Coral Triangle Adventures has finally gone to a destination far beyond our namesake ‘ The Coral Triangle.’ For the first time ever we ventured into the Caribbean Sea and chose Belize as our home base for a week of reef explorations. Belize is one of the most beautiful and certainly historic Central American countries. It offers gorgeous tropical scenery with its many offshore islands as well as plenty of fascinating Mayan ruins in the interior. It is also an easy place to access from anywhere in the U.S.
A colorful coral…
The CTA group met in Belize City and were quickly whisked out to Turneffe Island Resort which resides about 20 miles offshore in an idyllic setting. The resort is located at the southernmost tip of Turneffe Atoll where a variety of snorkel sites are located within just a few minutes boat ride. As usual, we try to include as many different types of marine habitats as we can throughout the course of the trip, including seagrass, sand, mangroves, inner lagoon reefs, outer reefs on both the leeward and windward sides of the atoll and of course the world famous Blue Hole located in the middle of Lighthouse Reef.
Colorful soft corals…
Throughout the week we were treated to calm seas and bright sunshine though a few thunderstorms passed in the distance. Our fantastic local guides brought us to sites that varied in their bottom composition and fish diversity. On the outer reefs where we snorkeled over spur and groove channels Tarpon glided by, Nurse sharks hid in shallow caves, and an occasional Spotted eagle ray flew around the group. Reefs in the lagoon were composed of large coral bommies surrounded by sand and seagrass and were home to schools of Blue tang, vibrant Queen angelfish, French and Gray angelfish, Rock Beauties, and innumerable parrotfish and grunts. At the base of the bommies were found Yellow stingrays and Spotted scorpionfish that perfectly blended in with their surroundings and much larger Southern stingrays hid themselves in sand patches just a few feet underwater. Large Barracuda and Green moray eels were found on most snorkels.
Of special note were the White-spotted toadfish that we found on at least three or four different sites. These bizarre fish rarely make themselves visible but everyone could hear their loud vocalizations clearly. Spotted drum were also discovered on a few sites and we were all able to get a good look at a tiny juvenile drum that was mesmerizing with its dramatic, elongated fins. We also had the incredible luck to observe an uber-rare Sharptail snake eel out hunting as well as a Caribbean octopus feed on a Queen conch in just four feet of water!
All in all, there were plenty of highlights during the very special week Coral Triangle Adventures explored the reefs of Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef. In fact, we had such a fantastic time in an area so vastly different than our normal haunts in the tropical western Pacific that we are planning on going back to Belize in September 2018. So if you need a dose of the best Caribbean snorkeling available while staying at a spectacular remote resort just let us know. We’d be happy to include you on our 2018 Belize adventure!