Lighthouse Reef 2005

Monday, March 14, 2005
Belize

017-11.700 N
087-35.940 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ah yes, yet another report from Lighthouse Reef in Belize...

Well, what I can say? This has to be one of my all time favorite places to anchor and the diving is among the best in Caribbean. Seeing as how I LOVE to dive, you can see why we spend so much time here. We arrived 3 weeks ago and have been diving two times per day on average. The weather has cooperated wonderfully and we've only had to hide from cold fronts a few times. Unlike past years we've pretty much had the place to ourselves. We certainly do miss the comradery of the other boats and the nightly rotating happy hours and dinner parties. I'm sure that calorie wise it was a good thing...

I did a major upgrade to my underwater photo system this year by getting an Olympus C-8080 digital camera and an underwater housing. In the past I would shoot film and it could be months before I had it developed and I could see what the results were. Not exactly good for learning what worked or didn't work. With the new system I can shoot to my hearts content and see the results at the end of the day.

I decided that I wanted to document the fish, coral and sponges on the reef. I figured that this would be a wonderful way for me to assign names to what I was seeing. I've been amazed at how much I've learned and how difficult it can be to determine the correct identification. So far I've identified over 125 species of fish, close to 40 types of sponges, 50 some type of coral, and ~40 types of creatures (such as shrimp, eels, lobster, etc). Just imagine how rich an area this is to be this diverse! I've carefully cataloged all of these and created web pages for them which I'll be uploading as soon as the Internet comes back up in Cay Caulker. You can find these photos by going to: www.GeoffSchultz.org, clicking on the Photos button and going to the "2005 Sailing" section.

One of the amazing things at Lighthouse is the number of LARGE fish. On a constant basis there are huge Groupers, Tarpon and Snapper that cruise through the area. One day were doing a late afternoon dive and we were watching a large school of Groupers which were below us. Suddenly it sounded like a crack of thunder and there were hundreds, if not thousands of fish racing up from the depths to get away from the sound. In hot pursuit were some of the large Groupers. I can only guess as what we had heard, but I'd guess that it was a large Grouper taking on another large fish and the ensuing short battle. It was an amazing sight and sound!

Another incredible dive was when we ran across a huge Loggerhead turtle that looked like it had been around since time started. This turtle was probably 6-8 feet long and had a head the size of a watermelon. We had seen it on our first dive that day, but it was in a hurry and I wasn't able to keep up with it for long. In the afternoon it was on a leisurely cruise and I was able to swim along side for an extended period of time. I shot some great photos and several minutes of video. Both turned out great! Talk about a Jacques Cousteau moment!

I could go on and on about the diving here, but I would bore most of you to death. Unfortunately we need to renew our papers every 30 days, so we're headed back into the mainland to visit Customs and Immigrations and reprovision. The good news with that is that there are restaurants, bars, shops and things to do, so it's not all bad.

We hope that all is well with you and that winter is starting to release it's icy grip.

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 640

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Photos/Video: Diving: Loggerhead Turtle Encounter  Diving Video: Tarpon Movie  Diving Video: Loggerhead Turtle  Diving Video: Spotted Eagle Rays 

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