So, we spent seven days in Belize and managed to take about 10 photos… in total. That might be a record. I personally think that we just absorbed the motto of Caye Caulker, a smallish island situated near the barrier reef which aligns with the Belizean coastline. Caye Caulker greets its visitors with its „GO SLOW“ mentality. Strangers on the street will remind you to take your time if you look like you’re in a hurry to go somewhere. So, we just went with it. Don’t get me wrong, people are laid-back here, but still very productive, especially in the morning. This might be the reason, why we didn’t really understand, how people stay in business around here. We just overslept the busy hours.
Initially, our plan was to go snorkeling and diving and more, but Belize is rather expensive with usual daytrip prices ranging around 100 US Dollars per person. We decided to skip the diving and just do a snorkeling trip instead. We even missed out on flying over the Blue Hole (200 US Dollars).
The second evening in Caye Caulker, some people at the hostel organized a giant cook-out with lobsters and red snapper, potatoes, self-made garlic bread, lobster ceviche and and and… the list goes on forever. Everyone was pitching in and helping. It lead to a great meal and a great way to get to know newcomers or people, we hadn’t spoken to yet. Oh and roasted coconut is pretty amazing.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The next morning was the day of the snorkeling trip. This time, we prepared ourselves (or almost). The tour operator actually had prescription swim glasses and we organized a GoPro from some very nice Germans at our hostel. Sadly, having a GoPro does not automatically mean that one knows how to operate or even how to charge it. This led to a very disappointing 10 seconds trial video on board of the boat before the battery died.
At that point, we just boldly asked everyone on the boat, if we could have their footage afterwards. That led to quite a chase after the trip, meeting up at different hostels and hotels all over the island. We got a lot of photos and little movies to remember our snorkeling adventure.
Since it was slow season, it was quite hard to organize trips to the atolls which is why we opted for a whole day trip closer by. Four and a half hours in the water at five different locations. First we went to the National Park to get a first impression of the under(water)world. Loads of different corals, little bright fish, morray eels and a first giant sting ray were rather unimpressed by our presence. Everyone would get the chance to see some sting rays and sharks at Sting Ray and Shark Alley, our second stop. We were warned by a few fellow travellers that this stop might be overrun by tourists, but it being the slow season, we only saw a few boats in the distance.
Sting rays were floating only a few meters below us and harmless nurse sharks were forming a big bulk at the other side of the boat, where the tour guides were throwing in chum.
And then, the chase after a sea turtle started. Contrary to their land counterparts they are quite fast. After the guides spotted one, everyone went as quietly into the water as possible. Three of our group started following it quite fast which is why I only saw it in the distance, when I finally made it into the water. The sea turtle might have felt my disappointment and made a full circle, swimming directly at me. Looking down, when it dove right under me, I realised that I was swimming through a gigantic mass grave of conches. It was eerily beautiful and is still haunting me. At the hostel, a few fellow travellers told us that this mass grave was man made, disgarding of all the shells after eating the animals within. That knowledge somehow diminishes this experience, so I chose not to believe it.
After making sure, everyone saw the turtle, we went on to seek out a manatee. After seeing two quite unhappy manatees in a Berlin Zoo in very small quarters with dirty water, my sister was not really looking forward to meet them in the open water, reminding her of the unhappy ones in Berlin. It turns out, manatees like muddy water and just look unhappy, regardless of their environment. Also, they just don’t move much in general, so maybe those quarters were big enough after all.
This manatee was also very unimpressed by us, floating in the same spot for half an hour, just surfacing to get some air. We must have looked the very same way to the manatee, just floating there, not even going up for air.
Back on the boat, two fellow snorkellers and I were trying to find a way to describe the weird fish we saw to the tour guide, who then hopefully could tell us, what it was. The others were sure, it was a shoe sole fish, sporting a weird shoe-sole-like platform on its head. I opted for a fish with ears. And the guide knew right away, what I was talking about, a sucker shark. It swims on its back which makes its lower fins look like weird elf-like ears.
Our last stop in the water was at a giant shipwreck from the 50ies or 80ies or an old pirate ship full of treasure.. everybody heard something else, the metal lining does however exclude the pirate ship theory, much to the dismay of the young kid on our tour. The wreck was full of corals and fish hiding and swimming through it.
Our day ended at a sea horse kindergarden, were you could (not) see little sea horses hidden away in a ‘sanctuary’ full of ropes and nets.
Apart from that snorkeling trip, the rest of the time on Caye Caulker was spent drinking coffee, enjoying the view.