The rest of this is just a collection of mostly random observations in no particular order.
I saw some things in Belize I hadn’t seen before:
- Our underwear, even if used and on the floor, was folded daily and put on our dresser. This was sort of weird.
- Swarms of thousands of tiny fish would jump out of the water in synchronous motion, either to catch bugs or to avoid a predator. As Sarah described, it was as if the ocean were a pool of 400-degree oil and water rained on it.
- A reef shark ten feet long, less than ten feet away from me, coming towards me.
- A school of sharks.
- Grouper bigger than me.
- Bug bites on the bottom of my feet. They don’t itch, they hurt, especially on sand.
- People putting lipstick on for a scuba trip.
The second day I walked in the room while Sarah was taking a nap, only to find that there was an eight inch long lizard on the wall just above Sarah’s head. This was disconcerting, and I spent a good hour or two trying to coax the thing out of the room. After this, we came to accept that the lizard would be spending the week with us, and chose to accept it. On the upside, it should have been able to eat all of the bugs in the room and prevent us from getting eaten. Sarah christened him ‘Morris’ and it stuck thereafter; we would often see his tail poking out of the artwork, and he would peek his head out once in a while when we hadn’t made much noise to see if we were still there. It was cute.
Two days during the trip we went for day trips to Long Cay; rather than eating lunch on our tiny fishing boat, we docked at a resort that is under construction on Long Cay. Well, it seemed like it was under construction — it was deserted save a few locals that we only saw sleeping on the dock. A little exploration showed a mostly finished resort … of the eco-kind. Communal composting toilets, and rooms with only twin beds and less room than a college dorm. That said, it had a luxurious look to it, in that the all-wood construction using exotic local woods had a certain panache to it. The common area was large and well-apportioned, and the buffet area looked under construction but clean. It was very odd. On our second trip out, there was a larger group there doing what seemed to be construction … except they were taking wood in a boat away from the island, which just made things stranger.
I’m not sure I have any idea what’s going on, but even though the place seemed dead to me, it’s apparently another very private resort, not unlike our own. However, it doesn’t have things like air conditioning, or attached showers and bathrooms … or electricity … or heated water. I guess it must be real nice if you’re into the whole eco-tourism thing. Also, unlike our atoll, the only access is via water, a two to three hour trip from Belize City; the whole charter fly-in thing was the way to go. I guess based on what I read, there was either no business, or the owners were on vacation when we visited, because the website makes it sound like a resort rather than a ghost town. Here are some pictures of the cabanas and palapas to give a sense that I’m not making this stuff up. Sadly, after our resort gets redeveloped, this will be the most private private island of its type left in Belize.
Also on our second dive day, we had a bin of cookies. Rick tried one, proclaimed it terrible and stale, and threw the rest to the fish. Two days later we noticed a hole in the container and found a live mouse. Cookies were not consumed by humans thereafter, even with a new container and “fresh” batch.
It’s about time to talk about island time. On our first day, jack-ass manager told us that things were prompt, and told us the local time (it’s an hour east of Belize City, just to make our time-keeping more confusing). However, seldom did anything happen with less than a 30-45 minute delay; once one gets used to this, it’s ok, but half an hour is a lot more sleep!
We hit the blue hole on Wednesday; my sinuses prevented me from dipping deeper than five feet, but it was still neat to see. The snorkeling was lackluster, though the sharks and groupers were still visible from the top. From that perspective I got to see the horror of cattle diving, with dozens of divers jumping off huge boats and going down for the dive; I’ve been blessed that we’ve never had to do that yet. All told, it was the only crowded dive day, as all other sites tended to be rather quiet and private. Later on that stream of dives while doing the Aquarium at Long Cay, we ended up with two boats chained to ours and three drift dive operations in the region … thank goodness this day was isolated in that regard.
A random observation: after a week of wearing no shoes, it feels really funny to put them on again and walk around.
The dinner before our night dive involved our hostess telling us about her children. This was fine until she started talking about her 16-year-old son’s 13-year-old condom-carrying girl-impregnating friend who asked if he’d ever had his balls licked. At this point it became uncomfortable. There are some things your guests just don’t want to know.
In any event, the night dive was interesting (I didn’t dive) — we went out on the boat in rougher water and the sky was amazing; then the moon rose as a huge red orb from the island and into the sky, washing out the stars. I’d never seen anything like it. We watched from the surface as the dive groups came back from the wall, to the boat, and then kept going, several hundred yards away from the boat. They then surfaced and realized that we were on the other side of the dive site, but the current (and the separation between them) made a pick-up not the safest thing. I was terrified for Sarah’s life, so I made the conscious decision thereafter that I’m not hanging out on the boat for future night dives. :)
We visited half-moon cay one day, and lunched on the booby preserve. Despite some unsafe meat handling practices, we lived. I spent most of my time wrestling with a potcake that wanted to eat my shoelaces. The gift shop was closed, so I was unable to bring home any “I Saw The Boobys” shirts.
Other than that, you’ve heard the rest of the rants; when we left Belize we were subject to the lamest visual inspection of our luggage ever. They opened them up, looked inside and said “do you have any lighters?”