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Swimming with sea turtles

Hawksbill turtle in BelizeIf you’re into sea turtles (and, honestly, who isn’t?) you’ve probably heard about the Hawksbill, one of several species of sea turtles found in the waters off Belize. Due to declining populations of the Hawksbill, it is not often seen by divers in most areas of the world, but one of the many great things about Glover’s Reef is that we see them frequently.

Human fishing practices threaten E. imbricata populations with extinction. The World Conservation Union classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered. Hawksbill shells are the primary source of tortoise shell material, used for decorative purposes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of Hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them.

Out at Glover’s Reef we encounter hawksbills most frequently out at Long Caye Wall, an undersea cliff, the top of which is a mere 35 feet below sea level and just a short swim from the island shore. From that easily reached perch, the cliff drops 3,000 feet practically straight down, and the turtles and other large creatures seem to love that spot. It’s a great place to scuba dive!

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