Guess who has twenty-six thumbs and is on an island three hours off of the coast of Belize- all of us. Today we arrived at Glover’s Reef! It is 20 miles long, 6 miles wide, and absolutely gorgeous. Some patches of water are a turquoise color, which I learned means that the ocean floor is sandy and probably fairly shallow. The boat ride in was three hours and I may have gotten a little bit more sun than I needed for a tan, but we made it and we saw some Spotted Eagle Rays along the way (that’s good luck)!
Soon after we arrived, we went for our first snorkel off of the island’s dock. It was cut a little short due to some of us having equipment issues, but during our time in the water, I was able to see a large school of fish, an upside-down jellyfish, and a conch. We then exited the water, regrouped, reequipped, and then headed out into the water once more. This time, however, we went to the shallows on the leeward (opposite of windward) side of the island, and in order to do so we had to pass through the “mangroves of death”. They earned this name because the area is full of sand flies and mosquitoes and we practically sprinted through it to avoid them.
The shallows had a decent amount of coral, and we were able to see some interesting organisms, such as brain coral, a Christmas tree worm, and some butterfly fish. While we were out there, the wind and current were very strong and it was hard to stay in one spot for long.
I haven’t seen any echinoderms yet, but I’ve been on the lookout and I’m sure they’ll turn up soon! We should be able to see them in shallow water, so hopefully, we’ll be able to see some tomorrow.