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Scuba Diving the Cypress Tunnels in San Pedro, Belize

By Edited Jun 27, 2016 0 0

A Wonderful Experience

Diving in Belize

 My first Caribbean Scuba diving vacation was in beautiful San Pedro, Belize ; staying at the delightful Ramon's Village Resort was simply fantastic. The people there are so warm and welcoming, plus the diving is excellent. The trip was fantastic to say the least. Thank you to my wonderful husband...

I also earned my [1]PADI  Advance Open Water certification while on vacation, right there at Ramon's Village.  Thank you John of [3]Divers Mast in Jackson, Michigan.

While every dive with the [2]Ramon's Village Resort dive crew and our group was fantastic, the third day proved to be much more than I expected.

On that third day of diving, the dive master took us to the tunnels. While swimming with the fishes, I was blessed to see not only the breathtaking reef with all of its glory. But also a huge Grouper (that swam with me most of the dive), Nurse Sharks, Various Angelfish, Schooling fish, Yellow-tailed Snapper, Crabs and Lobsters, Hawksbill turtles, a super large Hairy Sea Cucumber, Spotted Moray Eel, and the cream of the crop was an enormous Spotted Eagle Ray, with an estimated wing span of at least 5 feet if not more. Yes like the one that killed Steve Erwin.  

Beautiful Spotted Moray - Peek A Boo

Spotted Moray Eel
Credit: Tina Vos All Rights Reserved

Quick Facts

  • Medium to Large species with light-colored skin and can have white or brown spots
  • Typically found tucked into crevices in the reef
  • Has two sets of jaws, better to hide within crevices and dine on a fishy meal swimming by

The diving group had stopped on the sandy bottom to have a look around before heading into the tunnels.

As I was hanging near the sandy bottom admiring a huge Hairy Sea cucumber, this very large Spotted Eagle Ray came into view, gracefully swimming just above the corral heads then over our heads! It reminded me of the space ship in the movie Independence Day.

Get the attention of your dive buddies

Scuba Choice Scuba Dive 6.5" Stainless Steel Tank Rattle Signal Device Stick with Lanyard
Amazon Price: $19.99 $19.98 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 27, 2016)
A tank rattle is a must to get the attention of your buddies.
I like this type vs the rubber types that fit over the tank because they usually only last a week of diving.

Young Spotted Eagle Ray

Graceful Young Spotted Eagle Ray
Credit: Tina Vos May 2013 All Rights Reserved

Quick Facts

  • Often solitary creatures but can be found swimming around with friends
  • Spotted Eagle Rays give live birth to as many as 4 pups
  • Large Eagle Rays can have a wing span up to 10 feet

I was in awe of this magnificent creature. From my perfect vantage point, just below.  I rested there on the bottom watching it slowly swim in my direction then over my head. I could clearly see the White spots upon it's top and the plate like teeth within the duck-bill like mouth and could feel the softness of its creamy white belly. That ray was absolutely stunning...

The ray was so tranquil in movement, gracefully moving through the area and continuing on with no hesitation or fear. That particular Spotted Eagle Ray certainly did not care that there were a dozen divers below blowing bubbles. What a magnificent creature... and an exhilarating experience.                                 

Navigating the swim threw's, the abundance of marine life plus seeing that enormous Spotted Eagle (the highlight of the dive), made the whole day a great experience.

If you get the chance you must dive the Cypress Tunnels off Ambergris Caye, in San Pedro, Belize.  You will certainly have one of the best Scuba Diving experience’s ever.

Things to keep in mind when diving tunnels or caves

Safety First...

  • ALWAYS dive with a buddy.
  • Do Not skip your safety check on your equipment.
  • Take an underwater light to aid in navigating and observing the marine life in the tunnels. I also suggest taking a spare light, if your batteries fail.
  • Take something to bang on your tank, (the dive shops sell scuba tank bangers)
  • Keep in mind; specifically, the Cypress tunnels are not super narrow however, maintaining good buoyancy is important. As with any tunnel or swim through diving, you don’t want to bump into the corral and rock that surrounds you as you go through.
  • The tunnels are pretty long and typically exit in the 100 foot range. Typically hanging out for a long time is not advised.
  • And (as in every dive),  Be mindful of your air consumption and decompression limits.
  • ALWAYS do your SAFETY STOP(S), if you are low on air the boats normally have a regulator hanging at 15 feet which is connected to an air tank on the boat.
  • Don’t forget your camera. If you don’t have an underwater camera you typically can  buy a disposable in the dive shop or the photo shop on site. It is well worth the money.

Light your path

Esky 500 lumen CREE Lamp LED Submarine Flashlight Underwater Torch
Amazon Price: $17.50 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 27, 2016)
Hand lights are a must when diving in low light areas.

An easy way to be seen

Trident LSC-GR LED Light Stick Dive Light, Constant On, Green
Amazon Price: $9.63 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 27, 2016)
I love these types of lights to attach to our BC's when diving in darker areas.
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Bibliography

  1. PADI "PADI." Professional Assosciation of Diving Instructors. 21/09/2015 <Web >
  2. Ramon's Village Resort "Welcome to Ramon's Village Resort." Ramon's Village Resort. 21/09/2015 <Web >
  3. Divers Mast "Welcome to Divers Mast ." Divers Mast Scuba and Snorkeling Center. 30/09/2015 <Web >

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