Hawaii or Belize?

Belize snorkel
Snorkeling near our Belize island

I recently returned from a trip to Maui where I was able to snorkel several times during my visit. While it was great to see new species of coral and fish, I was struck by how much better the diving and reefs are at our Glover’s Reef island in Belize. I had always imagined Hawaii and most of the Pacific to have much better reef ecosystems that we commonly see in Belize, but I found the opposite to be true. I know that many areas in the Pacific enjoy phenomenal coral reefs and abundant marine life, but my observation is that Hawaii is not one of them.

What most amazed me was the lack fish we saw. In Belize we commonly see thousands of fish on every snorkel we take, but on the reefs around Maui we probably saw less than a hundred per session. This may have been because we picked areas that simply didn’t have abundant fish life, but I suspect that overfishing and pollution from the heavily populated land areas have caused the marine life to suffer. Out at Glover’s Reef we are protected from overfishing and far from the mainland.