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!

Belize Travel Scrapbook: Photos!

We just got an email from our friend Rachel, who we met at Turtle Inn! She took a couple photos of us (and a bunch of dolphins!!) while at the resort and we wanted to post a couple! Enjoy!

Belize Travel Journal: Day 2

Sunday, Oct 7

We slept a long time. Because of the two hour time difference, it was only 8am Belize Time when we got up. We walked around the resort: explored the beach, two pools, fruit and herb gardens. We saw a few iguanas (it’s weird to see something that big climb up a wall) and some smaller lizards. We probably looked to the Belizians like people marveling at pigeons and squirrels in NYC.

We ate breakfast. By the pool. Overlooking the beach and its glassy, calm water. And just because it was inclusive, I got eggs benedict with lobster. Carly got Belizian waffles with rainforest honey (tastes darker and different from what we usually get). Neither of us are really used to be pampered like this; I don’t think I’d want to get used to this kind of pampering, but it’s a nice change of pace. I know it’s BS to say “wow, I’m really going out of my comfort zone here” by staying at a private resort where the waiters at the beachfront bar remember your name. I don’t care. It’s nice to remember what relaxing feels like.

We went in the ocean. You can’t go in very deep before the ground has a bed of plants, but the water is a perfectly comfortable temperature. Also, incredibly salty. I floated for a couple minutes without even moving a muscle. We rested on the beach in a hammock (me) and an Adirondack chair (Carly) and read or dozed (or both).

We had lunch at the beach bar (we wanted it poolside but had ordered arugula pizza, which is best eaten at a table, and I never had arugula so fresh and flavorful–it was probably picked after we ordered it). After lunch, a bike ride into Placencia. It’s not nearly as fancy and cleanly-groomed as our resort, but it has a charming small tropical town vibe. We also rode our bikes partway along the long road inland to the next town.

Outside Turtle Inn, we ran into three kids, maybe 8-10 years old. They “found” (ie stole) a turtle in the Inn’s pond. They had also found a baby boa (called “ola” in Belize) in the nearby grass. They encouraged Carly to take their picture with their new pets. She had to explain that it was a film camera with no immediate image.

After the bike ride, we took a bath (in our baller Japanese bath) and then a nap. When we got up, the sun had set and we stepped outside to look at the stars; we could see the Milky Way! We sat under a lamp on the beach, ordered dinner, wrote a little bit, then ate (Carly got the most delicious coconut mojito–great!) and went to bed stuffed.

Belize Travel Journal: Day 1

Saturday, Oct 6: And we’re off!

We left JFK a little after our scheduled 9am flight. This meant we had to get up around 5:30am–after going to be around 3am (last-minute packers anyone?). The flight wasn’t too bad (being really tired actually helped me not stress–Xanax helped Carly). We flew from JFK to Miami and only had a 45 minute layover, after which we were whisked from Miami to Belize City.

In Belize City, we transferred to a 10-passenger prop plane to Dangriga, a tiny airport, then another takeoff to bring us to Placencia. Flying low over miles of undisturbed wetlands made it hard to remember we’d been in Brooklyn a few hours ago:

We landed in Placencia, starving, and got picked up at the airport by a Turtle Inn shuttle. Once we arrived, we walked across a small bridge over a turtle pond and up to the front desk, which had a really cool indoor/outdoor thing going on (no doors or glass but lots of thatched roofing). The front desk lady sat down with us, gave us delicious complimentary drinks, and went over everything (our excursions, food options, etc). We were then showed to our cottage, which was INCREDIBLE:

If you notice, there are no glass windows–just screens to keep the bugs out. No real need for climate control (air conditioning) because the open air and two overhead fans made the place perfectly cool. There was also a complimentary cookie jar filled with chocolate chip cookies and instead of a phone, a “shell phone” intercom to the front desk.

We settled in a bit, got some snacks at the beachside bar, and took a little nap. Our dinner was homemade linguine with fresh herbs from their organic on-site garden. Needless to say, we slept pretty well.

basking in some cloudy-day NYClove w my dear friend V and her boo, Scott!

Dancing through Midtown…

Just another weekend of superfun shoots! Check out all the photos on facebook…which will be their home til I have a real photo website!!

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