Half-Moon Caye

Feb 12, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


The morning was a bit blustery, but that didn’t stop us from eagerly awaiting our departure for Half-Moon Caye, one of Belize’s oldest wildlife protection sites and a declared crown bird sanctuary. Our assistant expedition leader, Adrienne, showed us her incredible patience as we yearned to immediately board the Zodiacs for the beach.  After an adventurous 4-mile cruise across the brilliant blue water, we finally made it to land. (And only a little damp from the waves!)

Half-Moon Caye is well-known for hosting colonies of red-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds, which could be seen on approach to the island. The view of the birds gliding above the palm trees was truly picturesque. Our morning consisted of walks led by our knowledgeable expedition team to view the local birds and other wildlife. We felt lucky to have encountered the spiny tailed tenosaur!

Outside of bird-watching, we had the opportunity to snorkel on a stunning coral reef with beach access. Belize has the second largest barrier reef system in the world; a real treat to explore! With the variety of fish species, corals, urchins, and anemones, we collectively decided that this was the best snorkeling of the trip!

Just as we entered afternoon hours, the weather turned and we experienced a heavy rainstorm (it made us truly realize the tropical temperament). We all huddled under a covering and laughed about our situation. Just as fast as it came, the storm passed, and we continued with our activities. The hot, humid weather made us thankful for the cooler of cold beer available to enjoy.

As this first part of our trip came to an end, we spent the evening reminiscing about our favorite experiences and enjoying fine cocktails and dining with friends. Next stop: Guatemala!

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About the Author

Shaylyn Potter

Undersea Specialist

Shaylyn was born and raised in small-town Oregon, which she credits for her unwavering love and respect for the natural world. Her passion for the outdoors and exploration began at a young age, and she spent her childhood taking full advantage of what Oregon had to offer—waterskiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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