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Location is everything (almost)

If you have never been to Glover’s Reef, it might be hard to imagine just how unique and amazing a place it is. Even compared to most tropical islands (which can be very amazing if my experience of Bora Bora is any indication) Long Caye on Glover’s Reef has everything that even the best tropical islands have, and then, on top of that, it has a lot that few other resorts can offer. Most of that is due to our location.

If you have a hard time imagining a tiny island 35 miles off the coast of Belize out in the middle of the Caribbean, this picture might help.

island-aerial

The dark blue at the bottom of the picture is how the Caribbean normally looks far out at sea. Right there, it is about 3,000 feet deep. Immediately above the dark blue but below the greener area is a bright light blue area which is the edge of a cliff. That light blue area is only 40 feet deep and is perched at the edge of a flat mountain that rises up 3,000 feet from the sea floor. Rising away from the edge of this underwater cliff, the top surface of this “mesa” slopes gently upward to sea level, which you see as the island shoreline.

This outward, Caribbean-facing shore of the island is only a few hundred yards back and slightly uphill from the edge of this amazing underwater cliff. In fact, you can snorkel directly from shore out to the cliff, a dive we call “The Wall” for obvious reasons. However, most people dive The Wall using scuba gear rented from our neighbors at Off The Wall Dive Center, which also provides a dive boat.

Our island is very narrow. At it’s narrowest point, it’s about 200 feet across from the ocean-side shoreline to the inner lagoon. And that lagoon, which occupies the upper two-thirds of the picture, covers a vast area (about 36 square miles,) most of which is roughly

4_snorkel copy40 feet deep or less. The surface of this vast underwater mesa top, properly called an “atoll,”  is dotted with small patch reefs (the brownish or lighter-colored spots). In fact there are over 700 different patch reefs spread across the top of Glover’s Reef. Those patch reefs are one reason why Glovers is considered one of the premier snorkeling spots in the world.

Our lagoon is protected from ocean swells and currents by a fringe reef that grows up all around the outer edge of the atoll. That protective fringe reef keeps the waters of the lagoon calm. It helps make the perfect environment for a diverse coral reef ecosystem that is extremely healthy and pristine by world standards. Located far from any pollution sources and lacking any large man-made developments of its own, Glover’s Reef is one of the healthiest, most pristine reefs you could hope to find. In fact, it is an official Marine Reserve protected by the government of Belize.

fly-fishing-belizeHaving immediate access to such a large and healthy coral reef ecosystem means that every snorkel dive is filled with sightings of a wide range of marine life. And if you like catch-and-release sport fishing, it is pure paradise. So many fish!

With its clam surface and shallow depths, the lagoon means our guests have easy access to a virtually unending array of patch reefs simply by paddling out in sea kayaks and slipping into the water with snorkel and fins. No need for noisy and disruptive motor boats.

The sheltered and shallow waters of the lagoon, combined with the steady trade winds afforded by being 35 miles off the coast, create the ideal conditions to learn water sports such as windsurfing and kiteboarding. Long Caye in particular is also uniquely blessed in having large sand flats close at hand (visible in the top picture, above the island, and in the sport fishing picture right where the fisherman is standing.) These shallow or above-surface sand flats are especially helpful for the beginner kiteboarder.

A six foot wave was one of the best surfing days...
A six foot wave was one of the best surfing days…

As if that wasn’t enough, Long Caye also has the only usable surf break on Glover’s Reef (in fact it is the only shore-accessible surf break in the country). Our surf break lies just outside the right edge of the picture at the top of this article.

We’re blessed to have a unique, world-class location. But location it isn’t everything. Our facilities – the kitchen palapa, cabanas, showers, solar and wind power systems, rainwater cisterns, composting toilets – were purposefully developed to be as light on the land as possible while still offering our guests the maximum in rustic comfort. Many resorts claim to be eco-friendly, but we think Adventure Island is in another class altogether.

Despite the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime qualities of our location, and the very eco-friendly way in which we’ve developed it, it is probably our people – our guides and staff – that consistently garner the most outstanding rave reviews from our clients. Location is everything — almost.