Hurracan Diving, Long Caye Belize December 2014
This is my third trip to Huracan Diving in 18 months. This alone speaks volumes about how I feel about this scuba resort. I rate this spot as one of the best if not the best locations in the Caribbean. On the world scale it would rate a 5 or 6 out of 10, as the Caribbean is never as good as some of the top spots in Asia.
But I reside on the east coast of the USA and Belize is a very easy destination to get to. If you want top notch diving in the Caribbean with very small groups and uncrowded dive sites, this is the place to go.
Huracan is not for every one. This is a very remote island that has no other activities, no shopping no groomed beaches. Long Caye is in a very natural state. Don’t expect to see large pristine beaches lined with coconut trees and cabanas. The island is mostly
swamp and it is heavily forested. It is very jungle like. There are no restaurants and bars to go to. There are no stores. There are a couple of small beach areas. These are not swimming beaches as the water is quite shallow. There is a moon pool with steps off the main dock where swimming is possible.
The mosquitos can be terrible in the summer months. In the fall there are no mosquitos, but the water is more choppy and the vis can suffer a bit. If you go in the summer bring lots of insect repellant and it will be tolerable as most of your time will be on the boat and underwater. If we go back again, and there is a high likely hood of this happening, I would go in late spring or summer to get better vis and a few mosquitos as the downside.
The island has no power. Only solar. If you expect air conditioning, hair driers, fancy restaurants and getting dressed up….go elsewhere. On cloudy days they may need to run a generator. Their water is rain water collected from the roof. In the summer months there will be lots of electricity from solar, but they will be short on water. In the fall, lots of water, and less electricity due to the clouds. Remember, this is a remote eco resort.
The good news, the resort is tiny. They have 4 rooms for a total occupancy of 8. Small resort equals small scuba groups and no crowds underwater. Long Caye is also located in the middle of very pristine reefs with lots of fish life including reef sharks, rays, eagle rays, hammer head sharks, whale sharks and much much more. There is very little fishing pressure out here. There are 2 small fishing boats that fish the waters. Both are 20-25 foot long sail boats with 8 fishermen onboard. We have seen no large commercial activities and there is very little recreational fishing out here. The staff will fish or buy fish from the local fishermen for dinner.
The island has no cell phone coverage. The closest signal is about 1 hour away by boat. The resort does have limited internet available. Their bandwidth is VERY limited and it is very easy to exceed it and then there is no useful internet for the rest of the day.
If you want a small eco resort with FANTASTIC diving and a very personable feeling…go to Huracan.
December 1st is the first day of the dry season. However, this year someone forgot to tell the rain this. In the evenings, we had massive rains and flooding. The rains only prevented us from making one morning dive. However, the island was flooded.
This is not a common occurrence, but weather happens and lucky for us, it did not interfere with the diving. The staff did its best to make the situation tolerable by ferrying us on the ATV’s if needed. The water was not deep as it can not get much deeper than about 8 inches before it would roll off into the ocean.
The resort has recently changed ownership from Ruth to the new owner Bernard. I have been there under Ruth’s management as well as both Ruth and Bernard and now just Bernard. Basically it is the same place with new faces. Bernard has made a strong effort to improve the food by hiring trained chefs. He work has paid off. The food is improved, but this is a hard environment for a chef to work in as it is 40 miles off shore from food suppliers and many things a chef would want are just too far away. Considering this handicap, the food is excellent.
The rooms and the building are the same as the previous posts so read those posts for more info on the rooms.
One change some may notice is the dining tables in the center of the lodge, This was done one night due to heavy rains making the regular dining area a little moist. Once again the staff did a fine job of making the rains a minor inconvenience.
The main reason to come to Huracan is the fantastic diving.
On this trip we saw Eagle Rays, lots of Turtles, lots of reef sharks (2 spent 30 minutes with us with lots of close encounters), cuttle fish, octopus, groupers, schools of fish, decorated neck crabs, a variety of flat worm I have never seen and much much more.
Dives were guided with most having a 50 minute bottom time. Lucky for us that was a Carribbean 50 minutes and most were actually in the 60-70 minute range. This could vary depending on depth and who you are diving with and their air consumption. All dives were drift dives even though there is little to no current here.
All dives were done with aluminum 80’s on Air. Nitrox is not currently available (remember this is a very remote site). They may have nitrox in the future. All dives are done from the same boat that does the transfers to the mainland. The boat makes this crossing on Wednesdays and Saturdays. No diving is normally planned on these days, but on 2 of my trips we were able to get a dive in late Wednesday.
Another pleasant surprise are the large schools of fish. Huge schools of creole wrasse and jacks were commonly seen on many dives.
You will also see very large eagle rays that pass by very close. Typically the eagle rays are very shy and stay far from the divers. The eagle rays here will approach the divers and glide by 5-15 feet away.
The highlight was one of our last dives at Half Moon Caye. On this dive 2 large reef sharks joined us for 30 minutes. They made many passes and started getting closer and closer. Towards the end they were within 5-10 feet of me for several minutes. Then as fast as it started, they swam off and we continued on our way. This was a great up close shark encounter that did not involve feeding
The coral is in pretty good shape. Many locations in the Caribbean this is not the case
There are lots of wide angle reef scenes at light house reef atoll. Large healthy brain corals, large colorful sponges and even patches of recovering elk horn coral.
It is very refreshing to see a healthy reef over such a wide area.
I spent most of my dives with a wide angle lens, however, there are critters too. Flat worms, odd crabs and odd shrimps for those who like to go slow and explore.
One of the highlight dives is the Blue Hole. Hurracan is the closest resort to the blue hole and there arrive there first before the other divers arrive and muck up the vis. For the best blue hole experience go to Huracan. However, my personal opinion is the reef dives are much better due to the amount of sea life you will see. The blue hole is fun and it is interesting….but the reefs are better
I also have a 20 minute high definition video posted on youtube. The shark portion begins around 11 minutes.
In short, if you want great diving in the Caribbean. Small Groups and a very native/natural island setting. You don’t mind lack of some modern conveniences. Go to Huracan Diving.