This is the place for photos and reflections of my visits to Latin America beginning in 2012. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr. HAPPY TRAILS!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last stop - Caye Caulker

We headed in from Tom Owen's Caye with the ReefCI bunch, had a nice lunch at the Snack Shack in Punta Gorda...


then hiked to the airport. I love this great example of "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade": if your cheap paneling is losing the battle with humidity - look! - it's a new place to display brochures. 


Views from the plane as we took off and landed in Savannah (never heard of it!), Placencia, Dangriga, Belize City, and - finally! - on Caye Caulker.







This was our 4th visit to Belize, our 2nd to Caulker, and our 1st to beautiful Colinda Cabañas, on the beach to the south near the airport. 


Man alive was I impressed with this place! The cabins are beautiful and beautifully made - shiny clean and newly painted but sort of timeless, lots of beautiful woodwork including the high ceilings. We were in #9, top floor of the 2nd row from the beach.




A few fond photos of our little guardian of the steps






We made good use of the provided bikes for exploring the island, trips to the dive shop, accessing sunsets, fishing, and a few great meals out.


Another nice benefit of Colinda Cabañas is the beautiful dock with multiple seating areas. Or, in Mike's case, multiple work out and fishing areas.


Tarpon!


We enjoyed sunrise coffees as well as sunset evenings on the dock and snorkeling underneath.




Beneath the Colinda dock and the neighboring dock I identified nearly 30 types of fish including juvenile damsels, parrot fish, sergeant majors, and wrasse, a large barracuda, a lion fish (neighbor's dock), a small flounder, lots of yellow rays, a southern stingray, 4 types of snapper, and thousands of synchronized mullets. 




Another highlight was watching the pelicans diving for fish, sometimes just feet away from us - very cool when viewed both above and below the water.


Shout out to friend Anne for the idea of packing along these floaty rings. The water is about 85 degrees and (other than the briefly shocking incident when a fish swam down the front of my swim suit) the perfect place to relax and do nothing with the love of my life.



We really enjoy having a full kitchen so we can shop locally and prepare most of our own food. In a week we bought street bbq once and ate out twice. You can count on great produce if you learn the barge schedule - on Caulker Wednesday and Saturday mornings are the time to shop. Do not know what to say about the pink poodle hanging there...
  
  


A few interesting grocery store surprises - quality Oregon flour products...


and (ew) a hair in the clove bag.


In addition to groceries and fresh produce, we purchased fresh fish from the dock night after night, delicious baked goods, fresh tortillas, coconuts, and delicious cashews.






In addition to Alma's bbq stand...


our 2 meals out were seafood specials at Meldy's...



(I thought my shrimp looked more appetizing than Mike's whole snapper.)


  
and (a favorite from last time, this time, and next time) Wish Willy.


 

In addition to that big (but apparently 'baby') tarpon Mike caught on the dock, he spent many happy days hunting for bonefish on beautiful flats.




I had a great experience diving with Belize Diving Services. That big beautiful boat and multiple dive groups took a little getting used to, but the equipment was great, the divemasters and crew top notch, and the organization clear and well thought out.


Divemaster Eugene - on the bottom of his fins he painted "Don't follow me...I'm lost too".



Hawksbill turtle 


Nurse shark


Green moray eel


Remora


A highlight trip was a full day (12+ hours!) to the Great Blue Hole (read more here), named 1 of the world's top 10 dive sites by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It's a deep dive (130') and therefore short; we were blessed with great visability and lots of reef sharks. We started with breakfast, had lunch on Half Moon Caye where we enjoyed seeing red footed booby nestlings from an observation deck, and made 2 additional (phenomenal) dives on the way back to Caye Caulker.
   


Eugene with the dive briefing



Another favorite dive trip was to North Turneffe; can you see the camouflaged scorpion fish in the photo below?


Honeycomb cowfish


Lunch on the boat during the surface interval



Barrel sponge 


Queen angel and a school of grunts



Here are some favorite/random photos from our explorations around Caye Caulker.






  




  





  



Some fellow teacher friends have plans to volunteer on Caye Caulker this summer; I made contact with the principal and we were invited back to participate in 'Culture Day'; since the enormous variety of cultures in Belize is a highlight of the country for us, this was a real treat. The kids were divided (obviously not by their own ethnicity) into groups to represent the different ethnic groups in Belize and there were presentations by each group as well as booths with activities, posters, displays, class projects, and food for sale.

Creole representatives


Maya dancers


Mestizo superstitions


Food displays


Garifuna demonstration



Eventually it was time for another small plane flight and our last view of Caye Caulker for 2014.



Another AWESOME TRIP! We feel so blessed to have this wonderful collection of memories to call back to mind for years to come. HAPPY TRAILS!

For more Caye Caulker photos, check out these flickr sets:
Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker Underwater

2 comments:

  1. Great photos! Won't be back on Caulker until July. Seems too long.

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  2. HI Stacey - I have read soooo many of your post on various travel sites and really feel secure in your advice. I will be traveling through parts of CA this summer, starting in Cancun with a friend who only has 10 days. I will be going on from Guatemala after she flies out (I may backtrack to Antigua and then up to Lake Atilan (San Pedro specifically based on your recommendations) and stay another week, depends, to do a language immersion class). I'd love to pick your brain if you'd be willing. If so, could you touch base at bugabug35@gmail.com ? Thanks you!

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