Lighthouse Reef, Belize

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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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

Jeff Litton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jeff is an environmental filmmaker and adventure cinematographer. His passion for adventure has led him through rural Kenyan villages, atop erupting Guatemalan volcanoes and to the enchanted Galápagos Islands to film Hammerhead Sharks. Being an expedition filmmaker enables Jeff to combine his love for capturing beauty with his drive to protect the environment. In the words of Jacques Cousteau, “people protect what they love.” Inspired, Jeff created, the United Global Environmental News Agency, an online resource to inspire people to care about the environment.

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