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Dive with a purpose! At Hatchet Caye Private Island Resort

Hatchet Caye, Belize is sitting in the middle of some of the best diving sites in the world! Belize’s Barrier Reef is home to a stunning array of tropical fish and brilliantly colored coral formations. Charles Darwin described it as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” in his 1984 book, Coral Reefs of the World. In this hemisphere there are only four atolls ( A ring shaped coral reef that encircles a lagoon with a coral rim) and Belize can proudly claim three of them. It is believed that they form to keep pace with the rising seas and are each a unique and diverse ecosystem.

Glover's Reef Atoll

Glover’s Reef Atoll in Belize

During your stay with us you can visit Glover’s Reef, Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Reef atolls. These include such islands as the Silk, Laughing Bird, and South-water Cayes and many more. Each year we also enjoy the experience of diving alongside the mammoth whale sharks as they follow their migratory path to Belize’s waters. As you drift among these gentle creatures keep an eye out for the predatory Lionfish. An unwanted invasive species in our waters, they are hunted without prejudice and if you are lucky enough to spear a few you can have them prepared for dinner at the LionFish Grille and enjoy the knowledge that you helped protect our delicate eco-system. Here is a fun article about hunting Lionfish that we enjoyed.  Hunt Lionfish at Hatchet Caye

Lionfish in Belize

Fast reproducing Lionfish invading Belize

At Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, which is the oldest atoll, you will find the most well developed circular coral rim with a deeper inner lagoon than the others  (As seen in first picture at top of blog). The water is crystal clear and teeming with aquatic creatures. The reef is a Protected Reserve and one of the crown jewels of the Belize World Heritage Site. The endangered Nassau Grouper gathers here in larger numbers  than anywhere else to spawn in safety. When diving down in the lagoon you will see such wonders as multi-colored coral towers reaching up to 30 ft! Massive schools of all types of fish and anemones and crustaceans covering every possible surface.

Dive tour Hatchet Caye

Underwater coral garden on tour with Hatchet Caye

The Lighthouse Reef Atoll is home to the 8th wonder of the world, The Great Blue Hole of Belize. The site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it to be one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. Its depth is believed to be 410ft!  Divers are lured to Lighthouse Reef’s crystal clear waters by stories of midnight parrot fish, Caribbean Reef, Bull and Hammerhead Sharks,  as well as an abundance of coral formations filled with little crustaceans.  The site was formed when an underwater cave collapsed thousands of years ago exposing what was once above water to the Sea and all its creatures.  Dive past massive stalactites and explore a coral graveyard with a few friendly crabs to keep you company.

Image of The Great Blue Hole from space : by NASA

The Great Blue Hole, courtesy of NASA

The Turneffe Islands Atoll is actually an intricate web of over 200 islands covered with mangrove whose roots tangle beneath the waters surface to create the perfect safe haven for all the baby fish of the Caribbean Sea. You can encounter a wide range of creatures from the abundance of  Eagle rays undulating by, to huge green moray eels poking their heads out to take a peek.  This atoll offers a myriad of amazing dive sites spread across its 30 mile border.  The visibility is very clear down to as deep as 150 ft at times and there is so much to see you could spend several weeks here and still be amazed by something new each time you go under.  At the Elbow predators of all shapes and sizes have been spotted. The gigantic silver Barracuda hangs motionless prepared to prey on the huge groupers, jacks and jewfish that hang out in clusters.  Occasionally a diver has even come face to face with an Atlantic blue marlin or sailfish!

Eagle Ray

Eagle Ray at Hatchet Caye

The most incredible and humbling experience has to be swimming next to a 47,000 lb giant with a mouth large enough to swallow you whole! The Whale sharks are not dangerous though, rest assured. You are not allowed to touch them, but even if you did it would not try to eat you. These mammoths are filter feeders and enjoy plankton and fish eggs much more than human flesh. Each year they follow their migratory path through Belize’s waters to feed in the spawning fish shoals and the rich plankton filled waters. Large groups of males have been seen hanging around eating (typical). Meanwhile the females travel many, many miles into the deep ocean off of Africa to give birth to as many as three hundred live pups over a prolonged recurring cycle of gestation and re-fertilization!

Whale Shark Belize

Whale Shark Migrating by Hatchet Caye Belize

 

All of these natural wonders must be protected for future generations. Every visit to one of these Marine Reserves enables them to continue with their research and protection of all these creatures and habitats. Hatchet Caye supports them by offering tours to these amazing dive sites.

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