Shark Attack!

Shark Attack!


Mad Shark Love

Mad Shark Love



Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve



Relaxing at the Split

Relaxing at the Split


Moonlit Rendezvous Caye

Moonlit Rendezvous Caye


What I missed: Whale Sharks!

What I missed: Whale Sharks!

Just back from another excellent trip to Belize. I’m falling in love with this country, the people there, the barrier reef and all the amazing marine life living there. The Love Below. My trip was short — only a week — but I saw more of the country than my previous longer trip. It seems like I spent most of my time underwater. The first 2 days were too windy to snorkel or dive, but I managed some brief shore snorkeling even then. On the third day, I took a brief sailing trip out to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve to visit some nurse sharks and blow a roll of film. Swam with the sharks, played with sting rays and free dived down to check out a moray eel hiding out in an underwater cave. The whole photo set from this roll is on my flickr account.

On the fourth day, my traveling partner and I embarked on a three day, two night sailing/snorkeling/fishing/camping excursion from Caye Caulker to Placencia. The full photo set is available on yahoo!, you’ll need to contact me for access.

We sailed south along the barrier reef, stopping to snorkel in the pristine caribbean waters alive with vibrant reefs and marine life. Along the way, we fished for barracudas and grilled them for dinner when we stopped for the night on the small cayes dotted along the reef. Our nights were illuminated by the full moon and windy with the Easter breeze. On the final day of the trip, a group of dolphins swam at the bow of our boat for a while. It was the first time I saw dolphins in the wild.

I snorkeled several barrier and atoll reefs. The most exciting thing I saw snorkeling was a group of spotted eagle rays off Tobacco Caye. They appeared out of the blue in very shallow waters and circled me for a bit until swimming off to deeper waters. They actually scared the shit out of me. I was snorkeling alone, I was in shallow and difficult waters, and their wing span was at least equivilent to mine. They circled as near as six feet, and I believe that was the first time a yelled ‘Holy Shit!’ into my snorkel.

We reached Placencia on the sixth day, and the following day I dived the north wall and the white hole along the continental shelf. Diving along the wall one can look one way and stare down into the 3000′ abyss of the Caribbean Sea, and the other way to inspect the cavernous coral shelf and wall. On these dives, I saw numerous lobsters, black groupers, moray eels, and a big old loggerhead turtle. Our dive master, Prince, had the wicked sea turtle move, and with it he made the turtle come our way and swim with us for a while.

What I missed was swimming with the Whale Sharks, who showed up along the reef as we reached Placencia. Normally, these giant fish come into shallower water around the full moon to feed on larvae of snappers and other sea life. There were Whale Shark dives available to me, but I was nervous enough about diving that I didn’t need to be swimming with the largest fish in the world, who can measure 60′ across. Next year, next year.

Belize is an extraordinary country, from so many perspectives. Culturally, politically, socially, environmentally, this must be one of the most diverse and unique places on the planet. I’d like to spend more time studying, experiencing and describing this place, but until, this post will have to suffice.