Snorkeling Gladden Cayes – Dense Interesting Reef Life


Snorkeling Gladden Cayes was well worth the trouble of getting there. If you look at a chart, the Gladden Cayes are located inside Gladden Spit, a break in the barrier reef north of Placencia a short distance.

Snorkeling Gladden Cayes, a healthy coral reef

To get to Gladden Cayes we sailed through the Badlands, an area inside the reef littered with shallows and patch reefs. And boy was it worth it!

Our snorkel spot was actually a short distance southeast of the Gladden Cayes in a circular patch of reefs. And this area was full of interesting sea life. These patch reefs are littered with sponges and small corals growing in ways we had never seen before. Sometimes in bizarre ways. And this abundance of life was so crammed onto the surface of the reef that we really had to take our time to explore what was in front of us.

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Pillar coral and other corals at Gladden Cayes Belize
Forest of soft corals growing out of a brain coral head

What We Saw While Snorkeling Gladden Cayes

Once again at this location we encountered the amazingly intelligent and family-oriented Caribbean Reef Squid. They were so fascinating to watch, and were a real highlight of our Belize snorkel trip. It is so cool to watch them change color.

Caribbean Reef Squid at Gladden Cayes

We did not see lots of fish when snorkeling Gladden Cayes. But it is always a pleasure to see a Gray Angelfish. The one below looks like it is in between stages, from juvenile to adult. Adults don’t have those white vertical stripes. We did find a nice Southern Stingray though.

Gray Angelfish at Gladden Cayes
Southern Stingray at Gladden Cayes Belize

Purple Sea Plume at Gladden Cayes Belize

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