Among a slew of perfect days in Belize, the most perfect of all

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Could there be a better way to spend a birthday?
Could there be a better way to spend a birthday than snorkeling the Belize barrier reef? That’s Rose, above. Ask her!

On Thursday everything in the universe was was aligned. It was a calendar palindrome 4-10-2014 (4102014). And apparently the sun, mars, the moon and the earth were all perfectly aligned on the same axis.

Powerful, inexplicable, mystical forces at work.

A good day to celebrate a birthday.

Oh, yeah: Mine!

One in a very very long line of birthdays stretching back … oh … for many decades.

Mind you, I don’t celebrate birthdays anymore. But I am blessed to be married to a woman who does. And Rose cooked up a great one.

And, no, it wasn’t six women striking yoga poses for me in the mud-wrestling pool over at the weirdly misplaced Kama Lounge.  Rose fed me that fantasy to throw me off her real plans.

Ruthie and Chunky Rinehart helped Rose plan our snorkeling trip and took the best underwater photos of the day!
Ruthie and Chunky Rinehart helped Rose plan our snorkeling trip and took the best underwater photos of the day!

With some help from our yoga compadres Ruthie and Chunky Rinehart,  she booked a day aboard the Lady Leslie, a 38-foot Athena catamaran, sailing to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley for snorkeling and then island-hopping over to Caye Caulker for lunch.

But first, presents!

May I just say that sartorially, this guy is going to rock the island. The one thing we both neglected to bring with us when we moved to Belize was enough clothes. Or, more specific, the right kind of clothes.

For example, I have one singlet for running but three long-sleeve button-down shirts.  And by now, the running shirt kind of stinks. Runners know what I mean. Sure, I can wear it into the shower every day and hang it out to dry but it never quite loses the glorious sweaty scent of a hot tropical run.

So, now I have two running shirts.

Here’s the thing about Rose, she knows me so well and listens to my babble. She is totally present in our relationship and that is reflected in her gifts.

Presents! Included in this collection of badly needed shirts is a banana nut cake. M favorite, of course. Can you spot it? Oh, it is gone now. Long gone.
Presents! Included in this collection of badly needed shirts is a banana nut cake. My favorite, of course. Can you spot it? Oh, it is gone now. Long gone.

I once said I regretted bringing only one short-sleeve collared shirt and how comfortable the locals look in them. Now I have two. I brought two polo shirts but they are heavy cotton. Now I have a third that is lighter weight and roomier. At Maria’s produce stand, I recently complimented her son, Joseph, on the cap he was wearing. Now I have a similar one.

See? She gets me!

As for an all-day sail? Since arriving two months ago, we have had some amazing days here on Ambergris Caye, where the ocean, sky and weather compete with each other for supremacy. Thursday they achieved the third alignment of the day: a complementary balance of clear blue sky, calm and clear water and perfect weather.

On board was a nice alignment of seafarers, too. Lots of vacationing Minnesotans and Wisconsinites, some New Yorkers and Long Islanders and locals, like our pals Ruthie and Chunky.

There were three dentists from the U.S., — JoAnn Boraas, Kristin Kenner and Kristi O’Kane  –who had been doing volunteer work at a local dental clinic, along with their sponsor, the founder of the clinic,  Mark Johnson. The four were all classmates in dental school, thirty years ago.

Our captain Martin Leslie and his two sons Ricky and Jody created an amazing experience. During the course of the day when under sail, they prepared and served ceviche and chips, sushi, pineapple slices, conch fritters, coconut pies and an endless stream of rum punch.

From this point on, I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The best ones, below water, all were taken by Chunky Rinehart – our guest photographer!! My trusty Lifeproof encased iPhone which took great photos last year at the exact same spot wouldn’t function underwater! I have since learned that it has to do with “capacitive touchscreen technology“….

So, thank you Chunky and Ruthie!

The Lady Leslie, a 38-foot catamaran for charter in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Our "rise" for the day.
The Lady Leslie, a 38-foot catamaran for charter in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Our “rise” for the day.

surfing-shark snorkel-sharks1 snorkel-sharks chunky8 chunky7 chunky6 chunky5 chunky3 chunky2

The following photos from Chunky Rinehart are from our day snorkeling in the Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley.
The following photos from Chunky Rinehart are from our day snorkeling in the Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley.

We eventually set sail for Caye Caulker, an island just south of Ambergris Caye. It has a small town with a single hard-packed sand “main street.” People are fond of saying that this is the San Pedro they remember from 15 years ago — smaller, quieter, slower.

Caye Caulker is a popular day-trip by water taxi for many from San Pedro, a change of pace and some nice dining and swimming.

We had lunch at El Cubana, a Cuban buffet restaurant that covers two sides of the street. Great food and Cuban coffee!

These are our Caye Caulker photos:

caulker-north caulker-center caulker chunky11-caulker

 

Chunky (in blue shirt), Ruthie and Rose walk the main street of Caye Caulker.
Chunky (in blue shirt), Ruthie and Rose walk the main street of Caye Caulker.
Rose and I sitting at the table of the El Cubana restaurant, enjoying the company, the view and the da. Photo by Chunky!
Rose and I sitting at the table of the El Cubana restaurant, enjoying the company, the view and the da. Photo by Chunky!
I really wanted to stop in to ask what this sign was all about, then I just didn't want to know ...
I really wanted to stop in to ask what this sign was all about, then I just didn’t want to know …
Sailing back home to San Pedro, Rose and Ruthie practice yoga moves on the bow of the Lady Leslie.
Sailing back home to San Pedro, Rose and Ruthie practice yoga moves on the bow of the Lady Leslie.
That's it! Thank you for reading. Now Rose and I must dive back into the iridescent blue for a last peek at the sharks! (PS, family and friends, when you visit, this could be you!)
That’s it! Thank you for reading. Now Rose and I must dive back into the iridescent blue for a last peek at the sharks! (PS, family and friends, when you visit, this could be you!)

 

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6 thoughts on “Among a slew of perfect days in Belize, the most perfect of all

    Karen Kelly said:
    April 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Bob, wow, you have a tan. Looks good. Rose, you look amazing as ever. The two of you look content and happy. Great birthday. Great job Rose! Sharks, I don’t know????

    Liked by 1 person

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      It’s been a great two months, Karen. This was the right move for us and, yes, Rose is flourishing. Belize has been very very good for Miss Rose!

      Like

    Ruthie and Chunk said:
    April 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Oh my yes, Rose totally gets you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      It’s obvious huh? I guess I’m not as complicated as I once thought! 🙂

      Like

    […] Ruthie, Chunky, Rose and I took a snorkeling trip on the Lady Leslie on April 10 and had a spectacul… Martin and his sons know how to create an unforgettable experience. […]

    Like

    Emily said:
    April 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    We love the Lady Leslie and Chunky and Ruthie — that’s a perfect way to celebrate any day, especially a birthday! Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Envious!

    Like

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