Sailfish - DIvetex mentioned you might know about diving in Belize. We are going in October. Hugh Parkley that owned the shop that handled the cruiseship business has passed away. He was to sell his shop before October to Aquadivers who were to move from a cay they are now located on to Belize City. Who would you dive with - is the Blue Hole worth it - I don't think we are really interested in it as it seems like a deep dive - is it? I have a hard time equalizing my ears - almost blow out an eardrum once and have learned my lesson not to push it. Thanks for any info. Also we are going to Key West and want to hook up for a night dive as we get there at 3pm and leave at 1am. I have heard it was not that great diving there but it has to be better than the lakes around here! haha Anyone you'd recommend - have you heard of Captains Corner? By the way we are certified. Debbie
We were on a cruise to Belize, Roatan, Cozumel and Grand Cayman a while back, and decided to make it into a dive vacation. We had a blast.
In Belize, our ship arrived in port around 8am and departed after 6pm, so that gave us enought time to head over to Caye Caulker. We took a ferry boat that departed at 9am (the first one) and hooked up with Frenchies (you can do a search and contact them). We had a group of six other divers, so we made arrangements to dive with them with them for the day via the internet. Although quite a few people in our group wanted to go out to the blue hole, there wasn't enough time to do that. But comments we heard from people who did go said it wasn't worth the $150/two tanks. It's no deeper than any of the other dives we had done. You have to have good buoyancy, as it's just like a wall dive, I'm told. But people we spoke to said it was more impressive to see it from the air, although they did see quite a few large groupers and shark.
Our dives in Belize averaged about 100 feet to begin with and about 70 max for our second dive. The two dive sites (I don't recall their names) were quite enjoyable, with lots of fish and coral. Our dives in Roatan (the most unforgetable, "Mary's Place") were awsome. Much better than Belize, and slightly better than Cozumel and Grand Cayman. We'll probably return to Belize some day, as we enjoyed the diving there also. But the diving in Roatan is the best. We've been back there several times, and have never been disappointed.
Originally, our plans were to book our diving through the cruise line in Belize (through Hugh Parkey), but the prices for two tanks were very steep. So I began to research our options, and came up with Frenchies in Caye Caulker. The same ferry goes to Ambergris Caye, but takes an hour longer. Caye Caulker is only 45 minues away and cost us each about $12US round trip. The dives at Frenchies were about $50/two tanks.
The ferry boat trips BACK to Belize City departed every two hours, so we took the 4pm ferry back, with enough time to take the tender back to the ship. There were two crew members from another ship on the ferry also, whose estimated departure time was 5pm. We made it back to Belize City at 4:55pm! I'll never know if those two made it back to their ship in time (my guess is that they didn't) or if their ship waited for them. As our ship didn't sail until 6pm, we had until 5:30 to catch the tender back. We boarded the ship with 10 minutes to spare.
We have been to the Keys a number of times, but never diving in Key West. We'll be heading to Key West over Christmas this year (on a cruise) and have begun to look into diving. We have been diving around Isla Morada and Key Largo in December before, when the seas were quite rough and the visibility very poor. My husband isn't too anxious to go diving in Key West in December. I've been told by local dive operators that the best conditions in the Keys are in late summer and early fall.
You may have better luck when you go. I've heard there's a shallow wreck nearby (in under 70 feet), but I don't know if they will take you there for a night dive. I wish our ship remained there after dark, but we'll be there only for 6 hours and I believe we depart around 3pm.
The cost of diving in the Keys is a bargain compared to the Caribbean. In general, you won't find any deep dives in the Keys, as most sites are under 80. It's easy diving, along reef outcropings. On a good day, you can see a lot. But we have never been all that lucky. But then again, we also haven't been there in September. I've heard reports from friends who recently returned from Key Largo that they experienced 100+ feet visibility!