Caye Caulker, Belize

Trip Start Feb 10, 2007
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Flag of Belize  ,
Monday, February 26, 2007

Ah, our favorite place.  We loved Belize, and we will definitely go back.  The water was stunning, the snorkeling spectacular, the feeling laid back, and the people warm, relaxed, and very friendly.

Our day in Belize was spent on board a boat, mostly.  We ventured from the ship to Belize City for a brief moment to hop aboard our boat that would take out, 21 miles, to Caye Caulker.  From Caye Caulker we went about another mile out to a fantastic snorkeling spot on the barrier reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world next to Australia).  We had only been snorkeling once before, in the Bahamas, and that hadn't been a very good experience.  The swells had been high, the wildlife scarce, and the feeling that we were all bobbing around as shipwreck survivors overwhelming.  Needless to say, we didn't really enjoy the snorkeling in the Bahamas.  This, however, was everything snorkeling should be.  Or at least, everything we had imagined it to be.  We saw a sea turtle, an eel, a beautiful jelly fish, and countless fish and coral.  It was so much fun.  The water was the perfect temperature, and the visibility was amazing.  Our guide, Heni, was great as she lead us through the reef, which the locals work very hard at protecting.  It's fragile, as reefs always are, and it's beautiful. 

After snorkeling around the reef for about 45 minutes we boarded the boat again and went to another spot that the locals call shark ray alley.  The boat stopped and Heni grabbed a bucket of small fish, sat down on the back of the boat, and commenced to feeding the rays that had already started to gather around the boat.   The depth of the water at that spot was only four or five feet, so as we all got into the water with them, we could touch the ground (it was sandy there, no reef to harm).  It was strange, really, yet so very cool.  We swam with them, and they rubbed up against us.  They were a bit slimy feeling and I'm not sure anyone really got used to it.  We heard many cries of "oh, and ahhhh".  It was an amazing time.   We spent about 45 minutes with them.  It was a bit odd, and wonderful.

After our time snorkeling and swimming with the rays was over we again jumped aboard the boat and headed back to the island of Caye Caulker.  It's the second largest, to Ambergis Caye, of the 200 islands off the coast of Belize.  Who knew there were that many islands off the coast of Belize.  Not us.  But, there are, and after our time in the water we spent a bit of time on Caye Caulker.  It's a great island.  Their motto, go slow.  And, they mean it.  There are no cars on the island at all.  Just golf carts.  There are no paved streets, and if you walk down the main street you can see the ocean on both sides.  It's not huge, but it's lovely.  We had some lunch at a local spot and spent a small amount of time wandering the town.  We loved it there.  So laid back.  The feeling so relaxed.  We will definitely go back, for the snorkeling as well as just to explore a the island a bit more.  Belize was, without a doubt, the highlight of the cruise.
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