It’s time to catch up with the last several days of the big vacation! I left off with Wednesday’s night snorkel. For those just joining, the Hubby and I spent two weeks in Caye Caulker, Belize with our friends who live on the island, Dave and Noelle.
Thursday, May 9th
On Thursday it was my birthday! I magically turned into a crotchety old lady of 34; the transformation was amazing, I tell ya. To celebrate we went on a full day snorkel at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve with French Angel Snorkeling. I already posted the video of the loggerhead turtles that Noelle and I saw, but we did so much more than that! On the boat ride out we saw seahorses, tarpon and a huge pod of dolphins. After we saw the sea turtles we made our way over to a deeper part of the reef, and that’s where I had the HUGE FUN! The ocean floor was about 30 feet down and I free dove all the way to the bottom! Later there was a coral tunnel that the guide showed us that was about 20 feet down from the surface. The tunnel was only about eight feet long by about four feet in diameter but it was a real thrill (and a bit of a squeeze!). I went through twice and both times there was a school of large grunts hanging out as I went through. It was really magical.
Dolphins! There were at least twelve, including one very curious calf! Continue reading “Last of the Vacay Writing”
Wednesday was a very slow day. All of us – me, the Hubby, Noelle and Dave – were feeling a bit ill from Tuesday night’s dinner. We think it was the slow-cooked black beans – they were undercooked and I found a couple of websites warning about the toxin phytohaemagglutinin that is found in some beans. Whatever it was, there was trouble in paradise, and we spent much of the day lounging about the house and teasing Noelle about poisoning us.
By late afternoon we were all feeling better and so we ventured out to The Split for some food and swimming. The Split is the north point of Caye Caulker, and the party destination for tourists and islanders alike. We grabbed some food and drinks from the Lazy Lizard Bar. I had the house special, a Lizard Juice. Don’t ask me what was in it – it was frozen and alcoholic and it turned my tongue bright green, so I hear.
The snorkeling at the Split was kind of magnificent. There is a bunch of concrete and wood in the water that the fish have turned into nursing grounds. There were the ever-present grunts, but also parrotfish, tang, wrasse and a myriad of other brightly-hued fish.
Continue reading “Night Snorkeling”
Tuesday was our second day of exploring the mainland. The Hubby, Dave and I took the water taxi in to Belize City and then met up with Jason again to go to the Belize Zoo and cave tubing. The zoo was our first stop.
The Belize Zoo is unique in that all of the animals are native to Belize, and are not fit to live in the wild – they’ve either been injured or abandoned or raised in captivity. For example, some people think that ocelet kitties are cute and fun pets…and then the kitties turn into big cats and become more than they can handle. So it’s part refuge/part educational facility. The signs for the animals are all hand-painted and deliver messages to the public about the animals. They work to dispel myths (such as harpy eagles do NOT eat human babies) and raise awareness about the environment and human-wildlife-environment interactions.
The cages provided a photography challenge: the mesh was very large, so unless the animals were farther away I couldn’t do that cool depth of field trick to blur out the cage. The animal environments were also very much geared to the animals – lot of hidey places out the gaze of prying tourist eyes and their annoying cameras. But we managed to find a few of them.
The paths between animal enclosures were either fine gravel or concrete. All of the enclosures were separated by forest brush and trees. Continue reading “Belize Zoo and Cave Tubing”
One of the goals of the trip was to visit some ruins. We had plenty of options: Altun-Ha, Caracol, Cerros, Xunantunich – and those are just a few of the ruins that are known in Belize.
We ended up visiting Lamanai, an archeological site in Orange Walk District (northern Belize) that was occupied between the 16th century BCE to 17th century CE, with its heyday occurring several hundred years before and after the start of the Common Era.
Our trip started with a 45 minute water taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City with Dave and Noelle.
Continue reading “Jungle Ruins: Lamanai”
Today was my birthday. I think it was a birthday well spent. Turtles. TURTLES!!! (It only gets better as the video goes on).
I woke up on Friday feeling better – still with a head full of snot, but not tired, no joint weakness, and a normal appetite. Our hosts had to run into Belize City for the morning, so the Hubby and I decided to walk into town and explore the north end of the island. We walked up the front path that runs along the beach. There are a bunch of seaside resorts, rental homes and hostels that way and we eventually passed by the water taxis and popped up in “downtown” Caye Caulker. We saw a number of interests plants and animals along the way.
A plover strolls along the shore. Continue reading “Exploring Caye Caulker”
Yesterday was my recovery day. When I woke up I was weak – fatigued, congested and I had no appetite to speak of. I got up sometime around 7am and came downstairs to sit on the couch. I was feeling adventerous, so I decided to stand up and move outside to the downstairs porch. I started working on yesterday’s blog post and my lovely hosts – Dave and Noelle – brought me an orange juice and cup of coffee.
When Noelle announced that she was going to be making gluten-free chocolate pancakes, whatever had been blocking the signals from my stomach to my brain was cleared and I was suddenly famished. I came inside to help wash dishes while she prepped the pancakes.
Chocolate pancakes made with amaranth flours look dubious but tasted delicious. I liked them with some butter (MOAR BUTTER!) and rasberry jelly.
Continue reading “Caye Caulker: Lazy Day”
This is the first of my travel-blogging posts! The Hubby and I are in Belize until May 12th. This is what we’re doing.
Our vacation started with 30 hours of travel. That’s right – 30. Here’s the deal: Last year we volunteered to get bumped from a flight and that earned us two round-trip tickets to anywhere AirTran flies. We wanted to get to Belize to visit some friends and to relax in the Carribean. AirTran flies to Cancun. There is a very reliable bus that drives from Cancun to Belize City. Tah-dah!
We woke up at 2am on Tuesday morning, showered, did a little last-minute packing, ate some cereal and then sat outside on our front stoop in the eerie, cool, silent night-morning. We had arranged for a car service to arrive at 3:45 am and the driver was right on time. Our flight from MSP-Humphrey Terminal was at 5:45am. Since we were flying international we wanted to make sure that we were there at least an hour and a half early, but since it was such an early flight we weren’t too concerned about lines at security. Everything went peachy-keen and soon we were on the plane to our connection in Atlanta.
Leaving Minneapolis – one of two sunrises we would experience during the trip down.
Continue reading “Traveling to Belize”