belize is located in the southeastern part of the yucatan peninsula. it is home to the 200 mile long belize barrier reef, the longest in the western hemisphere and the second longest in the world.
the beautiful laughing bird caye is only 11 miles off the coast of placencia. the abundance and variety of coral habitats and marine life make this isle truly unique. in 1996 the belize barrier reef reserve system was inscribed on the world heritage list with laughing bird caye national park designated as one of its most closely protected areas. the isle is long and narrow and truly breathtaking.
on our way to the islet, after hitching a boat ride in front of our house right off of the beach, we saw some dolphins. we changed into our gear and went snorkeling in the warm salty water. it felt like being in an aquarium. the coral comes in indescribably vivid colors, the sea fans quivered delicately underwater, and the schools of fish we encountered felt so close it was magical. unfortunately my daughter’s equipment was too big for her so she kept getting salty water in her eyes and mouth. she was a good sport about it but we decided to cut short our exploring to get her to shore. my son scraped his foot on some coral reef and bled quite a bit. thank god the park ranger had some antiseptic ointment and band aids. we had a delicious picnic cooked on the beach (grilled chicken – jamaican style, potatoes roasted in a cheese sauce, sweet coleslaw and fresh pineapple. what a treat! although we could not take any conchs or shells with us i took plenty of photos. we also took some footage of brown pelicans diving for fish. the water was a myriad different shades of blue, each more delightful than the other. it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.