Don’t you just love this question: When is the last time you did something for the first time?
How would you answer it?
Every day we are presented with opportunities to do something a bit differently. It could be as tiny as changing the time you get up in the morning to taking a previously unexplored route to work to, oh, I don’t know, selling everything and moving to a foreign country.
What would your life be like if you decided to do one new thing every day?
Mine would be a constant state of exhaustion. This may sound strange, coming from a man living on a tiny island in the Caribbean, but I don’t run toward change. I like a certain amount of predictability. When I find a restaurant I like, for example, I quickly become a regular. I can apply that to many aspects of life: When something works, cling to it.
I think this gives me the energy reserves to try something new when the opportunity arises.
For example, on Wednesday we were invited on the Coco Loco’s Customer and Employee Appreciation Cruise by the bar’s owner, Carmen Arenal. Now that’s a first right there. Coco Loco’s is one of our neighborhood hangouts and Carmen is a great community builder. She seems to always be sponsoring covered dish suppers for holidays, farewells and birthdays. She is a major motivator during our First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick-up days. Plus she is a good friend to all.
I can only assume I was invited for our mutual love of our community and not for my alcohol intake as a customer. There are better more consistent patrons than me. If Coco Loco’s were Cheers, I’d be one of the background guys shouting “Norm!”
Carmen secured our go-to boat for the day, the C-Monkey, owned by our good friends Marcos and Karen Zul of Creative Tours Belize.
While the C-Monkey is delightfully familiar. The day planned was anything but.
Among the firsts on this day —
- Snorkeling at Rocky Point, the northernmost reef area on Ambergris Caye.
- Traveled outside of the reef into the open sea for and exhilarating 15-minute ride up and over some serious waves.
- Passing through the Mayan-built channel to the back side of the island.
- Technically we passed into Mexico as we navigated through the channel, as it grows so narrow you can practically touch mangrove branches on both sides. That was my first time as an “illegal” in Mexico.
- Visiting the Bacalar Chico Preserve ranger station and museum.
- Approaching the Sandbar, our favorite shallow water respite, from the north.
- Stopping at lagoon-side bar The Office on the way home.
In a matter of two weeks now, we have traveled around Ambergris Cay’s southern most end through the Ho Chan Marine Reserve and now the northern most end and the Bacalar Chico National Park and Reserve — both for the first time and both times ending up at the Sandbar with a boat full of the most delightful people imaginable.
I might add that on both trips we stopped at well-known manatee hangouts in hopes of spotting the elusive creatures. Struck out both times. But that day will come and when it does, it will be a first that I will long remember.
I’m going to add some more photos now but Jamie Engledow Cozby has posted nearly 30 pictures here that really capture the spirit of the people on our boat. Check them out!