from 1 reviews
20th July 2011 by carolinasoon
Don't even think about diving with Hammerhead Sports-Belize
Visit Date: July 2011
If you really want to waste your money and almost lose your life, be sure to book a dive with Hammerhead Sports (through Coral Breezes) in Belize.
I have been diving for over 40 years and have visited many different dive locations. We recently booked a dive with this operation while cruising on the Carnival Legend. I was joined by 2 family members who have recently gotten certified.
We met the boat after we tendered into port. The boat is primarily for snorkelers, but takes divers and snorkelers together on a 45 minute trip to Caye Caulker to meet the dive boat. We met our divemaster (and I use that term very loosely) Rich/Richard after arriving. He was the only one on the boat other than the three of us. (no captain or anyone else to stay on the boat). We never were asked to show our C-cards or sign any waivers, which should have been my second warning. Rich told me to take off my snorkel, as "you won't need it". I gave it to him, against my better judgement. We went to our first site which was just inside the reef (another 15 minute ride). The site was ok, but nothing special (quite a bit of silting and dead coral). Rich seldom looked back to see how any of us were doing, and seemed really preoccupied with playing with his arm/watch . He was FAR ahead of us most of the time. The dive had a maximum depth of 55ft and we only were in the water for 35 minutes.
After a brief interval back on the boat, we began our second dive. There was no briefing other than to tell us which direction we would be going in. I immediately noticed a VERY strong current and that we were drifting at a very fast pace. I was worried that we would have to swim back against such a strong current. Once again, Rich was far ahead of us and seldom, if ever, looked back. He turned around after about 10 minutes and headed back in the direction of the boat. My daughter and I were really working hard to stay with him and quickly realized that despite kicking as hard as we could, we were not gaining an inch. ( we are quite fit and good swimmers). We looked at each other and motioned to each other "where is Rich?". He was gone. Our other diver stayed with us. I motioned to my daughter that I was going to have to surface and see where we were and where the boat was. I was really sucking air trying to make some headway and needed to know just how far we were from the boat. After surfacing, it was evident that we were right at the edge of the reef and the waves breaking over our heads/in our faces were 3-6 feet. We could not see the boat due to the rough waves. Since we agreed that we could not swim on the surface due to the current and the crashing waves, we once again went down. Still no Rich in sight. After trying in vain to make forward motion either close to the wall or via any other path, we once again surfaced and inflated our BC's, try to preserve any remaining air we had. We bobbed there in the rough waves with 5-6 foot waves crashing on our heads for 15-20 minutes, although it seemed MUCH longer than that. We were exhausted from trying to kick away from the surf. We waved our arms, hoping that Rich had made it to the boat, even though we couldn't see anything. Finally we saw Rich coming with the boat. He pulled us in and his only comment was "I didn't know the current would be that strong". If I wasn't so worried about upsetting my daughter any further, I would have really let him have it.
I take partial blame, in that I should have questioned only having one divemaster and no captain, but I thought that maybe this is the way they do things in Belize and I didn't want to be a wet blanket.
I understand that accidents do happen, but this operation was a mess from the start. I have always been asked to show my c-card, but no one with Hammerhead cares if you are even certified. In over 300 dives, I have never seen a divemaster who cared so little for the people in the boat. He left us without ever looking back. He truly seemed to have no interest in us, our well-being, or our safety.
There are plenty of great dive shops in Belize that DO care if you make it back alive/safely. I hope to dive with them next time.