Belize Travel Journal: Day 3 (Snorkeling!)

Monday, Oct 8

We got up early for breakfast, and got ready for snorkeling!

It was a rainy and rough off the Eastern shore, so we ended up boating almost an hour to a different Caye (pronounced “key”) than originally planned. The Caye in question was a tiny island that we joked about on our trip: “Wouldn’t it be funny if those three little trees were actually our island?” They were. Between our six adventurers and two guides, plus another slightly larger group, the island was pretty full. I’d call it a 10-car parking lot size. But first:

On the way out, the captain slowed us down, whipped the boat around and gave  us a close to some dolphins! There was a pod of about eight dolphins swimming very close together. One jumped in the air. Then, somehow, they all decided to flip their tails up and dive deep all together at once.

Things We Saw Snorkeling:

  • Many beautiful fish. I can’t remember the names of most, but we saw a few schools of medium sized fish, a big ugly grouper, a couple stingrays (including one our guide unbelievably spotted hiding on the sea floor).
  • We saw a lion fish. Didn’t get a picture, but google it. They look crazy. Also lion fish are an invasive species that kill adolescent fishes, and hence are killed by locals.
  • We swam through a swarm of millions of little shimmering minnows that seemed to move all at once with one mind. With all of them millimeters apart all around me, I don’t think I ever touched one; that’s how adept they are at directing themselves.
  • We saw a couple sharks (maybe 4′ long) from the beach. The other tour group threw chicken wings into the water to attract them.
  • We saw beautiful, multicolored corals. Some shaped like brains, some like fans, some like cattails.
  • Carly saw three squids. They were clear, and moving so fluidly they looked like fish.
  • Tiny jellyfish. Fortunately, the tiny ones aren’t the kind that sting. They just look weird.
  • Pelicans. Several were circling above our island. They perform the world’s least graceful, aquatic face-plant landings to catch fish.

After, our guides took us to a spot where fishing boats clean and dump their catch. We jumped in and snorkeled around the creatures attracted to the boat: stingrays, and two massive sea turtles. The sea turtles were about 6 feet from beak to tail, built like heavily armored dinosaurs. Really something to behold. Pictures will be forthcoming, when we get our underwater camera developed.

There were two other couples on our trip. One was SCUBA diving – she was uneasy about it, but he convinced her to go by buying her a handbag (when we dove with the sea turtles, she joked that she’d only jump in if he bought her a wallet to go with her bag. Yeah, that kind of couple). He liked to address the men in the group by “boss” or “buddy.”

The other pair were friends, nurses from Portland, OR. Eighteen months ago, Pam divorced her husband she’d been with for twenty years. Around the same time, Rachel had given birth to a child with special needs. They lived together for a while, and had decided that they really needed this vacation. They were nice (and impressed by Sea’s line of work).

We got back, and napped.

For dinner, the Italian place La Dulce Vida (Fishman’s suggestion) was closed for the non-tourist season, so we went to Omar’s, a traditional fish-rice-and-beans place in Placencia. It was a nice indoor-outdoor place, and Omar was very friendly. I couldn’t really deal with the bones in my barracuda. Oh well, not the worst of problems.

Halfway through dinner, Pam and Rachel met up with us, and we ate together. After, they explored town while we caught Eric, the Turtle Inn’s half-hour shuttle driver, and went home to our bed.

Sadly, we haven’t gotten our underwater camera pictures developed yet. We’ll update this when we do, but until then, enjoy these images of Turtle Inn:

iguana!!

Shell phone!

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