SCUBA Diving in Belize

After flying from Denver to Dallas and Dallas to Belize City, we caught a flight to the island in a plane much too small.  Todd was co-piloting!  But, we are finally here!

Sunday – our first full day at the Blackbird Caye Resort and we are already falling into island time. It took a little while to remember what day it was to write this post!

The resort is perfect! They have organized meals and dive trips, both three times a day. There are also kayaks available to use and a reef to snorkel right out your front door. Of course there are also plenty of hammocks and beach chairs around to relax in. Best of all, there is a bar open 24hrs a day and it is on the honor system. You just write down what you drank and we won’t see the bill until the end of the trip!

Kelly has been diving in Belize before and every dive she did, she saw a turtle. Todd has not had the luck to see a turtle while diving yet. He always seems to run out of air right before the group comes across one. But Kelly promised Todd he would see one in Belize. Sure enough, first dive out we saw turtle as we swam along a reef wall and enjoyed the coral. The dive master also pointed out a spotted drum fish, a lion fish and a shrimp along the way. All in all, a nice dive with plenty to see.

As we were planning out the rest of the week over a few beers in the bar hut, we were informed that to truly enjoy the Blue Hole dive we need to be able dive deeper, which requires additional dive instruction. We don’t have enough time to get our advanced dive certification, but we do have time to get our adventure diver certification. That will give us the necessary education we need to do a deep dive, a night dive as well as additional navigation instruction. We are excited!

Monday – Kelly never got the chicken pox growing up, but she is receiving her due on this trip. The ‘no see-ums’ are eating her alive and she looks like she has a case of the chicken pox, just look at her feet!

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Otherwise it was another beautiful, relaxing day. We did a two tank dive in the morning and then a night dive.
This was our first night dive and the first piece of our “adventure diver” certification. We were amazed at how much more relaxing it was than a normal dive. We thought we would be anxious; however, it was actually very calming just focusing in on the small area your light covers and really looking. We saw a couple octopus, a bunch of brine shrimp and several sleeping fish that appeared to be dead. We were under water for about 40 minutes and enjoyed the peacefulness of the dark waters. In fact it was so calming that it became the first dive that Todd didn’t have to cut out if early because he ran out of air.
We are ending the evening with a rum and coke and preparing for our big day tomorrow diving the Blue Hole!

Tuesday – Today is a big day.  We took off first thing for the Blue Hole, it was about an hour away by boat.  We have a book at home with a list of 1,000 things to do before you die and diving the Blue Hole is one of them!  It’s an amazing dive and our first deep dive.  We entered on a shallow sandy ledge and then sank slowly off the edge, heading down deeper and deeper.  Around 100 feet we swam under a ledge and were confronted by the massive rock formations.

Because of the depth we only spent 8 minutes of bottom time, cruising among the stalactites and watching sharks dart out of the darkness to check us out.  This was dive two of our Adventure Diver certification.  Since we were in training the instructor asked us not to bring our camera as it would only be a distraction.  So, unfortunately we have no pictures… but we promise it was totally different than any other dive experience we had ever had.  Not many fish or coral, instead the hollowed out structure of the cave that once existed there but collapsed many years ago, turning it into a much sought after dive spot.

After a lengthy surface interval, we clambered back on board the boat and headed to Half Moon Caye where we dropped off the cooking staff and all the supplies for them to make lunch.  Then we headed back out for a short dive just minutes from there.  This time we completed our navigation dive to finish off our Adventure Diver certification.  The instructor fitted us with compasses and then instructed us to make a square, hopefully coming back to the exact spot we started.  We both passed easily and now we are officially Adventure Divers!  Everyone celebrated with us when we got back on the boat and we headed back for lunch.  Half Moon Caye was a beautiful little island that happens to be home to the hard to find Red Footed Booby bird.  We hiked up to an observation post to see the birds nesting in the tops of orange trees along with the more noticeable Frigates who appeared to be in mating season with several of the male birds puffing their chests like over-inflated red balloons in an attempt to attract females.  After lunch we headed back toward home, stopping for a brief dive to finish the day.  We enjoyed a cold beer and the beautiful scenery on the way back and arrived back at the resort in time to clean up before dinner.

Wednesday – only one dive left, so we decided to be lazy and sleep in. Todd spent the rainy morning reading while Kelly decided to go for the marathon sleep record.
Todd finally made sleeping beauty (aka Kelly) get out of bed at 11. He thought that 12+ hours of sleep was more than enough, but just to be safe, he made coffee and brought it to her in bed as he woke her to another wonderful day in Belize. By that point we had missed the first two dives, so we wandered around the island a bit, grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and got ready for the last dive of the day.
The dive turned out to be a great dive at “sting ray motel”. The weather had been overcast and rainy most of the morning, so things were a little murky underwater. As we struggled against the tidal current to get out to the reef, the water cleared and we saw several rays and eels. Todd even spotted a lobster. Todd’s air lasted about 40 minutes, just 10 minutes under the rest of the group, not too shabby.

Thursday – Happy Thanksgiving!!! We were reminded that we were in a different country by the absence of any acknowledgement of the holiday. In fact we had totally forgotten until one of our Canadian friends asked us about it. No face stuffing and comatose TV watching for us this year! But it was a rather lazy day. This was our only day without any diving. So we grabbed a kayak and took off for the distant horizon after we finally climbed out of bed around 8am. We kayaked out to a small island and walked around marveling at all the sea trash that had washed up. Kelly decided to rename the island “Shoe Insert island” because of the outrageous amount of shoe inserts laying around on the island. apparently the rest of the shoe biodegrades, but not the inserts (mental note only buy shoes without inserts). After a bit of snorkeling in the sea grass, we headed back to clean all our gear one last time and grab lunch.
The rest of the day was devoted to sleeping and reading and being thankful for all the amazing things in our life. We are truly blessed.

Friday – good thing we started asking what time we were leaving the island last night. They thought we were leaving on Saturday. First thing this morning they were on the phone arranging a flight for us to get back to Belize City. Unfortunately the only flight they could get us was at 9:15am. Our flight to Dallas doesn’t leave until almost 5pm. Guess we have some time to wander around and check out Belize City.
We are all packed up and waiting for our plane to Belize City. We are going to miss Blackbird Caye, it has been a wonderful week!


Well we made our short hop in the small plane with Todd as co-pilot again. We checked our luggage in at the airport and grabbed a taxi to the tourist center of Belize City to wander for a few hours.

There wasn’t much to Belize City – we toured the museum, checked out the town a bit and then found a shady spot to relax and sip some sangria while we passed the time enjoying the cool Caribbean breeze.

Now we’re at the airport, spending our last Belizian dollars and being grateful for upgrades as we have just received the email that we’re heading to Dallas in first class!

We ended our trip by stopping over in Dallas and visiting family and friends. It was a nice transition from relaxing in Belize to going back to work in Denver tomorrow. Now we are at the airport waiting for our final flight home.

 

 

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