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Destination Portfolio: Byron Conroy, Belize
By Byron Conroy, February 6, 2024 @ 09:00 AM (EST)

A diver posed next to a fantastic cluster of yellow tube sponges in the warm, blue water off Belize
 

Perhaps slightly overlooked due to proximity to other Central American dive destinations like Cozumel and Roatán, Belize is a country absolutely worth the visit for divers. Not only is it home to famous dive sites like Blue Hole and Lighthouse or Turneffe Atolls, but this is where you’ll find the second-longest barrier reef on Earth—behind only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Belize Barrier Reef is nearly 200 miles long, and the 400 islands, three atolls, and seven marine reserves make up a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site. The warm, tropical waters are home to hundreds of fish species and countless invertebrates, meaning a nearly endless supply of photographic opportunities!

Fortunately, while Belize hasn’t escaped the habitat degradation and warming waters that are impacting locations around the world, and especially so in the Caribbean, there are still healthy reefs bustling with life, from jawfish and nudibranchs to sea turtles and even whale sharks. Belize is easy diving and caters to both beginner and advanced photographers. UNESCO World Heritage Site designations are not given out frivolously, so any place given that honor is absolutely worth visiting. Check out the feature here for a small taste of what Belize has to offer.
 

Belize is home to a large portion of the second-longest coral reef system in the world, home to thousands of species of fish and invertebrates
 

A common sight throughout much of the Caribbean is the yellowhead jawfish. These fairy-like little fish can be quite difficult to get close to but are worth the time and effort to nab a portrait as they dance above their burrows in the sand
 

Chub and horse-eye jacks seem to be “heading toward the light” as the sun sets over the reefs of Belize
 

Bathed by the bright, tropical sun, some bluehead wrasse and yellowtail snapper swim around a nice reef outcrop
 

A well camouflaged decorator crab
 

A school of horse-eye jacks seems to erupt from below
 

A supremely healthy outcrop on a deep reef. Gorgonians, sea fans, corals, tube sponges and a Nassau grouper all share space in this ecosystem
 

Angelfish are among the most iconic of all Caribbean fish species. The gray angel is a large species, quite common throughout much of their range and often approachable
 

Perhaps the most common puffer in the entire tropical western Atlantic is the diminutive sharpnose. While common, they are exceptionally beautiful and frequently allow a close approach for compelling portraits. Just because a subject is common doesn’t mean it can’t make for a keeper image!
 

Nassau grouper are known to be extremely bold and inquisitive in certain places and this beautiful beast is no exception. Unfortunately, their numbers are plummeting due to overfishing and loss of their habitats
 

What’s better than a tropical sunset? A tropical split-level sunset with bonus chub! A new cast of characters emerges at night on the world’s second-longest coral reef ecosystem
 

A creative twist on a common subject. Using a slow shutter speed and spinning the camera during the exposure allows for the background to melt away while the sponges are rendered sharp by flash. Yellow tube sponges grow to huge proportions in Belize
 

To see more of Byron’s work, please visit his Instagram page or check out Arctic Adventures and visit Iceland with him!

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