Aaron Martina is an Florida based programmer and an international man of mystery. Well, he's not all that mysterious but he does travel the world now and then taking photos, eating interesting foods and diving the depths.

Below Belize

Below Belize

Once again my wanderlust had to be satisfied and thus I boarded a flight to Belize at the beginning of June. I joined my fellow Orlando Reef Divers in Belize City where we gathered to take a week long tour aboard the Belize Aggressor IV. We spent our first night docked just outside of Belize City where we met the crew, had our first meal on the boat, and retired to our rooms to rest up after a day of travel. The boat moved in the early evening over to the Turneffe Atoll where we tied up for the night.

Sunday we donned our gear and dove Amberhead South twice. It was a great first couple of dives to start off the trip. In fact I saw eagle rays on both dives which was awesome. During lunch the boat weighed anchor and moved us over to the main atoll, Lighthouse Reef, where we would spend most of our time. We then got back into the water to dive twice at Julie’s Jungle.

Monday morning we moved off of Half Moon Cay to dive on its eponymous wall a couple of times. While we enjoyed a delicious lunch the boat motored to the protected side of the atoll where we tied up for the night and dove three times, including our first night dive, on Eagle Ray Wall. Sadly in spite of its name we did not see any eagle rays.

Tuesday’s adventure took us just off of Hat Cay where we dove twice at Site X. At lunch the boat moved to be off of Long Cay where we had three amazing dives on Long Cay Wall.

On Wednesday we started our diving near by at Painted Wall and moved back over near Hat Cay during lunch. We then had three great dives on Hat Cay Wall.

Thursday was the highlight of the trip as we traversed over to The Great Blue Hole. It took a bit to navigate to the dive site but then we jumped in. The dive itself was relatively quick, 28 minutes, as I went down to 134 feet. There were stalactites around 100 or feet deep which was neat. We even saw a shark swimming about another 20 feet below us. We took our time coming back up and chilled for an extra long safety stop. But all of that was worth it. We didn’t dive again until after lunch when we headed back to near Long Cay to dive at Aquarium and then two dives at Que-bra-da.

Friday was the last day for any diving and we did two final dives at Sandy Slopes located at the Turneffe Atoll before heading back to the dock. During the trip back after lunch we rinsed our gear and set it out to dry. Once we got back to the dock many of the passengers went on excursions. I decided to hang back and just relax on the boat and over at the local hotel’s lounge (which had amazing air conditioning). After . some time passed I packed up my gear and took a much appreciated nap. After the other passengers returned we had a small farewell ceremony with the crew with hors d'oeuvres and drinks. I earned my third “Iron Diver” medal. The rest of the night involved chatting, laughing and drinking. Some people had way more to drink than they should have.

Saturday morning we had breakfast and then we had to get off the boat by 8am I believe. Then we waited around for a bit by the hotel before jumping on the bus and starting our journey back home. I made it back to Orlando around 7pm but had to wait almost an hour and a half to get my luggage from the baggage claim area due to lightning in the area. That’s always fun. I was starving so I indulged and treated myself to a good ol’ American burger at 5 Guys on the way home.

Mini post: And then 20 years have gone by