Conch shells may line our island paths but we don’t contribute to the declining conch population (see our Dec. 3 post about the Queen Conch being considered for the threatened or endangered species list.)

 

These shells were acquired over the years from eating conch back when they were plentiful and a regular part of the belizean fishery. Now, the only shells we acquire are found during snorkels and are laying empty, abandoned by their previous builders and occupants.

To anyone who has spent time on our island, this will read as a bit of an understatement, but for those of you who have yet to experience the unique underwater reef environment at Glover’s Atoll, let it be said that it holds many rare and surprising creatures.

For example, according to this 1973 scientific paper in Copiea, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 20 individual specimens of an entirely new species of toadfishTriathalassothia gloverensis, were discovered at Glover’s Reef.

Obviously, adventure sports is the main stay of life on the island, but don’t underestimate the attraction of learning about the many strange and fascinating creatures that live there. After a day of surfing, kiteboarding, and kayaking, there’s plenty of talk around the dinner table about catching big air and the longest ride of the day, but one of the biggest surprises to me during my visit was how excited everyone was to dig into the numerous books available on tropical sea life and learn the “sport” of fish identification.

Of course, when you spend your day staring down someone as handsome as this guy, it’s no wonder everyone gets excited.