National Geographic Sea Lion set its course to the east as it cruised towards the southern limit of the Belize Barrier Reef. Its destination is a tiny, but precious island named Lime Caye, the location for today’s amazing adventure. The explorers have been looking forward to experiencing the underwater world that awaited. Upon arrival, the scene seemed perfect with the sound of crashing waves, azure waters, and white sand beaches. That was when the stark reality hit everyone: The amount of plastic washed up on the beach was appalling. Everyone came together to remove the plastic as best they could. It was a collaborative effort and a perfect reflection of the human wish to improve the world.

Once the beach cleanup was completed, it was snorkel time for guests at three skill levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We immersed ourselves in an underwater wonderland with clear waters, healthy corals, schools of vibrant fish. It was like being in a kaleidoscope. The expressions on the guests’ faces were priceless. This was something they will never forget. As a naturalist, I cherish these moments of simply knowing you have influenced someone’s life.

After a delicious lunch, we proceeded with the afternoon activities. The weather got even better. The water was practically turquoise. It was hard to resist another round of snorkeling, thanks to the calmer waters and sunny skies. Some of us kayaked around the caye under the watchful eyes of the safety crew. An unexpected afternoon squall put an end to the activities for some, who returned to the ship, while others pressed on.

IMAGE: Lime Caye, Belize. Photo by Cindy Manning