It´s official Heaven is a place on Earth - Glover´s Reef, Belize


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Published: April 25th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Our BungalowOur BungalowOur Bungalow

AKA Moray.... perfect!
So, as you know we made it to Belize....
Now we just had to get to Sittee River and after a nightmare with trying to get cash we made the choice to head to Hopkins as that was in the must sees of Belize, had a great beach and looked big enough for us to stock up with supplies ready for our week on our Robinson Crusoe island ....
We'd been told by the lady at the bus stop that we just got off at the Hopkins Junction and walked either left or right to whichever set of accommodation we fancied, north or south end of the beach..... So the bus dropped us off at the junction at the top of the main road junction, not that of the town..... However we were oblivious to this so once we'd jumped out the back doors of the bus and loaded ourselves up with our Rucksacks, we began to walk... And walk... And notice just how far we could see into the distance.... People on bikes were literally dots who took an awful long time to get to us..... Oh well ... Thankfully we hitched a lift and were in Hopkins (a mere
Nurse SharksNurse SharksNurse Sharks

they were big..... thank fully not scary.... must have been all those fresh fish scraps every night!!!
5 miles down the road) certainly a bit quicker than if we'd have walked it ..... I reckon we'd have been lucky to get there before dark!!!
Another spot of luck.... As we were aimlessly looking at the Board with all the hostels on and deciding whether to go north or south an American lady was just at the store across the way and asked us if we'd like to take a look at her place, no obligation, so we did..... We climbed into the rickety, dusty old van of a guy called Ron and trundled north, wondering what was in store....
Kismet Inn, Trish's place is the last hostel on the north road before you get to the posh $500 per night resort... She has signs everywhere that she's made herself as a bit of a counter as they missed her off the sign with all the hostels... And her place is lovely..... Little cabanas all with private sinks and toilets and one with its own hot shower.... We plumped for the £17 (for both of us) cabana closest to the see, with it's own sand fly net... No shower but by this point we were well accustomed to cold showers and as the weather was hot we knew it wouldn't be a problem.... The shower was really cool too with a conch shell as the shower head!!!
As far as the rest of Trish's place goes, everything about it is lovely and homely and having Trish's as a hostess really was like having a surrogate mum for a few days, especially when it came to her cooking.... Divine... She makes fresh bread every meal, her own sauces and you genuinely feel part of the family! Guess that's how everyone must feel as the amount of locals that just dropped in for chats and who's lives we got to fall in and be part of for a few days were quite a few, all with their own story to tell, from Rich who lives in a trailer in Trish's yard and fished for our tea every night bless him... Not to mention showed us the Manatees at the lagoon, to Ron who made us Pizza and took us to Dangria and later Sittee River in his battered up van, Elvis who has taught us the meaning of the word faunicator, to poor old Bob who was robbed the night we got there, Michelle who's children gave a new meaning to the words seen but not heard.
As far as places to stay go, all we can say is we had absolutely no need to venture anywhere we were so looked after and as Trish's place is on the beach with chairs, beer in the fridge and the best food in Hopkins on tap, we were in heaven.......
In fact I can't think of any place better than hers to prepare us for our next taste of heaven..... Glovers Reef.... But before we got there we had to go through a bit of pain and that came in the format of Glovers Guest House at Sittee River, which although looked nice enough on the surface with cute little huts with their own private bathrooms, the sand flies made it hell on earth and everyone that stayed there looked like they had German measles by the next day..... Some of my bites are still itching now!
But no pain no gain and after a god awful breakfast and a delay of 2 hours (we were supposed to be on the dock at 8am to load our stuff for the boat to leave at 9am) we finally left at 11.15am, which if you read the reviews on trip advisor for Glovers Atoll, would come as no surprise... I hadn't or Jon had kept them away from me or we may not have gone, because this place is a bit like Marmite, people love it or hate it.....
So our catamaran cruise to paradise started out as all good boat trips do, idyllic, we were sat on the booms, sun blazing down on us, chatting away to people. After a lovely 20 min cruise down the river through the mangroves, we stopped at the marina to fill our cool box with ice as you have to take all your own supplies onto the island and priorities the fruit and beer needed to stay cold!!!! Once we hit the open sea, it just got more stunning, with more shades of blue than you can imagine and dessert islands dotted everywhere.... A pod of dolphins swam under the catamaran and Jon spotted a turtle... We knew we were in for a good week!
Finally at about 3pm we were navigating our way through the shallow reef to the place which would be our home for
Full MoonFull MoonFull Moon

= Whale Sharks
the next week..... Glovers Atoll....
We all got off and formed a line so as to be able to unload the boat via a human chain and whilst we were unloading I got to see my first shark.... A pretty big black nurse shark swimming under the dock!
Once we'd unloaded we had the tour of the island, which is tiny so you can imagine how long it took... We got to see all the good bits... The composting toilets, ground fed showers, garbage site, bar, dive shop and Bryan also showed us how to use the coconut grinder, as you can eat as many coconuts as you like on the island for free!!!
Finally after a bit of spiel and some free watermelon, we got to go see our overwater bungalow! We filled a wheel barrow with our cool box and two boxes of food and headed to bungalow two aka Moray!!!!
Now to some people namely my darling brother these may be like shacks but to us it was our piece of paradise! Accommodation over the sea with a 270 degree decked area, king sized bed and our very own butane stove to cook our meals....
It didn't
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It doesn´t get much better than this....
take us long to be jumping off that deck for out first snorkel and within 30 minutes we'd seen a few fish, a ray and, the highlight, a shark, which we got a picture of and thankfully concluded was a nurse shark when we checked the fish ID book later on!
We watched the sun go down with some chilled beer and cooked an uber sickly coconut veg curry ( we'd managed to pick up coconut cream instead of coconut milk..... Only 15 portions per can at 110 calories per portion... We used the whole can... You can do the maths and can imagine!!!!) and with no electricity had the candles going and listened to the sea..... Paradise!
After a great nights sleep, day two dawned and we were up nice and early to appreciate it! Our neighbour in Octopus (bungalow 3) was already up line fishing off his dock and as its only catch and release we could see he was having a lot of success. Jon took a dip, mainly to recover the fork I'd knocked out of the window the night before and check out our barracuda who'd we discovered living under our deck the night before and I cooked up brekkie, fresh Papaya and Pancakes.
Then it was time for the main event what we'd come for- diving!!!!
The first dive site we went to was 'white sands'.... Now I'd read all the blurb on the website about how good the diving was and also the section in the lonely planet and people on the boat who'd been before we're also raving about it but I don't think any of the hype could possibly prepare us for just how amazing this reef, which is the second largest in the world, truly is .
Oh my god the beauty is endless and I can no way do it justice in this blog.... At white sands the currents are strong and you could literally just stay put in 1 spot as the reef blows back and forth, taking you with it and it's like being rocked to sleep by a lullaby! The schools of fish which past were amazing and we saw spotted drum, lion fish, rays, and not just an odd one of each but literally dozens! Groupers and Parrot fish were everywhere as we're butterfly and angel fish... We even spotted a queen angel and a pretty huge nurse shark chilling out on the bottom! And the best thing visibility was easy 30 meters, so Jon got to see it all too, snorkelling!
Wow.... Steve my dive buddy and I were really buzzing when we came up as was everyone on the dive, who I have to add, were all a great bunch!
We were back into Glovers Atoll for some well earned lunch and were back out on the water for 2pm for dive 2 ' the cut'.... And it was high tide....This time we spotted a free swimming green moray, school of mackerel, queen trigger fish, black durgan, sunset wrass, black grouper and big barracuda!! It was just endless... The highlight though had to be the massive loggerhead turtle we spotted with no back flipper, just beautiful and Alison (instructor) and Bryan were chuffed as this was the first time they'd seen him for a while!
So all in all a pretty amazing day and certainly an eye opener for me after diving Bocas at just how much you can see in one dive if the dive site is better.
We finished the day off with a few beers gathered around the dock watching the nurse sharks, eagle rays and sting rays fight with the birds over who got the left overs from the fish Warren was filleting from his 'fishing for dinner' catch and took our 1lb of fresh barracuda back to our bungalow to start dinner, by torch and candle light! And afterwards we got the speakers and IPod out and listened some tunes by the ever growing moon light.
We'd hired a Kayak too for the week so the next day whilst I dived Jon took that out to one or two of the patch reefs just off the island, he took the camera and got some great snaps of a school of Bone fish, which he found himself in the middle of as well, and the eagle rays, which are just amazing, they really do have the head of a bird! We dove abyss shallows and abyss canyons, which were amazing again and saw all the usual plus a hawksbill turtle feeding on the reef, which was lovely.
Unfortunately there was no spare fish tonight as the restaurant gets the first digs so we'd resigned ourselves to the fact that we were having a veggie tea, when Sue from Octopus shouted across the water that they had been out and collected masses of Conch and she'd made a curry, did we want any as there was loads spare.... And that was our first taste of Conch.... Wow it was delicious...... She said she'd spare us of the gory details of how you get the fish out of the huge shell until the morning after we'd eaten, as it's not an easy job... And so it was on to one of our other favourite parts of the day.... Cooking our tea by candle and torch light, chilling to tunes and watching the stars and ever growing moon from our dock!
Day 3 saw us take on Middle Caye in the morning, which was a lovely chilled out dive with who were now becoming the usual four....Carrie, Joe, Bryan and I and we were joined by the Finnish couple who were staying in 'bone fish' aka bungalow 1. We had a great dive where we saw masses including a massive nurse shark chilling at about 25meters down the wall and a couple of others swimming and chilling near the end of the dive....... Bryan and Joe were spearing on this dive, which
Loggerhead TurtleLoggerhead TurtleLoggerhead Turtle

Check out the missing flipper
they'd done the previous day so I was no longer scared that the dying fish would attract the big sharks, which were no doubt all around us!!! They were spearing lion fish, who although are really pretty are an invasive species here and are causing a lots of damage.... So you can kill them.... I declined the offer but certainly did my bit by helping spot them so Joe could get them with his hand made harpoon thing!!! Again we spotted the hawksbill who stayed around us for ages, chewing the reef and swimming really close.... However the highlight came when we were just heading back up the wall and Bryan spotted the sleeping loggerhead.... We got so close to him.... Joe hadn't seen him as he was focused on lion fish spotting and settled down almost ontop of him, which sent him swimming past us but not after we'd had a good 5 minutes to enjoy him and then watch him swim past within a whisker of us!
And again because the visibility was about 30 meters, Jon got to see everything from his snorkelling view point... Even the deep stuff!
Now I was really wondering how the afternoon
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picture curtesy of both our partents.. thanks for the snorkel, mask and underwater camera..... we´re having so much fun with them all!!!
dive could beat it, but lovely Brenda who we'd also been diving with every day had been raving about 'the aquarium' all week and Carrie certainly backed up the fact that this was 'the' dive.....
So after some lunch and a bit if sun bathing, not to mention loads of jumping off our deck to cool off, at 3pm we were heading out again.....another dive... God I love this life!!!!!
Even writing about it gets me all giddy!!!
Oh my god!
I thought I had seen fish...... This dive was just as the name suggests like diving in an aquarium!!! It was a shallow one too so I'd taken my camera and you can check out some of the pics.... Well at least you can until I tried taking a video of the magnificent loggerhead turtle who was again sleeping, i was so close, I could practically stroke his head- he was HUGE!!! And my camera wouldnt work.... Strange... And then I thought... Oh dear.... At what depth did I see the black tip reef shark? Was it 23 meters... Yes dive watch confirmed.... Oops my camera only goes to 12 meters... We were only at about 15m at this point, Bryan thought I was going crazy going up a bit until I gestured to my camera and he started laughing.....
We had a dad and son in our group, Logan was the son and not sure of the Dad's name but he was up and down like a yo yo having not yet mastered buoyancy control... ( we later found out that was due to the fact he added and let out air in his BCD to go up and down..... Nightmare!) Anyway on this occasion it was a blessing as Mario a trainee dive master was having to take him up as he'd run out of air..not surprisingly.... ( think we all had about 2000 left at this point which shows you he was going through at at the rate of knots!) so I gave Mario the camera to give to Jon and dove down again to continue with the dive.....
Just Millions of Fish.....
We were down just over an hour....
Once we were up I could tell Jon knew I'd gone too deep as I was getting that knowing smirk!!! Thankfully the camera was still working, we had some great and not so great pics and we were all buzzing about the dive....
Until Bryan chirps up.... 'So Michelle that night dive you requested, tonight!'
I'd been trying to forget... On Sunday when we arrived I made the mistake of asking if they did night dives.... Not that I wanted to do one you understand it was just a question.... Well he'd only gone and taken this as I'd wanted to do one and put one on... So I'd been stressing for most of the day and to be honest my two top buddies, Brenda and Carrie were honest with me and night dives weren't getting much PR from that front!!
At 6.30pm we were back on the dock and I was feeling very very sick! There were 4 of us plus Bryan and Jon had come along, probably for moral support to me but allegedly to do a night snorkel.... God knows what he thought he was going to see... An American family had joined us for 'the aquarium' and that's who we were doing the night dive with.... Sharon who was a great diver, her mum, Karen and the Dad..... First off the weather had changed and it was chopping up.... Second we were late going and had no driver just Bryan, third we didn't have enough torches.... Well you can imagine what was going through my head..... Whilst we were waiting for Adriana our boat driver, Bryan drove us all across to the neighbouring island to see if we could borrow some torches.... They didn't have any!
My first night dive with no torch.... Great!
So unfortunately Jon couldn't snorkel, he was the first one to have to drop out but before I had a chance Bryan suggested Karen and her husband share, which they were cool to do ( think Karen was secretly glad to have someone's hand to hold throughout her first night dive) and I got my own torch...
We were all a bit nervous so Bryan reassured us by telling us to get over it! Which sounds harsh but was just what we needed and after a briefing on the dive what we should see and do if we saw anything we were in......
After a minute or so your eyes get used to it and you realised that the biggest injury you are likely to incur is from one of your fellow divers fins kicking you as no
The winning teamThe winning teamThe winning team

170lbs of fish..... great job lads
one really ventures far from one another.... And i certainly wasn't venturing far from the group...this was easier said than done as Visibility was non existent.... And there were a couple of occasions where I couldn't see the torches of the other guys and got a bit freaked.... Sharon and I were buddying and we did see some cool stuff.... The best was a little porcupine puffer fish and a huge coral crab.... You generally see different things at night as well as the day fish sleeping in holes and there were plenty of parrot fish cocooned away! We were looking for octopus as the star spot and weren't disappointed and spent a good 5 minutes playing with quite a large one.... They are so funning, they change colour, shirk small, grow big, so captivating ... We saw a spotted moray too, a couple of slipper lobster, scorpion fish and squid.... And for the last 10 minutes of the dive we found a sandy bottomed spot and messed about .... If you clap your hands little star specks appear... It's mental!!!! After 48 mins we were coming up, a bit chilly but all genuinely pleased with ourselves for completing our first night dive.....
To top the night off my wonderful hubby had cooked a nice hot curry and met me on the dock with a fluffy towel x x
What a day...
Thursday, time for a day off from diving and to get a bit of use out of our Kayak we'd hired for$150 and so far only used for half a day!
We had a great morning we Kayaked out to the patch reefs and spent an hour snorkelling, then sunbathed on the Kayak, spent another hour snorkelling and some more time snorkelling... It was heaven... You are in the most beautiful place, with rays swimming past you but no one else as far as you can see and the water lapping the side of the Kayak.... Bliss!
I'd noticed the dive boat go out but not come back yet so presumed they must be doing a two tank dive. Bryan had left the island that morning as he had some leave and was going to a fishing contest up Mexico way, so Ian the owners partner had taken them out....
After a good 3 hours out on the reef we saw them return and starving headed in ourselves....
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Absolutely HUGE!!!
We were met by Carrie shouting from her bungalow that we passed on the way in, that I'd missed the dive of the century!!! They'd only gone and seen an 18ft Tiger Shark...... They were all buzzing and I couldn't decide if I were jealous or grateful I'd missed it !!! As you can imagine this was the talk of the island for the next few days and the shark kept growing.... It's probably 30ft by now!!! Carrie did say she thought it was a baby whale shark at first... Apparently they were all at about 50ft and it was below them at 80ft but did come up to have a look at them....
We spent the afternoon much as we had the morning out on the reef but at the other side of the island after we'd paddled out to the wall, which is almost as it sounds a natural wall protecting the reef from the waves which crash onto it. We saw great stuff again but I have to say I was swimming with a bit more caution knowing that big brute was out there......
Had a great evening drinking sundowner beers with Carrie and Joe on their deck, watching the eagle rays jump, nurse sharks scramble for the fillet scraps and chatting away until it was time for them to go to the restaurant for dinner and us to collect our fish from Warren and the lads who were filleting it and head back to cook our tea and as it was the day before the full moon it was bright out so enjoy another night of stars and moonlight!
Friday - Full Moon- AKA Whale Shark Dive Day!
Now I've probably painted you a picture of Caribbean idealism but this place does have some faults which no way overshadow how amazing it is but nevertheless do cause a bit of minor irritation.... So way way way back when when we booked the island on this particular week we did it for a reason.... Diving with whale sharks, which frequent a local spot called gladden spit around the full moons of March- June with the best month being April... So we booked this week and we booked a whale shark dive for me and snorkel for Jon for today! One of the islands downsides is the mood swings of the lady that runs it and communication generally, we'd been asking all week about our dive and even had a chat with Bryan who didn't think we'd be going but we kept pushing and Becky tried to get us out on one of the boats from a neighbouring island but nothing was confirmed...... So we were a bit annoyed but what more could we do. So on Friday/Full Moon morning, no one was more surprised than us, when Warren (Becky's son) turned up on our dock at 7am and told us that he was taking us across to the other island to do the whale shark dive but we needed to leave in 30 mins.... We wolfed down some brekkie and headed out, with some good luck cheers from Carrie and Joe to send us on our way. 30 mins later we were on South West Caye and after a very ungraceful exit from the boat, which gave everyone a giggle we were being told the whale shark dive was at 12..... It was 8am! We had 2 choices we could wait or leave our stuff and as one of their dive boats was diving off our island we could go and meet that at 11.30am and they'd bring us back over for the dive.... We chose the latter and headed back to our home island..... Chilled out, caught some rays (sun rays that is) and waited ..... At 11.30am we were on South West Cayes dive boat waiting for their morning divers to come up, chatting to the boat captain Eral and had been for some 20 mins when the divers started coming up and a voice ver the radio said.... Whale Shark Dive cancelled...... We were gutted, stuck in the middle of the sea .... Thankfully we'd already decided we weren't ready to leave the island yet and had extended our stay until Tuesday....
Luckily Alison was out with the open water guys not far from us, so we could get a lift back once all the south caye divers were back up.... Who were all a bit confused as to who these two random people were who'd appeared on their boat, whilst they'd been diving!!
It was pretty much the same story for Alison, Dione and the other 2 lads doing open water when they got back to there boat... Wondering where we'd come from, I suppose if we'd have been dripping wet they'd just have assumed we'd had a long snorkel out but as we were completely dry and in our board shorts... We were certainly out of place on a dive boat!!!
And we had the same explaining to do when we returned back to our island.... Carrie and Joe again thought we'd had the quickest whale shark trip ever....!!!
The next thing we had to explain was that all my dive stuff or correction all their dive stuff was on South Caye.....Which they weren't very happy about, but what could we do.... Cross our fingers and hope they ran another trip either Saturday, Sunday or Monday.....
We made the most of another afternoon with our Kayak and snorkelling the reefs and spent some time chatting to Jamie and Dione the other English couple on the island and again chilled with Joe and Carrie for sundowners watching Warren prepare for his big fishing competition which was on Saturday!
Whale sharks or not.... The full moon that night was a sight to be seen and we shall remember it despite the copious amounts of Rum and Beer we consumed in celebration of not going home the following day...
The next day (Saturday), whilst everyone else made their way to the dock with much less stuff than they came with, having consumed all their food and all their ice having melted, we had an early morning snorkel and lazy brekkie, before we headed over to say our goodbyes but before we did we called South West Caye to see if the dive was going out......answer... No maybe tomorrow.... Call back then.....
We'd met some great couples this week and especially those who we'd spent time on the dive boat with..... Carrie and Joe especially as for the first 3 days we were diving ourselves senseless, then it was just about the sundowners.... Brenda and Dana too.... I'll never forget what you told me about the wetsuit , Sue for cooking us the great Conch, Steve for being my dive buddy on our first experience of this fantastic reef and the Tinge's for sharing the shower of the boat ride out and also the Finnish couple for being great neighbours and a no drama dive duo.....
Hasta lluego!
So then there were only a few..... Gareth and Jess the Australian couple, Dione and Jamie the English Couple, Hichen and Riley the couple who had met just a few days before but were certainly feeling the amour of the island, Steve aka Aqua man ( aptly named by Carrie as he'd just done his open water that week and had a habit of speed swimming through dives and missing everything... He even missed the 18ft Tiger Shark!!!!), and god love him.... RJ, the big American guy, who bless him could really talk but he was a love....
A peaceful day indeed and a huge thank you to Dione for giving us some sun cream.... Had we not have had it, I'm sure we'd have frazzled instead we toasted gently!!!!
Making the most of the fact no one was there, we took some single Kayak's out... I didn't get very far though as Dione was on her deck and we spent half the afternoon chatting..... We also welcomed our new neighbours.... 8 Belizian Coastguard, who set up Easter weekend residence in 'Octopus' cabin 3.....God knows where they all slept!!!!
Mid afternoon, the victors returned, Warren, Giovanni, and the fishing crew had caught 176lbs of fish and taken top spot in the big competition, so a fun filled afternoon and evening took off, with loads of celebratory fish filleting and beer drinking.... God knows what type of fish we had for tea but it was absolutely yummy...... We also got to check out what happens to the moon the day after a full moon, cos you never really get a chance to watch it when you're engrossed in 'the real world'.... First thing, we clocked was that the stars were mental.... The sky was full and they were all like the milky way looks... More like star dust rather than bright individual stars.... And there's no moon in the sky... Then later a huge yellow moon appears loads lower down than normal.... It was lovely to see....
Sunday it was pretty much the same story... Including no whale shark dive but hey we weren't losing faith we still had Monday and Carrie had said a couple of days after the full moon is where it's at..... We still had our coast guard neighbours and by 3pm the boat had returned from the mainland with a few new guests, not many though which surprised us as it was Easter week...
Still loads of fish so we didn't go hungry, fresh grouper or was it snapper, who knows but again mighty fine...
'Monday ' our last day on the island and it has to be said ..... THE DAY for many reasons..... Not that it started off too spectacular with our early morning call to South West Caye, which again was inconclusive as to whether they were doing a dive so we wandered back and no sooner had we cooked some brekkie and settled on the deck to enjoy the scenery, we heard an almighty commotion coming from the dock area.... Becky was going nuts... Chucking knives, fish and ice all over the place.... This carried on for a good hour and was well up there with an EastEnders award winning episode..... Apparently Warren had taken a cooler full of ice for all his fish he'd filleted from his competition and she wasn't happy and this was how she showed it... Oh that and throwing all the people who'd been on the fishing trip with him off the island.... Including poor old Giovani who had been visiting the island for 14 years....I think it ended with Warren quitting, so god knows what they are going to do for dinners every night..... Most people just stayed out of the way in fear of being thrown off the island too but as our bungalow was only 2 away from the dock, we didn't need to be close to see what was going on.... Just when we'd think it was finished, Becky would appear and chuck some more of Warren's things into the sea.... We couldn't help but think it was a bit of a waste of 176lb of fresh fish, which Warren had literally been filleting for 6 hours the night before.....
Anyway eventually it did all die down and we took to the water for a little snorkel, resigned to the fact that we wouldn't be seeing any whale sharks.... About 30 mins later Emilio came running over to our bungalow and my first thought was 'god we're getting kicked off too' but he hadn't he'd come to tell us that South West Caye had just called and they were leaving 'now' for a whale shark dive..... But they only had one place.... Bless my beautiful husband who ran into the bungalow got all my stuff ready quicker than I'd got out of the water and packed me off on the dive as selfless as always....
It was another one of those, mid sea change overs and I jumped on board their boat after we'd belted it across the reef.... Everyone again wondered what the hell was going on.... As this random person gatecrashed their whale shark trip....Eddie the captain wasn't waiting around to give any explanations and as soon as we'd wedged the two boats together and I'd jumped from one to the other we were off without even waiting for me to get a seat.... In fact there wasn't a seat for me but my stuff was all there and 2 tanks .... All i needed!!! It didn't take long for my explanation to get round and I got chatting to a lovely couple who had a house on the great lake, she a writer and he a merchant ships captain.... And Dive Master.... Useful, when you're on your own as I was for this dive! About half way there and in the midst of some great conversation... One of the engines on the boat died and Eddie said we needed to turn back and swap boats.... All the guys on the boat had already done a couple of dives that morning and I'm sure some of them were good for knocking it on the head and thought the dive would be cancelled... I meanwhile clung to the fact that he'd said 'change' boats not just go back.... And that's just what we did.... Sped the 30 mins back to South West Caye, chucked everything from one boat to the other in a matter of minutes and were off.....
By the time we arrived at Gladden Spit it was 2pm and how it works is that only 6 boats are allowed in the area at 1 time... So we had to wait for a boat to come out and replace their spot quick....Eddie explained that everyone has to be out of the water by 5 pm whatever, so if we got in for 2.30pm and dove until 3.15pm, we'd have to come out of the area let another boat in, eat our lunch quick sharp and be ready to get in there for the latest 4.15pm .... At 4.50pm, no matter what, we had to be doing our surface stop to be out for 5pm....
It was boiling as we were all suited up ready to go but with no sign of a boat coming out we took solis in the sea to cool off.... No sooner had I dived in than someone shouted ....'behind you.... Turtle..'.. I could kick myself as I'd left my mask on the boat.... And this turtle was practically underneath my feet, I could all but stand on him!!!! Thankfully Matt got some great pics so I could see what was going on afterwards.... This turtle certainly knew what he was doing and had no fear of people .... All the boats were mid dive so having lunch....you know what he was after......
A minute later Eddie was calling us out, which was a shame as the turtle was still hanging round but we all refocused on the star sighting of the day..... The whale sharks and got back in the boat, kitted up fast and were off for dive 1... The scoping out dive.... Again Eddie explained this dive was merely to find the spawning snappers, not to see whale sharks.... Our 4pm dive was 'the' dive... The later it is the better the chance of a sighting.....
We all got in and were off for dive 1.... It's really freaky, because you are diving totally in open blue water and you have no idea of how deep you are as it's so blue...I honestly thought I was just below the surface and we were at 17 m..... Pretty insane and the reason you have to be good at controlling your buoyancy.... It didn't take long for the tank to be banged and a shark sign to be made.... I'd already seen it though.... A couple of bull sharks below us..... Now this is the first serious shark I've seen and I honestly didn't know how I'd react... When I'd chatted to Alison about it she'd told me she'd been the same and when she had actually swam with her first sharks ( bull sharks) she'd felt strangely at ease, not like she was in there space therefore a threat but just that they were all in it together.... And oddly that's how I felt.... We kept going down to about 27 m and there was another bang as we'd come across a snapper ball.... I was a bit distracted though as I felt something not quite right and reached behind me to find my tank was slipping and nearly out.... We were at 27m there were 2 bull sharks beneath us and a great big snapper ball of spawning snapper.... Great... I tapped the guy next to me just to hold the tank, whist I swam to the dive master...., who reattached it as the bull sharks swam beneath us.... And shockingly I was as calm as a cucumber.... We carried on with the dive, found another snapper ball, kept one eye on those bull sharks and headed back to the boat.... All in all a pretty successful scoping out dive....
We headed back out for our lunch and out of the area to let another boat in.... So far no one had seen any whale sharks and we were all hoping the later it got the better....
No sooner had we got lunch out but the loggerhead was back again and we were off again for our final dive....our lovely dive master, who's name escapes me shouted to his mate on the other boat to find out if they'd seen any.... And we all saw the 3 fingers he held up.... Eddie went into a tiz... Get your stuff on quick, quick, quick, there's 3 sharks..... Well I didn't need telling twice, nor did my new mate the dive master, merchant ships captain and we were in as soon as the boat stopped.... Oh my god.... I'd not even cleaned my mask and I could see my first whale shark.... The dots of his back clearly visible despite the snapper spawn making the water murky.....Others were dilly dallying on the boat but gradually getting their acts together and soon we were all heading down..... 17 m was the magic depth this time.... Snapper balls were everywhere, spawn too, a huge huge wide fat bull shark, who did get a little close for comfort..... And was definitely hunting, we saw him dive into the snapper ball and take a big mouth full... But these snappers didn't stop what they're doing even for a surging bull shark, they were on a spawning mission.....bang bang bang shark, bang bang bang shark.... It was crazy!!!!! And this time it was for the star prize... Whale shark coming from the deep..... AMAZING!!! Now in diving the one thing you are never suppose to do is hold your breath... But that was impossible.... It was just the most spectacular thing we'd all ever seen.... This 25ft giant, moving so quietly and elegantly from the deep past us.... We could see the little shark suckers underneath him and the gills flapping and his little yellow eyes... WOW.. We were all mesmerised .... Bang bang bang, shark.... Oh my god there was another..... Just as one had passed us making his way to the shallows another was coming up the other side... I swear there was a moment where they just split either side of us and we got the most amazing view of the whole underneath of her tummy.... She was a beaut, easy 30 plus feet...
We were by now about 33meters and Bang bang bang shark... 3 bulls beneath us and one of our divers was far to close and deep for comfort and had to be bought back up.....he'd easy gone past 45 meters.... God knows why... He liked diving deep but even he said afterwards that was stupid....
Now it wasn't as if we just saw a glimpse of these sharks they were there all the time swimming with us, up and down and whilst the 2 had just passed us on their way up you could see the spots of the third down beneath maybe 20 meters below us...
What a dive.... None of us wanted to come up, but we had to.... But our shark action wasn't over..... As we were doing our surface stop a silk shark was circling us, looking more aggressive than the bulls had.... Time to get out.....
5pm exactly and I was being helped onto the boat......
We were all buzzing....... What can only be described as the most amazing experience ever... Worth every bit of false hope, false start, boat changes and the $180 I'd paid to do it..... Lucky lucky lucky......
And again a huge big thank you to my gorgeous hubby for letting me go over him..... You are the best x x x
Nothing would be wiping that smile off my face for a long long time and when Jon and Ian arrived to collect me from the bar at South West Caye, way after the sun had gone down, we'd taken our team whale shark pics, unloaded the boat, cleaned the equipment and had a couple of celebratory rums..... They knew the answer to their question by looking at my face.... Both got a huge hug and it was a case of stating the obvious rather than asking the question...'so you saw whale sharks then!!!'
The best day ever to top off a cracking 10 days on our very own paradise island, with a reef in your back garden to play with thats nicer than the great barrier reef ......
So it was only right that once we'd packed our stuff, said our goodbyes and were on the boat back to the mainland the following morning, for 2 more days with Trish to wash our clothes and be mothered a bit, the pod of dolphins came out to say good bye, jumping around the boat, and a turtle popped up later on in the journey as we we're just about at the mouth of the river, to do likewise....
How on earth is anywhere going to beat this.....
The best Easter break in history.......



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2nd May 2012

Fantastic blog and photos
So wonderful to read about all your experiences on Glovers! I was reminded how lucky I am to have done my Open Water there, as the beauty of the diving is all I've known. Your photos are amazing, particularly of the whale sharks. So glad you managed to stay longer. Enjoyed our chats while you were trying to stay in one place in your kayak!! Hope to see you both in sunny Surrey! X

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