Yes, here i am reviewing the Diving operation not the Diving Lodge in its entirety (which has a separate review). The reason for this is because even though they are intimately related and owned by the same company, the quality provided by both are very different.
Huracan Diving, the diving outfit is great. Starting with the Dive Masters, Boat Captain and support staff, they are very experienced, with an emphasis on safety and following PADI procedures and very good at communicating expectations during briefings. They do have equipment for rent, if you don´t want to bring your own or you forgot something.
The diving in Long Caye is mostly drift diving around the reef and the atolls and some wall diving. Temperature of the water is your ideal 84 degrees F year round (on average). I was fine with a 3 mm shorty. The weather in late May was fine, with occasional thunderstorms and 2 feet seas at the most. When it gets hot, it is hot alright and sunny and bright as well. It is then a pleasure doing your back roll onto a water of many hues of blue.
The Mega Fauna that we observed included many types of sharks and turtles, eagle rays and sting rays. The reef seemed to be healthy, with your typical array of caribbean fishes, soft and hard corals and sponges. Lion Fish are hunted regularly and we did not encounter many. In fact you can join in the hunting effort. Visibility was in the 60 to 70 feet range routinely.
HALF MOON CAYE DIVE SITES: Very rich in sealife since it is a protected area. I saw the biggest loggerhead turtle ever. We joked that it looked like a mini morris.The island with its bird sanctuary is a nice place for a surface interval (gift shop, restrooms and plenty of coconuts to enjoy fresh coconut water).
THE BLUE HOLE: The dive master did a prior training deep dive to gauge everyone skills and comfort because diving the Blue Hole requires you to be proficient in your diving, your buoyancy, your awareness and understanding of the risks, including oxygen narcosis. Luckily all in the group were found qualified to do the Blue Hole dive but this is not always the case, so if you are turned down, don´t be upset, it is for your safety. If you read this review prior to your trip, get a refresher course and get training on this type of diving. Huracan Lodge is only 20 minutes from the Blue Hole and so we were the first boat at the site and had the whole place for ourselves during our dive, which was not only cool, but also safer as it eliminated another opportunity for confusion. The weather was fine and we got there at 7:30 am. We jumped after the Dive Master in groups of two, committed to keeping an eye on each of our buddies. The visibility was amazing, probably 100 feet or so, as we dived the gin clear waters in our descent. You will go first to 40 feet, where the edge of the Blue Hole (an ancient cavern system from the last ice age) starts. Here is where the DM determines if some people should abort or continue the dive. We were all clear to go down and the descent to 130 feet came rather quickly, yet in a controlled manner. We saw some large reef sharks and a huge nurse shark, guarding the mouth of the Hole. The effects of oxygen narcosis commonly set in here, even though you only spend minutes at this depth. I remember thinking when i reached the stalactites and floated amongst them that this was were the Mayan Gods lived and that i was meant to be there and felt somehow god like myself too. Clearly the effects of narcosis. But i was aware all the time and the ascent came soon enough (the whole dive, including safety stop of 5 minutes at the end lasts no more than 25-30 minutes). . When we came up my buddy was low on air but i still had 1,200 psi. Not an issue because there was a spare tank and regulator hanging from the boat for this eventuality. Highly recommended dive.
My only criticism is that nigh or sunset dives were not arranged. Now this is excusable because we only had 3 days of diving and when you have deep dives involved there is not a lot of flexibility in the schedule. Yet, if night dives were offered i might have stayed longer or i may decide to come another time.
They dive air only, nitrox is not provided, which when you have groups doing deep dives is understandable as you don´t want the groups to be separated (everyone is kind of in the same schedule in those deep dives).
Santiago the Dive Master and Luis the boat captain and dive master are great. Unfortunately the lodging part of the company needs a whole reset as that part was not enjoyable. See the review of the lodge separately.
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