Entering a hot zone
Trip Start Aug 28, 2004
67Trip End Aug 2005
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Where I stayed
We landed in Cancun amist the Yank spring break and as much as we would have loved to frolick with 18yr olds in foam parties we decided to watch the budjet and move on to Tullum.
Tullum is small town next to the famous Mayan ruins of the same name, which is situated on the beach. So we settled into our Cabanya (little reed hut) and visited the beach the ruins and then went to Capan, another Mayan ruin set in the jungle. Capan is a big site surrounded by thick jungle with all manner of exotic birds and accomanying sounds. It also had a two ball court, this was a game much favoured by the Mayans, it represented the movement of the moon and sun and the essence of life. I'm sure that's a Bill Shankley quote!! Anyhow the winner would have the great honour of being sacrificed. There were also massive pyramids straight out of a Harrison Ford movie set. The weather was hot'n'steamy and the language was Spanish and the food was very good and cheap and tortillas with everything
Time to move on to Belize, and to where the language is English, or sort of. The descendants of Carribeans and British Pirates. The pirates found that the Spanish could not follow them into the shallow waters through the world's second largest "Barrier Reef". We caught the early bus to the across the border to Belize city, it used to be the capital until it was badly hit by "Hurricane Mitch" in the 80's. We had been told not to arrive at night, so we didn't and only stayed one night.
Our friendly North St Guest House keeper suggested as it was a bank holiday we might try the Korean Restuarant just down the road. It looked closed as they had barred door. But it was opened we were ushered in and the door locked behind us. Nice meal although various types would come and rattle the bars and demand alcohol and leave after the transaction had taken place through the bars.
We found the next day even a pint of milk had to be bought through barred shops.
A quick tour of the town on Sunday reviled only beggers so we caught the bus to the coast at Daringria, and set off to find a boat to take us to "Tobbaco Caye"
We stayed on this lovely little paradise island about 1/4 mile sqaure. We had really gone there to primarely see the "Manatees", this being one of the few places in the world where this nearly extict mammal still can be found. This shy one ton weed eating mammel stayed ever elusive. We did over the three days, watch Herons and pelicans fishing. Herons tend to stand admiring their own refections in the water, then strain their necks and bang they have a fish. Pelicans meanwhile fly very slowly or sit in a palm tree above the water and then fall as if they have just died, after an almighty splash they could be seen gulping down their catch. in addition to these two characters, we also got to observe an Osprey family, nesting just off from one of the jetty's. They are pretty magnificent things, and we got some good shots over a day or two.
We spent a few hours a day snorkelling, the first day we were amazed to see different species of large rays gliding through the water as though they were flying. Later the evening we were doubly amazed when they came right up to the beach, in the very shallow waters, three Sting rays and one Eagle Ray (a real beauty, curling the edges of his wings, just like the bird out of the water)
We met some nice people including two Photographers, Dave and Lynne from Denver. They joined us to wander through the shallow water on a boat looking for the "mannatee" legend has it that sailors thought these creatures were mermaids of the sea, because they would see their shadows, the "manatee" are shy creatures. The boat had two 150 hp V6 engines which they used when we had to go over sandbanks only standing under two inches water. When they let it rip and the boat stood up right out of the water along with our hair. That might not be the only reason for a fast light boat, as Belize is the main route for cocaine on it's way to Miami. Belize in fact has banned all water planes from landing in it's waters because for this reason. We had the strange sight of some silver fish who appeared to run on top of the water very strange! But amazing what nature can and will do to survive it's predators!!
The boat dropped us out to sea to snorkel, as prior to this we had been swimming from the white sand beach which went right around the island. Unfortunately the boatmen dropped us into a strong current. After 10 minutes "Heike", now known as "Scuba Girl" girl swam back to the boat and alerted "Albert and Costello" that maybe they might want to move a bit smartish as it wouldn't look very good if we drowned!!
On the last night we were treated to an electric storm surrounding the whole island. The next day we set of with eight others for the forty minute trip to the mainland. The Caye is quite sheltered, so we were not expecting such a swell when we got into open sea. At first it was quite fun with the speed boat, crashing from wave to wave, getting a bit of spray, i said to the guy next to me people pay good money for this back home at alton Towers. About half way across one boatman said to the other "I haven't seen it this bad for a few years". Fortunately only the two passengers at the back heard this. By this time at the bottom of the swell you could only see sea on either side. Once on top of the wave, more often than not we were airbourne, quite literally!! So even though we'd experienced the best white knuckle ride yet, we were soaked and very glad to hit "terra firma".
Onto the bus station two changes later we were at the border