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Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll Longest Coral Reef in Western Hemisphere

Article Summary:

Tracing its way along Belize’s White Sand coast, Lighthouse Reef forms an integral section of the longest coral reef system in the Western Hemisphere. Its crown aquatic jewel, Blue Hole National Monument, attracts legions of admirers the world over, but the reef is also endowed with plenty of other coral formations, aquatic walls, and dive sites.

Photo Credit: Living Trading News

Original Article Text From Live Trading News :

Visit Belize: Lighthouse Reef Atoll Pics, Video

Tracing its way along Belize’s White Sand coast, Lighthouse Reef forms an integral section of the longest coral reef system in the Western Hemisphere.

Its crown aquatic jewel, Blue Hole National Monument, attracts legions of wetsuit-clad admirers the World over, but the reef is also endowed with plenty other coral formations, aquatic walls, and dive sites.

Just 50 miles southeast of Belize City, the physical mass of Lighthouse Reef is meager: only 30 miles long and eight miles wide, and some of the country’s most impressive dives are to be had within this atoll.

Most divers first stop at Blue Hole National Monument. The monument was formed from 15,000-anni caverns that collapsed, creating a 1,000-foot-wide sinkhole.

Centered in 75 square feet of shallow water, the Hole descends over 400 ft, with a straight, 125-ft vertical descent.

The Blue Hole looks most impressive from the air, brilliant shades of blue rapidly shift from the lightest of Caribbean Aqua to the deepest Navy as you approach the monument’s apex, but its true glories are not just skin deep: shallow reefs around the perimeter of this aquatic abyss burst with vibrant coral, home to angelfish, butterfly fish, sea urchins, and giant green anemones, while a vast network of underwater valleys and tunnels lie hidden in its Deep-Blue heart.

But, while Blue Hole may receive the Lionfish’s share of attention, Jacques Cousteau was an admirer, the Lighthouse Reef’s best full-on diving can be found at Half Moon and Long Cayes; Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is easily the best of the 40 or so dive sites on the atoll.

Off the eastern coast of Lighthouse, this shallow reef shelf rests in 15 ft of water, giving novice divers and snorkelers the chance to intermingle with the underwater locals, including an impressive population of garden eels.

Diving deeper into the Caribbean, a 20-ft reef wall supports a bustling contingent of nurse sharks, gigantic stingrays, featherduster worms, sea anemones, shrimps, crabs, starfish, angelfish, damselfish, butterfly fish, and parrot fish.

The reef then plunges another 1,000 feet down Half Moon Wall, where a colorful riot of sponges and coral growth intermingle with sea turtles, sea fans, barracuda, lobsters, morays, jacks, wahoos, groupers, and millions of smaller fish.

Long Caye, positioned on the southern outshoot of Lighthouse Reef Atoll and directly west of Half Moon Caye, is a remote outpost of big palms and glassy water that protects the same impressive aquatic life found at Half Moom, but without the crowds.

A small airstrip on Big Northern Caye enables day trippers to drop in from Belize City, and a flotilla of boats is on hand to take visitors out to easily accessible dive and snorkeling sites.

It is a good idea to hook up with a regional outfitter and plan on staying on Lighthouse Atoll for at least 4 days, you will only scratch the surface, but that will more than likely be enough to get you to come back.

Those drawn to Blue Hole should temper all pulls of gravity with the fact that some experience is necessary to dive the monument’s depth, local guides with solid diving reputations are highly recommended.

Link to Original Article:

From Live Trading News

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