Rendezvous Point is a popular first dive for overnighters out of Ambergris Caye. It provides a great opportunity for divers who haven’t been under in a while. The depth is about 40–50 feet and affords sufficient bottom time for you to get a good look at a wide variety of reef life. Angelfish, butterfly fish, parrot fish, yellowtails, and morays are represented well. This will whet appetites for the outstanding diving to come.
Most divers have heard of the Elbow (just 10 minutes from Turneffe Island Lodge), a point of coral that juts out into the ocean. This now-famous dive site offers a steep sloping drop-off covered with tube sponges and deep-water gorgonians, along with shoals of snappers (sometimes numbering in the hundreds) and other pelagic creatures. Predators such as bar jacks, wahoo, and permits cruise the reef, and the drop-off is impressive. Currents sweep the face of the wall most of the time, and they typically run from the north. However, occasionally they reverse or cease all together.
A short distance farther up the eastern side of the atoll from the Elbow is another dive to excite even those with a lot of bottom time under their weight belts. Lefty’s Ledge features dramatic spur-and-groove formations that create a wealth of habitats. Correspondingly, divers will see a head-turning display of undersea life, both reef and pelagic species. Jacks, mackerels, permits, and groupers are present in impressive numbers. Wrasses, rays, parrot fish, and butterfly fish are evident around the sandy canyons. Cleaning stations are also evident, where you’ll see large predators allowing themselves to be groomed by small cleaner shrimp or fish. The dive begins at about 50 feet and the bottom slopes to about 100 feet before dropping off into the blue.
Another “don’t-miss” dive, Gales Point is a short distance farther up the eastern side of the atoll from Lefty’s Ledge. Here the reef juts out into the current at a depth of about 45 feet, sloping to about 100 feet before the drop-off. Along the wall and the slope just above it are numerous ledges and cavelike formations. Rays and groupers are especially common here—some say this may be a grouper breeding area. Corals and sponges are everywhere in numerous varieties.
On the leeward, or eastern, side of the atoll, the wreck of the Sayonara, a tender sunk by Dave Bennett of Turneffe Islands Lodge, lies in about 30 feet of water. Close by is a sloping ledge with interesting tunnels and spur-and-groove formations. Healthy numbers of reef fish play among the coral, and some barracudas tag along. Divers’ bubbles often draw down large schools or permit.
A bit farther up the atoll from the Sayonara, Hollywood offers divers a relatively shallow dive (30–40 feet) with moderate visibility, unless the currents have reversed. Here you’ll find lots of basket and tube sponges and lush coral growth. Many angelfish, parrot fish, grunts, and snappers swim here. Although not as dramatic as an eastern side dive, Hollywood has plenty to see.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition