An oil rig crew boat at one time, as well as a fishing boat, the M/V Wave Dancer was purchased by Peter Hughes Diving, Inc. in August of 1991 and taken to Morgan City, LA to be refitted as a luxury liveaboard dive boat.
Peter Hughes Diving, Inc. website
downloaded 10/28/2001

Questions remain as to the seaworthiness of the M/V Wave Dancer. Experienced boat captains and ship mates have expressed concern that modifications made to the structure of the boat in its conversion to a luxury dive yacht (specifically, the addition of a third deck) compromised its stability and maneuverability, particularly in heavy seas. Furthermore, serious accusations have been made regarding the integrity of the maintenance the Wave Dancer received. Some, but not all, of these questions are addressed in the IMMARBE Report.

Typical Crew Boats

The Wave Dancer began her life as a crew boat, built by Gulf Craft Inc., and named Super Squirrel II. A spartan vessel, she was designed to ferry workers to and from oil rigs.  According to the IMMARBE Report, Super Squirrel II also served as a passenger vessel for fishing and whale watching expeditions:

According to the Certificate of Inspection dated 1st May 1990 issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, it was suitable "for service in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico not more than one hundred miles from land, between East Port, Maine, and Brownsville, Texas while not on International Voyage" carrying 165 passengers/total persons allowed 175. Also, it was permitted to carry 342 passengers/ total persons allowed 350 on the same route but not more than twenty miles from land.

Peter Hughes puchased the Super Squirrel II at a public sale on August 14, 1991 and it was converted to a luxury liveaboard yacht by Network Marine in Belle River, Louisiana. The conversion, which included the insertion of a third deck, was completed in January 1992.

In January 1992, the Wave Dancer was inspected by Raymond Thompson, Hydro-Clear Inc., on the authority of IMMARBE, and Randal Monceaux, a naval architect, issued a Stability Letter confirming that after the conversion "this vessel's stability characteristics are within the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Coast Guard Standard." The Wave Dancer was subsequently registered in Belize in February 1992.

In order to investigate the origins of the Wave Dancer further, an attempt was made to contact Network Marine. The company is no longer in business; the owner, Tony Dugoss is dead, and the whereabouts of the records of Wave Dancer's conversion are unknown.

Planning Guide For Your Trip Aboard M/V Wave Dancer

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Everyone is required to present a VALID PASSPORT upon arrival in Belize. Non-U.S. Citizens should check if Visas are required.

TRIP INSURANCE: We strongly recommend that each guest purchase comprehensive accident, medical, baggage and trip cancellation/interruption insurance when space is reserved. Trip insurance will protect you from financial disappointment in the event unforeseen circumstances prevent the vessel from making its scheduled trip. In the event it is necessary to cancel or interrupt a charter due to weather or any matter beyond the control of Peter Hughes Diving, Inc., there will be no refund or credit issued. We also recommend diving accident insurance. Please inquire with our reservation office for assistance.

DIVING PAPERWORK: Please bring your certification card and log book(s) for verification of your dive training/experience. You will be required to complete and sign a standard release and waiver form prior to your arrival. Please remember that you alone are responsible for determining your medical and physical fitness to dive or to take part in any other activities during this trip. DIVING ACTIVITIES ARE CONDUCTED AT YOUR OWN RISK. We take no responsibility with respect to your determination. If you have any questions concerning your medical or physical fitness to dive or take part in any such activities, please consult your personal physician.

PACKING: Please plan to travel light, as on liveaboards space is limited. We recommend that you pack your gear in soft luggage such as duffel bags for easy stowage and leave those large, rigid suitcases at home which will add to your comfort in your stateroom. Clothing should be lightweight, comfortable sportswear and bathing suits are a must, and a sweater or jacket is ideal for evening - especially during the months of December through March. A light rain jacket is a good idea for the occasional squalls. Dress aboard M/V Wave Dancer is always casual. Additional items you may want to bring are sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or visor and bug spray or lotion (especially if you plan to do some tours inland). Strong currents and winds may cause moderate movement of the vessel at times. If you have a tendency toward seasickness we strongly urge you to bring some sort of over the counter motion medication or consult your doctor about prescription brands like the Transderm Patch. You may wish to pack your regulator, dive computer, mask bathing suit, change of clothes and essential items in your carry-on bag. This will make things easier in the event your luggage is delayed.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES: The M/V Wave Dancer crew is trained in first aid and diving accident management. The boat is equipped with a complete first aid kit and a high capacity oxygen system. The nearest recompression chamber is located on Ambergris Cay, Belize. If this chamber is unavailable or more comprehensive treatment is required, air evacuation to Miami must be arranged through the U.S. Coast Guard or by other private means. Since emergency transportation and treatment cost is the responsibility of each guest, we strongly recommend that you obtain special insurance for divers such as DAN or PADI Accident Insurance. Your family may contact you in the case of an medical emergency by calling our Miami office at 1-800-9DANCER (800-932-6237) or 305 669-9391 during business hours or by using the emergency pager number  (954-209-8538) after hours.

ENTERTAINMENT: M/V Wave Dancer has a complete entertainment center including a 32" Sony monitor, VHS, SVHS and 8mm tape decks, a compact disc player, cassette deck and stereo. The crew will have slide and video presentations during the week and guests are encouraged to do likewise with the photos and videos they take. If you have a favorite movie, a slide show or a video to share, we encourage you to bring it along! You may also bring your own favorite musical tapes, CD¹s, etc.

FOOD: The carefully prepared menu consists of American and Latin/Caribbean style meals. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise our Dancer Fleet office as soon as possible, so we can prepare to adequately meet your needs. Please understand that certain special dietary and beverage requests may not be available on a consistent basis in Belize due to the remote nature of this location.

BEVERAGES: Our selection includes milk, fruit juices, soft drinks, beer, wine and a limited variety of mixed drinks at the bar. We encourage you to consume lots of non-alcoholic liquids during the week to avoid dehydration. If you have a favorite libation you cannot do without we suggest you purchase this at a Duty Free shop and bring it with you as our selection is sometimes limited by the nature of our locations. REMEMBER: Alcohol and diving DO NOT MIX. For your safety, we recommend that the consumption of any alcoholic beverage be delayed until your dive day is complete. FRIENDS DON¹T LET FRIENDS DRINK AND DIVE!

SMOKING POLICY: No cigarette, cigar or smoking of any kind is permitted on the M/V Wave Dancer, except in the designated outdoor smoking area of the Lido Deck. Smoking is not permitted in any area where all guests must be assembled for any reason, for example, dive briefings.

BOATIQUE: The M/V Wave Dancer has a small on-board "boatique" which sells a selection of logo clothing, sundries, diving accessories, film, batteries, logbooks, etc. A fine selection of local crafts, including superb wood carvings will also be available. A crew member will gladly assist you with your boatique purchases at any time during the week. 8% tax is added to all boatique sales.

NITROX: The M/V Wave Dancer is equipped with Enriched Air facilities. Nitrox fills of up to 32% are normally available to all CERTIFIED Nitrox divers. Nitrox certifications are also available on board to all certified divers. All diving must be conducted using compressed air tables or compressed air computers regardless of whether your tank is filled with compressed air or Nitrox. Our purpose in providing enriched air Nitrox for the use of our guests is to give those who are unfamiliar with this new technology an opportunity to become certified Nitrox divers and to give those already certified a greatly enhanced safety factor in the face of extensive, repetitive dive profiles in remote regions of the world. Nitrox is not offered for extended range diving.

DIVE EQUIPMENT: Equipment provided aboard the M/V Wave Dancer includes tanks, weights and weightbelts. The basic diving equipment required is a regulator, depth and pressure gauge, watch or bottom timer, buoyancy compensation device  (BCD), mask, fins and snorkel. Be advised that we require at least two light sources for all night dives, one of which should be a primary light and the other a marker device. We highly recommend a chemical ("cyalume") light stick. You may bring your own or purchase them on board. Additional recommended equipment: dive computer, dive light (with extra batteries or charging unit) and a dive skin and/or wetsuit. Water temperature from May to September is 80 to 84 degrees F. Winter temperatures range from 76 to 80 degrees F. With up to five dives per day offered, you will probably require extra thermal protection.

RENTAL DIVE GEAR OR PHOTO EQUIPMENT: M/V Wave Dancer has a limited number of diving equipment sets available for rent. We offer SeaQuest Solution computers, SeaQuest BCD¹s and SeaQuest or Sherwood Magnum regulators. The Photo Shop offers Sea & Sea MX-10 cameras, Nikonos V bodies, SB-105 strobes, lenses from 15 to 35 mm, Macro Tube Close-up Kits, Sony Handycams and video housings.

Photo opportunities are abundant. No matter what system you have, you will probably experience excellent results. Be sure to pack your photo equipment carefully in a durable carrying case and bring any unique spare parts and back-up equipment with you.

EQUIPMENT PROHIBITED: Game taking equipment is prohibited. NOTHING may be removed from the sea.

E-6 PROCESSING/ON-BOARD EDITING: Our Photo Lab is fully equipped to process E-6 slide film. On most days, we can process your film the same day you shoot it. We strongly recommend that you process your film on board to enable you to make any necessary adjustments in your shooting style. The processing cost is only $10.00 per roll of 24 or 36 exposures (the 6th roll is free!) On-board editing and sound dubbing equipment is available for the production of custom videos. We accept American Express, Visa, MasterCard, travelers checks and cash. NO PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTED.

Prior to any diving from the M/V Wave Dancer, you will be required to provide us with acceptable evidence of your diving certification and your level of experience. You will also be required to execute a legally binding release of Wave Dancer, Ltd., Wave Dancer (Belize), Ltd., Peter Hughes Diving, Inc., their officers, directors, employees and agents from any claims, causes of action, damages or liabilities which may arise from or in connection with your diving activities and to acknowledge that you understand the risks attendant with diving and to personally assume all such risks.

If you are unwilling to personally assume all such risks, known or otherwise, DO NOT PURCHASE PASSAGE ABOARD THE M/V WAVE DANCER.

While we provide dive briefings prior to dives and limit our diving to no-decompression sport diving, each diver is responsible for his or her individual profile consistent with the standards and limitations of his or her certifying organization.

REEF PATROL: PLEASE respect the environment and dive safely. The M/V Wave Dancer crew and Peter Hughes Diving, Inc. encourage PERFECT BUOYANCY skills and basic ecological concepts in order to minimize any detrimental effects of divers and scuba diving within the reef system. We also offer and strongly encourage awareness-oriented courses such as Reef Ecology and Zen Diving (weightless).

Sample Wave Dancer Charter Itinerary

Saturday: Arrive Belize City international airport Saturday afternoon. Transfers between the airport and M/V Wave Dancer will be provided. Boarding of M/V Wave Dancer begins at 4:00 pm. Each guest will check in with the hostess and is then escorted to their stateroom. The boat will usually leave from the dock at the Fort George Radisson Resort at approx. 5:00 pm to moor at Turneffe Island or Lighthouse Reef. Dinner is provided onboard at approx. 6:30 pm. An orientation slide show is presented after dinner. Guests may retire at their leisure after the orientation.

Sunday to Thursday: Most guests will do up to five dives per day between our first morning dive and when the dive deck closes after the night dive. A dive bell is rung to signal the start of a dive briefing on the Main Deck. The vessel will usually move two or three times per day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-dive snacks are provided each day. Slide presentations are scheduled in the evenings throughout the charter. Dives sites usually include Blue Hole and others on Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Islands depending on weather conditions. Lunches may be packed for shore excursions to Half Moon Caye on one day. This is an excellent opportunity for beach combing and  to see the wonderful Red Footed Booby Birds of Half Moon Caye, so bring your binoculars and cameras.  You'll love the scenery.

Friday: Two early morning dives (starting at 6:00 am) are scheduled before returning to port in the afternoon (usually between noon and 2:00 pm). Breakfast and lunch are provided on board. Arrangements can be made from the vessel if guests wish to schedule a half-day inland tour when returning to port. An informal dinner is prepared on board at approx. 6:00 pm or guests may elect to visit one of Grand Turk¹s great local restaurants at their own expense.

Saturday: Continental breakfast is available at 7:00 am. Disembarkation is at 8:00 am for all guests. Transfers to the airport are provided. Guests who are scheduled on a later flight may enjoy spending a few hours in town before returning to the airport.

Please Note: The schedule above is a SAMPLE ONLY. Itineraries are always weather permitting and subject to the sole discretion of the Captain.


Staterooms Deck Charter Night Cost Per Person
3 Master Staterooms Main 7 nights $2095
4 Deluxe Staterooms Main 7 nights $1995
3 Twin Staterooms Dolphin 7 nights $1895

Plus $65 port charges. All prices are quoted in US dollars per person on a share    basis and are subject to change. Package Inclusions: Seven nights on board the Wave Dancer, all meals and beverages (including alcohol), airport transfers in Belize City, five and a half days of diving up to five dives per day, and other standard Dancer Fleet services and amenities.


Staterooms Deck Charter Night Cost Per Person
3 Master Staterooms Main 7 nights $1895
4 Deluxe Staterooms Main 7 nights $1795
3 Twin Staterooms Dolphin 7 nights $1695

Plus $65 port charges. All prices are quoted in US dollars per person on a share basis and are subject to change. Package Inclusions: Seven nights on board the Wave Dancer, all meals and beverages (including alcohol), airport transfers in Belize City, five and a half days of diving up to five dives per day, air fills, and other standard Dancer Fleet services and amenities.  Nitrox fills are based on availability and will require an additional charge.

For availability and to learn about discounts which may be offered for late bookings please call 1-800-9DANCER.

© 1999 - 2001 PETER HUGHES DIVING, INC.  All rights reserved.
This page was updated on 08/21/2001

From the Peter Hughes Web site, downloaded 10/28/2001.

All contents of this site © 2005 Milly Armao, except where otherwise noted.