Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve

Reading Time: 2 mins
Diving with Whale Sharks in Placencia ,Belize

Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve is a protected area off the coast of Southern Belize that is world-famous for whale sharks that visit the area yearly during the months of March, April, May, and June. The reserve is approximately 25,980 acres and sits below the South Water Caye Marine Reserve and the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve.

Visiting Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes

Southern Belize Reef Complex includes Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, and South Water Caye Marine Reserve

The Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve is located 22 miles (36 km) off the coast of Placencia. It is a part of the Southern Belize Reef Complex, which also includes Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, and South Water Caye Marine Reserve.

Gladden Spit is a feature formed from the southern reef making an almost ninety-degree turn. The underwater promontory is one of Belize’s most important spawning aggregation sites, attracting whale sharks and other deep-water species. It has a short-sloping shelf that drops steeply at about 130 ft (40 m) to 6,600 ft (2,000 m) depth within 6 miles (10 km) of the reef.

The Silk Cayes are a collection of three cayes (North Silk, Middle Silk, and South Silk) that lie south of the Gladden entrance and command authority as a pristine snorkeling and shallow reef diving destination. On a good day, visitors can witness an astonishing variety of marine wildlife, including sea turtles, rays, and sharks.

As for the best time to spot whale sharks, March to June is when the sharks typically visit the area to feast on the annual aggregation of spawning fish. However, the best times to potentially see them are two days before the full moon and up to 10 days after.