Toffee and Pillar Reefs

I’m above Pillar Reef, known, unsurprisingly, for its abundance of elusive pillar coral. Earlier, at Toffee Reef, we seemed to be in an underwater forest of branching coral piercing by vibrant fans.

Most days on the reef seem comprised of endless hues of blue; now, however, the horizon is split with slate. I fall into deep cerulean. The pillar coral is flocked by sergeant majors and grunts (bluestripe, yellowstripe, and French) and seems fuzzy with polyps brought to surface by the rain.

Time is lost as we weave among clusters of columns

Day V

  1. barred hamlet, Hypoplectrus puella
  2. queen conch, Strombus gigas
  3. long-spined urchin, Diadema antillarum
  4. split-crown feather duster, Anamobaea oerstedi
  5. queen angelfish (juvenile), Holacanthus ciliaris
  6. fairy basslett, Gramma loreto
  7. purplemouth moray eel, Gymnothorax vicinus
  8. bluestriped grunt, Haemulon sciurus
  9. pillar coral, Dendrogyra cylindrus
  10. yellowhead wrasse (terminal), Halichoeres garnoti
  11. blunt-spined brittle star, Ophiocoma echinata
  12. green mermaid’s wine glass, Acetabularia caliculus
  13. channel clinging crab, Mithras spinosissimus
  14. sargassum seaweed, Sargassum fluitans
  15. ballyhoo, Hemiramphus brasiliensis





If you have questions or suggestions of natural features or wildlife of Belize for me to discuss here, please contact me at [email protected]

The storm over Toffee Reef with waves breaking on the horizon.
A trumpet fish weaving between the branches of a bipinnate sea plume at Toffee Reef.
Pillar coral with visible polyps.