By Gaz Phillips, Expedition Leader, Sarteneja, Belize. Would you BELIZE it??? A manatee or two or three or ……………..
The weather can sometimes blow hard on the Caribbean coast making diving the outer reef a little treacherous. Despair not as we have many other activities to occupy our time.
As was the case Saturday 5 March, the wind was blowing so we dived inside the reef; great barracuda, parrot fish, grunts, stingrays and we came face to face with a huge male loggerhead turtle who was as curious of us as we were of him. Not having gills, we had to end our time under water with the memories of another great dive.
So the next activity was a snorkel in the mangroves. Protected from the wind the water was like a mirror, and we slowly meandered our way through the green canopy to our snorkel spot. Our captain slowed the boat to a gentle halt and we lowered the anchor slowly so as not to scare away anything that may be waiting there for us to explore. Then, as we were putting on our fins we got our first glimpse of the beautiful creature, a manatee, no not one but three together; a mother and two calf’s! We could not BELIZE it. Our boat captain slipped into the water and showed us how to snorkel without disturbing the majestic sight.
One by one the volunteers and two staff were able to gently slide into the water and to everyone’s amazement two more manatees came to look at us and investigate what we were up to, so in total we were surrounded by 5 of the most graceful creatures in the sea. As we floated on the surface the manatees proceeded to give us a show that some people can only dream of, and Broadway itself would be honoured to host.. Each time they passed they seemed to get closer and closer, wanting to get as good a look at us as we did of them – I was not sure who was the more inquisitive.
We could not believe our luck, the mangroves had given us all a glimpse of another treasure they hold and all thanks to what some may describe as a bad weather day, I would say it was a blessing.