It is our last day of diving on the Belle Amie, and I started the day with mixed feelings. Mixed because it’s been a wonderful week on the boat, and we were coming to the end of the the trip. We flew all the way from asia for our honeymoon – to see the mantas, dolphins and humpbacks – and I’m pleased to say that we haven’t been disappointed. The diving has been varied but in a good way. Gentle dives, dives with current, and some challenging dives too. The things we’ve seen have been breath-taking. As advertised, we saw big animals, and plenty of them. Bottlenosed dolphins. check. Giant mantas on every dive. check. white tip and silver tip sharks. check. A nightime snorkel with silky sharks around us. check. A Sunset skiff ride to see the humpback whales breach. check. And today, on our last day, Scalloped Hammerheads. It’s going to be hard to top this, and this has been our very first live-aboard experience.
The dive masters (Nelson, Peter, and Jesse) are diligent and thorough, and did a great job of taking care of us in the water – making sure that we saw a variety of things, and that we had safe but exciting dives. Sten’s (very informative dive briefings, on the top deck every morning, were always colourful and rich with information, and you could see that the team was very experienced and passionate about diving. The boat crews have been great as well. I never once felt in danger despite the sometimes large swells. Many thanks to Lowell, Dan, and Larry, and it was always a pleasure to see the effervescent smiling Carlos, dancing a jig on the dive platform to greet us, as we returned from a dive. Our time out of the water has been equally wonderful, and pampered to boot. Hot chocolate after every dive, fresh orange slices, water and orange juice on hand at any moment. Sylvia & Jorge did a fantastic job of making sure we were well fed and taken care of (Thank you Sylvia for the life-saving dramamine and saltine crackers), and Enrique kept us well fed with the best food I’ve had in a long time. There was always variety, and it was a nice sight to see Enrique working away in the kitchen with a big smile on his face (usually making cookies by hand, which were delicious – the chocolate chip coconut were probably the best). As Jorge said, “This is a dining experience with some diving in between!”, and my waistline is extremely grateful. Last but not least, Captain Bryden did a fantastic job of keeping us informed of what was happening at all times, making sure we were comfortable, and at all times, safe. You can see that everyone on board really cares about diving. This is diving boat, built and run by divers, who care about divers. I swear there is also a little invisible elf on board that cleans up the bedrooms/ cabins magically after every dive, and also turning down the beds before bedtime, not without leaving a little bar of Hersheys as present every night! (It was probably Jorge or Sylvia, but they were always on hand at all times, so i have no idea how they managed to clean all the cabins, launder the towels and still take care of us!)
Highights of the trip : Sten’s dolphin stories, Lowell’s informative sunset skiff cruise as he explained humpback behaviour only to have 2 humpbacks breach not more than 50meters ahead of us! And of course, the phenomenal diving.
We leave the Belle Amie with a grateful heart, contented bellies, and happy minds filled with dolphins, mantas, hammerheads and whales. Thank you so much.
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This post was written by Maurice & Athiya from malaysia