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, November 22, 2015

CAYE CAULKER: Above & Below Sea Level

On 2sday, November 17th, we hopped on a Linea Dorada bus at 6:45am in Flores, Guatemala for the scenic <5 hour ride to the water taxi dock in Belize City.

We bought tickets ($15US each, 1 way) for the noon water taxi.

45 minutes later - Caye Caulker!

The weather was nice while we were there - just a bit breezy - but it had rained HARD the week before. Our tuktuk driver took the back way to our beloved Colinda Cabañas and it was a lake instead of a lane.

We tossed our bags in our cabin and headed down the beach for some seafood.

Here's the beach entrance to Colinda Cabañas.

Last time we were the top unit, this time the bottom (virtually identical) unit, complete with kitchen, air conditioning, bikes, and small friends.

And the view! <<sigh>>

And the food!! We love having a kitchen so we can shop at the local produce stands and docks, haunt the local street vendors, and gorge on tropical fruit and nuts, home baked goods, and fresh seafood.

The town is small enough to walk from end to end in about 20 minutes but we enjoy riding our bikes down the sandy streets.

Great name for a local lottery: "Mek mi rich". :-)

I went diving 2 days, 2 tanks each day, with Belize Diving Services - highly recommended. They have a nice big boat (a benefit for longer trips) and keep the dive groups small. There were people from 8 countries on the boat.

A nurse shark - we saw black-tipped reef sharks, too.

A school of grunts

Creole wrasse

In addition to lots of sharks we saw moray eels, an awesome variety of coral, and some big schools of fish. This was 1 of the coolest things I saw: a grouper in a cleaning station, cleaner wrasses swimming in and out of its mouth and gills. Unfortunately, it was surrounded by invasive lion fish.

I know the names of most of the fish and am working on coral identification. My photos will help now that I'm home with my identification books.

Another lion fish

The 1st day we dove between Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, the 2nd day on Turneffe Atoll, a longer trip so lunch was served on board during our surface interval.

Scrawled filefish


On Friday we went on a snorkeling trip with Caveman Snorkeling Tours.

Our guide was Ronny (black shirt) and we were joined by 3 British military officers who had been training troops in the jungle in western Belize for 7 weeks.

Brittle star

Peacock flounder

Honeycomb cowfish

Nurse sharks, looking for food

Big eagle rays, also looking for food

Mike, in orange

That's me!

In the mangrove roots on the back side of the island, Ronny found some seahorses to show us. I'm sure he was very gentle but we were really uncomfortable that he would remove these delicate fish from their homes for our viewing pleasure.

We loved seeing the tarpon, though!

We took turns holding out bait fish for them.

Our last night we walked to the other end of the island

to our favorite restaurant, Wish Willy - basically a sandy back yard with picnic tables and awesome seafood.

We started with lobster and prawns

and Maurice (aka Wish Willy) kept bringing lobster tails until we had to turn him away. Total cost for both of us including Mike's beer: $21US.

Early the next morning we headed to the Caye Caulker airport for our Tropic Air flight.

Boarding passes, Belize style

Our last view of Caye Caulker

and 10 minutes later we were landing at BZE, the international airport in Belize City.

We flew Delta to LAX

where our 4 hour layover was magically timed for a University of Oregon game, much to Mike's delight.

And then we were heading back north to Oregon, another awesome trip behind us. Happy trails!

You can find the complete photo collection for this trip HERE.