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.
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".
Green moray eel
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?
Lunch on the boat during the surface interval
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.