Belize

WINDSWEPT 1. A

respite awaits on Ranguana Caye. 2. Sargeant majors patrol a giant barrel sponge. 3. A Belizean brown pelican scouts the shallows for dinner. 4. Flamingo tongue cowry, a frequent resident.

The next time you're on Google Earth, type in 17°18.55' N, 87° 32.04' W. That midnight-blue iris you'll find staring back at you is the Jacques-Cousteau-explored Blue Hole of Belize, arguably the most famous seafloor feature in the world and a dive site familiar to just about anyone who's ever sipped atmosphere from a regulator.

But while you're on the computer, zoom back a bit, and you'll be in for a pleasant surprise: Ambergris Caye, Cangrejo Caye, the Drowned Cayes, Laughing Bird Caye, Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel, Turneffe Atoll ... an entire chain of islands stretches south, all the way to tiny, barrier-reef-fronted Columbus Caye. All are divers' playgrounds. And that doesn't even begin to factor-in the mile after mile of tropical banks and islets that lie along Belize's Caribbean coast.

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