Sunday, September 07, 2008

Belize Part 2:

So after the trip to Western Belize we traveled back to Belize City. This time we were able to get on an express bus after 2 1/2 hours waiting that took us to Belize City much quicker than the first bus we took. Once dropped off in Belize City we took a ferry over to Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the coast. We stayed in the biggest city on the island called San Pedro. By big I don't mean that big. There are limited cars on the island and the major mode of transportation was golf carts with off-road tires and bicycles. After getting settled into our hotel we explored a bit and relaxed in the pool. A much different experience than the first three nights in a tree house.
The first day on the island was a day of relaxing and finding a fun place to snorkel and swim. We walked for a bit up and down the beach and found a fun dock to swim from. The beaches aren't like the beaches of Cancun with long stretches of white sand. The reef doesn't allow surf to take the seaweed back out so the best swimming is off piers that extend in the clear water.
When we got to the dock there were some local boys and girls swimming and jumping off the pier into the water. Krisitn and I swam for a bit and snorkeled around. Then I took the opportunity to play with the local kids and let one of them snorkel with our equipment for a bit. Then I started showing some of the younger kids some fun stuff my dad did for us when we would go swimming when I was younger. I had this little boy curl up in a ball and I would throw him high in the air. He loved it! I next had him stand on my shoulders and hold my thumbs as I went under water. I would count to 3 with my fingers and jump and the little boy would shoot of my shoulders. He loved this one as well. It was such a fun time. Below are some pictures of us having some fun. He wanted me to move up to throwing him off the pier. The pictures show the fun!

Every night we would walk through town and look for a fun local place to have dinner. Most tourists would eat at the more expensive places on the beach which we had to try once but we were always looking for some locals to recommend a good place to eat. The first night we ran into a guy that asked what we were looking for. We told him and he recommended some great places. This guy also took the opportunity to see if we needed any weed for the week. We politely told him no as Kristin was pregnant. As we left to go to the restaurant he recommended he told us to tell them that the 'Rasta-man' sent us. The rest of the week we began to see just how big of an island we were on. We saw 'Rasta-man' everywhere we went. Every night he would see us out somewhere and recognize us and chat for a bit. Such a friendly guy. I finally told Kristin that we had to get a picture with this guy so the last day we were on the island we saw him riding his bike on the beach and took the opportunity to grap a photo for our memories.

Our first trip we planned on the island was a half-day snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. We snorkeled just on the inside of the reef at a break in the reef that is a natural highway for marine life. We saw so much life. Eels, sharks, spotted sting rays, turtles, and tons of beautiful fish. It was so amazing. The next stop was Shark Ray alley where they chum the water for nurse sharks and sting rays. We were in such close proximity to the rays and sharks. It was so cool.

Less and less hair daily.

Along the way back to Belize city from the west we met a couple from New York who we kept in touch with on the island and met up with periodically during the week. We decided to charter a boat with a guy name Chito. We got connected with him through a random connection of someone we met at the Rio On Pools in Western Belize. Chito picked us up at our hotel in his boat named Bianca Michelle and we traveled for some time to the north part of the island. We proceeded to cast nets in the shallow water to catch minnows and other fish as we were going deep sea fishing for the first part of the day. After catching our bait for the day we drove outside the reef into the deep waters. The water was rough but on this day calm compared to usual. The morning of fishing was amazing. We caught multiple fish. The first fish I caught was a horse-eye tuna. Put up a fight and was fun to get in the boat. Kristin caught a yellow-tail snapper and was the first time she ever had been fishing. Unfortunately the waves were a bit much for her so she didn't get to do as much fishing as she wanted. Below are a couple pics.

The next events were extremely fun. The first big fish that our friend Glen hooked was a large barracuda. He was trying to work the fish in as it pulled some line out and then he would bring it in a ways. This went on for a minute or two and then it got a little harder to reel in. The fish kept fighting and fighting pulling more and more line out. Then it got really easy. Glen thought he lost the fish. When he finally pulled the hook all the way to the boat we saw something rather crazy.

Only the head of the fish was left. Apparently the reef sharks are so abundant that if you are fishing off the reef and don't get the fish up to the boat fast enough you are left with the entrails. It was entertaining anyway.

The next fish I hooked was a fighter. I was using a bigger real with the last bonefish we had as bait. A foot long bonefish had to bring in something big. A big hit and I heard the line run out. He finally stopped running and I began the fight. It was a tough fight, nothing compared to my marlin, but a big fish. I would bring him in and he would pull line out multiple times. I fought him for 15 or 20 minutes and finally wore him out. As he got closer to the boat we realized what kind of fish I had hooked. It was a reef shark. It was about 4 or 5 feet long and was such a fun catch. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.

We finished fishing about 3 o'clock and moved back inside the reef. Chito took us to a snorkeling spot with some amazing coral. We spent a little bit of time swimming around and looking at some different formations. The reef is so beautiful. After we got back in the boat, Chito took us to a random house on the far north side of the island near where we had been snorkeling. We docked the boat and went ashore. Chito went and talked with a local woman who lived here. She had to be 20 miles out of town. Chito started a fire and cooked 3 of the yellow-tail snappers we had caught that day with vegetables and spices. When it was done we all sat around a picnic table at the lady's house and had fish tacos with fresh tortillas and homemade salsa. Some of the best food we had all week. Kristin absolutely loved the tacos and she typically doesn't care for seafood. It doesn't get any fresher than this.

The dinner feast.

A picture of us and Chito, our guide.

This day was one of the best days and a perfect way to cap off our trip to Belize. The food, people, and company were amazing in Belize. This is just a glimpse.

I can't wait until our next adventure. We are planning one that starts on December 17th. We'll keep you posted!

Here are some other fun pictures to leave you with. Enjoy!