Lionfish Hunting at Francis Ford Coppola’s Belize Beach Retreat

  • Written by Cameron Smith
  • Photograph by Cameron Smith

LIONFISH_GOPR1220“I know where some sharks live around here, you guys wanna go visit them?” says Zane, our dive master – half Sean-Paul, half explorer Jacques Cousteau. We are scuba-geared up and bobbing above the world’s second largest reef, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Belize.

Beneath the choppy waves, we float 100 feet down through this ethereal world like lost astronauts, watching the fish swim by in calm silence. The sheer abundance of life in the dappled blue light is incredible.

“Its fan of spiked fins has stripes more reminiscent of a tiger than a lion – and it is also one of the world’s most venomous marine animals.”

Kicking my long fins, I follow the trail of bubbles left by Zane and my girlfriend Kat Hessen. Zane stops and taps my tank to get my attention, using his hands to signal there is a lionfish ahead. He sticks his fingers sharply up and out, mimicking the fearsome anatomy of the tropical fish.

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