Getting Ready to Dive!
Location:Turneffe Islands Atoll- Belize
by Wayne & Karen Brown
Today we begin our scuba diving on our expedition ship the Belize Aggressor III. The Belize Aggressor III is designed especially for scuba diving expeditions. This is the best dive boat we have ever been on. It is made of aluminum and measures 120 feet long and 22 feet wide. To travel safely the ship has radar, a depth finder, an electronic compass, auto pilot and radio telephone. There are storage places for all our equipment and cameras.There is also a special platform on the back of the boat, right on the water, so we can easily get in and out of the water. There are even fresh water showers on the platform so we can shower off as soon as we get out of the water.
Belize Aggressor III makes weeklong expeditions exploring the world's second largest barrier reef along the coast of Belize. With a crew of six, it can take up to 18 divers, but we only have 13 divers on our expedition. All the divers are from the US, except for a few guys from Germany. Even though the Belize Aggressor III takes kids scuba diving with their parents, there are no kids with us on this expedition.
Every day we will be making 5 scuba dives, with each dive lasting from 35 minutes to 75 minutes. Thats over 6 hours underwater everyday! Our diving day starts at 8 AM, after our 7 AM breakast, and ends at 9 PM. We plan on making two dives in the morning, two in the afternoon and one at night.
At the start of our day we meet Divemaster Juan Coc. Juan is a Mayan Belizean. Coc is the Mayan word for turtle. His ancestors were the original inhabitants of Belize and built beautiful cities and temples. We will be visiting these ancient Mayan cities and temples later on our expedition as we explore the rainforests.
When the divers have all gathered on deck Juan draws on a map on the dive board and explains where the ship is located, how deep the water is, where the reef is, and what we should look for on the reef. Divemaster Juan joins us on the dive to help find things for us to investigate underwater. Divemaster Juan is also there to help if anyone has a problem underwater.
To get ready to scuba dive we put on our Aqua-Lung® diving equipment. We wear an air tank on our back. Holding the air tank on our back is our BC (The buoyancy compensator allows us to control our floating and sinking. Through an air hose connected to our air tank we can let air into the BC to float up or let air out to sink down. Our special Sea Quest® BCs also hold our weights for helping us sink underwater.) We breathe from the air tank using our special U.S.Divers ® regulators. (A regulator controls or regulates the air that goes from the air tank into our mouth.) We wear U.S.Divers® diving computers that show us everything we need to know to dive safely (our depth underwater, time underwater, amount of air in our air tank, how much time we have left for our air tank, how fast we are breathing, when we have to come back to the surface, and more.). After all this we put on our fins and mask and we are ready for our dive. Out of the water all of our equipment weighs about 50 pounds, but underwater we can adjust our buoyancy (floating and sinking) so we are weightless like astronauts on a space walk.
After our dive is over before we can dive again our scuba diving air tanks must refilled. Our air tanks are made of aluminum and weigh about 35 pounds when full of air. Underwater our air tanks are almost weightless. Divemaster Juan connects an air hose to our tanks and refills them by pumping air back into them, like you pump up your bicycle tire, from the ships big air pump, called an air compressor. After our tanks are filled again we are ready for another dive! Join us tomorrow as we tell you about what we saw on our dives.
Wayne & Karen Brown
Turneffe Islands Atoll, Belize
Position: 17º 09' N / 87º 55' W
Air Temp: 87ºF
Weather: light breeze, sunny with scattered clouds and calm seas.
Water Temp: 81ºF
The crew ties up Belize Aggressor III to a float that marks our dive site. You can see Turneffe Island in the background.
Divemaster Juan explains where we will be diving and what to look for.
We are putting our our Aqua Lung® scuba diving equipment to get ready to make a dive.
After our dive Divemaster Juan refills our scuba air tanks so we can dive again.