Secret Garden

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Camped on the beach

Flag of Belize  , Belize Cayes,
Monday, February 20, 2012

We passed many cayes (mini-islands) of varying sizes along the way, marvelling at the natural beauty and isolation. Our snorkel stops were awesome! Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world with a large variety of coral and other marine life. It's like a secret underwater garden. A whole new world! 

Tobacco Caye was home that second night. An inhabited island with some cabanas, two bars, a restaurant, a curio shop. The coral reef is accessible right off the dock and stingrays hover past regularly like creepy shadows in the netherworld. Some locals come out to greet us tourists. George was the strangely-humoured elderly man who helped with food prep and cleaning. Then there's the enigma that is Crystal, a very tall local twenty-something with the uncanny ability to stare without blinking, and the ability to be friendly without ever smiling. 

While laidback and Carribean in nature, I couldn't help but sense a certain undertone on this island. All was not what it seemed... I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was though. So frustrating cos I wanna put a label on it! We didn't really feel welcome and if I were to hazard a guess I'd say it's because we don't really contribute much directly to the island. Our food and alcohol needs are taken care of onboard, except for the extra bottle of rum since we'd already depleted supplies. Local help was called upon in the form of George and the lady who made our breakfast tortillas but nothing more. 

Whenever you're about to spend extended time with absolute strangers in close proximity, there's a very real fear that everyone might not get along. That the ages and personalities might clash right in front of us. That there'll be at least one annoying @sshole who ruins it for everyone. So we were all massively relieved and indeed, elated, when we slowly realised that we were all compatible, easy-going individuals who got on like a house on fire. Effortlessly! In fact we bigged ourselves up for the duration of the trip. These characters would make an awfully boring Big Brother series except perhaps for one hook-up but they shall remain nameless!  

We had no idea what to expect of Belizean food but it did not disappoint. Mexican food was a hard act to follow but this food was different, and absolutely to die for! Succulently sweet fruits, perfectly blended rum punch, freshly-caught fish, perfectly blended rum punch, prawns spiced so delicately yet flavourfully that you can taste each ingredient in turn and did I mention the perfectly blended rum punch? A beautiful symphony of flavours!

Many tried but only two succeeded in catching us some supper. Stig (Norway) bagged a barracuda for the boys, and Peihsun (Taiwan) hooked a grouper for the girls (hey, check out the alliteration!), both cooked to perfection by the crew despite limited facilities. Also despite limited facilities Jerrod removed his own stitches with the aid of the first aid kit and under the watchful eye of Nurse Rachael. This dapper dude earned those stripes while coming to the rescue of a young swimmer struggling in the waters off Caye Caulker.

All too soon we bid fond farwells to all as we arrived in Placencia, our captain's hometown.

Easily one of the top 3 experiences in our travels to date!
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Faith on

I would never want to leave! You both look SO relaxed and happy :)

thelees on

yeah, we felt the same way!

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