Trip to Manta Resort, Glover's Reef Atoll, Belize C.A.

January 21 - 26, 2000

We left Monterey at 3am to catch our flight to Belize, Central America. Arrived late afternoon; met by a Manta Resort representative who provided transportation into Belize City and The Great House Inn, our accomodations for the night. We did some souvenir shopping the next day before meeting our boat which would take us and the other 10 guests, a few resort staff, supplies and provisions on a 3+ hour trip (hum theme song to ''Gilligan's Island"), 57 miles across the barrier reef and open ocean to Southwest Caye on Glover's Atoll. For the next 4 days we spent our days on this isolated island paradise relaxing, enjoying the wonderfull meals prepared by the resort chef, snorkeling and scuba diving. We awoke each morning to greet the sunrise from our front porch and practice chi-gong (eventually three of the other guests joined us in our morning rituals). We watched sunsets from our backyard while a dolphin trolled nearby. The snorkeling and scuba diving were superb. This area of the atoll has been designated a U.N. World Heritage Site and a Belizean National Conservation Zone. We saw immense coral gardens featuring a variety of hard and soft corals of all shapes, sizes, and colors: purple gorgonian fan coral, yellow tube coral, branch corals, basket coral (resembling hand-thrown pottery), and much more. And of course an abundance of tropical fish. On one snorkel trip we encountered a large school (over 300) of Black Durgon - beautiful. We also encountered barracuda, groupers, nurse sharks, squid, sea turtles, stingrays, and lobsters. We dove in waters down to 60' and along the edge of 'The Wall', a vertical drop of over 2000 feet - a bit spooky I must say, it felt like hovering over the 'Abyss'! Even our return trip had some adventure. Leaving around 12:30pm for Dangriga, on the mainland, where we were supposed to catch a short flight to Belize City, we encountered porpoises and a blue marlin (which I didn't see), and in Dangriga, where we were supposed to dock the boat, an impassible sand bar! We slowly moved along the edge of town, trying to find a place to bring the boat in, while heading in the direction of the dirt-strip airport. (Interesting sight: the Dangriga cemetery appeared to be on fire). Eventually we found a private pier right near the airport which extended far enough out so that the boat could dock. But before we could get all our stuff off the boat and run down the dirt trail to the airport we saw our plane fly directly over our heads! I must say the folks at Manta Resort took great care of us at this point, arranging a 'taxi' for a slightly wild drive along the (mostly dirt) coast road to arrive at the Belize International airport just in time to catch our plane (they had already closed the airplane doors!).
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View of Manta Resort on Southwest Caye. The water below the boat is more than 60 feet deep and the color variations reflect the great visibility - a little further out is the "Wall" with its vertical drop of more than 2000 feet.

 
 

Inside our cabana (number 7). Mahogany floor and walls; rattan furniture. Simple, but nice. There are only 12 cabanas on the resort - so privacy and seclusion are part of the package.

 

The view of our 'frontyard' from the porch of our cabana. Overlooks the Southwest Caye lagoon - sort of a lagoon within a lagoon.

 

The view of our 'backyard'. Looks out across the larger lagoon of Glover's Reef atoll.

 

Island Paradise. Sun, sea, sand, coconut palms, and a beautiful 'island' girl!

 

Looking from our 'frontyard' towards the "Cantina" - bar, restaurant, leisure area, equipment rental, and boat launch.

 

Looking from the "Cantina" out across the Southwest Caye lagoon. Our snorkel boat, "Miss Callie" is on the right.

Southern stingray cruising alongside the boat launch. One of the other residents of the Manta resort, along with nurse sharks, bonefish, halibut, and tropical fish.
On our second dive on Tuesday we encountered a large Hawksbill Sea Turtle, just relaxing on a patch of sandy bottom at 50'. Another diver, Liz Cunningham, took this photo. That's me floating in the background.
After a few minutes our turtle friend decided he'd tired of us and headed out and over the 'Wall'. Note: these creatures are on the endangered species list. This photo also by Liz Cunningham.
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