South Water Caye

Feb 16, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


Hello from South Water Caye, Belize! We woke up to calm seas and a day full of promise. Our base was at the southern end, under the shade of coconut palms and buttonwood trees.  As the divers headed out, the snorkelers were already being matched up with the Splash snorkel guides and today’s adventure was underway. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards, quickly set out to explore the crystal-clear waters surrounding this island paradise. Spotted eagle rays gracefully glided through as the snorkelers made their way across the sandy bay to the turtle grass meadows and the coral reefs beyond. From the pelican’s pouch dock, we could see an osprey nest with two chicks and one of the parents, secured to the top of the thatched roof of a seaside palapa. As we watched, the other parent arrived with breakfast gripped tightly in its talons – a queen parrotfish! As the day wore on, sightings of loggerhead turtles, barracuda, Caribbean spiny lobster, numerous colorful reef fish and beautiful hard and soft corals were reported by returning snorkelers and divers. On land, palm warblers, yellow throated warblers, yellow-crowned night heron, green heron and belted kingfisher were seen by some and a school of over 200 bonefish swirled and entertained in the shallow calm seas alongside the dock. South Water Caye sits smack atop the Belize Barrier Reef and is in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, part of the Belize Barrier Reef System World Heritage Site. After a sudden and short shower, guests enjoyed some beers and punch as the awaited the sunset. It did not disappoint and settled into the distant mountains in a blaze of orange, purple and various shades of pink, surrounded by scalloped white wispy clouds.

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About the Author

Luz Hunter

Cultural Specialist

Luz was born and raised in Belize City along with two brothers and six sisters. As a child she always felt the need to protect animals, both wild and domestic. Alternating summers between grandparents on the cayes and in the bush brought her very close to nature and she soon realized that the hardest part of going back to school was sitting down…indoors. One thing led to another and by 1980, Luz was “guiding” people around the reefs near Ambergris Caye and Lighthouse Reef. 

About the Photographer

Max Vindas

Expedition Leader

Known for his passion for nature and dedication to conservation and ecotourism, Max Vindas has been guiding natural history trips in Costa Rica since 1993. On his first trip to the rainforest at age eight, Max realized his love for the outdoors and wildlife observation. Since then, he spends as much time as he can in the forest, sharing his knowledge with visitors to his country.

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