Saturday, August 16, 2008

Belize Snorkling

By Wendy

Okay…so Hans is making me look bad with three blogs about Sturgis and I haven’t even finished Belize.

Well….our next adventure involves snorkeling and water adventures. Pretty cool for the non-swimmer involved. We booked a full day tour involving Manatee watching and snorkeling at two different sites. Now, manatees are protected in Belize. They graze on aquatic plants on the ocean floor in shallow areas. There is a Belizean National Park (on water) just north of Belize City where the creatures tend to feed. This is Swallow Caye (pronounced Key) National Park. Price of admission: $5.00 US.

This is an actual manatee. We stood around on the boat as silent as possible and waited for the creatures to surface. The only bother to put their snouts into the air to catch a breath. They’re mammals, not fish.

Well, after the exciting and downright quiet Manatee watching adventure we needed to get to our destination. Along the way of our almost 2 hour boat ride we encountered many of these…they are fishing camps. During lobster season these camps are filled with fisherman. During March (not lobster season) they are either abandoned or guarded by a single fisherman. If you look down from your plane to the island, they look like really weird houses you can’t get to. If you look closely at the photo, you will see the lobster traps stacked up.

Our snorkel trip takes us to Goff’s Caye. It is a small, isolated island that is also a national park (fee included in boat ticket). The island itself is part of a coral reef. The snorkeling is supposed to be great!

It didn’t take us long to find a favorite photo feature for our adventure…this tree. The trunks of the trees are painted white so boaters will see them and realize there is an island there. Kind of like a poor man’s lighthouse.

Our very experienced guide, being somewhat distracted by the two young boys on our tour, finally got us into the water. Remember, this island is part of a coral reef and our experience was fantastic…if not my feeble attempts to photograph it. I am using the expensive underwater case for my camera. It is so cool to always have a camera no matter what! First thing I saw…this brain coral.

I believe this is fish swimming around some coral on the reef.

This is a stingray resting on the bottom of the ocean…I don’t think he even cared we were there.

While we were out snorkeling, our first mate was busy preparing a meal for us. BBQ chicken, salads, fruit, rice, beverage of your choice…all included in your tour price. Needless to say I was happy to dodge the gear and get back to dinner. This is me in snorkel gear and a few friends in the background.

It is a wonderful tiny little microcosm of reef development. I think the country of Belize is doing a great job of setting aside their natural wonders. These views of Goff’s Caye are provided courtesy of Betsy …..

On the way home we have our next snorkeling experience. We go snorkel with Eagle rays. If you want adventure….you can’t even go there in a day in Belize. This is a manmade island on our way back where we stopped to buy bait for the rays and maybe sharks.








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