Wednesday was a day of firsts for us on Ambergris Caye

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The Coco Loco's gang eagerly waits on the dock at The Cloisters (our home) for the arrival of the C-Monkey, which is seen at the far right of this photo.
The Coco Loco’s gang eagerly waits on the dock at The Cloisters (our home) for the arrival of the C-Monkey, which is seen at the far right of this photo. Through the magic of iPod panoramic photography, the boat on the right is really arriving on the far left but … well … don’t think about it.

Don’t you just love this question: When is the last time you did something for the first time?

How would you answer it?

That's mexico on your right and Belize on your left. This little channel, dug around 600 AD by the Myans is all that separates the two countries.
That’s mexico on your right and Belize on your left. This little channel, dug around 600 AD by the Myans is all that separates the two countries.

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.

Thank you Rebecca Coutant for this great map of Ambergris Caye. Within two weeks time we have traveled the entire circumference of the 23-mile-long island aboard the C-Monkey.
Thank you Rebecca Coutant for this great map of Ambergris Caye. Within two weeks time we have traveled the entire circumference of the 23-mile-long island aboard the C-Monkey.

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.
Coming through the Boca Bacalar Chica channel it is like the jungle ride at Disneyland.
Coming through the Boca Bacalar Chico channel it is like the jungle ride at Disneyland, without the charging anamatronic hippo.

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!

Boarding the C-Monkey at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Boarding the C-Monkey at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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The view from atop the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Ranger Headquarters.
The view from atop the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Ranger Headquarters.
Carmen Arenal strikes a pose as she nearly reaches the top of the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Ranger Headquarters.
Carmen Arenal strikes a pose as she nearly reaches the top of the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Ranger Headquarters.
You could categorize the folks in our boat as two types -- those who wanted to climb to the top of the Bocalar Chico observation tower in the blazing heat and those who were savvy enough to just jump into the water with a cold beer.
You could categorize the folks in our boat as two types — those who wanted to climb to the top of the Bocalar Chico observation tower in the blazing heat and those who were savvy enough to just jump into the water with a cold beer.
Miss Rose Alcantara and me at the top of the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Reserve Ranger Headquarters. It s a great place to stop for a picnic and definitely check out their museum.
Miss Rose Alcantara and me at the top of the observation tower at Bacalar Chico Reserve Ranger Headquarters. It s a great place to stop for a picnic and definitely check out their museum.
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13 thoughts on “Wednesday was a day of firsts for us on Ambergris Caye

    Lynn Monaco said:
    September 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Sadly, I cannot view Jamie Engledow Cozby’s nearly 30 pictures because Facebook says “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now. The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.” Bummer!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      September 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      I think you are right Lynn. Jamie probably has the pictures limited to family and friends on Facebook. Sorry.

      Like

    Bill said:
    September 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for another great post Robert.

    Like

    Heather Gill said:
    September 19, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Cant wait to always read your next post about Ambergris Caye. Miss San Pedro so much when back in Canada so your posts help keep me connected. They are always informative and amusing with great pictures. Thanks for doing this.

    Like

    Kristen Rush said:
    September 19, 2015 at 11:04 am

    SO looking forward to having similar new experiences in the near future. 🙂

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      September 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Always room for new experiences here, Kristen!

      Like

    Susan said:
    September 20, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Back in PA safe n sound…great to see you & Rose in person and hear all about this first hand! Already missing the island and our friends there!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      September 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Looking forward to your return. Good luck with all that you and Randy have ahead of you!

      Like

    J & M T said:
    September 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I just found your blog today. We will be in San Pedro for 7 days the end of February and I’m loving reading your blog to get the inside view from the perspective of someone who has moved down from US. We are Canadians. We are ‘searchng’ for that place that will feel like home and thus far haven’t found it. Ambergris Caye certainly sounds like it has the vibe we are looking for. Time will tell! p.s. out of all the blogs about Belize yours originally stood out because my mother’s maiden name was Hawkins – from UK though 🙂 !

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      September 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Good luck with your search. You’ll find the right place, I’m sure. While Belize is nothing at all like Canada, it is home to a sizable Canadian ex-pat community. We’re already making plans for a large Canadian Thanksgiving gathering this year. Not kidding, I think nearly half of all our friends hail from Canada. Belize itself is an extraordinarily diverse country. I hope your plans include time on the mainland. Keep me posted!
      PS: My true family name is O’Houghin and the family is from County Cork in Ireland. They changed the name when they came to the US because nobody wanted to hire an Irishman!

      Like

        J & M T said:
        September 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

        Thanks for the reply 🙂 My father’s family would be the County Cork(ers)…so…who knows 🙂 In any case, I’m thinking Canadians go there because indeed it IS nothing like Canada 🙂 Enjoy your 1st & 2nd Thanksgiving! This trip we won’t be spending time on the mainland, but plan to make it another trip. This trip is 2 days Mexico, 7 days San Pedro, 4 days Caye Caulker, 4 days back in Mexico – Isla Mujeres. (mainly because we are flying in and out of Cancun)…

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