming out of the northwest, some cloud cover, and calm surface conditions on the eastern reef in front of the resort, so we were able to dive in view of Turneffe Flats. Devil’s Deep was our first dive with 78 degrees F and 80 feet of visibility. We decided on an anemone hunt for identification activities. Since anemones fall in the Cnidarian family, we decided to broaden the identification list and look for anything falling into that genus. We observed two types of Branching Anemones, Corkscrew and Knobby Anemones, Sponge Zoanthids, and Coralimorphs. We spotted Golden Crinoids which look anemone-like and have sticky tentacles, but these beautiful bottom-dwellers are Echinoderms and more closely related to sea urchins and star fish. While looking at anemones, it was hard to miss the many anemone dwellers like Anemone Crabs, as well as Pederson and Spotted Cleaner Shrimp. While looking earnestly for anemones, we found a Spotted Moray Eel, and a number of small grouper-like fish called Coneys that can morph from solid red, to red and white, and to black and white. As we were at our safety stop at the end of the dive, a large Spotted Eagle Ray came swimming up toward us approaching within ten feet before veering away. Because we were so close to the resort, we came to the dock for our surface interval and soaked up the sunshine there. Dive two took us to Secret Garden close by as well. Here we observed a number of lobster hiding under coral heads, and a large Spotted Drum Fish displaying its black and white stripes and dots from the safety of its reef overhang. A few large Black Grouper swam idly by, and a large Yellow Fin Grouper lay motionlessly in the sand until we got too close for his comfort, and he swam away. We were also peering under coral heads hoping to find a White Spotted Toad Fish, but we ran out of bottom time and had to head for our safety stop. Just as we were half way through our ascent, a 6-foot Caribbean Reef Shark swam under us along the sand channel perfectly outlined with the white background of sand. That was a nice surprise for the end of our diving for the daylight hours. Divers relaxed at the resort for the rest of the afternoon and organized themselves for the Night Dive. At 5pm, we left the dock just before sunset and headed for our night dive spot near the resort and a patch reef site in 10-15 feet of water. The usual nocturnal players were busy waking up when we descended, and we spotted a Beaded Sea Cucumber, Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers, and Arrow Crabs. A small school of Caribbean Reef Squid hovered by in the glow of the dive lights, and a pinkish-red Batwing Coral Crab was found hanging onto a reef head. A Burrfish swam tentatively by us hoping it wouldn’t be spotted. Banded Coral Shrimp peeped cautiously out of hiding places in the reef, and tireless Pedersons kept their vigil in Branching Anemones hoping for a fish needing a cleaning. A cluster of Sun Anemones is draped over one of these reef heads, and where you find a family of these anemones, you are likely to see the elusive Sun Anemone Shrimp with its reddish brown spots and white lined detail set on a transparent body no longer than one inch. We were lucky to spot one of these beautiful shrimp and get some pictures on this dive. This dive is timed perfectly to get us back and washed up for dinner time at 7pm, where we can all share sightings and photos.

On Thursday, our fifth day of diving, we headed for the south eastern side of the atoll as breeze from the northwest persisted and we knew we could find calm surface conditions there. It was cloudy for the first half of the day, and then cleared up at lunchtime. Water temperatures dipped to 78 degrees F, and our visibility was about 70 feet. The first site we visited was April Fool’s where we found our elusive White Spotted Toadfish sitting smugly in its lair under a Giant Barrel Sponge. If enough of this fish is visible through the opening of its hiding place, it is most often observed with its head pointed toward the opening. This angle makes for great photos of this specimen, as it likes a sandy bottom and this offers a good contrast outlining the barbels below its mouth quite well. Other sightings were Green and Spotted Moray Eels, lobster, a Spotted Drum, and a Lettuce Leaf Slug. On our next dive at Jojo’s Split, we found a number of Southern Stingrays of varying sizes across the sand bed areas here. Green and Spotted Morays never want to be outdone, and always show themselves as they peer out of their holes in the reef. After surfacing from this dive, the captain told everyone to hurry up and get on board as a pod of Atlantic Spotted Dolphin had swam by on the surface out of view from the divers on this last dive. Everyone got out of their BCDs and got ready with snorkel gear, as the captain moved close to the pod. Divers then jumped in and had the dolphin swimming all around them, squeaking and clicking as they whizzed by. This is always a special experience for us, and especially good when we can get great photos to remember it. Needless to say, lunch was filled with talk of dolphins before it was time for dive three at The Notch. After this dolphin experience it was hard to top it with sightings that included the usual players of Spotted and Green Morays, and Lobster. However, we were able to see two large Permit swim by like gladiators heading for a fight.

For our last and sixth day of diving on Friday, we headed to the south of the atoll to visit the great Elbow. The day started out with sunny conditions and calm seas, with water temperatures remaining at 78 degrees F and about 70 feet of visibility. The Elbow is most active when the tide is going out and there is a current. We started our dive when the tide had just stopped coming in, and was slack with no current. However, the sightings were not disappointing. We observed Rainbow Runners dashing by in a tight, nervous school. A large King moved through at mid-water at a purposeful speed. As we swam passed the towering spur coral heads adorned with Gorgonian Deep Water Fans, we spotted a large school of spiraling Dog Snapper very deep off the wall. Other large Dog Snapper meandered across the deep, wide grooves between the massive coral heads. A number of Black Groupers swam lazily across the bottom and up the side of the coral spurs. A large Horse Eye Jack swam by slowly rolling on its side back and forth as if it was trying to shed the small Remora that clung to its side. A hefty Hawksbill Turtle was perched near the top of a coral head at 60 feet as it munched on a sponge it had found there. It seemed quite unconcerned with the divers and continued to feed as the cameras snapped away. Two large Rainbow Parrot Fish with their forehead humps starting to show swam by, and were followed by a few Blue Parrot Fish that did their name justice with their brilliant powder-blue colour. Near the end of the dive, a school of Permit were seen at the surface interval depth, where they like to swim at this location. We moved to the north and chose Black Beauty as our next dive site and passed a school of small Bar Jack near the mooring line. As we descended on the bottom, we found both Conical and Fuzzy Sea Cucumbers in the sand channels between the reef heads. Also in a sand channel tucked under an overhang, we spotted a small Nurse Shark whom became uncomfortable with all the divers hovering over and eventually turned out of the crevice and swam away. Another King Mackerel swam by just off the wall, as Nassau Groupers meandered in and out of nooks and crannies in the side of the wall. A swimming Green Moray Eel startled two divers as they turned around to see the eel swimming up to them not three feet away. The divers’ reaction was quite funny as they jumped back in surprise when the finally spotted the eel at close range. A reef resident that is often seen, but is sometimes overlooked is the Longspine Squirrelfish with their large eyes and deep pink colouration. A number of these specimens were observed hovering in and near holes in the reef and under crevices. Two large School Master Snapper with toothy mouths were trying fit into the opening of a Giant Barrel Sponge together with two Pork Fish. They gave up the effort as we swam closer and all of them slid out of the sponge and chose trying to hide between Common Sea Fans. A Honey Combed Trunk Fish hovered near Yellow Tube Sponges, and a large Sand Diver darted off its perch as we approached. A dark shaded Longfin Damselfish darted back and forth irritably near a cluster of Staghorn Coral ready to chase away any intruders, large or small, from its algae farm under the coral cluster. Upon surfacing from this dive, we found the wind had changed to the east and was picking up speed making surface conditions choppy. Clouds had rolled in and it started to rain. We headed for the western side of the point, up to Triple Anchor, to moor up for lunch before going in for our third dive. This dive site has three old anchors which are hard to spot as they are overgrown with so much coral and sponges. Large ten-foot high honeycombed reef heads sprout from the bottom. These coral heads offer lots of hiding places and homes for numerous reef fish. A Whitespotted Filefish was observed in its orange phase moving cautiously over the reef, together with a juvenile Spotted Drum darting back and forth near a hole. Under one of the overhangs on the reef heads, we spotted a reclusive Peppermint Basslet hesitantly moving from one recess in the reef to the other. Lane Snapper moved about across the reef as we passed giant orange Elephant Ear Sponge growth. We found a Touch-Me-Not Sponge with its tiny resident white Sponge Worms. Near the end of the dive, we discovered three interesting spider-web-like formation on the top of one reef head. They looked like funnel webs, and we haven’t been able to identify them. This left us with a mystery to try and solve at the end of a great week of diving.










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January 11 - 18

Weather: mostly sunny, some overcast conditions, and passing showers.
 Air Temperature: Upper 70’s
 Water Termperature: Average of 78 F
 
For our first day of diving on Sunday, we visited the central west side of the atoll and did dive number one at North Creekozene. Winds were blowing from the east, so the west side of Turneffe had calmer conditions for diving, and visibility was at about 60 feet. This dive starts in a sand bed dotted with small reef heads, and then breaks out to a sloping coral wall. Divemaster Denroy led our divers on a 60-foot dive for 40 minutes to get everyone warmed up. As is typical for Turneffe, they encountered quite of few lobster on this dive, including some fairly large ones. Spotted and green morays showed themselves as they stuck their heads out from holes in the coral heads. Mutton snapper were busy scoping the sand bed areas for sounds of prey hidden below the sand. They gulped mouthfuls of sand as they pounced on the prey they had sounded out. One great find on this dive were two Black-Spotted Nudibranch, which are uncommon to the Caribbean, yet are spotted with reasonable frequency here at Turneffe. After an hour of surface interval, the second dive was not far away at South Creekozene (aka Sandy Slope). It was another 60-foot dive for another 40 minutes. This site starts out on the same sandy bottom as North Creekozene with small coral heads, clusters of sponges, and soft corals. These sites are excellent for spotting Neck Crabs camouflaging themselves with sponge and hydroids, and hiding between the soft coral fronds. Some of us may need a magnifying glass to appreciate their detail. Arrow Crabs are easy to spot hiding out under the cover of sponges and coral growth. Southern Stingrays were also observed in the sand bed areas scoping for prey hidden in the sand. The sand beds can offer up some good surprises if one looks carefully. Denroy found a female Pike Blenny trying to blend in with the sand before scooting down its sand hole.  This site breaks out to a pretty sloping wall decorated with large Gorgonian Deepwater Sea Fans. Flamingo Tongue snails were spotted feeding on the soft corals. A Sargassum Triggerfish was seen on this dive, and is uncommon species to spot generally, but we do see them here at Turneffe every week. The third dive, maximum 50 feet for 45 minutes, was done at a site called Black Pearl which is south of the first two sights, and offers a sloping coral wall. A Hawksbill Turtle showed up to give divers a good photo opportunity as it swam gently by. Spotted and Green Moray Eels are in abundance on our reefs here and are seen on almost every dive - this dive being no exception. Furry and Donkey Dung Sea Cucumbers were found on the patches of sand between coral heads. Coral Banded Shrimp were found hiding in a Giant Barrel Sponge with their long curved white antennae extended and giving them away. Sponge Peppermint shrimp were also hiding in the cracks of the sponge. Squat Anemone and Spotted Cleaner Shrimp were found in a Branching Anemone. 
 
On Monday, our second day for the week, we visited the Terrace on the northwest side of Turneffe. The weather cooperated nicely giving us relatively calm conditions and sunny skies. Visibility was at 80 feet with water temperatures around 78 degrees F. Those divers whom were interested in doing the Blue Hole the following day, are obligated to do a check out dive on this site, which took them to 100 feet with Denroy. Other divers whom were not interested in doing the Blue Hole deep dive, did a 70-foot dive on the same wall with Dive Instructor Anne-Marie. Two Green Moray Eels, and two Spotted Moray Eels peeped out of their coral perches as the divers passed by. Lobsters withdrew further into crevices from their prone positions on the ledges. Dog Snapper, Black and Nassau Groupers combed the reef looking for unwary prey. Black Coral grows in abundance on this particular section of wall, and we found four Neck Crabs desperately trying to camouflage themselves in their branches. As we came up the side of the wall, two Spotted Eagle Rays swam through large swaths of blue Creole Wrasse. After our usual surface interval, we visited the next site called Mandy’s Dandy and found two big surprises. The first was a school of (13) Spotted Eagle Rays. Although this area is known for this schooling activity, it is none-the-less a pleasant surprise to encounter them. The second was a fair-sized Common Octopus whom tried to hide by creeping cautiously across a coral head, and changing both colours and textures as he went. Divers had excellent photo opportunities with this fascinating reef resident. Since our divers decided on having the afternoon off, we headed back to the resort. Divers then did their third dive of the day as the weekly night dive at Northern Bogue, a site close to the resort and done in 10 – 15 feet of water. All the nocturnal residents of this shallow reef start waking up when the sun slips below the horizon at sunset. Only the anemones never seem to sleep, and the shrimp that find their homes there like Pedersons and Spotted Cleaners. The Red Night Shrimp will not be observed during the day, but does come out to feed when the sun goes down. Lobsters become brave in the fading light and start to move around over the coral heads. Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers, which can be observed during the day, were feeding away with their mouths slowly groping in the sand. The translucent-white Beaded Sea Cucumber hides during the day and stretches out from its reef hole like the Tiger Tail at night, and is seen feeding along the bottom with its feathery tentacles extending from its mouth. Translucent shrimp mesmerized by the dive lights, bounce off the lenses like small underwater moths. Since we saw the octopus on the day dive, no-one was disappointed not to find one on this night dive. All of these great sightings were packed in and had divers back in time for dinner and dive stories.  
 
On Tuesday, our third day of diving, we headed out to the Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef, and we were blessed with good surface conditions and sunshine for that crossing. Only two divers decided to do the full 130 feet at the Blue Hole with Denroy, and the other five divers remained with Anne-Marie doing a shallow dive at 50 feet along the rim of the hole. The water temperature at the Blue Hole was lower than elsewhere, as is usually the case with the deeper dive offering 75 F, and the top of the wall reading 77 F. The deeper dive did not yield any Caribbean Reef Shark sightings, and it is suspected that they don’t like the cooler temperature water. The visibility was 100 feet at depth and gave a great view of the majestic stalactites. On the shallower dive, the visibility was at about 60 feet, and Anne-Marie was able to point out Gray and French Angels twirling around the sponges. A Bearded Fireworm was spotted feeding on soft coral. Pederson Shrimp were found bobbing on the edges of Corkscrew and Knobby Anenomes. And, nestled within the anemone tentacles, one could spot the candy-cane stripped antenna of the Red Snapping or Pistol Shrimp. If one waits quietly here, these shrimp can be observed slowly easing out of hiding from the anemone, and revealing their big snapping claw. After an hour of surface interval between dives, during which time we made a pit stop at the Half Moon Caye dock to drop off snorkelers, we proceeded to Half Moon Caye Wall on the south side of the island. Visibility was about 80 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. After descending into the white sand bed next to the wall here, Denroy led the divers toward the reef wall and into the first swim-through. A very large Barracuda was trying to fit next to the divers and swim through with them too, but he was too big to squeeze in. Divers going through were oblivious to the barracuda, and divers behind had a good laugh and decided to follow Anne-Marie over the top of the wall. Half Moon Caye Wall is only one of the dive sites that occupy this stretch of wall that offers this great view of white sand bed edging towering coral heads along the wall. Today, we were able to identify four species of groupers along the wall – Black, Nassau, Tiger and Yellow Fin. All this as the same large Barracuda followed us for most of the dive along the wall. Just as we were about to leave the coral wall and head into the sand bed, an Common Octopus was spotted trying to imitate a matting sponge on a patch of coral on the wall. It sat there curled into a disk and was doing a pretty good job of hiding until it was seen. The octopus continued to try being a sponge until the interest of the entire dive group was focused in and everyone was snapping away with cameras, before it couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and crept away quickly into a crevice in the wall. Then it was time to head for the sand bed in search of Green Turtles. We swam over hundreds of Garden Eels as they hovered in their sand bed holes, and numerous Razor Fish disappeared into the sand as we went by. Upon approach to the turtle grass bed, we spotted three Green Turtles feeding lazily on the bottom and totally unconcerned with the divers. Snorkelers were up above us looking down at these turtles, while Snorkel Guide Abel free-dived down to take pictures of them for the evening slide show. The sunshine kept up for our surface interval and fried chicken picnic lunch on Half Moon Caye, as we sat on benches under the coconut trees. Abel then roused divers and snorkelers to follow him through the island forest to the Red-footed Booby Bird Sanctuary. Mating season is in full swing as the Boobies were gathering twigs and building nests. The Booby Birds share their rookery with Frigate Birds, and the male Frigates had their red neck-pouches inflated to attract the girls. Everyone had plenty of time to walk the island, and visit the rangers’ office where there is a natural history display of the Blue Hole and some of the wildlife of the area. Our third dive took us to the Aquarium on the west side of Long Caye. The visibility here was also about 80 feet with water temperatures remaining at 78 degrees F. Bermuda Chub and Sergeant Majors swarmed us as we made our entry and swam to the edge of the wall, which tops at about 30 feet and plunges straight down into the blue. A large school of Horse Eye Jack swirled lazily off the wall as we swam by. We spotted a large Channel Crab in one of the reef wall cubbies, and a swimming Green Moray Eel showed up as if to inspect us before swimming off. Six large Black Groupers were seen hovering off the wall, while a Spotted Eagle Ray swooped down from the top of the wall and sailed past us. Four fair-sized Yellow Fin Groupers were spotted in succession tucked away in grottos on top of the reef. Neck Crabs were observed imitating Hydroids on the soft corals, and a Sponge Peppermint Shrimp was spotted just inside the edge of a Gray Vase Sponge. A group of 4 divers left us the next day as they had only booked to stay for four nights with three days of diving and fishing.
 
 On Wednesday we set out with our two remaining divers, partly cloudy skies, and headed for the Turneffe signature site of the Elbow to the south. This is at the southern tip of the atoll where you will find some of the strongest currents while diving in Belize, but not always. The top of the wall is quite deep here at 60 feet. Another feature is the dramatic spur and groove formations that offer mountainous coral spurs that top at 60 feet, and the sand bed grooves are as deep as 90 and 100 feet. These giant coral spurs are encrusted with large, ancient sponge growth and covered with black Gorgonian Deepwater Sea Fans that face the prevailing current to filter and ensnare their minute prey in their branches. The visibility was about 80 feet with water temperatures remaining at 78 degrees F. This dive takes us to 70 or 80 feet with a bottom time of about 40 minutes. On this dive schools of fish are often observed, and today was no exception. Schools of Horse Eye Jack, Cubera and Dog Snapper were seen. Spade Fish also showed up circling on top of the towering reef heads. Large Yellow Jack came moving by quickly on the hunt, followed by a school of dazzlingly fast Rainbow Runners. The dive was ended with a sighting of a Permit school near the surface. We moved on to Black Beauty to the north after our surface interval and started a dive to 60 feet, with a bottom time of 45 minutes, and 70 feet of visibility. After the decent to the top of the wall, three large Midnight Parrots swam by stopping occasionally to take a bit out of the reef. A swimming Green Moray Eel followed the divers for a few minutes before getting bored and swimming away. Six Spanish Mackerel came swimming by purposefully, one behind the other. A Spotted Moray was seen peeking out of its hole in the reef as we focused in on Yellow-Headed Jawfish hanging cautiously out of their holes in the sand. We also found a Furry Sea Cucumber and Lettuce Leaf Slugs on this dive. For our third dive after lunch, we headed for West Point Wall on the south western side of the atoll, and did a Lionfish hunt. Here we speared ten Lionfish and had Queen Trigger and Scrawled File Fish feeding on their remains as we swam away from the area. Nassau Groupers and Mutton Snappers trailed us hoping for more Lionfish action, but we called it a day after a 45 minute dive.
 
Thursday was our fifth day of diving, and we had a certified diver, and a diver whom was getting certified for the second time, after being certified 30 years ago! He felt that he should go through the process again for a complete review of all his skills and knowledge. It was very windy with light rain coming out of the northwest in the morning, so we decided on doing two afternoon dives on the reef in front of the resort here on the east side of Turneffe. After lunch, we went to Secret Garden for a 40-foot dive, and our visibility was about 60 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. Since our student diver hadn’t seen the tropical underwater world yet, it was a busy dive for him looking at all the different species with Dive Instructor Anne-Marie. We observed clusters of blush-pink Thin Leaf Lettuce Coral along the coral bottom that gave way to small sand beds here and there. A large Barracuda came by to give us the once-over to satisfy its curiosity before moving away. We watched a Spotted Drum circle around the opening in the coral that it used for cover when feeling threatened. Black Durgeons circled above the reef heads, and darted down as we approached. These fish always appear quite black from a distance, and as you approach, one can make out the intricate details of their tawny yellow and bright blue lines. As we got closer they darted under holes in the coral heads which they had obviously squared off as hiding places. We passed by a healthy growth of Great Star Coral which housed a cleaning station. Here we observed Bluehead Wrasse circling the cleaning station and surrounded by yellow and black juveniles ready to clean the next customer. Neon Gobies sat atop the Great Star Coral and flitted back and forth also waiting for cleaning customers. Our second dive was done a short distance to the south and adjacent to Pelican Caye. The dive site is named after the caye as Pelican Caye Wall. We had the same visibility and water temperatures as we had in dive one. Our student performed his skills impeccably as if he’d only been away from diving a few short years. This gave us plenty of time to observe more of this novel underwater world for our student diver. As soon as we descended to our planned depth of 40 feet, a Spotted Eagle Ray came gliding by totally unconcerned with the divers. This allowed us to see the detail of the Eagle Ray’s intricate pattern of white dots, circles and dashes on its black back. A Queen Trigger Fish swam by showing off it startling neon-like colours of iridescent blues and yellows. As if that wasn’t colourful enough, a Queen Angel showed up and beat the competition with its bright blue and yellow colouration. Pork Fish with their dark black “V” pattern on bright yellow hovered lazily over a barrel sponge, while deep blue Creole Wrasse streamed by in the background. Moving along the strips of sand bed as this dive came to an end, we were able to spot a number of mature Queen Conch engaged in benthic feeding. This is always a sign of a healthy reef. 
 
On Friday, our sixth and last day of diving for the week, offered partly cloudy conditions which changed to sunshine half way through the morning. We headed to the north for a 10-minute boat ride to our first dive site at Lettuce Lane. Our planned depth was 60 feet, and we found the visibility to be about 70 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. Lettuce Lane usually offers opportunities to see the Lettuce Leaf Slug, and the White Spotted Toadfish. None of which we had any luck sighting on this dive. But, we were not short of other good critters and fish to observe. We found a brilliantly-coloured Scrawled Filefish hiding in the Common Sea Fans, trying to diguise its bright blue lines between the purple-hued sea fans. We watched Yellowhead Jawfish hovering over their holes in the sand and withdrawing quickly as we approached. A large school of School Master Snapper hung motionlessly between coral heads, until we approached and they then drifted away slowly to the next coral head. We pointed out large pink-coloured Trumpet Fish hiding in sea fans and stalking unwary Damsel Fish. Three large Bar Jacks swam quickly in unison, hugging the reef heads as they made tight turns scoping the area for prey. A pair of Foureye Butterflyfish poked at polyps on a Common Star Coral mound. After we finished starring at fish busy going about their rounds on the reef, our student completed skills for his dive and we surfaced for an hour’s break between dives. Our second dive was done close by at Cockroach Caye Shallows, named after the adjacent caye. We completed a 60-foot dive with similar conditions to dive one. The dive started out in a sand bed where we found a large Whiptail Ray feeding beneath a cloud of sand it had stirred up while digging for food. The ray was totally unconcerned by the divers and continued digging as the cloud of sand grew larger. This site offers large swaths of sand bed bordered by rising stretches of reef that are lit up by the reflected light on the white sand. We watched a number of lobsters jostling for space in cutouts on the edge where the coral is bordered by sand. Knobby anemones poked out of tight holes in the reef as their tentacles protected anemone crabs, and made a cleaning station base for Pederson Shrimp. Branching anemones draped out of their cracks in the reef in between, and Squat Anemone Shrimp were found there waving their tails in the air as camouflage to imitate the anemone tentacles. A large Nassau Grouper sat in the sand while being cleaned by Pederson Shrimp. The grouper opened its mouth allowing the shrimp inside, and got himself a dental cleaning at the same time. When it seemed as if the grouper would swallow the shrimp as he closed his mouth, the Pederson popped out and headed back to the anemone cover. Before we headed for the surface at the end of the dive, another large gray Whiptail Ray swam by along the sand bed. And, as we hung at our safety stop, a Hawksbill Turtle that we hadn’t noticed in the distance, surfaced for a breath of air. This dive ended a great week of diving, and a very happy re-certified PADI diver.                   
 

WEATHER – mostly sunny, some overcast conditions, and passing showers.

 
AIR TEMP – Upper 70’s
 
WATER TEMP – Average of 78 F
 
For our first day of diving on Sunday, we visited the central west side of the atoll and did dive number one at North Creekozene. Winds were blowing from the east, so the west side of Turneffe had calmer conditions for diving, and visibility was at about 60 feet. This dive starts in a sand bed dotted with small reef heads, and then breaks out to a sloping coral wall. Divemaster Denroy led our divers on a 60-foot dive for 40 minutes to get everyone warmed up. As is typical for Turneffe, they encountered quite of few lobster on this dive, including some fairly large ones. Spotted and green morays showed themselves as they stuck their heads out from holes in the coral heads. Mutton snapper were busy scoping the sand bed areas for sounds of prey hidden below the sand. They gulped mouthfuls of sand as they pounced on the prey they had sounded out. One great find on this dive were two Black-Spotted Nudibranch, which are uncommon to the Caribbean, yet are spotted with reasonable frequency here at Turneffe. After an hour of surface interval, the second dive was not far away at South Creekozene (aka Sandy Slope). It was another 60-foot dive for another 40 minutes. This site starts out on the same sandy bottom as North Creekozene with small coral heads, clusters of sponges, and soft corals. These sites are excellent for spotting Neck Crabs camouflaging themselves with sponge and hydroids, and hiding between the soft coral fronds. Some of us may need a magnifying glass to appreciate their detail. Arrow Crabs are easy to spot hiding out under the cover of sponges and coral growth. Southern Stingrays were also observed in the sand bed areas scoping for prey hidden in the sand. The sand beds can offer up some good surprises if one looks carefully. Denroy found a female Pike Blenny trying to blend in with the sand before scooting down its sand hole.  This site breaks out to a pretty sloping wall decorated with large Gorgonian Deepwater Sea Fans. Flamingo Tongue snails were spotted feeding on the soft corals. A Sargassum Triggerfish was seen on this dive, and is uncommon species to spot generally, but we do see them here at Turneffe every week. The third dive, maximum 50 feet for 45 minutes, was done at a site called Black Pearl which is south of the first two sights, and offers a sloping coral wall. A Hawksbill Turtle showed up to give divers a good photo opportunity as it swam gently by. Spotted and Green Moray Eels are in abundance on our reefs here and are seen on almost every dive - this dive being no exception. Furry and Donkey Dung Sea Cucumbers were found on the patches of sand between coral heads. Coral Banded Shrimp were found hiding in a Giant Barrel Sponge with their long curved white antennae extended and giving them away. Sponge Peppermint shrimp were also hiding in the cracks of the sponge. Squat Anemone and Spotted Cleaner Shrimp were found in a Branching Anemone. 
 
On Monday, our second day for the week, we visited the Terrace on the northwest side of Turneffe. The weather cooperated nicely giving us relatively calm conditions and sunny skies. Visibility was at 80 feet with water temperatures around 78 degrees F. Those divers whom were interested in doing the Blue Hole the following day, are obligated to do a check out dive on this site, which took them to 100 feet with Denroy. Other divers whom were not interested in doing the Blue Hole deep dive, did a 70-foot dive on the same wall with Dive Instructor Anne-Marie. Two Green Moray Eels, and two Spotted Moray Eels peeped out of their coral perches as the divers passed by. Lobsters withdrew further into crevices from their prone positions on the ledges. Dog Snapper, Black and Nassau Groupers combed the reef looking for unwary prey. Black Coral grows in abundance on this particular section of wall, and we found four Neck Crabs desperately trying to camouflage themselves in their branches. As we came up the side of the wall, two Spotted Eagle Rays swam through large swaths of blue Creole Wrasse. After our usual surface interval, we visited the next site called Mandy’s Dandy and found two big surprises. The first was a school of (13) Spotted Eagle Rays. Although this area is known for this schooling activity, it is none-the-less a pleasant surprise to encounter them. The second was a fair-sized Common Octopus whom tried to hide by creeping cautiously across a coral head, and changing both colours and textures as he went. Divers had excellent photo opportunities with this fascinating reef resident. Since our divers decided on having the afternoon off, we headed back to the resort. Divers then did their third dive of the day as the weekly night dive at Northern Bogue, a site close to the resort and done in 10 – 15 feet of water. All the nocturnal residents of this shallow reef start waking up when the sun slips below the horizon at sunset. Only the anemones never seem to sleep, and the shrimp that find their homes there like Pedersons and Spotted Cleaners. The Red Night Shrimp will not be observed during the day, but does come out to feed when the sun goes down. Lobsters become brave in the fading light and start to move around over the coral heads. Tiger Tail Sea Cucumbers, which can be observed during the day, were feeding away with their mouths slowly groping in the sand. The translucent-white Beaded Sea Cucumber hides during the day and stretches out from its reef hole like the Tiger Tail at night, and is seen feeding along the bottom with its feathery tentacles extending from its mouth. Translucent shrimp mesmerized by the dive lights, bounce off the lenses like small underwater moths. Since we saw the octopus on the day dive, no-one was disappointed not to find one on this night dive. All of these great sightings were packed in and had divers back in time for dinner and dive stories.  
 
On Tuesday, our third day of diving, we headed out to the Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef, and we were blessed with good surface conditions and sunshine for that crossing. Only two divers decided to do the full 130 feet at the Blue Hole with Denroy, and the other five divers remained with Anne-Marie doing a shallow dive at 50 feet along the rim of the hole. The water temperature at the Blue Hole was lower than elsewhere, as is usually the case with the deeper dive offering 75 F, and the top of the wall reading 77 F. The deeper dive did not yield any Caribbean Reef Shark sightings, and it is suspected that they don’t like the cooler temperature water. The visibility was 100 feet at depth and gave a great view of the majestic stalactites. On the shallower dive, the visibility was at about 60 feet, and Anne-Marie was able to point out Gray and French Angels twirling around the sponges. A Bearded Fireworm was spotted feeding on soft coral. Pederson Shrimp were found bobbing on the edges of Corkscrew and Knobby Anenomes. And, nestled within the anemone tentacles, one could spot the candy-cane stripped antenna of the Red Snapping or Pistol Shrimp. If one waits quietly here, these shrimp can be observed slowly easing out of hiding from the anemone, and revealing their big snapping claw. After an hour of surface interval between dives, during which time we made a pit stop at the Half Moon Caye dock to drop off snorkelers, we proceeded to Half Moon Caye Wall on the south side of the island. Visibility was about 80 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. After descending into the white sand bed next to the wall here, Denroy led the divers toward the reef wall and into the first swim-through. A very large Barracuda was trying to fit next to the divers and swim through with them too, but he was too big to squeeze in. Divers going through were oblivious to the barracuda, and divers behind had a good laugh and decided to follow Anne-Marie over the top of the wall. Half Moon Caye Wall is only one of the dive sites that occupy this stretch of wall that offers this great view of white sand bed edging towering coral heads along the wall. Today, we were able to identify four species of groupers along the wall – Black, Nassau, Tiger and Yellow Fin. All this as the same large Barracuda followed us for most of the dive along the wall. Just as we were about to leave the coral wall and head into the sand bed, an Common Octopus was spotted trying to imitate a matting sponge on a patch of coral on the wall. It sat there curled into a disk and was doing a pretty good job of hiding until it was seen. The octopus continued to try being a sponge until the interest of the entire dive group was focused in and everyone was snapping away with cameras, before it couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and crept away quickly into a crevice in the wall. Then it was time to head for the sand bed in search of Green Turtles. We swam over hundreds of Garden Eels as they hovered in their sand bed holes, and numerous Razor Fish disappeared into the sand as we went by. Upon approach to the turtle grass bed, we spotted three Green Turtles feeding lazily on the bottom and totally unconcerned with the divers. Snorkelers were up above us looking down at these turtles, while Snorkel Guide Abel free-dived down to take pictures of them for the evening slide show. The sunshine kept up for our surface interval and fried chicken picnic lunch on Half Moon Caye, as we sat on benches under the coconut trees. Abel then roused divers and snorkelers to follow him through the island forest to the Red-footed Booby Bird Sanctuary. Mating season is in full swing as the Boobies were gathering twigs and building nests. The Booby Birds share their rookery with Frigate Birds, and the male Frigates had their red neck-pouches inflated to attract the girls. Everyone had plenty of time to walk the island, and visit the rangers’ office where there is a natural history display of the Blue Hole and some of the wildlife of the area. Our third dive took us to the Aquarium on the west side of Long Caye. The visibility here was also about 80 feet with water temperatures remaining at 78 degrees F. Bermuda Chub and Sergeant Majors swarmed us as we made our entry and swam to the edge of the wall, which tops at about 30 feet and plunges straight down into the blue. A large school of Horse Eye Jack swirled lazily off the wall as we swam by. We spotted a large Channel Crab in one of the reef wall cubbies, and a swimming Green Moray Eel showed up as if to inspect us before swimming off. Six large Black Groupers were seen hovering off the wall, while a Spotted Eagle Ray swooped down from the top of the wall and sailed past us. Four fair-sized Yellow Fin Groupers were spotted in succession tucked away in grottos on top of the reef. Neck Crabs were observed imitating Hydroids on the soft corals, and a Sponge Peppermint Shrimp was spotted just inside the edge of a Gray Vase Sponge. A group of 4 divers left us the next day as they had only booked to stay for four nights with three days of diving and fishing.
 
 
On Wednesday we set out with our two remaining divers, partly cloudy skies, and headed for the Turneffe signature site of the Elbow to the south. This is at the southern tip of the atoll where you will find some of the strongest currents while diving in Belize, but not always. The top of the wall is quite deep here at 60 feet. Another feature is the dramatic spur and groove formations that offer mountainous coral spurs that top at 60 feet, and the sand bed grooves are as deep as 90 and 100 feet. These giant coral spurs are encrusted with large, ancient sponge growth and covered with black Gorgonian Deepwater Sea Fans that face the prevailing current to filter and ensnare their minute prey in their branches. The visibility was about 80 feet with water temperatures remaining at 78 degrees F. This dive takes us to 70 or 80 feet with a bottom time of about 40 minutes. On this dive schools of fish are often observed, and today was no exception. Schools of Horse Eye Jack, Cubera and Dog Snapper were seen. Spade Fish also showed up circling on top of the towering reef heads. Large Yellow Jack came moving by quickly on the hunt, followed by a school of dazzlingly fast Rainbow Runners. The dive was ended with a sighting of a Permit school near the surface. We moved on to Black Beauty to the north after our surface interval and started a dive to 60 feet, with a bottom time of 45 minutes, and 70 feet of visibility. After the decent to the top of the wall, three large Midnight Parrots swam by stopping occasionally to take a bit out of the reef. A swimming Green Moray Eel followed the divers for a few minutes before getting bored and swimming away. Six Spanish Mackerel came swimming by purposefully, one behind the other. A Spotted Moray was seen peeking out of its hole in the reef as we focused in on Yellow-Headed Jawfish hanging cautiously out of their holes in the sand. We also found a Furry Sea Cucumber and Lettuce Leaf Slugs on this dive. For our third dive after lunch, we headed for West Point Wall on the south western side of the atoll, and did a Lionfish hunt. Here we speared ten Lionfish and had Queen Trigger and Scrawled File Fish feeding on their remains as we swam away from the area. Nassau Groupers and Mutton Snappers trailed us hoping for more Lionfish action, but we called it a day after a 45 minute dive.
 
Thursday was our fifth day of diving, and we had a certified diver, and a diver whom was getting certified for the second time, after being certified 30 years ago! He felt that he should go through the process again for a complete review of all his skills and knowledge. It was very windy with light rain coming out of the northwest in the morning, so we decided on doing two afternoon dives on the reef in front of the resort here on the east side of Turneffe. After lunch, we went to Secret Garden for a 40-foot dive, and our visibility was about 60 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. Since our student diver hadn’t seen the tropical underwater world yet, it was a busy dive for him looking at all the different species with Dive Instructor Anne-Marie. We observed clusters of blush-pink Thin Leaf Lettuce Coral along the coral bottom that gave way to small sand beds here and there. A large Barracuda came by to give us the once-over to satisfy its curiosity before moving away. We watched a Spotted Drum circle around the opening in the coral that it used for cover when feeling threatened. Black Durgeons circled above the reef heads, and darted down as we approached. These fish always appear quite black from a distance, and as you approach, one can make out the intricate details of their tawny yellow and bright blue lines. As we got closer they darted under holes in the coral heads which they had obviously squared off as hiding places. We passed by a healthy growth of Great Star Coral which housed a cleaning station. Here we observed Bluehead Wrasse circling the cleaning station and surrounded by yellow and black juveniles ready to clean the next customer. Neon Gobies sat atop the Great Star Coral and flitted back and forth also waiting for cleaning customers. Our second dive was done a short distance to the south and adjacent to Pelican Caye. The dive site is named after the caye as Pelican Caye Wall. We had the same visibility and water temperatures as we had in dive one. Our student performed his skills impeccably as if he’d only been away from diving a few short years. This gave us plenty of time to observe more of this novel underwater world for our student diver. As soon as we descended to our planned depth of 40 feet, a Spotted Eagle Ray came gliding by totally unconcerned with the divers. This allowed us to see the detail of the Eagle Ray’s intricate pattern of white dots, circles and dashes on its black back. A Queen Trigger Fish swam by showing off it startling neon-like colours of iridescent blues and yellows. As if that wasn’t colourful enough, a Queen Angel showed up and beat the competition with its bright blue and yellow colouration. Pork Fish with their dark black “V” pattern on bright yellow hovered lazily over a barrel sponge, while deep blue Creole Wrasse streamed by in the background. Moving along the strips of sand bed as this dive came to an end, we were able to spot a number of mature Queen Conch engaged in benthic feeding. This is always a sign of a healthy reef. 
 
On Friday, our sixth and last day of diving for the week, offered partly cloudy conditions which changed to sunshine half way through the morning. We headed to the north for a 10-minute boat ride to our first dive site at Lettuce Lane. Our planned depth was 60 feet, and we found the visibility to be about 70 feet with water temperatures at 78 degrees F. Lettuce Lane usually offers opportunities to see the Lettuce Leaf Slug, and the White Spotted Toadfish. None of which we had any luck sighting on this dive. But, we were not short of other good critters and fish to observe. We found a brilliantly-coloured Scrawled Filefish hiding in the Common Sea Fans, trying to diguise its bright blue lines between the purple-hued sea fans. We watched Yellowhead Jawfish hovering over their holes in the sand and withdrawing quickly as we approached. A large school of School Master Snapper hung motionlessly between coral heads, until we approached and they then drifted away slowly to the next coral head. We pointed out large pink-coloured Trumpet Fish hiding in sea fans and stalking unwary Damsel Fish. Three large Bar Jacks swam quickly in unison, hugging the reef heads as they made tight turns scoping the area for prey. A pair of Foureye Butterflyfish poked at polyps on a Common Star Coral mound. After we finished starring at fish busy going about their rounds on the reef, our student completed skills for his dive and we surfaced for an hour’s break between dives. Our second dive was done close by at Cockroach Caye Shallows, named after the adjacent caye. We completed a 60-foot dive with similar conditions to dive one. The dive started out in a sand bed where we found a large Whiptail Ray feeding beneath a cloud of sand it had stirred up while digging for food. The ray was totally unconcerned by the divers and continued digging as the cloud of sand grew larger. This site offers large swaths of sand bed bordered by rising stretches of reef that are lit up by the reflected light on the white sand. We watched a number of lobsters jostling for space in cutouts on the edge where the coral is bordered by sand. Knobby anemones poked out of tight holes in the reef as their tentacles protected anemone crabs, and made a cleaning station base for Pederson Shrimp. Branching anemones draped out of their cracks in the reef in between, and Squat Anemone Shrimp were found there waving their tails in the air as camouflage to imitate the anemone tentacles. A large Nassau Grouper sat in the sand while being cleaned by Pederson Shrimp. The grouper opened its mouth allowing the shrimp inside, and got himself a dental cleaning at the same time. When it seemed as if the grouper would swallow the shrimp as he closed his mouth, the Pederson popped out and headed back to the anemone cover. Before we headed for the surface at the end of the dive, another large gray Whiptail Ray swam by along the sand bed. And, as we hung at our safety stop, a Hawksbill Turtle that we hadn’t noticed in the distance, surfaced for a breath of air. This dive ended a great week of diving, and a very happy re-certified PADI diver.                   
 
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December 28 - January 4, 2014

Weather - mostly sunny, with passing showers
Air Temp - most low 80's
Water Temp - Average 82 degrees

The week started out on Sunday with a breeze coming from the northwest, and partly cloudy, cool conditions. We began our dives on the south eastern side of Turneffe, doing our first dive at Jojo’s Split. Visibility was at about 80 feet. Generally our dive profiles for our 3-dive days start with a dive with a max depth of 70 feet for about 45 minutes, followed by a dive to 60 feet for another 45 minutes, and ending with a dive to 50 feet for 45 minutes as well. The wall at Jojo’s Split starts at approximately 60 feet and is crowned with a strip coral heads at the top of the wall. Certified divers went with Divemaster Denroy to the wall, and were able to observe barracudas, Nassau and black groupers, and spotted eagle rays. Student divers stayed with instructor Anne-Marie at 40 feet where coral heads dot a sandy bottom. In this area, lobster, coral banded and Pederson shrimp were spotted nestled in corkscrew anemones. A large barracuda showed up to eyeball the new divers, while a big spotted eagle ray cruised by in the background. The second dive was done close by at April Fool’s where the wall is shallower and student divers as well as certified divers were able to take in the view. Green morays were spotted swimming between hiding places, as well as a few large mutton snappers found cruising the reef looking for prey. Brilliantly coloured queen and French angels swam between the soft and hard corals searching for prone sponges to pick from. The third dive was done north of the first two sites at Calabash Caye Wall. Like many sites at Turneffe, one finds healthy, well-developed sponges adourning the reef heads. A large spotted moray was observed surveying the reef from its hiding place. Parrot fish chomped noisily on spots of algae-covered dead corals. And, the usual array of riotously colourful Caribbean reef dwellers were present on all the dives.

Monday, day two, found us with sunny conditions and little or no breeze. We headed for the northwest side of the atoll and started our first dive at Terrace. This dive site is typically used for our Blue Hole checkout dive for certified divers. The profile takes divers to 100 feet, and has them ascending in a zigzag pattern much like climbing flights of stairs. Along the way, they observe a healthy growth of black corals and sponges, as well as hard and soft corals. Showers of creole wrasse passed them as they swam up the side of the wall. Today, it appeared our visibility was close to a crystal clear 100 feet. The Open Water students were completing their fourth and final certification dive here, so the max depth was 60 feet for them. This depth allowed them to go down part of this terraced wall and appreciate some of what the certified divers could see, but from a bird’s eye view. A large spotted eagle ray was observed laying motionless in a sand bed at 40 feet on top of the wall, until the students approached cautiously. Then it rose up gently and swam slowly away. Green moray eels swam from their hideouts to give the divers a show. Dive two at Mandy’s Dandy maxed at 60 feet, and pulled out the stops when a school of nine eagle rays passed divers just off the wall, not just once, but three times circling everyone over the shallow reef at 40 feet as well. An Advanced Diver student started his qualifying dives at this site. Elkin’s Bay was where dive three was completed. This site is particularly pleasing on the eyes with sweeping white sand chutes studded with knotty coral heads, and lined with honeycombed coral spurs. Lionfish hunter Denroy speared some lionfish, and large mutton snapper, green morays, and queen triggers moved in to clean up the kill.

Tuesday as scheduled, was Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef day, and the weather was perfect. We had a full crowd and were joined by snorkelers, and dive students who snorkeled as they weren’t qualified to dive to the Blue Hole depth of 130 feet. Divers descended down the sheer wall of the hole to 100 feet where they experienced the usual thermo cline that one passes through here. The visibility then cleared up from 60 feet to about 80 feet. The large stalactites then loomed into view and divers were led by Denroy swimming between them at 130 feet. A few Caribbean Reef sharks were observed, and after ascending to 60 feet, midnight parrots were seen munching on algae growing in spots on the edge of the wall. On the 50 to 40 shallow part of the dive at the end, Denroy took divers on the five-hamlet hunt. While not all were spotted, three were accounted for. Our bottom time on this dive is only 30 minutes and includes a 5-min safety stop. After doing an hour surface interval at the dock at Half Moon Caye, we moved off to complete our second dive at Half Moon Caye. This site starts off in a large sweeping sand bed that runs parallel to the towering coral heads on the top of the wall for hundreds of feet from east to west. Dozens of garden eels pop their heads out for as far as you can see, as blue parrots sift through the white sand, popping out against that backdrop like neon lights. Divers followed Denroy to swim-throughs boring through the coral heads and out to the vertical wall doing a max depth of 60 feet and showing a visibility of about 80 feet. Large Nassau groupers muscled each other out for cutout hiding places in the wall, as baracuddas sat motionlessly waiting for the unwary reef fish. A Caribbean reef shark made 3 passes under the group of divers with a distance of only 20 feet between them, allowing the photographers in the group to snap some good shots. We ended the dive over the manatee grass bed where both snorkelers and divers observed two green turtles feeding in the grassbed. The surface interval on Half Moon Caye offered a fare of our usual fried chicken picnic on the benches in the shade of tall coconut trees. This was followed by a walk along the well-manicured path through the island’s littoral forest to the bird sanctuary, where Red-Footed Booby Birds share a rookery with Frigate Birds on the southern side of the caye. Here divers and snorkelers took full advantage of photo opportunities atop the observatory platform surrounded by nest sites in the trees. Just as we boarded the boat to head to our third dive site on the western side of Long Caye, a brief squall passed through. Luckily, we drove out of it to the west to do our third dive at the famous Aquarium for a max depth of 60 feet and yielding visibility of 80 feet or so. Barracudas trailed the divers as they swam by large gorgonian fans that trapped their microscopic prey from the currents with their massive branching arms. Minute painted tunicates dotted the wall as they clung to soft coral skeleton branches. Neck crabs were observed disguising themselves in feathery sea whips. The dive ended on top of the wall in shallow water at 35 feet where two hawksbill turtles showed up in succession. Snorkelers had the opportunity to observe the turtles also, in one of the best snorkeling locations in Belize.

On Wednesday, day four, all the divers decided to go fishing or do Atoll Adventures. But, none of them wanted to miss out on the night dive which left the dock at 5:30pm. Our night dive is done on a shallow reef site very near the resort, and named after the channel nearby called Northern Bogue. Done in 10 – 15 feet of water, this dive offers an up to 60-minutes of bottom time. Divers have the opportunity to observe lobster, crab, octopus, sea hares, and tiger tail sea cucumbers wake up from their daytime slumber just after sunset. Brittle stars scuttle away from the dive lights between the corals, moving more quickly than their sand-bound cousins. Several varieties of shrimp come out of hiding to feed as well. And, this night was no exception. The only missing player was the brilliantly yellow-coloured sea hare, which we’ll catch next time. There was indeed a lot of sightings to talk about at the dinner table after the dive.

On Thursday, day five, we set out for the western side of Turneffe and negotiated the Creekozene channel to dive two namesake sites near there along the wall, North and South Creekozene. Visibility on this day ran between 60 and 70 feet. North Creekozene begins in a sand chute and takes divers over a sloping coral wall that offers lots of outcrops and small hangovers for critters to hide. And, while we were peering into some of these dark holes, we stumbled on a hawksbill turtle that lay on the coral picking on its favourite sponge treat. Two gray angels stayed close by to scoop up loosened pieces of the sponge. An array of colourful reef dwellers surrounded brilliantly coloured queen triggers and angels that circled around the corals and sponges as we swam across the top of the wall. Dive two at South Creekozene starts in a large sand bed that slopes off to depth, and is sparsely dotted with coral heads. This sand bed breaks out to a sloping coral wall where creole wrasse swam down through the water column and streamed over the coral heads stopping at cleaning stations. Large black grouper hovered out in the blue waiting for an opportunity to get a meal. The top of the wall is edged with large gorgonian fans as it bends sharply into another sloping sand bed. We ended the dive over the shallow area of the wall in 40 feet, spotting lobster and green morays tucked away in their holes in the reef. Dive three was at Black Pearl where a tumbling wall anchors immense giant barrel sponges that offer homes to juvenile fish, neon gobies, and banded coral shrimp. Denroy found a few lionfish to spear, and a spotted moray made quick work of the remains. Two large mutton snappers showed up too late for the action. On the way back to the boat, a spotted eagle ray came gliding by, giving divers a good photo opportunity. The Advanced Open Water student completed qualifying dives with Anne-Marie on this day.

On Friday, day six, rain moved in and everyone decided to either fish, or pass a lazy, comfortable day back in the main lodge where crew signed and stamped log books, while gear dried off in the dive shop and everyone had good dive stories to share. We celebrated that evening with four new divers qualifying as Open Water Divers, and one birthday boy with his Advanced Diver certification.
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November 19 -  26, 2011

Weather: Weather during the week was sunny with no rain.

Air Temp: Mid to high 80’s

Water Temp: 80 to 84 at most dive sites.

Visibility: 60 to 100 feet

 This week’s diving was interesting and educational. We started their week on the West side of the atoll at Crickozeen, where visibility was around 100 feet, and were immediately greeted by a school of eagle rays with their beauty and elegance. Black groupers, lion fish, mutton snapper, and yellow tail snappers were also present on this dive. Our second dive took place at Amber Head where we had the pleasure of seeing spiny lobsters, queen angel fish, grey angel fish, French angel fish, black groupers, 2 and more eagle rays. Our last dive for the day was at Crickozeen North.  Here we were amazed by the beauty of a white spotted moray, 3 eagle rays, peacock flounder, and snapping shrimp.

Monday we went to the Northeastern side of the atoll to The Terrace. It was a great day; everyone loved the wall and the ledge at 115 feet.  We saw beautiful black and wire corals, a green moray, barracudas, and a king mackerel.  At Elkin’s Bay, we saw large spiny lobster, southern sting rays, spiny head blenny and a garden eel. Chasbo’s Corner was our third dive of the day with excellent visibility once again. On this dive we saw black groupers, a Hawksbill Turtle, 2 eagle rays, ocean trigger, black durgeons and various reef fish.

Tuesday, the day of the majestic Blue Hole, the visibility was great at 100 feet. We enjoyed close encounters with reef sharks, black groupers, and midnight parrot fish. The second dive was at Half Moon Caye Wall where we had an unforgettable dive with tarpon, hogfish, a nice number of conch, southern sting rays, 2 green turtles, and a garden eel.  At Eagle Ray wall, the third dive we were amazed at the beauty of the wall and we saw lobsters, white spotted moray eels, mutton, huge snappers and a school of tarpon.

Wednesday, we dove on the Southeastern side of the Atoll, Joe Joe’s Split, Chris Sea, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The visibility was at 50 to 60 feet. On the first we saw a large green moray, horse eye jacks, school master, and a blue parrot fish. On the second dive t we were excited to see a spotted moray, a large channel cling crab, lobsters, neck crab, white spotted toad fish and juvenile trunk fish; and at Lee Ellen’s Melons we saw Hawkbill Turtles, spotted eagle rays and six lobsters in a coral.

Thursday, we explored the southern area of the atoll diving The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Front Porch. The visibility was good  at 80+ feet. The Elbow was magical and we swam with a pod of dolphins for most of the dive. Apart form enjoying their time with the dolphins the divers saw black grouper, a big school of permit, cubera snapper, chubs, and Atlantic spade fish. Everyone loved this dive. Black beauty was where the divers witnessed a Nausau grouper devour a lion fish. We also saw lettuce sea slugs, flamingo tongues, and 8 lobsters under a coral. At Front Porch we were delighted by a Hawkbill Turtle, lion fish and lettuce sea slug.

Friday, we dove close to the lodge at Lindsey’s Back Porch and Devil’s Deep. At Lindsey’s Back Porch we saw a Hawksbill Turtle, many creole wrasse, black groupers, giant anemone, green moray, ocean trigger fish and channel cling crabs. At Devil’s Deep we were welcomed by a big mutton snapper, mackerel, barracudas and white spotted toad fish. Overall the week was magical, educational and full of excitement.
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November 5 - 12, 2011
 
Weather: Weather during the week was mostly sunny.
Air Temp: Mid to high 80’s
Water Temp: 80 to 83 at most dive sites.
Visibility: 70 to 90 feet
 
We hosted a small dive group this week which gave everyone the advantage of great and independent underwater experience. The divers started their diving expedition at the Southeastern part of the atoll
at Chrissea. The visibility was good and the dive week could not have started better as the divers were welcomed by a couple of 2 Hawksbill Turtles, a spotted moray eel, and a white spotted toad fish. The divers were also exited to see a black grouper devouring a Lion fish. Following this, the divers spotted a yellow-line arrow crab, a banded coral shrimp, mutton snapper and a Pederson Cleaning Shimp. The first dive of the week was phenomenal. The second dive was at April Fool where divers saw large spiny lobster, tiger tail, donkey dong, sea cucumber, French and gray Angels, a juvenile sharp nose puffer. The third diving spot was Little Calabash and divers were entertained by a queen trigger, black surgeon, a large channel clinging crab, a barracuda, queen conch and a lettuce sea slug.
 
Monday, the divers went to the Northeastern part of the atoll and dove the Terrace where visibility was around 80 feet. It was a great day with beautiful black and wire corals, a white spotted moray, a green moray, black cap basslets, barracudas, a king mackerel, and a flamingo tongue. Chasbo’s Corner was the second dive. Here the divers also had good visibility and saw a black grouper, a school of horse-eye jacks, unwanted lion fish, and a scrawled cow fish. At Elkin’s Bay, the third dive, divers saw large spiny lobster, green moray, neck crabs, indigo hamlet, black grouper, garden eels, razor fish, and cero mackerel.
 
Tuesday was Blue Hole Day. As usual the divers swam with reef sharks, black groupers, midnight parrot fish in the Blue Hole as well as Burmuda chub, bar jacks, fire worm, and spaghetti worms. The second dive, at Half Moon Caye Wall, was memorable with tarpon, hogfish, four southern sting rays, a green turtle, barracudas, and a razor fish. At Cathedral, the third dive, the visibility was great. Ivan, our youngest diver of the week loved the swim-thrus. The divers saw southern sting rays, lobsters, moray eels, and a Sergeant Major.
 
Wednesday, the divers went west of the atoll, the to Crikozeen area. They saw a garden eel, spiny lobster and green and a spotted morays. On the second dive at Black Pearl they spotted a golden tail moray, green moray, lobster, neck grabs, Hawksbill turtle and an eagle ray.
 
Thursday, the divers dove close to the lodge at The Terrace, they saw a green moray, barracudas, and various reef fish. They then  headed to Lobster Bay, for our second dive, they saw a black grouper, Hawksbill turtle, a green moray, neck crab and a large nurse shark. On the third dive of the day, Devil’s Deep, the visibility was good and some highlights were lion fish, toad fish a large spiny lobster.
 
On the final day of diving, divers went to Turneffe’s Northeast side where hey dove Lindsey’s Back Porch and at Alfredo’s. At Lindsey’s Back Porch the divers the highlights were a free-swimming moray, scrawal file ish, white spotted toad fish flamingo groupers and barracudas. At Alfredo’s the divers were entertained by a southern sting ray, green moray, sand dollar and various reef fish. The dive week was very educational and entertaining and everyone had a great time.
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October 22 – October 29, 2011

Weather: Weather during the week varied from sunny to cloudy and sea from moderate                  to rough, Hurricane Rina in the atmosphere.
Air Temp: Mid to high 80’s
Water Temp: 80 to 84 at most dive sites.
Visibility: 40 to 70 feet

This week we began our diving week on the Northeast side of the atoll at Lindsey, followed by  Bleckish and Grassy. On our 1st and 2nd dive the visibility was at 50 feet. Divers were enthusiastic and saw black groupers, green moray, conch, spiny lobster, sea godess and spotted nudi branch on their first dive. At Bleckish divers were entertained by many colorful reef fish, lettuce sea slug and sting rays. On our third dive for the day our visibility reduced slightly but we had a chance to enjoy some large snappers, many lobsters and shrimps.

Monday, the divers again dove on the Northeast side as that location had the best conditions due to wind direction. This time they dove at Cockroach, Nelson, and Front Door. The dives were very educational and on our first dive they saw black corals, spotted drum, white spotted moray, and wire coral shrimp. At Nelson’s they had great dive with southern stingray, a black cap basslet, tiger tail sea cucumbers, and several lettuce sea slugs. The dive day ended with a great dive an Front Door with with large barracudas, lots of reef fish, and big snappers.

Tuesday, it was the the magnificent Blue Hole including Half Moon Caye Wall, and the Aquarium at Long Caye.  At the Blue Hole everyone enjoyed seeing 4-6 gray reef sharks; as well as black groupers, and midnight parrot fish. At Half Moon Caye Wall everyone was astonished by the diversity of its sea life and they all concurred that it was their best dive. They enjoyed seeing hog fish, black grouper, tarpon, several southern sting rays, a green turtle, and a spotted eagle ray. At the aquarium the divers saw large schools of snapper as well as the elusive tarpon, channel cling crabs, and spiny lobster.

Wednesday, our diver group traveled to the Southeastern part of the Atoll to dive Joe Joe’s Split, Chris Sea, and Little Calabash and visibility was at good. The first dive of the day couldn’t have a better. It was a marvelous dive with white spotted toad fish, school master, spotted drum, juvenile trunk fish, and garden eels. At the end of our first dive, the divers had the magical adventure of swimming with a pod of dolphins. Everyone got their snorkeling gear and were able to play with the pod of dolphins for several minutes – what an experience. On the second dive, the divers saw a large green moray, southern sting rays and a lettuce sea slug. On the third dive lobster, mutton snapper, and snapping shrimp were some highlights.

Thursday, the dive group dove at the Southern tip of Turneffe. The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Dead Man Wall were the three dives and visibility was from 50 to 70 feet. The Elbow stood up to its reputation  with black grouper, spotted eagle rays, a Hawksbill Turtle to enjoy. At Black Beauty we witnessed a Nausau Grouper devouring a beautiful but most unwanted lion fish. We also got to see golden tailed moray, green moray, and a large channel clinging crab. At the Dead Man Wall divers were delighted by a graceful spotted eagle ray, colorful reef fish, and a spotted moray.

Due to the weather conditions on the last day, we decided to stay close to the lodge and dove Conference Room, Devil’s Deep, and Barracuda Bay. The Hawksbill Turtles seemed to be everywhere this week and Friday was no exception as we saw Hawksbills on every dive. Also seen on the  first dive were spotted drums, and a spotted moray. At Devil’s Deep divers were welcomed by an upside-down jelly fish, a large spiny lobster, a lettuce sea slug, and a furry sea cucumber. On the last dive for the week,  various reef fish gave the dive group a spectacular farewell. Overall the week was spectacular and full of excitement.
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July 10 – 15, 2011
 
Weather: Partly cloudy with scattered showers. Winds higher than average at 10 – 20 knots.
Air Temp: High 80’s – Low 90’s
Water Temp: 83 F
Visibility: 50-90 ft
 
Ten divers joined us this week from all over the states and a couple from as far as Europe. It was a windy week but the diving was great none the less. The week started on the northwester side of Turneffe Atoll at Elkin’s Bay dive site. The divers enjoyed seeing a green moray Eel, black groupers, and some queen angel fish. The dive master also found a sea cucumber to show everyone. Many divers got to see a flamingo tongue and a hogfish. The highlight of the dive was seeing an eagle ray and a turtle. The second dive took place at Chasbo’s Corner where divers first explored the northern stretch of the shelf. One of the divers spotted a juvenile yellow tail damsel fish amongst the scattered corals. Others pointed out wire coral shrimp and another big green moray eel. The tropical reef fish were in abundance here, with divers seeing sergeant majors, several small puffer fish, a pair of four-eyed butterfly fish, and a school of creole wrasse. The highlight for two of our divers was seeing their very first scorpion fish. After lunch, the divers were eager to be back in the water and to tour the southern section of Chasbo’s Corner. Throughout the dive, many reef fish were seen including schools of french grunts, several types of triggerfish, and some large grey angelfish. The dive master had pointed out a big yellow trumpet fish, but the divers agreed the best part was finding a nurse shark hiding underneath a rock.

 Monday the divers dove right in front of the lodge, spending their surface intervals here at the lodge. The first site was Devil’s Deep and it stunned the divers that such great diving was so close. The dive master located an arrowhead crab to show everyone, who excitedly took pictures. Other great finds included a large barracuda and the colorful queen angel fish. The second dive was at Alfredo’s. A couple of divers had their curiosities satisfied by the dive master whom happily showed and identified to them various sponges and different algae, while later explaining the significance of their relationships with the coral. The final dive of the day was at the Front Door. It was a nice dive with great visibility. Among the corals and sponges, one of the divers was very excited to discover some drum fissh.

 The boat headed out to the Western side of the Turneffe Atoll on Tuesday. The first dive was at Crickozeen Cut North. Early into the dive, a large eagle ray swam close by and completed several loops in the area before departing. Many different shrimp were found hiding in the coral and a school of french grunts swam low through the area. Several grey angelfish, a black grouper, and a trumpet fish were also spotted, but the highlight was a large green moray eel found by one of the divers. For the second dive, everyone explored Crickozeen Cut South. The coral was healthy and colorful and the divers saw three drum fish circling throughout the area. Many of the guests got to see their first spotted moray eel. The dive master was the first to see a giant stingray nestled in the sand that, when startled, left its resting spot and dashed past the guests. One of the divers found a scorpion fish in the sand and showed everyone. The day’s final dive was at Elgene’s Inn. Early in the dive, the sharp eyes of two divers spotted some tiny pipefish lying in the sand. After finding a large lobster hiding in a barrel sponge, several divers were able to see a spotted moray and a golden tail moray eel fighting over prime real estate on the reef.
 
Wednesday started at Lobster Bay. The highlight of this first dive was observing a grey angelfish attempting to eat the diver’s bubbles. The angelfish stuck around for some time before swimming off. Many other tropical reef fish were seen including many large angelfish. The Amber Head dive site was the second adventure for the day. Various sponges and bright corals made for a beautiful dive with the native reef fish. The afternoon was taken off and spent lounging around the pool area. This evening the divers embarked on a night dive at the Northern Bogue. The full moon made for a brighter evening. Early into the dive, one of the divers found a large octopus on top of a rock. Soon after another smaller octopus was spotted in a different patch of coral. The dive master found a lettuce slug while other divers got to see a purple mouth moray eel. There were also many sea urchins scrambling across the sands.
 
The weather was great on Thursday and the boat headed out to the Lighthouse Atoll. All the divers were eager to explore the Blue Hole. The conditions were perfect, with excellent visibility, a sunny sky, and clam waters. Many reef sharks circled the divers throughout the exploration, with one of the smaller sharks coming closer for a curious look. The guests loved the stalactites and cave formations. During the ascent, divers saw several big black groupers, some chubs, and a giant midnight parrotfish. The second dive was at Half Moon Caye Wall. The grand swim-throughs entertained the divers who were greeted by a large barracuda upon exiting the first tunnel. On the wall’s ledge, divers got a close up view of a gorgeous eagle ray. Lunch was enjoyed on Half Moon Caye where the guests walked along the beaches and ventured through the Red-Footed Boobie sanctuary. The third dive took place at Tres Cocos, which was full of marine life. The dive master showed everyone two types of black coral used for making jewelry. One of the guests found an interesting sea cucumber while another found a secretary blenny to show the others. It was a beautiful day at the Lighthouse Atoll and everyone was sad to say goodbye.
 
The final day of the week, divers headed out to the southeastern side of Turneffe Atoll to dive Lee Ellen’s Melons. The dive had plentiful amounts of large tropical reef fish, including groupers, snappers, and angelfish. Perched on the corals, divers found many lizard fish. A stingray was found digging in the sand while an eagle ray passed by later in the dive. Three turtles were seen during the dive with one of the smaller ones coming right up underneath the divers. The second dive was at Lil’ Calabash. Two large scrawled file fish excited some of the divers who’d never seen them before. The corals and sponges intertwined to create beautiful coral patches. In addition to the more common reef fish, divers also had the treat of seeing a remora. The final dive was Chinaman’s Wall where divers found many small hermit crabs inside sponges. Several squat anemone shrimp were seen along with some large hermit crabs in conch shells scurrying along a sand chute. They finished off the dive observing the garden eels in the sand. It was a good closer to a great week. We enjoyed your good spirits and great dinner conversation and hope we see many of you again.
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July 3 - 10, 2011
 
Weather: Partly cloudy. Some thunderstorms mid-week. Winds at 10 – 20 knots
Air Temp: High 80’s – Low 90’s
Water Temp: 83 F
Visibility: 50-80 ft
 
         Six wonderful divers were with us this week and beginning with the first dive at Crickozeen Cut North, on the western side of Turneffe Atoll, everyone knew it was going to be a fantastic vacation. Upon descending a huge stingray could be seen feeding in the sand. Close by, yellow head jaw fish were popping in and out of the sand. Our diver, Melissa, was very enthusiastic to point out some garden eels. Proceeding north along the coral wall, a huge eagle ray glided by and three juvenile spotted drum fish were found living amongst the coral. At the turning point of the wall, the divers were mesmerized by a giant barrel sponge that was big enough to fit someone inside. After the excitement of the first dive, everyone was thrilled to be diving the southern stretch of the wall next. Crickozeen Cut South proved to be just as exciting an experience. The dive starts with a sandy slope with patches of coral and progresses towards a point in the reef along a wall of corals descending to a 150ft. Early into the dive, everyone was observing some banded coral shrimp when the dive master spotted a sandy mist up ahead. Gathering around to see what the commotion was, a mega stingray, 5 ½ft in diameter, revealed itself. Throughout the dive, schools of grunts, snappers, groupers, and creole wrasse swam by. Just when the divers thought that the mega ray had been the highlight, a massive eagle ray, close to 6ft in diameter with an almost 8ft tail, circled the divers before disappearing into the deep blue. After lunch, the divers headed south to the Amber Head dive site. Many lobsters were found, as well as a variety of native tropical reef fish. Two more eagle rays were spotted on this dive. One of the divers came up from the dive very proud after finding a couple of trumpet fish all by herself.
 
   On Monday, the divers set off to the southwest side of Turneffe Atoll and began the day with a deep dive at Tarpon Bay. The healthy corals and productivity of this section of the reef impressed the divers who loved the variety of colors. This week the eagle rays seemed to be attracted to the divers as two more came up close and swam past the divers. The other star of the dive was a little webbed burr puffer fish with pretty green eyes. A 10 minute boat ride north brought our divers to the Sponge Shop. A large variety of reef fish were spotted with the dive master identifying a bunch of different species for the guests. In the shallows the divers discovered a bunch of lobsters hiding in a big crevice. The dive master impressed the guests by whispering out one of the lobsters. The final dive of the day was at Elgene’s Inn. It was a great dive to finish the day. The divers enjoyed how relaxed and comfortable it was while they observed many different reef fish, bright corals, and interesting sponges.
 
   Tuesday began with a thunderstorm in the morning. Watching the lightning, everyone was unsure if they’d be in the water today. Around mid-day the storm broke and the divers squeezed in two dives right in front of the resort, here on the eastern side of Turneffe Atoll. On the first dive, visibility was amazing and the divers were stunned by the beauty of the sites right in front of the lodge. The first site consisted of huge spur and groove formations. The divers identified many fish, corals, and sponges as they could. The highlight of the day was seeing a white spotted toad fish, which is only found here in Belize. After a surface interval on the beach, the second dive was as good as the first. Great visibility and similar topography, home to many beautiful species of fish and corals. The divers were stunned that on a rainy day the diving could still be so good, even the water was a surprising 83 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
   Wednesday’s weather was a little better than the day prior with partly cloudy skies and scattered showers. Today the divers explored the northeastern side of Turneffe Atoll, beginning with Lindsay’s Back Porch. It was a deep wall dive in preparation for the upcoming trip to the Blue Hole. The guests all loved the wall but this dive was particularly special for our diver, Christine. While finishing her safety-stop underneath the boat, the dive master called her over urgently for a surprise. Taking her hand to calm her, the dive master pointed towards a beautiful manatee only 20ft away. The peaceful giant slowly approached them before passing by and disappearing into the blue. Christine described it as looking like a giant puppy and had said that in all her life’s diving adventures, never had she experienced such a phenomenal moment. Although the other divers were disappointed to have missed such an amazing creature, our dive master Alex soon made up for it during the surface interval by finding a small pod of dolphins. The divers swam with the dolphins for close to 40 minutes. The rest of the interval was spent on the shores of the crocodile pond and while only a head could be seen slipping lazily through the water, the divers were able to explore the nesting grounds and evidence of a recent hatching. The second dive took place at Alfredo’s. While diving, the guests were interested to observe a hard shower take place while the sun was still out. The highlight of the dive was yet another massive eagle ray. Finishing the day right outside the lodge, the divers explored the Front Door site. Among the tropical reef fish, ocean trigger fish and lots of jaw fish could be found as well as black and Nassau grouper.
 
   The weather improved and the dive boat headed out to the Lighthouse Atoll to explore the great Blue Hole. The massive stalactites transfixed the divers. Visibility was great and the reef sharks could be seen circling the hole. Looking up, the silhouettes of two eagle rays passed by as everyone was thrilled to have experienced the beautiful views of the Blue Hole. The second dive was at Half Moon Caye Wall. Most enjoyable were the great swim-throughs and amazing topography. Visibility was excellent and many graceful reef fish were observed. Lunch was spent on Half Moon Caye, where the guests enjoyed walking through the Red-footed Bobbie sanctuary. The third dive, The Aquarium, lived up to its name. This section of the reef is home to copious amounts of reef fish and is always a beautiful site with many different species of corals and sponges.
 
   On Friday, the divers headed to the southern tip of Turneffe Atoll to explore the Elbow dive site. The current was strong but the divers were able to see a couple of turtles and some eagle rays amongst the reef. Heading to the southeastern portion of Turneffe Atoll to find better conditions, the divers entered Jo Jo’s Split. Two big black groupers followed the divers for a bit and Rob pointed out a huge stingray. Another four stingrays were seen throughout the dive. While the dive master was showing the others a furry sea cucumber, a turtle swam up behind him to the enjoyment of the divers. Everyone was intrigued to finally learn what black coral looked like. The final dive was a fitting end to a spectacular week. The divers saw eagle rays and a free-swimming moray eel. The moray stayed by the dive master just like a pet while the dive master pointed out a channel clinging crab next to it. While the divers swam over to see the crab, the moray wasn’t disturbed at all and stayed right there. The divers also found a scrawled file fish that stayed in place for everyone to see. Later in the dive, the dive master took everyone to the home of a white spotted toadfish. It was a marvelous dive to finish off an even better week. We truly enjoyed the great company and friendship of the divers. It will always be a pleasure to have you back!
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June 18 - 25, 2011
 
Weather: Moderate to high winds, partly cloudy skies
Air Temp: Low to high 80’s    
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Visibility: 60-90ft.
 
This week was truly fantastic! The lodge was full, bustling with good company and even better stories of each day’s thrills. This week, we enjoyed the companionship of the Underwater Phantaseas Dive Team from Denver, Colorado. A group of fourteen friends, of many ages and different backgrounds, all brought together for the adventure of Turneffe Atoll. Most came for the sole purpose of exploring the depths, but a few had other things on their mind as well. It’s like they say, “when at Turneffe Flats”. Four best friends, as well as the group leader Ryan and a couple other comrades, took advantage of our Combo Package and on several days enjoyed the world-renowned fishing. Sometimes slipping in some of that excellent fly-fishing after two morning dives.
 
The start of the week was off with a bang. Shorty after the dive orientation on Sunday morning, the divers were put into two groups and jumped from a full Ms. Ellie (this week 13 Divers), into the famous Caribbean waters of the Turneffe Atoll. Our first check out dives took place in the calmer waters of the Northwest dive sites: Elkin’s Bay North and Elkins Bay South. Visibility was 60ft and the views were spectacular. On the first dive, black groupers swam by while watching the razor fish in the sand. Lobsters, lion fish, and a green moray also joined the excitement. On the South side of the atoll, the reef fish were plentiful and the eels were out. Divers spotted green moray, spotted moray, and golden tail eels; as well as spotted drum fish, a tiger tail sea cucumber, and a beautiful hawks bill turtle. We finished off a great first day at Chasbo’s Corner where visibility was again 60ft and the sights almost couldn’t have been better. Curious barracuda and black grouper watched the divers photographing the lobsters and channel clinging crab. Black durgeons were present along with another hawks bill turtle. The real prize of the day was a manta ray seen by the first group of divers. What a first day
 
The Terrace was the site of the first dive on Monday. Visibility was at 70ft, and schools of creole wrasse and mutton snapper are in the area. Lobsters are found among the black corals while the wire coral looks like it’s reaching out to the passerby’s. A green moray eel topped off the dive. Next they were diving into Chasbo’s Corner South where vis. was 60ft. A hawk’s bill turtle was found in between the various reef fish, such as parrot fish, angel fish, and squirrelfish. Also a spotted moray was found slithering between the cracks of the coral heads. After lunch the divers hit the Northeast side of the Atoll, jumping into Lindsey’s Back Porch. Vis. was 80ft and along with the familiar reef fish, black groupers, lion fish, and the interesting file fish could be found. A southern sting ray was nestled in the sand. Other critters seen include a spotted moray, spotted lobster, and a big ole’ hermit crab.
 
It’s Tuesday and the dive masters are taking advantage of the better conditions of the Western side of Turneffe. The first dive was at Crickozeen Cut North (vis. 60ft). More spotted morays were seen as well as the lobsters. This time it was some dog snappers who joined the familiar reef fish. Looking closely the divers saw garden eels and snapping shrimp. The best find was the rare and very well hidden scorpion fish! Next stop was the South side of Crickozeen Cut. Vis. was the same and schools of yellow tail snapper and mutton snapper joined the divers. Again the black grouper were out and a spotted moray could be seen. Standing out from the usual reef fish was a peacock flounder scurrying along the bottom. Today’s third dive was at Lobster Bay where vis. was 70ft. Lobsters were found as well as a southern sting ray. A puffer fish was stumbled upon and the diver’s sharp eyes spotted wire coral shrimp.
 
Blue Hole Day is here and while we have some with us this week who’d already experienced the magic are none-the-less thrilled to be making the voyage again. Albeit it was rough trip over to the Lighthouse Atoll, we were rewarded by being the very first dive boat at the Blue Hole. Huge midnight parrotfish swim with black groupers and chubs in the water column. Three Caribbean reef sharks swim lazily through the deep blue waters. Down at depth, the magnificence of the enormous stalactites captivates the mind as you try to imagine what this cave looked like hundreds of thousands of years ago. It’s truly a sight to behold, which leaves you feeling like you’re on the famous expedition with Jacques Cousteau. All great dives must end sooner or later (until we invent gills) and shortly the divers are back in the water at Half Moon Caye Wall with visibility of 60ft. There is a beautiful wall to explore with many “swim-throughs”. Lots of conch was found along with a southern sting ray in the sand. Swimming by was a super-sized barracuda and many black and Nassau groupers. After a fantastic picnic at the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, the divers explored the Red Footed Boobie sanctuary on the West side of the caye. Our final dive of the day was at Quebrada where visibility was 50ft. Between the chubs and black groupers; sergeant major fish swim freely between coral heads. It was another outstanding trip to the Blue Hole with a smooth ride home.
 
Tarpon Bay starts the day with a pleasant dive on the Western side of the Atoll. Visibility at 50ft. Again the corals and sponges were full of life with the familiar angelfish and parrotfish as well as a green moray eel. Moving North to the Amber Head dive site, the visibility increased to 80ft plus. Here, divers saw several green moray eels and a golden tail eel. The highlight of the dive was a Spotted Eagle Ray. The divers were back in for lunch and spent the afternoon lounging on the island and in the pool as we all prepared for the evening’s night dive. The site was North Bogue, only about 3 minutes away from the lodge. A truly fantastic dive, the divers saw spiny lobster, slipper lobster, a lettuce sea slug, and tiger tail sea cucumbers. Sea urchins scurried across the sand and an octopus was coaxed out of the corals to put on a dazzling show of colors when lit up with the diver’s flashlights. Cowries crawled about and trunkfish were seen as well as a porcupine puffer fish. After the dive a fantastic dinner was served amid heartwarming company and great laughs.
 
We finished off the week at Tunnels and Barrel’s and a return to Chasbo’s Corner to take advantage of the better diving conditions. Visibility was 80ft at both sites. A hawk’s bill turtle was seen at the first sight as well as a southern stingray. Two hawk’s bill turtles were seen at the Corner as well as a lager head turtle! Black groupers and horse eye jacks swam by as the sea gave its final farewell with a spotted eagle ray. It’s sad to see such a great week come to a close but we’re always looking forward to the next adventure and surely hope the Underwater Phantaseas Dive Team will join us again in the future for more laughs and great times. It was wonderful meeting you all! We hope you enjoyed your stay as much as we enjoyed having you!
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May 28 - June 5, 2011
 
Weather: Bright sunny clear skies, some scattered cloud coverage.
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: Mid 80’s to lower 80’s at depth
Visibility: 50ft – 100ft
 
Sunshine in the Caribbean
 
            Once again the week was off to a great start with our traditional check out dives, this Sunday on the Western at the Lobster Bay and Fishie Wishie dive sites. Amongst the flourishing coral heads, the diver’s depths ranged within several yards of 40ft to ensure a good measure of everyone’s past experience in the water was taken. Sightings at these sites include the ever-present Stoplight Parrotfish and the more reclusive Spiny Lobsters. Also joining the divers on their exploration, were Creole Wrasse and Banded Butterfly Fish as well as the beautiful, but unwelcome, Lionfish. With good eyes the divers found Neck Crabs on both dives. Finishing off a fantastic day, the divers jumped into the warm waters on the North side of Crickozeen Cut. Highlights from the third dive include a huge Spiny Lobster, a fascinating Bristol Star, and a massive Roughtail Stingray.
 
            Eager to begin their day, the guests dove to the deeper depths of The Terrace; having the pleasure of being visited by a Loggerhead Turtle on their journey beneath the sea. Amongst the corals, Black and Wire corals were observed as well as a Spotted Eagle Ray cruising by. Excitement was high as the divers were all doing well with their deep dive checkouts and thoughts couldn’t help but be pulled toward the excitement of diving the fabled Blue Hole tomorrow. At Chasbo’s Corner, the divers swam with a school of Creole Wrasse. Horse Eye Jacks and Black Grouper could be seen in and around the corals and divers. The observation of a Channel Clinging Crab in his element took the prize on the second dive. After lunch on another beautiful day, the divers finished at Elkin’s Bay where Razor Fish and Yellowline Arrow Crabs joined the more familiar residents of the reef.
 
            Tuesday arrives and the guests can’t wait to get out on the Ms. Ellie and head out towards the Lighhouse Reef Atoll. A little less than an hour’s boat ride has us taking in the beautiful views of the Atoll and its light green waters punctuated with dark coral heads. Riding up to the Blue Hole, the contrast of the nearly circular, deep navy blue waters surrounded by light aqua green was made even more stunning by the illumination of a bright sun in clear skies. Following in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau, the divers descend down to the depths. The fascination of swimming amongst the Midnight Parrotfish, Jacks, and Black Groupers while viewing the passing Caribbean Reef Sharks is surpassed by the shear magnitude of the giant stalactites. Swimming amongst the stalactites is a truly impressive experience leaving the divers with amazing memories. As hard as it is to beat the Blue Hole the second and third dives of the day are in no way out of the running. Diving off the Half Moon Caye, the guests were thrilled by the coral formations and “swim-throughs”. A Southern Stingray was sighted as was a curious 4ft Baracuda. Before surfacing, attention was given to the Garden Eels living in the sand beds. Out of the water and onto Half Moon Caye. Lunch was enjoyed in the shade of palm trees on picnic tables covered with tablecloths. After eating, it was a short walk to the Red-footed Booby sanctuary, full of activity. Shortly thereafter the divers were finishing up the day off of Long Caye, where Wire Coral Shrimp and Lion Fish were found. More Barracudas were spotted along with several humongous Tarpon. It was a short and sweet boat ride back to the lodge ending a day full of unforgettable moments.
 
            Midweek and it’s another sunny day on the Atoll, but not every dive this Wednesday will be in the light. Scheduled this evening is the night dive; which makes for an easier day with two dives in the morning, a little rest and relaxation in the afternoon, and the finale nighttime scuba trip before dinner. Tarpon Bay starts the day with Channel Clinging Crabs and Lion Fish. Crickozeen Cut South yields Neck Crabs and Bristol Stars with its colorful displays of coral and reef fish. Lunch was taken at the lodge and the diver him the pool, beaches, and air conditioning before preparing and departing for the third dive of the day as the sun begins to hang low in the sky. We watch the sun setting as we prepare our gear and lights for the upcoming expedition into a whole new world. Night falls fast and we don our gear and hit the warm waters, our lights illuminated. A young girl of college age is joining us having been certified the beginning of the week by our expert instructors. Within minutes of being in the water she has located a Spanish slipper lobster and soon there after is taping franticly on her tank as she’s spotted an octopus. Coaxed out by the dive master’s, the octopus illuminates itself and continually changes through a whole rainbow of colors and camouflages, trying to make sense of the light shining in the dark. Squids and Giant Hermit Crabs can been found with some Lobsters scattered about the corals. Several Tigertail Sea Cucumbers extend from the corals and a puffed up Puffer Fish is seen at the end of the dive. Coming up out of the water, the night sky is putting on an amazing display of the stars. We load the divers up and head back to the lodge for a much-anticipated dinner.
 
            Thursday and we are diving on the eastern side of the Atoll. In the Conference Room a Queen Trigger Fish and a pair of Green Moray Eels dazzle us. Lion Fish are crashing the meeting but today another giant Southern Stingray joins us. Lindsey’s Back porch proves to be yet another great dive where we watched a big Grouper being cleaned by the smaller fish. Our Third dive at Devil’s Deep puts us on the fore reef right close to the lodge, making the trip home from a fantastic dive speedy and effortless. Highlights of Devil’s Deep include the Spiny Lobsters and a huge Remora.
 
            It’s a sad day for the divers as they’ll be returning to the mainland tomorrow, but the day none the less turns out to be a great one. Diving at the southern tip of the Atoll, we first explore The Elbow. The sea life is abundant as schools of Permit swim by and Horse Eye Jacks are zipping around the corals accompanied by Dog Snappers. Another big Remora swims by looking for something or someone to suction onto and an Eagle Ray passed close by. The Second dive of the day and the last of the trip is at Jo Jo’s Split. A Furry Sea Cucumber is found on the corals and we are lucky to sea another Spotted Eagle Ray as well as a Southern Stingray. It has been another fantastic week with good weather and great diving. The divers rave about the sights and the privilege of all week being the only dive boat at the dive spots visited here on the Turneffe Atoll. It was a pleasure having the divers this week as they were all amazing and made it an unforgettable week.
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May 8 – 14
 
Weather: Sunny skies and moderate winds
Air Temp: Low to mid 90’s    
Water Temp: 80-84 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 100+ft.
 
This week at Turneffe Flats, we have combination fisherman/divers and several Discover Scuba diving participants. We began diving on Tuesday on the northwest side of the atoll at Elkins Bay North and South. The visibility today was good at 70 feet. The divers saw razor fish, spotted moray eels, lobster, ocean trigger fish, channel clinging crabs, golden tail morays, black groupers, black durgeons, and brittle stars.
 
Wednesday, we went back to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace and Chasbo’s Corner due to the wind direction. Highlights of the day included indigo hamlets, barred hamlet, green moray, spiny lobsters, gray angelfish, schools of creole wrasse, dog snappers, horse eye jacks, barracuda, white spotted file fish, and french angelfish.
 
Thursday, the dive group spent the day east of the atoll at The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Eagle Ray Wall. The visibility today varied from 75-100 feet. The dive group loved the Blue Hole as we saw huge black groupers, midnight parrot fish, Caribbean reef sharks, barred hamlet, and Bermuda chubs. Half Moon Caye Wall was an excellent dive. The group loved the swim throughs and we saw southern sting rays, barracudas, snapping shrimp, razor fish, queen angelfish, permit, and hog fish. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch at Half Moon Natural Monument before heading to Eagle Ray Wall for the last dive. Highlights of the dive included three huge tarpon, sergeant majors, scorpion fish, and spiny lobster.
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APRIL 24th- 30th
 
Weather: Warm temperatures, hazy skies, moderate winds      
Air Temp: High 80’s   
Water Temp: 80-82 degrees
Visibility: 50ft–80ft
 
The week began on the west side of the atoll for checkout dives at Crickozeen North & South, as well as Lobster Bay. The visibility at Crickozeen was 50 ft. We saw pipe fish, garden eels, various shrimp, black grouper, slender file fish, lobster, juvenile spotted drum, king mackerel, spiny head blenny, neck crabs, and cleaner shrimp. Lobster Bay visibility was better at 70 ft with several lobster sightings, green morays, lion fish, and various reef fish.
 
Monday we went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace, Chasbo’s Corner, and Elkin’s Bay South. The visibility was 80ft. and we saw lots of beautiful black coral and wire coral at this site. Highlights of the dive included channel clinging crab, southern sting rays. The group loved the wall and the formations. Chasbo’s Corner also had good visibility at 80ft. Highlights of the dive included a hawks bill turtle, spotted file fish, smooth trunk fish, three spotted eagle rays, and schooling creole wrasse. Highlights of Elkin’s Bay, included razor fish, spotted drum, cowry, spotted moray, three types of hamlet, and big black groupers.
 
The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Manta Ray Wall, east of the atoll were on the agenda for the day. The visibility today was not great at 50-60ft. but the divers still had a great day. We saw four reef sharks, black grouper, and jacks in the Blue Hole. The dive group loved the sharks and the formations in the Blue Hole. Highlights of Half Moon Caye Wall included Nassau grouper, hog fish, southern sting rays, lots of conch, and unfortunately lots of thimble jellies. We took a little break for lunch and picnicked on Belizean fried chicken and took a little tour to see the red footed booby birds on Half Moon Caye. After lunch, we went to Manta Ray Wall. The dive group loved the formations and the beautiful wall. Highlights of the dive included tunicates, free swimming morays, and a huge spotted eagle ray.
 
Wednesday, we went to the west of the atoll to Tarpon Bay, Elgene’s Inn, and we did a night dive at Northern Bogue. The visibility at Tarpon Bay was 60ft. and we saw black grouper, neck crab, channel clinging crab, indigo hamlet, black hamlet, and butter hamlet. The visibility at Elgene’s Inn was the same and we saw green moray and white spotted toad fish. The night dive at Northern Bogue was excellent. We saw tiger tail sea cucumber, various shrimp, blood worms, lobster, lettuce sea slugs, conch, burr puffer, white spotted moray, and spotted drums.
 
Today we went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The visibility was 60ft. at The Elbow with nice current today. The dive group saw hawks bill turtle, black grouper at a cleaning station, schooling permits, white spotted toad fish, channel clinging crabs, and various reef fish. The visibility at Black Beauty and Lee Ellen’s Melons was the same. Highlights included Nassau grouper, free swimming moray eels, grouper, spotted eagle ray, hawksbill turtle, spotted drum, and a nurse shark.
 
Friday, the dive group went to the east side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch, Wishbone, and Alfredo’s. The visibility today was 50- 60ft. We saw green moray eels, spotted moray eels, black grouper cleaning stations, and a huge 4 foot lager head turtle. Highlights of Wishbone and Alfredo’s, included southern sting rays, barracudas, lobster, white spotted toad fish and a burr puffer fish. We saw another lager head turtle at Alfredo’s but he was not near the size of the big guy at Lindsey’s.
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APRIL 2nd- 9th
 
Weather: Sunny skies and moderate winds
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: 76-80degrees
Visibility: 50ft–90+ft
 
Sunday the dive group began the week with check out dives on the west side of Turneffe Atoll at Crickozeen North and South, then to Amber Head. The dive group consisted of four certified divers and two new diver’s doing their first open water dives. Highlights of the first dive included spiny lobsters, neck crabs, yellow head jaw fish, yellow line arrow crabs, Christmas tree worms, feather duster worms, spotted morays, and several types of shrimp. The highlight of the second dive at Crickozeen was singing “Happy Birthday” to one of the divers underwater. The group loved it. At Amber Head, we saw peacock flounder, huge hermit crabs, spotted moray, and the dive master charmed a lobster out of hiding to put on a little show for us.
 
The divers went to the east side of the atoll today to The Terrace and Elkin’s Bay. This was the first deep dive for our students. We saw green moray eels, channel clinging crabs, wahoo, barracudas, and lots of beautiful black corals. Highlights of Elkin’s Bay included razor fish, neck crabs, spiny lobster, spotted eagle rays, and of course we did a little lion fish hunting.  
 
Tuesday the dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll to Chasbo’s Corner, Mandy’s Dandy, and Tunnels & Barrels. At Mandy’s Dandy, the group was able to dive with eight dolphins and we saw a hawks bill turtle. Other highlights included channel clinging crabs and drum fish.
 
Today, we went to the east side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Cockroach Caye, with a night dive before dinner at Northern Bogue. We saw a beautiful logger head sea turtle at Linsey’s Back Porch. At Cockroach Caye, we saw green morays, barracuda, and queen trigger fish. The night dive was excellent with highlights including lettuce leaf sea slugs, sea hares, spiny lobsters, slipper lobsters, and long spine sea urchins.
 
Thursday the divers went east to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Aquarium. The Blue Hole was incredible today with 15 reef sharks spotted in addition to black groupers, chubs, and midnight parrot fish. The divers loved the stalactites. Half Moon Caye Wall was a nice dive today. We saw southern sting rays, barracudas, and more sharks. We stopped for a picnic lunch and saw the red footed booby birds at Half Moon Monument. The Aquarium was the final dive of the day and highlights included chubs, sergeant majors, neck crabs, tarpon, and dog snappers.

The dive group went to the southern tip of the atoll today to The Elbow and Lee Ellen’s Melons. We saw a massive school of horse eye jacks, atlantic spades, school of permit, black grouper, wahoos, and snapper. Between the two dives we spotted a group of dolphins so the divers went snorkeling with them. They were very up close and personal with us. The divers really wanted to see turtles and Lee Ellen’s Melons did not disappoint. We saw a huge 7 foot lager head sea turtle and another smaller one toward the end of the dive. We finished the day with some lion fish hunting!
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MARCH 24th – APRIL 1st
 
Weather: Partly sunny skies and moderate winds
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: 76-80degrees
Visibility: 50ft–90+ft
 
Sunday the dive group began the week with check out dives on the west side of Turneffe Atoll at Crickozeen North, Crickozeen South, and Lobster Bay. Crickozeen North visibility was a little green from the surface to 15ft and then the visibility improved. We saw lobster, flamingo tongue, wire coral shrimp, pederson shrimp, arrow crab, Nassau grouper, black grouper, several types of snapper, and a green moray. The visibility was similar at Crickozeen South. Highlights of the dive included razor fish, spotted toad fish, white spotted moray, lion fish, snappers, and green morays. The visibility was much better at Lobster Bay. We saw two spotted drums, spotted nudi branch, southern stingrays, and lobsters. 
 
The divers went to the east side of the atoll today to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Elkin’s Bay. The visibility was 70ft. at Lindsey’s Back Porch. We had some swells on top and a little surge underwater. We saw free swimming moray, black grouper, mutton snapper, and juvenile spotted drums. The visibility at Elkin’s Bay was excellent at 90+ feet. Highlights included razor fish, garden eels, hawks bill turtle, juvenile spotted drum, creole wrasse, spotted morays, and white spotted toad fish.
 
Tuesday the dive group went east to the magnificent Blue Hole. The Blue Hole was an incredible dive this week. The divers had good visibility at 50ft. We saw midnight parrot fish, huge black groupers, bermuda chubs, and nine reef sharks. Half Moon Caye Wall was a little disappointing this week with poor visibility and swells. However, we saw hog fish, razor fish, conch, garden eels, two southern sting rays, and white spotted moray. After the dive, we enjoyed a picnic lunch with the atoll adventurers at Half Moon Natural Monument. We finished our day at Quebrada where we saw a plethora of reef fish.
 
We went to the northwest side of the atoll to Mandy’s Dandy and The Terrace. The visibility today was 70ft. Highlights of the day included channel clinging crabs, green morays, lobster, snappers, spotted drums, and white spotted moray.
 
Thursday the divers went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow and Jo Jo’s Split. The visibility today was 60ft. We saw schooling snapper, permit, horse eye jacks, atlantic spades, black grouper, mackerel, hawksbill turtle, and southern sting rays.
 
The dive group went to the southeast side of the atoll today to April Fools and Chrissea. The visibility was 60ft. and we saw green morays, huge snappers, black groupers, a hawks bill turtle, and two nurse sharks. The highlight of the week came at the end of the day. As we were coming back to the lodge, we saw a pod of 50 short fin pilot whales. We geared up and swam with them before returning. It was amazing!
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MARCH 19th- 26th
 
Weather: Sunny skies and light winds
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: 76-80degrees
Visibility: 40ft. – 90+ft.
 
Sunday the dive group began the week with check out dives on the west side of Turneffe Atoll at Crickozeen North, Crickozeen South, and Amber Head. Highlights of Crickozeen included southern sting rays, spiny lobster, green moray eels, spotted eagle rays, neck crabs, butterfly fish, garden eels, and smooth trunk fish. Amber Head was a great dive today and the group saw spotted moray eels, spotted drum fish, and cow fish.
 
The divers went to the northwest side of the atoll today to dive The Terrace, Chasbo’s Corner, and Elkin’s Bay. We saw a huge green moray eel, dog snapper, barracuda, black cap basslet, and a long snout butterfly fish at The Terrace. Chasbo’s Corner was full of black groupers, channel clinging crabs, snappers, and creole wrasse. At Elkin’s Bay, we watched the razor fish dive into the sand, saw southern sting rays, peacock flounder, and flamingo tongue.
 
Tuesday the dive group went east to the magnificent Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is one of Belize’s most popular dive sites and is very accessible from Turneffe Flats. We saw all the big ones today including Caribbean reef sharks, midnight parrot fish, huge black groupers, and Bermuda chubs. After the Blue Hole, we went to Half Moon Caye for a dive on the wall. It was fantastic! We saw a spotted eagle ray, green moray ells, southern sting rays, barracuda, and groupers. The clarity was excellent and the wall was full of life. We stopped at Half Moon Natural Monument for a picnic lunch of Belizean fried chicken and pasta salad before we checked out the red footed booby birds which live on the island. The day ended at The Aquarium, obviously named for the plethora of fish that we saw there. In addition to the fish, we also saw a hawksbill sea turtle.
 
We went to the southwest side of the atoll today to Tarpon Bay and Elgene’s Inn before taking an afternoon break. The night dive tonight is at Northern Bogue in front of the lodge. Highlights of the day included southern sting rays, spotted eagle rays, creole wrasse, tiger tail sea cucumber, and black groupers. The night dive was great. We saw slipper lobsters, batwing crab, spiny lobster, lion fish, and a sleeping parrot fish.
 
Thursday the divers went to the northwest to Elkin’s North and Tunnels & Barrels. Highlights of the day were a juvenile spotted drum, free swimming green moray eel, and three huge channel clinging crabs.
 
The dive group went to Molly’s Folly’s and Mandy’s Dandy for their final dives of the week. The visibility was excellent today and conditions were perfect. Highlights of the day included spotted moray eels, spiny lobsters, creole wrasse, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, and a hawksbill sea turtle.
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MARCH 12th- 19th
 
Weather: Partly sunny skies, scattered showers, moderate winds
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: 76-78 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 100+ft.
 
The dive group began the week on the west side of the Turneffe Atoll at Crickozeen North and South, and at Amber Head. Highlights of Crickozeen included yellow head jaw fish, eagle rays, conch, and the beautiful formations at the Northern site were crowd pleasers. We also saw a huge barrel sponge with a gigantic lobster inside. Amber Head was a great dive as well with lobsters, green morays, drums, and the ladies loved the indigo hamlets.
 
Monday, we went to the northwest side to The Terrace, Chasbo’s Corner, and Elkin’s Bay. The visibility today was excellent at 100+ feet. The divers loved the wall of black coral and this was a deep dive for several of the divers. Conditions were perfect for a beginning deep dive. Chasbo’s Corner is a magnificent site for fish identification. The group enjoyed the deep water sea fans and scattered corals. Elkin’s Bay was a great dive as well with highlights including eagle rays, razor fish, upside down jelly fish, snapping shrimp, and beautiful formations. The dives today could not have been better with perfect weather and visibility.
 
Today we went to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Manta Ray Wall. The Blue Hole was impressive as usual and all the divers loved the stalactite formations at depth. Half Moon Caye Wall was very entertaining as the dive group had a blast in the swim throughs. We took a little break for Belizean fried chicken and pasta salad at Half Moon Natural Monument before moving on to Manta Ray Wall. This site was gorgeous with eagle rays, several fish reef, baby turtles, morays, and the show stopper, Bubba, the oversized logger head turtle.
 
Wednesday, the winds were high so we went to the west side of the atoll to Tarpon Bay and Sponge Shop. The divers were very interested in finding all five types of hamlet while they were in Belize. Tarpon Bay offered four of the five including a hybrid hamlet. We also saw toad fish, drums, lobster, baby trunk fish, and shrimp. Sponge Shop was our opportunity to find the missing hamlet and we did it! The divers were thrilled that we found all five types in one day. The butter hamlet and the shy hamlet showed themselves. The night dive at Northern Bogue was full of life tonight! We saw sea slugs, lettuce, lobsters, two octopus, several slipper lobsters, web burr fish, a sleepy parrot fish, and two sea hares.
 
The winds were strong today and visibility was low. We went to the southern tip of the Turneffe Atoll to The Elbow, Triple Anchor, and Permit Paradise. Visibility was poor at Triple Anchor and Permit Paradise. We saw permit, lobster, and a couple of amberjacks. The highlight of the day was The Elbow. We had excellent current a saw plenty of schooling fish, eagle rays, and three turtles. Even with some swells, it was the best dive of the day.
 
The conditions improved on Friday with visibility between 50ft-70ft. We went to Lindsey’s Back Porch, Elkin’s Bay, and Wish Bone. Highlights of Lindsey’s Back Porch included a lager head turtle, three hawksbill turtle, black groupers, spotted moray eels, and various reef fish. There were some swells on the east side so we went to the west side for the last two dives and conditions improved. Elkin’s South was calmer and highlights included a hawksbill turtle, juvenile spotted drum, and the dive group loved the swim through. Wish Bone was a good dive with highlights including barracuda, grouper, snappers, channel clinging crab, and several types of shrimp.
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FEBRUARY 26th- MARCH 5th
 
Weather: Sunny skies, calm winds
Air Temp: High 80’s to Low 90’s
Water Temp: 78-80 degrees
Visibility: 70ft. – 100+ft.
 
The dive group began the week at Lobster Bay on the west side of the atoll. The first thing we saw while descending was a big black grouper getting cleaned. The divers saw yellow head jaw fish, snapping shrimp, a massive eagle ray, puffer fish, spotted drum, and southern sting rays.
 
Monday, we went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace and Mandy’s Dandy. Ulf K. could not stop cheering after swimming for five minutes with an eagle ray at the beginning of the dive at The Terrace. We also saw a moray eat a lion fish and the wall at The Terrace was very impressive. The divers loved this site. Andrea D. loved the dive at Mandy’s Dandy. The visibility was crystal clear here and the flourishing sea fans and black deep water was beautiful. The colors were magnificent and we saw several types of Caribbean reef fish.
 
Our dive group went east to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and The Aquarium on Tuesday. The divers thought the stalactites at the Blue Hole were very interesting and enjoyed the dive. John S. captured excellent video of this once in a lifetime experience. Half Moon Caye Wall was impressive as usual. The divers loved the swim throughs, topography of the site. We saw a Caribbean reef shark, southern sting rays, and snapping shrimp. Highlights of The Aquarium included three eagle rays, a curious hawksbill turtle, and hundreds of reef fish. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch at Half Moon Caye Monument.
 
Wednesday, we went to Front Door and Lindsey’s Back Porch just east of the resort. Highlights of the day included channel clinging crab, dolphins, and two mega sting rays. The Night Dive at Northern Bogue was great. We spotted three octopuses, a puffer fish, and several lobsters.
 
Today, the dive group went south on the atoll to The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. There was little current today at The Elbow so there was little schooling fish. We did see a small school of dog snappers and a school of permit. The dive master and captain entertained the group with some underwater kung fu and then we enjoyed the beautiful wall. Highlights included Nassau and black grouper. Lee Ellen’s Melons was a favorite as one guest described it as “a garden”. The topography at this site is perfect for nurse sharks and we saw three! We also saw two eagle rays and a turtle.
 
Friday, we went to the west side of the atoll to Tarpon Bay, Crickozeen, and Amber Head. Highlights of the day included turtles, eagle rays, arrow crabs, spotted drums and a large crab in a barrel sponge. Amber Head was Ulf’s 100th dive and the staff and divers made it a memorable dive.
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FEBRUARY 19 - 23, 2011
 
Weather: Sunny skies, high winds       
Air Temp: Mid 80’s
Water Temp: 76-78 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 100+ft.
 
The dive group began the week by heading west to Crickozeen North, Crickozeen South, and Tarpon Bay. The visibility today was excellent at 100+ feet. At Crickozeen North, we saw black grouper, barracudas, conch, pederson shrimp, yellow line arrow crab, garden eels, green moray, juvenile spotted drum, lobster, hawksbill turtles, yellow head jaw fish, and it was the first time for Dwight W., of Colorado, seeing a snapping shrimp. The corals on the south side of Crickozeen were much healthier and we saw lion fish, black grouper, razor fish, green moray, grouper, and trunk fish. Tarpon Bay visibility was excellent as well with highlights including channel cling crabs, spotted eagle ray, spotted drum, white spotted moray, flamingo tongue, and wire coral shrimp.
 
On Monday, the divers went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace, Elkin’s Bay, and Chasbo’s Corner. Visibility at The Terrace was 80 ft. Highlights of the dive included lots of healthy black coral, black grouper, spotted drum, lobster, green moray, creole wrasse, and five large channel clinging crabs. Elkin’s Bay was beautiful today and we saw barracuda, king mackerel, spotted drum, spiny head blenny, and another first for Dwight W. , an upside down jellyfish. Highlights of Chasbo’s Corner included black grouper, black durgeons, lobster, channel clinging crab, porcupine puffer, and a hawksbill turtle.
 
Tuesday, we went back to the northwest side due to the high winds from the east. Visibility had decreased to 70ft. Highlights of the day included razor fish, ocean trigger fish, hog fish, peacock flounder, creole wrasse, hawksbill turtle, tiger grouper, and several types of reef fish.
 
Today, the conditions were not as favorable. Winds were very high and water conditions were a little murky with visibility at 40 ft. The Elbow, south on the atoll, was rough today but we saw snapper, spotted eagle rays, and a school of horse eye jacks. Sponge Shop visibility was poor due to the tide but we were able to see spotted drum, pipe fish, and two white spotted morays before we came in for the day.
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February  6 - 11, 2011
 
Weather: Sunny skies, calm winds
Air Temp: Low 90’s
Water Temp: 78-80 degrees
Visibility: 70ft. – 100+ft.

Peter and Susan C., of Maryland, were the only divers this week and they enjoyed the personal attention very much. The weather conditions were perfect and the visibility was even better. On the first day, we went northeast to Lindsey’s Back porch, Alfredo’s, and Cockroach Caye Shallows. The first thing we saw at Lindsey’s was an enormous sting ray, followed by lobster, green morays, and the first squids for the dive pair. Alfredo’s was the next dive and we saw a sight that few divers will ever see. We witnessed diamond squids hatching from an egg sack. It was amazing! The dive at Cockroach was just as impressive spotting tiny drums, flounder, a basket star, and a green moray swam right up to us, checking us out.
 
Monday, the dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace, Black Coral Wall, and Elkin’s Bay. Highlights of the day included lizard fish, eagle ray, file fish, razor fish diving into the sand at Elkin’s Bay, and the beautiful black coral on the wall.
 
Today the divers went east to The Blue Hole, Conch Bay, and Half Moon Caye Wall. The Blue Hole, one of Belize’s most popular sites was incredible today. It was so nice that Susan wanted to do it again, but instead we headed to Conch bay. Conch bay was full of surprises as Peter saw the biggest barracuda he has ever seen and Susan loved the garden eels. The topography here was amazing and both divers said it was the best dive they had done to date. We took a little break for a picnic lunch at Half Moon Monument and then we went to Half Moon Caye Wall for our final dive of the day. The dive began with a large swim through to see a huge black grouper and a massive snapper. Susan spotted a grey Caribbean reef shark and we saw several sting rays and two tarpon.
 
Wednesday, we went back to the west side for diving at Crickozeen North and South, and returned early to prepare for a night dive at Northern Bogue. At Crickozeen North, Susan heard the snapping shrimps for the first time and we saw file fish, decorator crabs, several types of reef fish, lobsters, and spotted morays. South at Crickozeen highlights included several green morays, drums, and file fish. The night dive was excellent. Highlights of the night dive included a puffer fish, trunk fish, lobsters, crabs, tiger tail sea cucumber, lettuce sea slugs, and the best was the octopus just sitting in the open for all to see.
 
The Elbow, Triple Anchor, and Lee Ellen’s Melons, south on the atoll is on the agenda for the day. The Elbow is a beautiful dive full of schooling fish and corals but the highlight today was the hawksbill turtle just hanging out with us and the queen angel fish that seemed to be fanning a green moray regardless of how the moray tried to escape. Both of the divers saw the anchors at Triple Anchor and a wide variety of reef fish, lobsters, and we saw a grouper and snapper dining on a lion fish. Highlights of Lee Ellen’s Melons were lobsters, reef fish, and juvenile spotted drums.
 
Friday, the group went southwest on the atoll to Jo Jo’s Split, Chris Sea, and Secret Garden. The divers were blown away by Jo Jo’s Split. The topography was amazing today and we saw sting rays, a huge school of horse eye jacks, big black groupers, and blue and rainbow parrot fish. Chris Sea was full of channel clinging crabs and drums. Secret Garden was flourishing with soft corals and reef fish. There was an amazing coral head at this site where we spent a large amount of time observing all of the sea life.
 
Peter and Susan had the time of their lives this week. The combination of fantastic weather, excellent visibility, and being the only dive boat on Turneffe made for a once in a lifetime experience.
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January 22 - 29, 2011
 
Weather: Mostly sunny, some overcast skies
Air Temp: Low to Mid 80’s
Water Temp: 78 degrees
Visibility: 60ft. - 100ft.
 
The dive group went to the west side of the atoll on Sunday for their check out dives at Crickozeen North, Crickozeen South, and Lobster Bay. Highlights of the first dive at Crickozeen include yellow head jaw fish, garden eels, decorator crabs, and a channel clinging crab. John and Pat B., of Massachusetts, found several spotted morays, and pat loved the razor fish diving into the sandy bottom. We also saw a school of little bar jack’s swimming under the dive boat. On the third dive, we found another school of jaw fish and we were able to observe cleaner shrimp, banded coral shrimp, and snapping shrimp.
 
Monday, we went to the northeast side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch, Alfredo’s, and Wish Bone. The dive group was amazed by the topography and the abundance of soft corals on top of the ledge at the first site. There was also a large variety of reef fish at this site. On the second dive, we saw several types of angel fish, flamingo tongue, and a hawksbill turtle. We found plenty of lobster, crabs, and spotted drum, Pat’s favorite a spotted drum, and a pair of white spotted file fish. We also saw a giant tunicate, several types of grunts, parrot fish, and butterfly fish.
 
The dive group went east today to Lighthouse Reef to dive The Blue Hole, Half Moon CayeWall, and Aquarium. The visibility at The Blue Hole was excellent today and we found five Caribbean reef sharks as we came up from swimming through the massive stalactites at 130 ft. Half Moon Caye Wall is always a stunner and today was no exception. The divers commented on the swim throughs and the beauty of the wall. A few highlights included a huge cobra snapper, southern sting rays laying on the shelf, and a green sea turtle feeding in the grass. The turtle had a vibrant shell and paid no attention to us so it was a great photo opportunity. There were also large varieties of schooling fish and two octopuses on this dive. We took a break after this dive and enjoyed a picnic lunch at Half Moon Natural Monument and observed the red footed booby bird. The third dive at Aquarium was full of schooling fish.
 
Today, Pat and John went on our Atoll Adventure boat to search for dolphins and manatee and our two newcomers, Alex and Andrea, of Salt Lake City, went to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Wish Bone. This was Andrea’s first open water dive and she loved it! Highlights of the first dive included jaw fish, conch, and Alex enjoyed spearing a few lion fish. The second dive at Wishbone was even better. Highlights of the dive include lobster, queen angel fish, indigo hamlet, squirrel fish, princess parrot fish. The spotted eagle ray at the end of the dive stole the show! Pat and John joined us this evening for a night dive at Northern Bogue, It was a great night and the divers saw octopus, porcupine puffer, lobster, shrimp, sea cucumbers, lettuce sea slugs, and a tiny spotted trunk fish.    
 
The dive group went to the southeast side of the atoll today to Jo Jo’s Split, Chris Sea, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. We added three divers to the group today. A huge logger head turtle that the group dubbed “Barnacle Bill” was the highlight of the day. He even showed up at two dive sites but we think his home was at Jo Jo’s.
 
Friday, we went to the southeast tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Black Beauty, and April Fools. The Elbow was amazing today with very little current so the group was able to see the stunning colors of the coral, and the eagle rays in the perfectly clear water stole the show. Highlights of Black Beauty included several types of reef fish, morays, and the dive master, John, fed lion fish to a grouper. On the third dive we found several spotted toad fish, turtles, tiger grouper, and several morays.
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January  15 - 22, 2011
 
Weather: Warm, moderate winds, partly cloudy skies
Air Temp: Low to Mid 80’s
Water Temp: 78 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. - 100ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group began the week on the north east side of the atoll at Lindsey’s Back Porch, Front Door, and Wish Bone. The winds today were out of the north and visibility was good at 60-70 feet. Highlights of the day included hawksbill sea turtles, green moray eels, huge black groupers, creole wrasse, ocean trigger fish, banded coral shrimp, spiny lobster, and channel clinging crabs.
 
Monday, the divers went to the southeastern side of the atoll to Jo Jo’s Split, Lee Ellen’s Melon’s, and Chris Sea. The visibility today was better at 80-100 feet. The divers saw a large barracuda, several lion fish, horse eye jacks, southern sting rays, and queen angel fish at Jo Jo’s Split. Lee Ellen’s Melons was an excellent dive as well. Highlights of the dive included hawksbill and lager head sea turtles, yellow line arrow crabs, tiger tail sea cucumbers, and queen trigger fish. The dive group saw two very impressive eagle rays, sting rays, and spiny lobster at Chris Sea.
 
Today the dive group traveled east of the atoll to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall, and Aquarium. The visibility today was excellent and the group loved the stalactites at depth in The Blue Hole. We also saw Bermuda chub, black grouper, and yellow snapper while descending. The group loved the swim throughs and caves at Half Moon Wall. Highlights of the dive included sting rays, garden eels, several types of crabs, and nurse sharks. The Aquarium lived up to the name today! The group was surrounded by several types of fish including Bermuda chub, creole wrasse, ocean trigger fish, spotted moray eels, and a few donkey dung sea cucumbers.
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JANUARY 1 - 8, 2011
 
Weather: Warmer, moderate winds, partly cloudy skies
Air Temp: Low to Mid 80’s
Water Temp: 78 – 80 degrees
Visibility: 40ft. - 100ft.
 
The dive group this week consisted of four open water referrals and two experienced divers. Winds on the first day were out of the southeast so we went to the northwest side of the atoll to Lobster Bay, Crickozeen Cut, and North Crickozeen. The visibility at Lobster Bay, the first check out dive site, was 70+ feet and the divers saw lion fish, spotted moray, spotted nudi branch, octopus, and a hawksbill turtle. The visibility at Crickozeen Cut was not great because of the tide. However, we were able to see lobster, white spotted moray, white spotted toad fish, and a huge eagle ray. This was the closest Cindy M., a return diver from Tennessee, had ever been to an eagle ray. North Crickozeen was covered with green water and visibility was low at 40 ft. Regardless of the poor conditions, the divers saw flamingo tongue, brittle star, tiger tail sea cucumber, southern sting rays, and channel clinging crabs.
 
Monday, wind direction shifted from the east, so we went to the northwest tip to The Terrace, Elkin’s Bay, and Chasbo’s Corner. The visibility today was excellent at 80+ feet. Highlights of the day included spotted lobster, grouper, scorpion fish, razor fish, channel clinging crabs, spiny head blenny, trigger fish, trunk fish, hawksbill turtles, green moray, and a moray dining on a lion fish.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went east to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Aquarium. The visibility at The Blue Hole was 60 feet. The divers enjoyed the deep dive and the impressive stalactites. We saw black grouper, chubs, horse eye jacks, moray ell, and three reef sharks. Half Moon Caye Wall visibility was even better at 80 feet. This site is always a favorite and today did not disappoint. We saw garden eels, black grouper, several southern sting rays, permit, snapper, and octopus. After this dive we were joined by the atoll adventurers for a picnic and bird watching at Half Moon Natural Monument. The last dive of the day was The Aquarium and the visibility here was excellent. The dive group saw spotted eagle rays, sergeant major, channel clinging crabs, cow fish, and a huge tarpon.
 
Wednesday, the divers took a break for some fishing during the day and then we did a night dive at Northern Bogue. The visibility was good but it was a little chilly tonight. We saw conch, tiger tail sea cucumber, a couple of octopuses, lettuce sea slugs, burr puffers, porcupine puffers, upside down jellies, and green moray.
 
The conditions on Thursday were excellent with no wind, flat seas, and water visibility at up to 100 feet. We went to the southern tip of the atoll today to The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The Elbow visibility was 100+ feet and we saw green moray, king fish, trunk fish, mutton snapper, and queen parrot fish. The visibility at Black Beauty was just as impressive and the dive group saw Nassau grouper, white spotted toad fish, porcupine fish, and several types of reef fish. Highlights of Lee Ellen’s Melons included southern sting rays, three nurse sharks, permit, and barracudas.
 
Friday, the dive group went east on the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch. The visibility today was 80 feet. The dive group saw nurse sharks, channel cling crabs, beautiful soft corals, black groupers, blue parrot fish, and several types of reef fish.
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December 23 - 28, 2010
 
Weather: Cooler, moderate to high winds, partly cloudy skies
Air Temp: High 70’s to Low 80’s
Water Temp: 78 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 80ft.
 
The dive group went to the west side of the atoll on the first day to Crickozeen and Amber Head. This was the first open water dive for Leif B. and Petra B., of New Jersey, since their certification. Crickozeen was clear and made for a perfect introduction for the new divers. The group saw lobsters, a huge barrel sponge, green moray, and a crab in a sponge. Diane A., of Minnesota, was also happy to see her favorite, a spotted drum. Amber Head was a beautiful dive with gorgeous sponges, coral, and full of reef fish. Diane and Glenn A. decided to do this one again. We saw several spotted morays, adult drums, and two small juvenile drums.
 
Today the group went back to the west side of the atoll due to the winds. We went to Sponge Shop, Tarpon Bay, and Crickozzen South. Sponge Shop was the first deep dive for our new divers so after proper instructions we plunged into the appropriately named Sponge Shop. The group was amazed at the beautiful colors of the sponges and Leif and Petra B. saw their first eagle ray, a “wow moment.” The second dive at Tarpon Bay was a favorite for the group. Leif B. found an octopus and spotted a large lager head turtle. Diane A. was thrilled to find several drums and a group of lobster on this dive. Crickozeen South continued to impress with plenty of cow fish, trunk fish, and beautiful corals.
 
Christmas Day and we are headed east to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye, and Conch Bay. The Blue Hole is one of the most popular dive sites in Belize. Descending into The Blue Hole, we saw reef sharks and once we reached the stalactites at 130ft the visibility was good. We saw several large black groupers at depth. It was a great day at The Blue Hole. As usual, Half Moon Caye Wall was one of the best dives with the swim throughs and the impressive topography. We saw two turtles, sting rays, and octopus. This was the 300th dive for Glenn A. After the dive, we enjoyed a lovely picnic at Half Moon Natural Monument and went to observe the Red Footed Booby Birds. The third dive at Conch Bay was excellent as well. It was high tide on this dive and we saw morays, flounder, eagle rays, southern sting rays, and the group enjoyed the swim throughs.
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the southeast side of the atoll to dive The Notch, Jo Jo’s Split, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The Notch was excellent and as we came on top of the shelf we saw an eagle ray feeding in the sand and a hawksbill turtle resting in a patch of coral. Jo Jo’s Split had poor visibility today, but Diane and Glenn A. found an interested barracuda as they did their safety stop. The best dive today was at Lee Ellen’s Melons. The divers found a mega sting ray and a nurse shark.
 
The dive group went to the east side of the atoll today due to high winds and overcast skies. The visibility was between 50ft.-60ft. April Fools was a good dive. Diane A. found a green moray and a large channel clinging crab. We also saw a couple of barracuda at this site. The second dive at Calabash was also full of channel clinging crabs, must be the season.
 
We continued to dive the east side today at Lindsey’s Back Porch, Wish Bone, and Cockroach. The visibility was excellent today. We saw more crabs, lobster, and some sea cucumbers. The divers loved this site because of the flourishing soft corals of the shelf. The corals at Wish Bone were also very impressive as well as the amount of reef fish at this site. The last dive at Cockroach was very active as the group found juvenile drum fish, two eagle rays, octopus, and a southern sting ray feeding in the sand.
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DECEMBER 19th - 21st
 
Weather: Warmer, moderate winds, clear skies
Air Temp: Low 80’s
Water Temp: 78 degrees
Visibility: 80 Ft. +
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the Northeast side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch, Front Door, and we ended the day with a night dive at Northern Bogue. We had two return guests this week, Brian V. and Michael V., of Asheville, NC, a father and son pair, and first time guests Tammy N. and Robert M., of Ontario. Lindsey’s was a great dive and we saw lots of lobster and some large black groupers. Brian V. found a large green moray with a tiny drum fish next to it. Michael V. also spotted a beautiful ray in the distance and an enormous barracuda. The second dive, Front Door, offered a wide variety of reef fish and several large lobsters. The highlight of the day was definitely the night dive at Northern Bogue. The dive group saw a sea hare, a harmless sea creature that looks like a large slug, which will ink as a defense mechanism. This is an amazing sight to see. We also saw a couple of octopuses and several types of nocturnal shrimp.
 
Today the dive group went to the Southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Jo Jo’s Split, and Chris Sea. There was outgoing current at The Elbow, so we did not see the large groups of schooling fish that are typical for the site. The highlight of the dive was the two green morays in one hole and a large black grouper in the next hole just hanging out for all of us to savor the moment. We also saw a while line toad fish, hawksbill turtle, and a one armed clinging crab. On the second dive at Jo Jo’s Split, we saw an eagle ray feeding and a large sting ray in the sand. A huge eagle ray stole the show at Chris Sea as it came up behind Michael V. and took its time swimming past the group.
 
Tuesday, we went to the Northwest side of the atoll to Alex Story, The Terrace, and Elkin’s Bay. Two eagle rays cruised by us as a barracuda came to check us out at the first site. Tammy N. and Robert M., loved the drop off at this site. The Terrace, always a beautiful black coral wall dive was even more impressive today, as it was decorated with more channel clinging crabs than usual. These crabs are always a phenomenal sight to see. Elkin’s Bay was a peaceful, easy dive with razor fish dashing into the sandy bottom. We also saw several crabs swimming through the openings of the swim through to the beautiful blue skies and flat oceans above, a post card moment to say the least.
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December, 11th - 18th ,2010

Weather: Cooler, moderate winds, mostly clear skies with some over cast
Air temperature: 70s
Water temperature: 78 degrees
Visibility: 100ft plus all dives

This week’s weather conditions started with some moderate north west winds and cool air temperatures around 77 degrees and the week ended with warm easterly winds which warmed things up. Throughout the week the water conditions were about 78 degrees with visibility of more than a 100ft.

On Sunday, the divers visited the Northeast side of Turneffe, diving at Lindsey’s back porch, Alfredo’s and Cockroach shallows. Return guests David and Nancy enjoyed the shape of the reef at Lindsey’s where they saw some large black groupers as well as lobster among all the tropical fish. At Alfredo’s, Nancy found a furry sea cucumber - a sea creature which looks like a giant fur ball slug when moving. At Cockroach, a large eagle ray hovered above the divers while they checked out the beautiful lily white sand with patches of corals. Sand dollars and a peacock flounder were also spotted.

Monday, the divers headed to the East side of Turneffe, diving at Chris Sea, Shoots, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. Today, Chad who came to Turneffe Flats to fly fish, decided to try diving for the very first time. He saw a big green moray, a big channel clinging crab and an octopus in the open! It was a great first dive! The other divers saw an eagle ray and a turtle swimming by without concern to divers. And, after ascending from the last dive Dave said, “That was the biggest nurse shark I’ve ever seen.” It was about seven feet!

Tuesday’s dive sites were again on the East side of Turneffe and included: Chinaman Wall, Little Calabash and Front door. Chinaman Wall reef is in good shape but where it ends in the sandy slope some of the patches were damaged from the hurricane. At little Calabash we found several channel clinging crab and Brad got a great picture of a moray eel feeding on a lion fish. At Front Door we saw a southern sting ray and a good sized mantis shrimp buried in the sand. On this dive John caught a lion fish that got away at the same time a resident nurse shark came out and looked at him and looked at Nancy before slowly swimming away.

Wednesday’s dive sites were at the southern tip of Turneffe, which included: Elbow, Black Beauty and Front Porch. The Elbow was calm with no current but we saw a school of jacks, a big permit and some Atlantic spade fish. The highlight of this dive was a hawksbill turtle feeding on a sponge with no concern for divers nor the queen angel fishes surrounding him waiting to pick up the pieces. At the next site, we had a Nassau grouper following us and it even pointing out couple of lion fish to us, one of which a moray ate. During the last dive, a school of yellow jacks came and swirled around Nancy. This was truly a Kodak moment…unfortunately the battery died in the camera!

On Thursday we visited North West side Turneffe, which included dive sites: Molly’s Folly, Chasbo’s Corner and Elkin’s Bay. Nothing out of the ordinary for the first dive, just lots of variety of corals, sponges and fish. The divers loved the sunshine and the way it made all of the colors vibrant. The second and third dives were at Chasbo’s Corner and were flourishing with all of the reef fish, deep water sea fans and scattered corals. As for Elkin’s Bay, there were lots of razor fish diving into the sand. Just as a turtle swam past, the Dive Master found a big crab, then Dave found an even bigger one and Nancy found the tinniest drum fish. Just as we got back under the boat we spotted scorpion fish and a big green moray getting clean by shrimps and gobbies.

Friday’s dive sites were located on the West side of Turneffe, including dive site Crickozeene. These two dives were pleasant with scattered corals and sponges. We found a lot of spotted morays under almost all barrel sponges. The guests commented on how much they loved these dives and the diversity of fish, colorful sponges and variety of corals.

Our guests this week really loved the fact that we were the only dive boat at these sites. They were also glad they choose Turneffe Flats since we dive the entire Atoll and always have dive sites that are calmer and protected by the weather.
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DECEMBER 4 - 11, 2010
 
Weather: Cooler, moderate winds, clear skies
Air Temp: High 70’s to Low 80’s
Water Temp: 78 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 100ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group began the day with a checkout dive at Calabash on the southeast side of the Turneffe atoll. The visibility at Calabash was 60ft. Charlie H, of Germany, and Rick D., of Michigan, both saw a hawk’s bill turtle as they entered the water. We also saw southern sting rays, two spotted morays, a green moray, lobster, and various reef fish. The visibility was the same at Red Roof. Highlights of the dive included bat wing crab, huge channel cling crab, a huge southern sting ray, lion fish, grouper, and a large school of Creole wrasse. Front Door did not have the clarity of the prior dives, but we saw trunk fish, trigger fish, and spotted drum.
 
We went to the northeast side of the atoll today to dive Lindsey’s Back Porch, Alfredo’s, and Barracuda Bay. The visibility today was excellent at 60-80+ feet. Lindsey’s Back Porch was a great dive. We saw black grouper, king fish, blue parrot fish, spike sea cucumber, flamingo tongue, and various shrimp. The highlights of this dive were the huge 8+ feet nurse shark and when the dive master, John, fed a lion fish to a white spotted moray. On the way to Alfredo’s, we saw a lager head turtle skimming the surface of the water. At Alfredo’s, we saw hog fish, broad leaf conch, small nurse shark, slipper lobster, and spotted drum. Barracuda Bay lived up to its name today with several barracuda sightings as well as trigger fish, flamingo tongue, and juvenile spotted drum.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went to the southeast side of Turneffe to Jo Jo’s Split, Chrissea, and Red Roof. The visibility was excellent at Jo Jo’s Split, more than 80 ft. The dive group saw black groupers, horse eye jacks, creole wrasse, ocean trigger fish, school masters, snapper, sting ray, king fish, and barracuda. Chrissea visibility was good as well and we saw green moray, lobster, white spotted toad fish, a huge nurse shark, and a spotted eagle ray. We went back to Red Roof today in search of a missing weight pocket, found it, and saw lobster, white spotted moray, and a chain moray eel.
 
The dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll today for two dives and ended the day on the east side for a night dive. The visibility at The Terrace was 100ft. The divers saw a lot of horse eye jacks and creole wrasse. We also saw channel cling crab, wire coral shrimp, tunicate, brittle star, peacock flounder, barracuda, and a spotted moray. Elkin’s Bay was a fantastic dive with visibility of 80ft. We saw peacock flounder, razor fish, upside down jellyfish, scorpion fish, spotted eagle ray, two baby spotted drum fish, channel cling crab, and a hawk’s bill turtle upon surfacing. We ended the day with a night dive in front of the Turneffe Flats Lodge at Northern Bogue.
 
Thursday, Charlie H., enjoyed a solo trip out to Belize’s most popular sites The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Rusty’s. The visibility at The Blue Hole was 60 feet and we saw black grouper, horse eye jacks, and midnight parrot fish. Half Moon Caye was even better at 70 feet. There was an unusual current along the wall that kept pushing us off the wall. We were still able to see hog fish, red snapper, garden eels, southern sting rays, and a green turtle. Highlight’s of Rusty’s included green moray, neck crab, and southern sting rays.  
 
Friday, the dive group went to the southern tip of the atoll to the Elbow, Black Beauty, and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The visibility was very poor today at the Elbow and the water was stirred up so this was a disappointment. We made up for that at both Black Beauty and Lee Ellen’s Melons. The visibility at both sites was excellent at 80ft. There was very little current at Black Beauty and we saw channel clinging crab, green moray, golden tail eel, and a white spotted toad fish. The divers saw two spotted moray, a southern sting ray, a huge barracuda, and four nurse sharks at Lee Ellen’s Melons. It was another excellent week at Turneffe Flats!
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NOVEMBER 21 - 26, 2010
 
 
Weather: Cooler, moderate winds, clear skies
Air Temp: Low 70’s to Low 80’s
Water Temp: 80 degrees
Visibility: 50ft. – 80ft.
  
Sunday, the dive group went to the west side of the atoll to Crickozeen North, Crickozeen North, and Amber Head. Crickozeen North was the checkout dive for the group and the visibility here was good at 50ft. We saw lion fish, garden eels, lobster, grouper, arrow crab, banned crab, and flamingo tongue. The visibility at Crickozeen South was the same and highlights of the dive included hermit crabs, neck crabs, milk conch, a white spotted toad fish, and various types of reef fish. Amber Head had similar visibility today and we saw tiger tail cucumber, channel clinging crab, and several types of shrimp.
 
We went to the northwest side today to dive The Terrace, Molly’s Folly, and Elkin’s Bay. The Terrace was the first deep dive in preparation for the Blue Hole trip on Tuesday. Everyone loved the wall at wall at this site and we saw a lot of black coral, lobster, black grouper, and a green moray. The Ohlmacher family, of Colorado, especially liked the white spotted moray dining on a lion fish that they dubbed “Roger”. The visibility today was at 60 ft. Highlights of Molly’s Folly and Elkin’s Bay included a hawksbill turtle, burr puffer, brittle star, creole wrasse, hog fish, razor fish, peacock flounder, and spiny head blenny.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Quebrada. The Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye are both popular dive sites in Belize. The group enjoyed the stalactites and the six Caribbean reef sharks the most. We also saw huge black groupers, midnight parrot fish, and horse jacks. Half Moon Caye Wall had the best visibility at 80+ ft. The swim throughs and rock formations were favorites for the group. We saw peacock flounder, southern sting rays, a school of blue parrot fish, and a spotted eagle ray. Quebrada was a great dive as well with good visibility of 60 ft. Highlights of the dive included a school of permit, hawks bill turtle, green moray, barracuda, and a large channel clinging crab.
 
The dive group went to the west side of the atoll today for two dives and ended the day on the east side for a night dive. The visibility today was 50 ft. Tarpon Bay and Sponge Shop were the first dives, ending with Northern Bogue. Highlights of Tarpon Bay included white spotted toad fish, black grouper, spotted drum fish, and Tony O. saw two spotted eagle rays at the end of the dive. Highlights of Sponge Shop were creole wrasse, green moray, spotted drum, and everyone saw two spotted eagle rays. The night dive was excellent. We saw a plethora of life including sea hair, electric ray, peacock flounder, lobster, squid, horse conch, lettuce sea slug, puffer fish, and a sleeping parrot fish.
 
Thursday, the dive group went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow and back up the east side to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Front Door. The visibility today was between 40 ft. and 60ft. Highlights of the day included a hawks bill turtle, schooling permit, horse eye jacks, atlantic spade fish, white spotted toad fish, and channel clinging crabs.
 
Friday, the dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll to Tunnels & Barrels and Lobster Bay. It was “turtle day” at Tunnels & Barrels as we saw a huge lager head turtle, four hawks bill turtles, as well as green morays and two spotted eagle rays. Lobster was also a nice dive with highlights including spotted morays, balloon puffers, giant sea anemone, and wire shrimp.
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NOVEMBER 6 - 12, 2010
 
Weather: Cooler, moderate to high winds, and scattered showers
Air Temp: Low 70’s to Low 80’s
Water Temp: 80 degrees
Visibility: 30ft. – 80ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the southeast side of the atoll to Rusty’s, Fat John’s, and Little Calabash. The visibility today was 30 ft. to 60ft. Rusty’s visibility was 60ft. and it was the check out dive for the group. We saw two southern sting rays, black grouper, creole wrasse, lion fish, and trunk fish. Fat John’s visibility was a little better at 40 ft. and we saw sea slugs, tiger tail cucumbers, sting rays, and two eagle rays. Little Calabash visibility was at 30ft. We saw spotted eagle ray, barracuda, and moray eels.
 
We continued to dive the southeast on Monday due to the wind direction across the atoll. Jo Jo’s Split, Lee Ellen’s Melons, and Grand Bogue Cut were all great dives with visibility between 60 ft. and 80 ft. Highlights of Jo Jo’s Split were black grouper, school of horse of eye jacks, creole wrasse, lobster, channel cling crab, two green moray eels, and barracudas. Lee Ellen’s visibility was at 80+ ft. and we saw permit, nurse sharks, white spotted morays, and a white spotted toad fish. Highlights of Grand Bogue Cut were several lobsters, ocean trigger fish, black grouper, and several types of reef fish.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Quebrada. The Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye are both popular dive sites in Belize, both are Natural Monuments. The dive group enjoyed the stalactite formations within The Blue Hole and also saw a school of horse eye jacks, black grouper, and midnight parrot fish. Half Moon Caye Wall was beautiful today with visibility of 80+ft. Highlights of the dive included barracuda, southern sting rays, conch, hog fish, octopus, and silver sides. Quebrada was also an excellent dive and we saw creole wrasse, channel cling crab, horse eye jacks, hawks bill turtle, and a big nurse shark.
 
The winds began to calm today as the dive group went to the west side of the atoll to Tarpon Bay and Crickozeen Cut. The visibility today was great at both dive sites. Highlights of the day included garden eels, several types of reef fish, slender file fish, upside down jellies, purple mouth moray, white spotted toad fish, southern sting rays, and a school of eight eagle rays.
 
Thursday, the dive group went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Tarpon Bay South. The Elbow was fantastic with great visibility and little current. The dive group saw a small school of horse eye jacks, atlantic spades, snappers, trunk fish, and two dolphins escorted us the entire dive. Highlights of Black Beauty and Tarpon Bay South were large channel cling crabs, two eagle rays, spiny head blenny, sea cucumber, lobster, creole wrasse, and reef fish.
 
Friday, the dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace, Tunnels and Barrels, and Elkin’s Bay. The visibility today was 50 ft. – 60 ft. Highlights of The Terrace included a school of creole wrasse, tuna, lobster, tunicates, shrimp, and porcupine puffer fish. The group really enjoyed watching a white spotted eagle ray eat a lion fish. The last two dives of the week were excellent. Highlights included two free swimming moray, a huge hawksbill turtle, peacock flounder, tiger tail sea cucumber, green moray, and channel clinging crabs.
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OCTOBER 31- NOVEMBER 5, 2010
 
Weather: Warm, moderate winds, and dry conditions
Air Temp: High 70’s to Low 80’s
Water Temp: 81 degrees
Visibility: 30ft. – 80ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the east side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Alfredo’s. The east side of the atoll was chosen today due to better visibility in this area after Hurricane Richard. The visibility at Lindsey’s Back Porch was 40- 60 ft. We saw flamingo tongue, midnight parrot fish, neck comb, rainbow parrot fish, creole wrasse, and large jelly fish. Alfredo’s visibility was not as good at only 30-40 ft. The group saw several lion fish, lobster, conch, spotted moray, golden tail moray, and several types of reef fish.
 
We went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace, Chasbo’s Corner, and Elkins Bay. The Terrace had good visibility at 60+ feet and the group saw two spotted moray, lobster, spotted lobster, file fish, southern sting ray, creole wrasse, channel cling crab. The group loved the wall at this site. The dive group had the same visibility at Chasbo’s Corner and Elkins Bay. Highlights of the dive included black durgeon, queen angel fish, five free swimming moray eels, peacock flounder, tiger tail sea cucumber, razor fish, mantis shrimp, and spiny head blenny.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went southeast to Jo Jo’s Split, Fat John’s, and Coral Canyon. The visibility today was excellent at 80+ feet, however the coral were in bad shape at Jo Jo’s Split, due to the sand and silt from the recent storm. The group saw white spotted toad fish, blue parrot fish, several types of jacks, snappers, garden eels, and spotted eagle ray. Fat John’s visibility was also 80+ feet and the divers saw ocean trigger fish, a huge southern sting ray, and spotted eagle rays. The tide began to shift at the end of the day which decreased the visibility to 40 feet, however we saw smooth trunk fish, damsel fish, and a baby trunk fish.
 
The Blue Hole, one of Belize’s most popular dive sites, and Half Moon, were on the agenda for Wednesday. The visibility at The Blue Hole was 40-50ft. and the divers saw black grouper, sergeant major, and seven reef sharks, as well as the stalactite formations within the depth of the hole. Half Moon visibility was at 60ft. and the group saw hawks bill turtles, southern sting rays, barracuda, silver sides, hog fish, snappers, and an octopus. After resting at the lodge for the afternoon, we went out to Northern Bogue for the night dive before dinner. We saw sand shark, cowry, octopus, green morays, spotted morays, conch, sea cucumber, slippers, and blood worms.
 
Thursday, the dive group went back to the southeast side to Rusty’s North and South, as well as Little Calabash. The visibility today was 50-70 ft. Highlights of the day included indigo hamlets, southern sting rays, green morays, hawksbill turtles, white spotted toad fish, spotted eagle ray, and various types of shrimp and reef fish.
 
Friday, the dive group went to the east side of the atoll to Nelson’s Turnover, Cockroach Shallows, and Grassy Caye. The visibility today was 50 ft. Highlights of the day included several types of reef fish, southern sting rays, white spotted toad fish, flamingo tongue, and blenny.
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OCTOBER 17 - 22
 
Weather: Warm, moderate winds, and dry conditions
Air Temp: High 80’s    to Lower 90’s
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Visibility: 40 ft. - 150 ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the east side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch, Alfredo’s South and Alfredo’s North. The visibility today was good at 60+ feet. We saw soft corals, baby trunk fish, white spotted moray, and creole wrasse at Lindsey’s Back Porch. The visibility at Alfredo’s North and South was at 60ft. and highlights included lobster, nurse shark, green moray, furry sea cucumber, channel cling crab, and various shrimp.
 
We went to the southeast side of the atoll to Jo Jo’s Split, Lee Ellen’s Melons, and Chrissea. Visibility at Jo Jo’s Split was only 45-50 ft., however, we saw several lion fish, spotted drum, spotted moray, toad fish, school masters, and garden eels. Lee Ellen’s Melons had the same visibility. We saw two green morays, spotted eagle rays, a hawksbill turtle, and a nurse shark at the end of the day. Chrissea visibility was at 40ft. and we saw creole wrasse, barracuda, flamingo tongue, and king fish.
 
Tuesday, the dive group went east to the Blue Hole, Conch Bay, and Half Moon Caye Wall. The Blue Hole was not as impressive as usual with visibility of 40 ft. We saw horse eye jacks, midnight parrot fish, big black groupers, and several reef sharks. The visibility at Conch Bay was better at 60ft. The dive group saw nassau grouper, peacock flounder, spotted eagle rays, and southern sting rays. The thousands of conch on display was a real group pleaser, everyone loved it! Half Moon Caye Wall is always full of life, and today was no exception. We saw tarpon feeding on silversides, nassau grouper, four southern sting rays, a green turtle, trigger fish, spotted moray, and an octopus.
 
Front Door, Secret Garden, and Northern Bogue (night dive) on the east side of the atoll are the sites for the day. Front Door and Secret Garden had a 50 ft. visibility. The group saw several types of reef fish, spotted eagle ray, lobster, channel clinging crab, spotted moray, spotted drum, and golden tail moray. The night dive at Northern Bogue was great. We saw trunk fish, burr fish, sea lettuce, spanish lobster, octopus, tiger tail sea cucumber, southern sting ray, and spotted moray.
 
Thursday, the dive group went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Murtle’s Turtle, and Black Beauty. The visibility today was excellent from 80ft. – 150 ft. at The Elbow. There was very little current at The Elbow today so we did not see the schooling fish that normally frequent this site. We did see trunk fish and a spotted eagle ray swam right up to the boat. Myrtle’s Turtle was a great dive. Highlights of the dive included two spotted morays, a school of horse eye jacks, atlantic spades, snapper, black grouper, and lots of deep water sea fans. Black Beauty was also excellent today with visibility of 80ft.  Highlights of the dive included white spotted toad fish, boned pipe fish, tube sponge, yellow head jaw fish with an egg sack in its mouth, free swimming moray, two spotted eagle rays, and spotted drum.
 
Friday, the dive group went to the northwest side of the atoll to The Terrace and Lindsey’s Back Porch. The winds began to pick up in the afternoon so the last dive was on the east side at Alfredo’s. The visibility today was good at 60 ft. Highlights of the day included creole wrasse, spotted moray, beautiful black coral, spotted lobster, green moray, white spotted toad fish, scorpion fish, and red snapper.
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OCTOBER 10TH - 15TH
 
Weather: Warm, moderate to high winds, scattered showers
Air Temp: High 80’s to Lower 90’s
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Visibility: 60 ft. - 90 ft.
 
Sunday, the dive group went to the east side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch Shallows, Conference Room, and Alfredo’s. The visibility today was good at 60+ feet. We saw a lot of beautiful soft corals, creole wrasse, southern sting rays, ocean trigger fish, and snapper at Lindsey’s Back Porch Shallows. Dean C., of Texas, got to see the juvenile trunk fish that he was hoping for. The wall at Conference Room was stunning and we saw furry sea cucumber, several types of reef fish, and a huge southern sting ray as we swam across the sandy bottom. We saw another juvenile trunk fish, nurse shark, and a 4 foot pipe fish at Alfredo’s.
 
We went to the east side of the atoll again today due to some strong winds out of the west. Lindsey’s Back Porch and Devil’s Deep will be our dive spots for today as well as Northern Bogue this evening for our night dive. Lindsey’s Back Porch had visibility again of 60+ feet. Highlights of the dives included channel clinging crab, barracuda, golden tail eels, lion fish, and several types of reef fish. The night dive was great and we saw sea lettuce, urchins, lobster, conch, various types of shrimp, octopus, a white spotted moray, and a conch dining on a tiger tail cucumber.
 
Jo Jo’s Split, Little Calabash, and Chrissea, on the southeast side of the atoll, are the dive sites for Tuesday. The visibility was excellent today at over 80 feet. The dive group loved Jo Jo’s Split and we saw two turtles, a school of school masters, creole wrasse, black grouper, and lots of ocean trigger fish. Highlights of Little Calabash included three turtles, a seven foot nurse shark, black corals, and black grouper. Highlights of Chrissea included black grouper, peacock flounder, creole wrasse, and a close encounter with a spotted eagle ray. Dean and Lori C. had some excellent photo opportunities today and Dean C. captured amazing video footage of the spotted eagle ray.
 
The Blue Hole, Belize’s popular dive site, was not impressive today. It was not a typical day at the hole due to poor visibility. However, the dive group still saw black tip reef sharks, midnight parrot fish, black grouper, and horse eye jacks. After the Blue Hole, we enjoyed our picnic lunch at Half Moon Caye Natural Monument.
 
Thursday, the dive group went to the southernmost tip of the atoll to The Elbow, Myrtle’s Turtle, and Black Beauty. The visibility today was good at 60+ feet. There was little to no current today at The Elbow. Highlights of the dive included free swimming moray, black grouper, horse eye jacks, ocean trigger fish, king fish, and a large spotted eagle ray to end the dive. The group saw hawksbill turtles, atlantic spades, two morays, and two spotted eagle rays at Myrtle’s Turtle. The highlight of Black Beauty was the school of horse eye jacks that engulfed Dean C. at the end of the dive.
 
Friday, we went to the southeast side of the atoll to April Fools, Lee Ellen’s Melons, and Chinaman Wall. The visibility today was great at 70+ feet. Highlights of the day included southern sting ray, burr fish, several types of reef fish, black grouper, nurse sharks, and beautiful high raising corals and soft coral.
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SEPTEMBER 26 – OCTOBER 1, 2010
 
Weather: Warm, moderate winds, partly cloudy with a few afternoon showers
Air Temp: High 80’s    to Lower 90’s
Water Temp: 80 degrees
Visibility: 50 ft. - 100 ft.
 
Sunday, we went to the northwest side of the atoll in search of clear water and calm seas after Tropical Storm Matthew made his way across the atoll on Saturday. We found excellent conditions at Elkin’s Bay North and South. Elkin’s Bay South was the perfect first dive and we found plenty of big clinging crabs, a wide variety of fish, two upside down jelly fish, tiger tail cucumbers, and a few decorator crabs. While descending at Elkin’s Bay North, the highlight was a huge southern sting ray. Tunnels and Barrels was the last dive of the day as the tide began to get low. The visibility was not great due to the tide, but we were still able to see arrow crabs, cleaner shrimp, snapping shrimp, and Atlantic wing oysters.
 
Jo Jo’s Split, Aprils Fools, and Chrissea, on the south eastern tip of the atoll are on the agenda for the day. The first two dive sites offered excellent visibility and the last dive was again affected by the low tide. At Jo Jo’s split, the black groupers stole the show as Ken and Elaine C., of NY, watched as one big grouper caught another fish. Aprils Fools was a beautiful dive that the entire group enjoyed due to the clear water and the vibrant color of the corals and sponges. Chrissea had limited visibility, but Cheryl B., of PA, was intrigued by the several types of shrimp that she saw such as coral shrimp.
 
The dive group went to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and The Aquarium on Tuesday. The weather was excellent for the journey across the blue to the dive sites. The group was impressed with the stalactite formations within the Blue Hole, but the sharks definitely stole the show today. We saw a dozen sharks today in the Blue Hole making for some excellent photo opportunities. Half Moon Caye Wall, with near perfect visibility, was also a fantastic dive. We were greeted as we entered the water by an impressive eagle ray followed by two large tarpon. We also saw southern sting rays, barracudas, and several types of reef fish. After the dive, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at the monument and viewed the red footed booby birds before heading out to the next site. The Aquarium did not have the visibility that we had hoped for, but we saw green morays, crabs, hundreds of chubs, and few of the divers saw a solo hawksbill turtle.
 
Wednesday, we went to the eastern side of the atoll to Nelson’s Turnover and Front Door. The visibility today was excellent with beautiful clear water. Everyone had their cameras out today snapping pictures of the diverse coral fish and the beautiful reefs.
 
The Elbow, Black Beauty, and Lee Ellen’s Melons, at the southern tip of the atoll are planned for today as well as a night dive at Northern Bogue. There was no current today at The Elbow, so there was less schooling fish to observe. Regardless of this, the visibility was good and it was a beautiful dive with a diversity of fish, an eagle ray, and Elaine C., found a free swimming moray. The visibility at Black Beauty was also good and we found spotted toad fish, green morays, and a spotted moray. Ken C. spotted the largest green moray of the trip at Lee Ellen’s Melons and we also saw another spotted toad fish and a nurse shark. The night dive at Northern Bogue was also impressive. We saw lobster, three large octopuses, and a puffer fish.
 
Friday, we went to the east side of the atoll to Devil’s Deep, Alfredo’s Delight, and Northern Bogue. The visibility at Devil’s Deep was poor, but we saw channel clinging crabs and several reef fish. Alfredo’s Delight was clear with excellent visibility as well as Northern Bogue. The group loved the last two dives and used this opportunity to take photos of each other with the several nurse sharks that were swimming around. On the ride back, we saw a group of dolphins and had the opportunity to swim with them before coming back to the resort to fill out our dive logs for the week.
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September 19- 24, 2010
 
Weather: Warm, moderate winds, partly cloudy with a few showers
Air Temp: High 80’s to Mid 90’s
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Visibility: 50 ft. - 100 ft.
 
Sunday, our group began the week on the west side of the atoll at Crickozeen North and South, followed by Amber Head. Crickozeen North was the first check out dive for the group and the visibility was good with a slight current from the south. We saw garden eels, spotted moray, lion fish, neck crab, lobster, peacock flounder, and scorpion fish. The visibility at Crickozeen South was also very good. Highlights of the dive included arrow crab, several types of shrimp, flamingo tongue, white spotted toad fish, and spotted moray. Paul M., of Round Rock, TX, and Ben M., of Hugo, MN, both commented about the health of the coral at Amber Head. We saw schooling creole wrasse, spotted eagle ray, a large southern sting ray, and a hawksbill turtle.
 
Monday, we went to the northwest of the atoll to The Terrace, Elkin’s Bay, and Tunnels & Barrels. The visibility today was excellent and the group loved the swim through at both Elkin’s Bay and Tunnels & Barrels. We saw yellow head jaw fish, atlantic wing oysters, peacock flounder, razor fish, yellow tail snapper, and several schooling fish.
 
The dive group went to The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and The Aquarium today. Kim C. and Matt F., of Columbia City, IN, were happy that they decided to dive The Blue Hole. The visibility was great after 50 ft. We saw eight reef sharks and a large school of horse eye jacks, as well as the stalactites at 130 ft. Paul M. loved the sharks. There was little current and visibility was good at Half Moon Caye Wall and The Aquarium. Highlights of the dives included hawksbill turtle, green moray, southern sting ray, reef sharks, flamingo tongue, chubs, and sergeant major. Between dives, we enjoyed a picnic lunch of Belizean fried chicken at Half Moon Caye National Monument.
 
Wednesday, we went to the eastern side of the atoll to Lindsey’s Back Porch and Devil’s Deep, followed by our weekly night dive at Northern Bogue. The visibility was great today at both sites. We saw a lot of soft coral, channel cling crab, hog fish, snapper, pipe fish, and Ben M. found a banded jaw fish. The night dive surprised the entire group tonight with the abundance of life at only 12 ft. We saw lobster, channel crab, box fish, octopus, lion fish, sea lettuce, yellow sting rays, urchins, and sleeping parrot fish.
 
Mandy’s Dandy, Chasbo’s Corner, and Elkin’s Bay South on the northwest side of the atoll were all beautiful dives today with excellent visibility. Chasbo’s Corner had a strong current today; however, everyone loved the abundance of coral. We saw two hawksbill turtles, pipe fish, anemone, and a juvenile spotted drum. Highlights of Elkin’s Bay South included razor fish, upside down jelly fish, golden tail moray, and spiny head blenny. Mandy’s Dandy was also a great dive. The group had a great time with remora and we saw diamond blenny, file fish, and green morays.
 
We ended the week on the southwest side of the atoll at Sayonara, Triple Anchors, and Tarpon Bay. The visibility was good and there was very little current at any of the sites. Highlights of the day included channel clinging crab, spotted morays, snapper, amber jack, yellow tail snapper, golden tail morays, and everyone loved the ocean trigger fish.
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September 5 - 10, 2010
 
Weather: Warm, moderate to high winds, and clear skies
Air Temp: High 80’s to Mid 90’s
Water Temp: 84 degrees
Visibility: 50 ft. - 100 ft.
 
Our dive group began the week on the west side of the atoll at Lobster Bay and Elkin’s Bay. Lobster Bay had a very unusual current today and was the first check out dive for the divers. We observed several types of marine life, yellow head jaw fish, and various types of shrimps. There was very little current at Elkin’s Bay South and both Paul F. and Sarah K., of Katy, TX, loved this dive. We saw a razor fish diving into the sand, decorator crabs, and a large channel clinging crab. Sarah K. really enjoyed the dive master writing down the names of all the fish on his underwater pad. Elkin’s Bay North was even better than the last dive. We found a spotted toad fish, barracuda, southern sting ray, and a few upside down jelly fish.
 
The Terrace and Tunnels & Barrels on the northeast side of the atoll are on the agenda for today. The Terrace North is the deep dive checkout and the visibility was good. The divers loved the wall and we saw two spotted morays, spotted lobster, and channel crabs. The visibility at The Terrace South was not as good but we were still able to see lobsters, hawksbill turtles, and several types of schooling fish. Paul F. and Sarah K. loved the swim through at Tunnels & Barrels and we saw lion fish, barracuda, channel crabs, and spotted moray.     
 
Tuesday the dive group went to the west side of the atoll to Crickozzen Cut, Lobster Bay South, and Pine Ridge. The visibility at Crickozeen Cut was not good today, however we did see a lot on the dive. Highlights of the dive included scorpion fish, a large hawksbill turtle, five spotted morays, neck crab, flamingo tongue, snapping shrimp, and several cleaning stations. At Lobster Bay South, we saw a hawksbill turtle on the surface and below we saw creole wrasse and a huge southern sting ray. Pine Ridge had great visibility and the divers loved this dive. We saw a school of horse eye jacks, two big permits, tiger tail sea cucumber, spotted drum, and horse conch. The highlight of the dive was the three adult dolphins and baby dolphin at the end of the day.
 
Wednesday, we went to the southern tip of the atoll to The Elbow and Sayonara, with a night dive at Northern Bogue, east of the resort. The visibility and current at The Elbow were excellent. We saw a spotted eagle ray, schooling snapper, horse eye jacks, permit, and black grouper. Sayonara was not as impressive due to cloudy visibility, but we saw schooling snapper, lobster, and mantis shrimp. This was the first night dive for both Paul F. and Sarah K.  Highlights of the dive included octopus, black spine urchin, cowry, conch, parrot fish, sea lettuce, and tiger tail sea cucumber.
 
Little Calabash, Chrissea, and Lee Ellen’s Melons on the southeast side of the atoll were all beautiful dives today with excellent visibility. We found a sea star at 40 ft. at Little Calabash. Little Calabash did not deliver the usual rays or turtles today, but the great visibility brought out the vibrant colors of the azure sponge and the bright yellow of the tube sponges. There were also several giant barrel sponges, red and white banded coral shrimp, and queen angel fish. Chris Sea was also a beautiful dive until a strong sudden current came through. Lee Ellen’s Melons was Paul’s favorite dive. A very friendly resident barracuda joined us for the entire dive and we joked that he was Paul’s new best friend. A huge sting ray came along and followed us for a while and we ended the day when we found a resident 6ft. nurse shark that seemed unconcerned we were there.
 
Friday marked the end of an amazing week and an awesome day spent at Belize’s most popular dive site, The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, and Long Caye Wall. The Blue Hole was excellent today with the divers plunging to 130 ft. to view the stalactite formations. There were twelve shark sightings, several schools of horse eye jacks, chubs, black grouper, and midnight parrot fish. Half Moon Caye Wall was a crowd favorite. Highlights of the dive included three eagle rays, an extremely tame puffer, conch, and the divers loved the cathedral of swim throughs. Long Caye was an easy relaxed dive with schooling chubs, big black groupers, and a hawksbill turtle.
 
In addition to our dive program this week, we had Allyson A. and Mark R., of Cupertino, CA joining us for an atoll adventure package. Mark R. was a certified diver and Allyson A. had always wanted to give it a try. Our dive master Alex, took her out for a Discover Scuba class and they had two fantastic dives. Allyson and Mark saw a diverse mix of reef fish, bright corals and sponges, and two huge eagle rays.
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August 21-28, 2010

Weather
: Warm, moderate winds, and clear skies
Air Temp: High 80’s to Mid 90’s
Water Temp: 84 degrees
Visibility</