Feb 15, 2020 - National Geographic Quest
Greetings from Lighthouse Reef, Belize! Today was a breezy day with many clouds moving through, giving our travelers periods of sunshine and shade throughout the morning. Our first activity was walking the trail to the observation tower to see both a red-footed booby and magnificent frigatebird rookery. The bright orange flowers of ziricote trees caught the attention of our guests, as did the red peeling bark of the gumbo limbo and the long, tangled hanging roots of the bearded figs. In the dry fallen leaves, hermit crabs and various lizards rustled along.
Finally, we arrived at the observation tower. What sights to see and what sounds to hear! Everywhere there were white, fluffy baby boobies and frigatebirds. But the sun was shining and as the day warmed, the sea began calling. It was time to explore the coral reefs and see some underwater jewels—the reef fish.
No snorkeling experience is complete without seeing these lovely fish who keep our reefs healthy, like the parrotfish, none of which is more colorful or plentiful than the stoplight parrotfish. Some others seen today were sergeant majors, juvenile damselfish, and several wrasses and grunts. Spiny lobsters and a nurse shark were also pointed out by our local guides. All in all, it was a wonderful morning.
In the afternoon, a walk across Long Caye led us through a buttonwood and saltwater palmetto forest. In the shallows between the red mangrove stands and the dock we sighted a school of silversides being chased by a foot-long barracuda. A few minutes later, a large southern stingray cruised by looking for its last meal of the day. A beautiful sunset followed, ending another glorious day in Belize.
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