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William & Kate go diving in Belize

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William, Kate and a South Water Caye nurse shark

Doing their bit to spread the word about the joys of scuba-diving, the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge have shared a video of themselves enjoying an underwater stopover in Belize, part of the royal couple’s eight-day Caribbean tour.

The dive took place at South Water Caye on Sunday, 20 March. The small island lies 22km off the mainland above the Belize Barrier Reef, the country’s biggest marine protected area.

”While the effects of climate change are evident, the government of Belize and communities across the country deserve huge recognition for their efforts to restore this incredible marine environment – with a commitment to protect 30% of it by 2030,” the royal couple tweeted. “It was a privilege to see for ourselves the world-leading ocean conservation work being done here.”

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The nurse shark was the star
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The couple went diving with local instructor Edward “Captain Gravy” Betancourt, who might have wondered whether dangling hoses should be mentioned to royals, and his daughter Marisha. The resulting video footage, which benefited from the presence of a co-operative nurse shark, quickly gathered more than a quarter of a million views, with stills also released.

Royal family photographer Matt Porteous, who was travelling with the couple, is a highly accomplished underwater photographer who says that his career began with a “yellow underwater Minolta”. Examples of his ocean-related work can be seen here.

Prince William, an experienced diver, became the third generation of the royal family to become  president of the British Sub-Aqua Club eight years ago. Kate qualified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver the following year, in 2015.

“Belize’s work on marine protection is world-leading, which is crucial when you’re protecting the world’s second largest barrier reef, and in fact it’s a Unesco World Heritage site,” commented William.

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Soft corals on the reef

“And it’s clear to see the Belizeans value their environment, whether it’s the marine environment or the land environment. It’s great to see that their commitments are going further and further, and we should support them and value their efforts to protect both the marine and the land environments.”

Their relaxed time spent under water must have come as some relief on a tour marred for the royal couple by protests about historic colonialism that prevented an earlier Belize stop, and calls for slavery reparations from the British monarchy at their current location (23 March), Jamaica.

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