Belizians Beaneath the Sea

Beach cleaner

With its mucky beaches and mangy stray dogs, San Pedro wasn’t put on this earth for tourists seeking pristine white sands. This place is all about diving.

Dive shop

Along the beach, just about every third building houses a dive operation- some of them looking rather questionable. I asked around and did my research, choosing Chuck & Robbie’s while we were staying north of town, and Belize Pro Dive after we moved south.

Chuck & Robbie's  Belize Pro Dive

Both places had their act together, which is something you sort of want when they’re supplying the gear that will keep you alive 100 feet underwater.

If you know anything about diving in Belize, you probably know about the Great Blue Hole.

Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole, as seen on Wikipedia

It’s an amazing (I’m told), giant (as I understand it) impression in the earth, with dazzling (from what I hear) stalactites lurking in deep (apparently) undersea caverns. No, I didn’t dive there. Would have loved to, but it takes hours to get there and back, and the dive is so deep that you’re only down there for around eight minutes. I’m on vacation.

Instead, I visited sites just minutes from the mainland. My initial feeling on my first Belizian dive was… disappointment. That’s my curse: since I got certified in one of the most spectacular dive sites on earth, anything less than WOW! in every direction can be a disappointment. Expectation recalibration didn’t take long, though, and I soon found myself enjoying the natural canyons that run through Belize’s reef.

Ken OK

And the sharks. We spotted a nurse shark… then another… then… well, I almost got bored of seeing sharks. Except that I had a new underwater camera housing to try out, and they made excellent subjects.

Yet all those photogenic sharks couldn’t compare to my most magical diving moment in Belize, which happened on my very last dive of the trip. I spotted a hawksbill turtle and decided to try and get some good photos. Little did I know that he would be just as interested in us divers.

Many thanks to divemaster Bernie, boat driver Tony, and fellow diver Geoff for making that last dive possible.

Tony and Bernie

Bernie gives the scuba sign for turtle, while Tony wishes the tourist would take the photo already, so he could finish cleaning the boat

Oh yeah, thanks to that turtle, too, for stopping by to say hello.

Hawksbill turtle

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