Captains Log – 13 December Diving Belize’s Atolls

Belize scuba diving Barrier Reef moray eel

Giant Green Moray sticks his head out of the reef to say Hello.

What a difference a week makes.  During our last captains report to recap our Belize dive trips we talked about Mother Nature stirring up the Caribbean Sea a bit and taking us out of the water.  Then the winds shift and die down and we have a week where it all lines up and comes together.  We had a great group of divers joining us through the week with many different dive courses happening and lots of smiling, happy salty faces.  Easily the highlight this week was being able to dive two of Belize’s atolls during the week, Glovers and Turneffe Atoll where our new Adventure Centre Manager Chris was able to join us with his camera to captures some great pictures of the amazing reef.

Tuesday we had a boat full of enthusiastic divers including Scott, Jocelyn, Tarah, Arianna, Milt, Norm head to Glover’s Reef Atoll.  As people like to say Glovers reef is like everything is on steroids (not that we’re condoning PED’s) and all the eels and fish are bigger, the coral is bigger and brighter, truly a sight to behold.  Also joining us on the trip to Glovers was Matt and Val from Tennessee.  Matt was working with our local instructor Martin on his first dives for his PADI Open Water certification and had the chance to make his checkout dives on Glovers Reef!

Because Tuesday’s dive trip was a three tank trip it also meant Matt would only need one more dive to complete his Open Water cert so his second dive Wednesday was his first dive as a certified diver.  Needless to say Matt as Martin put it, “Was a rock star!”  Finished his course with ease, even if the surface was a bit rough for a few of his swims.

Belize Barrier Reef diving Turneffe Atoll Coral

Belize Dive Instructor Martin swimming past beautiful coral formation at Turneffe Atoll.

For a long time Glovers has been one of our most requested outer reef dives, but I think more people should come requesting Turneffe Atoll.  Man the ocean was happy to play with us Thursday.  Joining us Thursday was Norm, Mike, Brian and his wife Youpau celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary and Jocelyn who was making her 100th dive!

Scuba diving Belize barrier reef spotted eagle ray

Spotted Eagle Ray gliding up and over the Belize Barrier Reef

All three dives it seems someone pushed the right button to call in the wild life.  Dive one we found two Eagle Rays, a couple huge GT’s, and a turtle right at the end of the dive.  Dive two another Eagle Ray came to check us out, a Nurse Shark and many free swimming eels.  But it was dive three, saving the best for last.  Great Barracuda, a Rough Tail Sting Ray and count them not one, not two but SEVEN Eagle Rays!  The best part?  Four of them where dancing with each other.

Hamanasi Guest Brian diving along the top of the coral reef at Turneffe Atoll.

Hamanasi guest Brian diving along the top of the coral reef at Turneffe Atoll.

The week ended with a bang as the dive boat just docked with stories of turtles checking out their reflections in the divers masks!  We’re looking forward to starting the week off right with a trip to do the Top Three dive sites in Belize tomorrow.  Weather is looking good so lets do our dance to keep the oceans gods happy.

“Belize Scuba Diving Adventures and New PADI Divers”

Belize Scuba Diving lionfish hunters

Smiling Hamanasi Dive Guest with lionfish catch

It’s been a week of ups and downs for our divers here at Hamanasi. We started the week out with amazing Belize scuba diving weather and all divers were chomping at the bit to get further and further out to some of our amazing Belize atolls. Joining us on Sundays dive was our soon to be new Adventure Centre Manager Chris with Hamanasi’s new Sustainability Manager Vicky who were out getting a feel for our reefs. They were joined by Bob and Edina who were making a couple dives after arriving from Florida and we had repeat guests

Belize Scuba Diving cleans up invasive lionfish

Hamanasi guest improve Belize Scuba Diving by cleaning up invasive lionfish on the reef

Gia and Adrianne from San Diego out working towards their PADI Advanced Open Water certifications with local Belize dive instructor Roy. Perhaps the biggest personality on the boat and giving Big Daddy a run for his money was Big Mike who was determined to make a dent in our invasive lion fish species population with his spear. It was such a beautiful day on the water and throw in our beautiful spot for surface intervals out at Salt Water Caye we couldn’t have asked for a better day. I mean the guests were treated to seeing an octopus and sea horses during their surface interval.

As the week went on the diving got just a little bit better. Monday was another day to the local Belize barrier reef, but on Tuesday our guests were treated to some of our best diving as the weather cooperated for us to head to Glovers Atoll for a three tank dive day. Joining us this day was also Blake who was finishing up his final dives to complete his PADI Open Water Course and Gia and Adrianne were back on the boat ready to finish up their final advanced dives. On the dives our guests came up cheering for seeing Nurse Sharks, rays, and a couple turtles. Everyone was so happy and we were stoked because the weather was about to turn and our guests would turn their attention to our in-land tours as the winds were going to keep the boats along the dock at Hamanasi until Saturday, but that’s all part of the adventure. After watching Big Mike working on the lion fish population we had some new spearers just itching to give it a try. I have to say they were pretty good as the seven of them were able to take out over 80 lion fish! Yes, that’s 8-0 lion fish that will not be able to spawn and add to the population. The weather is looking amazing this week and we’re excited to get back out for more Belize scuba diving.

“Giant Stride For C-Dog”

While we were closed in September for yearly renovations, Dive Master Shawn Lozano better known as “C-Dog” took time out of his vacation to go to Honduras and attend the PADI Instructor Development Course with Utila Divers. The course is run by Andy Phillips and it took two weeks to complete. It  entailed long days of class and water works culminating  in a two day exam which he sailed thru. C-Dog has now join the ranks of PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and he is very enthusiastic for this coming season as a Hamanasi Instructor. He is looking forward to creating fantastic new divers and impart his knowledge of the marine environment with his new students.  Hamanasi is very proud of his efforts and wishes him the best of luck!

“Facts on the lion-fish”

lion-fish

Lionfishes belong to the scorpionfish family, which includes some of the most venomous fishes in the oceans. The lionfish has striped colours and spines of about 15 inches. They tend to take advantage of their camouflage to stalk their prey and when they are close enough, the lionfish quickly open their jaws to snap up their prey.  Its prey are usually small fishes, shrimps and crabs but it feeds on almost anything that can fit in their mouths and they always swallow their food whole. They feed all day long which allows them to consume much more than the average fish!

The lionfish has a lifespan of about 5-10 years and its native to the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans, but have recently been found in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea near our barrier reef, far from their natural home. They live among the coral reefs and shallow bays. This unique fish has few predators. Some fishes may try to eat them, but lion fishes’ venomous spines protect them from most predators.

This family of fish, including the lionfish, are external spawners. The male expels sperm immediately after the female releases her eggs, and the eggs are fertilized as they float in the water. These eggs and the newly hatched larvae drift in ocean currents for 25 to 40 days. Once the hatchlings are large enough to swim, they leave the currents to hide among corals and rocks. It probably takes 1 or 2 years for these hatchlings to reach breeding age. A female can lay one million eggs in a year.

Lionfishes are in no way threatened, but they have recently been found in the Caribbean and along the East Coast, as far north as Long Island, NY. The presence of these Pacific fishes in the Atlantic threatens many species that have not yet evolved defences to these voracious predators.

Our warm waters are being invaded as we speak. The dangers of the lionfish are yet unknown but from the facts we know about them, we can assume that they will soon become detrimental to our second longest Barrier Reef. They live long and multiply by millions, along with that they are not prone to many predators which give them maximum chance of survival and the oomph to live.

Although there is no written law as yet to enforce this, many of our local fishermen, dive masters and environmental organizations are now taking it into their own hands to kill the lionfish. It is nature’s law that the lionfish should not be a part of our ecosystem in such prevalence. Many different dive shops have begun doing this to preserve the reef.

Here at Hamanasi we have made the first step that we believe can save our reef system.    This picture is one of the lionfish that we have came up with to spread the awareness. We have created posters that we have placed in our dive shop and on our dive boats to show guides and guests. So if you see any lion fish, be sure to let your dive master know! It will make a safe dive today and help our reef system to last longer for more exiting dives in the future.  The Hopkins Divers dive crew are monitoring and logging each fish killed, its location and the date since this fish is still under research in the US.

Here’s another idea! It has also been said that it makes a good meal for the people who have tried it; therefore the lionfish will soon be a part of many Belizeans’ menu. Think of a fish that is so plentiful with no season of when to catch!



Hamanasi Guest Book – October 2010

Thanks to all of our the guest that visited in October especially to those who were here throughout the unexpected weather conditions.  Thanks again for being so understanding and cooperative about it.  It indeed was an Adventure in itself.  We look forward to seeing you again in the near future!

“Such a low profile place with a small footprint.  Love the use of local people, local food, energy conservation – kudos.   It’s apparent that hospitality is the culture amongst the Hamanasi staff.  We felt like family.  Everyone know our names.”

Mike & Dorothy Ewener,  Sarnia,  Cananda

“All staff were friendly, happy, perfect – extra great!”

Katenna Jones & Brett Elfstrom,  Cumberland,  RI

“Service was wonderful.  It was a highlight of our stay.”

Sue & Fred Nolke,  Portland,  OR

“Everyone was friendly and welcomi.  We loved everything. Not even a hurricane could make this trip less than amazing.  Everyone kept us feeling relaxed and catered to.”

Jenna & Caleb Lyons,  Boxford,  MA

“Everybody was super friendly and made our stay here superb + one of a kind.”

Vicky Hoe & Paul Cesar,  New York,  NY

“The entire staff was wonderful. They all really shined and made our trip even more fantastic!”

Patricia & Randy Mora, Washington, DC

“We really appreciate the eco friendly efforts.  Please keep it up – it’s the natural wild beauty of Belize that makes it so appealing! Keep doing what you are doing.”

Patrick & Eliza Murphy,  Mebane,  NC

“We love Hamanasi!  Keep doing what you are doing.  The staff at Hamanasi are the most beautiful part about his resort.  They make us feel like family!”

Chelsea & Kekoa Renaud, Encinitas, CA

“I love how the resort is build around nature – we really felt we had and authentic wilderness adventure.  Everyone was incredible helpful and friendly and knowledgeable.  Whatever we needed, staff was more than willing to provide.”

Dave & Katie Milford,  Princeton,  NJ

“The entire staff was great! Thanks for treating us like we were the only couple around even during preparations for a hurricane.  Do not change your style of service!  A+! “

Justin Costa & Stephanie Piquette, Tiverton,  RI

“All the staff were friendly and very professional.”

Vanessa & Mark DeVary,  Lavon,  TX

“All the staff rocked!”

Molly Hellmuth & Patrick Convery,  Chappaqua,  NY

“This was an amazing trip -outstanding customer service.  The staff is the best.  Everyone was truly remarkable,  outgoing, friendly, much attention to detail.

Nancy and Mike Novotny,  Woodland,  CA

” Wonderful ideas for conserving.  Great!

James & Ellin Jaffe,  Philadelphia,  PA

“We love that the resort is so eco-friendly!  It’s refreshing to have a place like Hamanasi care so much about the environment.  Everyone here was awesome!  They all made us feel like a part of the Hamanasi family.  It was wonderful. ”

Dwain & Cathy Little,  Louisville,  GA



Hamanasi Greens Its Dive Boat Fleet

Hamanasi's Hanou 45'

Hamanasi Greens Its Dive Boat Fleet

Just in time for the 2010 whale shark diving season, Hamanasi Adventure Dive Resort in Hopkins has added a new eco–friendly custom–built dive boat to its fleet. The Hanóu, which means “Trigger Fish” in native Garifuna, can carry up to 25 divers and features four–stroke engines, which dramatically reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. For more information about Hamanasi and its dive packages,visit www.hamanasi.com.

Nature’s Surprises

Sometimes Mother Nature surprises you with an unexpected encounter that is beautiful and thrilling!  These dolphins kept divers entertained throughout their dive yesterday as they searched for whale sharks.  No whale shark sightings for the day, but happy divers for the experience!

Hamanasi’s New Custom 45′ Dive Boat Arrives

IT’S HERE!  “Hopkins Divers”, Hamanasi’s in-house PADI Dive Center, just received a new custom-built 45′ dive boat!  This boat is equipped with three 200 hp 4-stroke Suzuki engines and will be an exciting addition to the Hamanasi fleet!  The arrival is  a great kick-off for the 2010 Whale Shark season, as well as our daily Barrier Reef dives and the beautiful Belizean Atolls! 

Hopkins Divers 45'

Whale Sharks in Belize 2009!

As the Whale Shark season for 2009 comes to a close this week, it has been a very exciting year for diving at Hamansi Resort in Belize! The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in the sea, and divers are fortunate every year to be able to have an excellent chance at encountering these gentle giants during the full moon weeks of March, April, May and June.

Check out this video taken by a Hamanasi guest just last week!

2009 Whale Shark Season Approaches in Belize!

The Whale Shark Season for 2009 will soon be here!!! We are so fortunate here in Belize that each year during the months of April, May and June, during the full moon cycle, we have the privilege of diving with these majestic fish!