4 January 2014
Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef that surrounds Austrailia. Belize has always been on my destination list because I have always wanted to dive in the most beautiful places around the world, one of those being the blue hole and the Belizean Reef. Unfortunately with backpacking, you only have small windows to fit those sorts of activities in. With our itinerary and our budget, I knew that diving probably wasn’t going to be an option but that wasn’t going to stop us from going out to the reef. The plan was to snorkel among some of the Cayes just off of the coast of Belize. Often they spot turtles, manta rays, sharks, and so forth from those waters.
As we walked around the little beach town of Palcencia everyone was telling us that it was too windy to go out to see. We finally ran into a man named Shane who agreed to take us out spear fishing with another couple from Calgary. Little did we know how fun the day would actually be!
The couple was actually a woman from Mexico married to a man who grew up in the Azores, one of the Portuguese islands. We had a great time talking about their lives and swimming after all the fish in the reef trying to catch dinner. Although we did not see a turtle, we did see a manta ray and a 2 meter shark. The day was beautiful and it was so fun to see Andrew so excited about spear fishing. I will give up seeing turtles/diving/etc…to see Andrew so excited to chase fish with a spear. Let me just say that the day was quite eventful.
After we returned from our time at sea, at about 5pm, we went back to our little guest house to get ready for dinner. Omar’s Creole Restaurant was supposed to serve the best Creole food in town, so that is exactly where we headed! We ordered the Caribbean coconut curry, a delicious dish with fresh coconut, herbs and spices, and some of the most tender fish I have ever tasted. The creole food here is delicious! I have never been to the Caribbean, but after eating the food I want to go!
We finished our evening with another double scoop ice cream cone from tutti fruiti, the best ice cream parlor in all of Belize. I opted for coconut and pineapple and Andrew ordered banana and pineapple. We went to the market to stock up on water for the bus ride tomorrow (you have to drink bottled water all throughout Central America). Tonight will be an early evening because we have a 6am bus to catch in the morning…
I almost forgot to mention, We bought bread from John the Baker and it was delicious. If you ever go to Placencia, make sure you try John’s bread. It is delicious!
As I’m writing this email I’m lying on my side, slightly sunburnt and in a wee bit of pain. The result of an amazing day in Belize.
This morning we woke up with one thing on the days agenda – get out to the reef to snorkel. We knew that our hostel/hotel hosted boats out but we figured we’d get the best deal if we shopped the different boat shops for the best deal. We walked around the peninsula city (Placencia), picked up some banana bread (most delicious and nutritious breakfast we’ve had in a while) and found a guy willing to take us out. The wind had been extremes strong that morning and most boat owners were not willing to go out with the weather. However a big Belizean man named Shane was taking a couple people out to spear fish and snorkel and he was willing to take us too. Spear fishing immediately replaced snorkeling and we signed ourselves up! Our boat mates were a couple from Calgary, Canada that came to Mexico for a friends wedding and decided to vacation to Belize. The four of us loaded up the boat and set off on our adventure!
The water was very choppy getting out to the reefs but Shane, an experienced sailor maneuvered us smoothly through. It felt nice to have the sea spray and cool wind in the warm sun. When we got to our first dive area we were amazed to see the underwater life, we swam around seeing all colors of fish and tons of starfish. Before we knew it, Shane had dove under the water and came up with a massive speared crab the size of my head… Dinner 🙂 as I swam I found this little fish that was probably a little overly curious with me as a snorkeler. I’d reach out my hand and the fish would swim within an inch of me before backing away. Then it’d do it again and again getting closer each time. Then came my turn to use the spear gun! It actually wasn’t much of a gun – Shane had built a wooden role that functioned a lot like an underwater slingshot that could fire a spear at fish. That was by far the most fun I’ve had in the water! I chased down several fish as I got the hang of the slingshot. My second shot I hit and stuck a decently sized fish! It only get better with time, in total I stuck about 5 fish in the time we were out. The slingshot was a lot trickier than the gun since I had to get within 2-5 feet of the fish before a shot would be successful. I snuck around coral, floated with the ride and did several other things to get close to the fish before striking! I felt pretty nomadic all day. As we same there was even a 2 meter shark out!
We’re currently at the hotel recovering from a day on the water with sunburns galore. Hope getting into Belize city goes smoothly as I don’t know how much our shoulders will be able to take!
Love you guys,
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