December 29, 2002 - December 30, 2002 - December 31, 2002 - January 2, 2003 - January 3, 2003

January 1, 2003: Belize - Nekton Pilot

A D2D New Years 2003: Belize dive
"Rhiannon's Reef, Half Moon Cay (LHR)" - "Tarpon Caves, Half Moon Cay (LHR)"

New Years Day, the morning after.
Diving from the Nekton Pilot:
  • Directions from Tampa: The Nekton Pilot is a liveaboard that spends six months out of the year in the waters off of Belize. Their website is at
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny. Not hungover, amazingly enough.

  • Personal Notes: Amazingly enough, most of us got up around 7am for breakfast. There were a few bleary-eyed individuals, but no one grumbled about having a hangover, and I for one made it into the water before 8:40am.

    Rhiannon's Reef is a "Nekton Name" for the first site we dove this day; it was named after Captain's daughter.

    Tarpon Caves was named for the many swimthroughs and the abundant Tarpon.

    Judging from the profile according to my dive computer, and the piss-poor Surface Cubic Feet per Minute breathing rate of 0.51 (I tend to average 0.39 even on bad dives), it was the second dive at Rhiannon's Reef where we got lost. Mind you, I wasn't leading, but then again, I wasn't paying attention all that well either. The first half of our dive was along the wall; the second half was (supposed to be) on top of the wall, in the reef areas just above the wall. However, we followed a line of coral that apparently split off from the line at the wall.

    Long story short, it required my surfacing for a second to get a bearing on the boat and a lot of swimming before we found the seagrass field over which the boat was moored.

    The lights on the camera went out on the night dive ... no biggie though, got some good shots without them!


A full day of five dives ... even some night photos, but the lights burnt out midway through the dive, which is why some of them have a "hot spot" for lighting.
Rhiannon's Reef, Half Moon Cay (LHR)
You can clearly make out the gobys on the back of this grouper, cleaning him off.
A little blurry but you get the idea; these fish not only clean the outside of other fish, they often clean the teeth and gills, too!
Some folks have a tendency not to see the reef for the fish. Here's a cool looking sponge growth.
Another shot of some sponge growth.
A Black Grouper in white phase out in the sand, blending in fairly well, actually.
A Barracuda that was right underneath the boat. I think that's ChrisM's hand; he was taking shots with his still camera at the time.
A Lizardfish waiting for food to swim by.
Another cool looking sponge.
My photos of Doctorfish don't usually come out this well.
Fairly certain this little guy is a Neon Goby.
Eventually I'll start trying to really identify sponge growths.
Tarpon Caves, Half Moon Cay (LHR)
For lack of a better description, some "stuff". Doesn't quite have a coral look to it, but I'd guess it's a type of soft coral.
Only about an inch, inch and a quarter long, this is an Arrow Blenny. I took many a photo trying to get a good shot of him that wasn't too blurry. I think I did okay.
I did say I took a lot of photos of him.
Some more "stuff" ... probably an algae or coral growth of some sort.
My guess is that this is a female Blackhead Blenny. A little blurry but then I probably got a little too close to her.
I've seen photos of Christmas Tree Worms like this one that make me want to go back to shooting still film sometimes.
Fairly clear shot of a Peppermint Goby.
I'm guessing this is a kind of Vase Sponge.
Three Tarpon we saw at the end of the dive, for which the site is named.
This rather large Sharp Nose Puffer is sleeping.
A crappy photo that looks kinda cool - an urchin (Long Spine, I think).
Lobster seemed more populous at night.
The answer to the question "Where do Triggerfish sleep?" - In barrel sponges, of course!

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
188 Rhiannon's Reef, Half Moon Cay (LHR) 73 feet 48 min. 81 F
189 Rhiannon's Reef, Half Moon Cay (LHR) 81 feet 53 min. 81 F
190 Tarpon Caves, Half Moon Cay (LHR) 70 feet 46 min. 82 F
191 Tarpon Caves, Half Moon Cay (LHR) 66 feet 61 min. 81 F
192 Tarpon Caves, Half Moon Cay (LHR) 51 feet 49 min. 77 F
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