CTurner's Travel Journals

CTurner

  • 26 years old
  • From California, United States
  • Currently in California, United States

Belize!

A blog of my adventures while studying in San Ignacio, Belize.

First Caribbean Island

Belize Caye Caulker, Belize  |  Jan 31, 2011
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 This is unreal. You know that desktop picture on your computer of some tropical paradise. That’s where I am. 

1/30/11

On Caye Caulker

            This is unreal. You know that desktop picture on your computer of some tropical paradise. That’s where I am.  About every 5 minutes since we got here someone in our group stops and says something like “Wow, this is amazing. I can’t believe we are actually here.”  And it is truly mind-boggling. Every view is breathtaking.

            Right now I am watching the sun pass the clouds and rise over the Caribbean. This is one of the times where I am completely awestruck by God’s beauty. Yesterday morning Catherine, Meghan, Laura and I piled in the back of Pablo’s truck en route to Belize City.  Unfortunately, it was a cool foggy morning, which combined with the wind from the highway to make every minute of the 2-hour trip a very slow 60 seconds. When we got to the port our excitement was drained, our hair was tussled, and we were wet.  Not how we imagined our weekend island getaway would start.

            A few granola bars later we were on a 40-minute water taxi ride to one of Belize’s island treasures, Caye Caulker.  The clouds began to break on our way out and when we arrived at the island our excitement returned to us. The white sand island was full of shops and restaurants that we planned to later explore, and we made our way to our hotel.  Once we got to our room it was a quick change and then we headed to the beach.  It was gorgeous, but I was shocked by how many people were laying out, and not touching the beautiful aquamarine water.  I jumped right in and swam the 50 meter “split” to the northern part of the island that has been dislocated due to storms.  I felt like I was the only person around, but saw a few houses scattered throughout the palm trees.  It was a larger island than I expected, and I found all sorts of interesting creatures.  I got 3 feet from and iguana, pet a starfish, and discovered hundreds of seashells.  Because I lack adjectives to properly describe this place I will repeat, it is unreal.

 I tried to swim back the length of the northern island, but the water was shallow near the shore so I began walking back in the water.  Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my heel and saw a trickle of blood escape.  I tried to ignore the pain as I walked back and noted the irony of my inflated pride as I explored, and the loss of strength from my Achilles.

Returning from the beach we promptly started our next adventure: snorkeling the barrier reef.  Belize claims the 2nd largest reef in the world and at our first stop we saw all sorts of colorful little fish, held conch shells, and saw and electric eel.  The next stop was truly unimaginable.  Our guide brought smelt and attracted a following of stingrays and nurse sharks.  We pet them from the boat, and then swam with them. The other 3 girls and I were shrieking and giggling in our fins and goggles as they swept over our skin.  It was surprising how friendly they were and I am still now sure how it was safe, but it was awesome.

Back at the hotel our day took a dip when we discovered Laura’s camera, iPod, and Blackberry were missing out of my backpack. We notified the hotel desk, which called the owner of the snorkel outfit, who contracted our guide.  The owner and guide were honestly concerned and helped us find another man who had been on our boat while we were snorkeling.  By the grace of God the man unapologetically gave the stuff back.  We were all happy to have it returned, but more keenly aware of our position as tourists.

Once the situation was cleared up it was past time for dinner.  Our stomachs were grumbling as we sat down on the picnic tables at Fran’s BBQ.  The lobster, red snapper, and shrimp we ordered were each brilliantly seasoned and a fraction of the price that it is in the US.  With full stomachs we returned to our room walking under the stars.

Reflecting on the events from the day we all agreed it had been an unpredictable “roller coaster”, but we were thankful it ended as well as it did.  It truly proved that you can’t appreciate the ‘highs’ or best times, without the ‘lows’ or hard times.  Though at times it is hard to admit, a day cannot be complete without a healthy balance of both. 

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