Offer the most hyped dives in Belize: The Blue Hole; and chances to dive with Whale Sharks.
Friendly receptionist (Brian) and ship Capitan (Bash). Helpful Capitan assistant (Max)
Made special stop at Half Moon Caye to use their restrooms, and pee stops upon passenger's requests.
SeaHorse provided free transportation from the hotel we were staying at.
Ship didn't have restroom.
Apathetic Master Diver (Kirk).
They didn't pay attention to details that matter to offer an exceptional service. Food was a little too greasy for a diving day.
Just for reference, here are some details about the dives (we are not grading the Dive shop service based on these sites):
Both the Blue Hole and the Whale Sharks dives are advanced dives, we wouldn't recommend any of these for beginners, below are some reasons for this.
Day 1 - Opportunity to dive with Whale Sharks (2 dives):
For this dive you literally feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. There were no reference points besides the other divers in the area and the school of fish that we could barely see deep deep down as we waited for the whale sharks to eat some of them and come up . It is impossible to see the bottom, and we didn't get close enough to the walls, so the only thing that we saw everywhere we turned around was murky blue water.
This dive would have been amazing if we had actually seen at least one whale shark(even when they don't allow you to get closer than 20 feet), but you pretty much take the risk.
Now about SeaHorse, they said that the GoPole was not allowed without giving any logical explanation. During the dive, they asked us to be holding hands with our dive buddy and stay extremely close to the other divers. We didn't like these two requests. We were in a very open environment and while we needed to be close due to the limited visibility, we were constantly being bumped by the other divers. We easily could have spread out more without losing visual contact with each other.
Getting out was challenging due the choppy water, but the SeaHorse guys took all the gear from us, so it was easier for us to climb up the ladder. That is definitely something that they are doing right!
Day 2 - Three dives at the Lighthouse Reef (about 3.5 hours from Placencia)
At the Blue Hole, we were told to descend quickly to maximize our time at 120 feet deep where you can dive through stalactites and if you are lucky enough you can even see sharks down there. During the ascent, a 5 minute safety stop was recommended. Good thing is that Sea Horse had an emergency tank in case that a diver ran out of air. So, be prepared to switch your regulator, especially if you consume your air way quicker than others.
The other two sites that we visited (Half Moon Caye and the Aquarium) were pretty nice and relaxing. There were lots and lots of corals, some fish, we spotted barracudas, rays and other interesting creatures. We stopped at Half Moon Caye to have lunch and we even had time to walk the little island to see the crabs and red footed booby birds.
Now the details about their service, we called many many times to confirm our dive to the Blue Hole. Since this is a long trip, they only offer it when they have 8 divers or more (at least they don't confirm the trip and then cancel the dive on the day that you are supposed to go, when there is no time to proceed with your plan B). Brian picked up the phone every time, he was very patient, he even called our hotel once that the trip was officially confirmed to let us know.
Bash, our Captain, was pretty cool. He made sure that we were enjoying our time and the amazing views. One of his favorite quotes was "chilax, you are too blessed to be stressed". He took the boat for a non-planned stop at Half Moon Caye to use their restrooms. He also stopped the boat for pee stops upon passenger's requests. As we were coming back from the Lighthouse Reef almost everybody was sleeping. He stopped the boat and used the claxon to wake up us to find a great surprise: a school of dolphins!! Between dives Bash would let the people on the boat jump into the water to … well … to chilax :)
Max, the Captain's assistant, was extremely helpful. He made sure that everything was under control at the boat. As soon as I started doing something, anything, he would come over and assist me or do it for me. When the dive was over, he would throw out a live saver attached by a rope to the ship so that people could pull themselves close to the boat easily. Once we were close, he could help take our gear so we could get out of the water. We discovered later that Bash and Max work for a 3rd party company that subcontract the boat to SeaHorse.
Our dive master Kirk, was nearing the polar opposite personality-wise. He was pretty dry and straight to the point. His attitude was pretty apathetic. He never engaged people in conversation or went out of his way to make people feel comfortable. We were expecting to see a more friendly attitude, especially because we spent a lot of time together. We had 5 dives planned across 2 days with SeaHorse. And the boat ride alone, to and back from the Blue Hole, was approx 7 hours, add in the dives, the surface intervals and the lunch break and the grand total for that day was 14 hours.
Arriving back on land, we asked Kirk to sign our Dive Logs. He seemed to be busy unloading the boat, but didn't ask us to wait or explain why they needed to unload the boat quickly. Once he was done, he signed our logs. As we were saying goodbye he didn't turn around or even respond.
About the things that they need to pay attention are:
- Every diver must try the BCD on to be sure that they have the right size. There is no going back once that we are at the dive sites.
They did that for me, but not for my husband. He ended up with a BCD that was way bigger than what he needed, so he needed to hold the straps to keep it on place.
- While helping to gear up, make sure that the diver has the BCD/Tank on or at least balanced, before moving to help other divers.
- Before getting into the water, Make sure that the tank is open for each diver. My husband realized that his wasn't as he was trying to descend. He managed the situation pretty well getting up to the surface to try to open it up. Somebody helped him as they realized what was going on.
- Give better guidance and more information about what is going on. It happened on both days, Kirk asked us put our fins on and get ready. Everybody thought that we were at the dive site already, but we weren't. We waited another 10+ minutes *with fins on* before we got to the dive site.
About the boat:
- It didn't have restrooms. Luckily Bash handled the situation pretty well, but for a 3.5+ hour trip in each direction, I would think that having a restroom at the boat is almost a must.
- It wasn't in optimal conditions, Max had to start it doing some tricks with a screwdriver. It definitely needs maintenance, you could see the black fumes coming out of it and smell them.
- It needs to be more distinguishable. The last thing that you want to worry about after a dive is to wonder if you are swimming towards the right boat.
Other unexpected things to mention:
- The food was a little too heavy and greasy for a dive day. We typically have had fresh fruits, salads and sandwiches at other places. SeaHorse offered jerk chicken (with skins, fat and everything) and rice and other substantial but heavy meals which was unexpected especially before another dive into choppy waters.
- They also offered pills to control sea sickness.
All in all we had a good time, but their service is not that great. If you use their service we hope you get to meet Brian and Bash as they are really cool people.
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