ABOUT HURACAN, LIGHTHOUSE REEF ATOLL AND THE BLUE HOLE
Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the most remote of the three offshore atolls in Belize and is still the most untouched, with less than a handful of businesses geared towards diving visitors. Huracan Diving is the only dive operation in the Atoll. Pristine Sponge, fan and coral formations on the dramatic walls begin at a shallow 35 feet, and Long Caye is the perfect base to discover them being the only inhabited caye of the six making up the Atoll landmasses.
From the very northernmost end of the Atoll, Sandbore Caye is one of the two cayes boasting lighthouses, the one at Sandbore having been established in 1904. Northern Caye neighbors Sandbore and the two are known locally as Northern Two Cayes.
The Great Blue Hole is an almost perfectly circular hole in the middle of Lighthouse Reef Atoll around 8 miles or 15 minutes north of Long Caye. About 1000 feet across and just over 400 feet deep, the Blue Hole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s and thanks to his research trips, the Blue Hole is on many divers’ bucket list of must do dives. A dive to around130 feet reveals a shallow overhang laced with huge stalactites, some of which are over 20 feet long. Another big draw for divers is the frequent abundance of Reef shark cruising in the blue.
Guests at Huracan Diving Lodge have the luxury of being guaranteed the only divers in the Blue Hole and indeed on all other dives at Long Caye Wall and Half Moon Caye Wall.
Half Moon Caye is situated towards the southeastern corner of the reef and is considered one of the most beautiful cayes in Belize. Half Moon Caye and its famous Wall dive sites were given National Park status in 1996, and are home to a protected bird sanctuary. The second lighthouse of the Atoll is situated here and the station was set up in 1820. Although visitors come to view the Red Footed Booby birds and aptly named Magnificent Frigate birds nesting in the Zericote trees, nearly 100 species of bird have been recorded at Half Moon – from the ubiquitous pelican, to osprey, gulls, storks, egret and tern. The “bird’s eye” platform is perfect for viewing the wheeling birds close up, and for photographing the somewhat uneasy truce between the species… The huge Frigatebird, a non-diving bird… preys on its neighbor for fish. Having bullied the Booby birds into dropping their catch, the frigate plucks the dropped fish from the surface of the sea. However, back at the roost, they appear to live in harmony once the food hunt is over.
Long Caye, just three miles west of Half moon Caye is the perfect base for some of the best diving in Belize, on Long Caye Wall. Nutrients, washed westward by the prevailing winds, with an absence of brackish lagoons that could damage the reef provide the perfect environment for a plethora of coral, tunicates, fish and other amazing marine life just below the surface. Long Caye is the only permanently inhabited Caye, and is essentially a Preserve. Stewardship of the surrounding environment is a Core Value for all who live on the Caye.
The Long Caye community promotes and sustains the ecological values under which the Caye operates. Residents and businesses, by being here and surviving prove that we can “have our cake and eat it, too” when it comes to preserving our natural assets. Conservation is a priority, as is a deep respect for the local culture and fisher folk who have responsibly used the Lighthouse Reef for their livelihood for generations. We understand and promote sustainable business in the Atoll.
Hover over the following map to retrieve the dive site names