When the power goes out on Ambergris Caye, the feet start walking

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Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story -- albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed.  Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.
Walking north through Tres Cocos, this property (a couple of residences, actually) is a real success story — albeit an expensive one. A year ago, the water extended to the dock ramp and where you see sand now, there was a thick layer of stinky sargassum seaweed. Tons of the stuff were pulled off the beach but keeping up with it was impossible. Now a stone wall and tons of fresh sand hold back the seaweed and keep it moving south with the current.

True to its word, Belize Electric Ltd. (BEL) shut down the entire island’s electricity at 6 a.m. Saturday morning for some maintenance projects.

I suppose that sounds a little strange to you, my First World family and friends, but that is how things are done here. When something is taken off-line for repairs, the whole island goes black. I guess we just don’t have the redundancy systems that would allow them to bypass a transformer, feeder, substation or whatever.

By BEL does have a Facebook alert system and the utility posted warnings as early as Friday about the shutdown.

So, you adjust, roll with it and move on.

The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!
The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!

In my case, the power outage meant that Saturday morning presented a good time to take a nice walk up the beach in the Tres Cocos neighborhood to admire the good work our First Friday volunteer clean-up crews had accomplished.

I was doubly motivated by Rose, who upon returning from her Saturday morning run, was glowing over the absence of plastic along the beach trail — at least from Grand Caribe Resort south to our place, The Cloisters.

Here the path extends through one of the few remaining vacant lots on the waterfront. Recently workers cleared most of the vegetation, sparing all of the palms and other trees. Tons of trash that had built up under bushes was removed by workers.
Here the path extends through one of the few remaining vacant lots on the waterfront. Recently workers cleared most of the vegetation, sparing all of the palms and other trees. Tons of trash that had built up under bushes was removed by workers.

OK, I was triply motivated by the fact that Marbucks Coffee Shop has a generator — and that means warm blueberry scones and hot coffee. That alone would be motivation enough.

But, man, a clean beach path? Even if for only a day?

The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!
The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!

That would be a treat!

So, just a quick aside on the First Friday clean-up for June: Wow, what a great job!

Not only did we get a great turn-out at the Paradise Theater, including a number of first-time volunteers, but Grand Caribe stepped up big-time. From their beautiful resort two miles north of the bridge, they sent around 20 staffers down both the beach and concrete road. They brought an ATV with a trailer to the game, and huge enthusiasm.

The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!
The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!

What a difference they made!

Who knows, maybe next month Captain Morgan’s Retreat or the numerous Sandy Point resorts will want to step up and police the island road and beach from their locations, heading north and south?

That would certainly be in keeping with the new island-wide cleanup initiative announced recently by the San Pedro Town Council. Motivated by the prospects for a Zika outbreak and health concerns for residents — and the simple aesthetic appeal of keeping this island beautiful — the council has announced big plans.

Read the San Pedro Sun story here.

The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!
The following pictures are the public path through the residential section of Tres Cocos, more or less in order. You can see what a pleasant walk this can be!

This is a very big deal.

My Saturday walk up to the Grand Caribe was spectacular.

Well, even under the worst conditions, this walk is spectacular.

The path north runs mostly through private properties which are exquisitely well-maintained — and vacant lots which tend to collect seaweed, trash and plastic bits by the zillions — chopped-up detritus from cruise ships I’ve been told. Beyond the Grand Caribe resort the shore becomes a mix of resorts and residences with a few restaurants thrown in — almost all extremely well maintained properties.

Sometimes accidental pictures work out OK, too. This is me trying to read the photo settings on my iPod and accidentally shooting my feet.  The makes a good break, as the next few pictures were taken north of the old Palapa Bar, an area tackled by the cleanup crew from the Grand Caribe resort.
Sometimes accidental pictures work out OK, too. This is me trying to read the photo settings on my iPod and accidentally shooting my feet — and not unattractive feet at that…..  Theis image makes a good break, as the next few pictures were taken north of the old Palapa Bar, an area tackled by the cleanup crew from the Grand Caribe resort.

The cleanup was most noticeable north of the old Palapa Bar, now called Tiki Maya. There is a long sweep of untended beach which clearly had been hit hard by the Grand Caribe crew. South of the Tiki Maya, two long-vacant lots have been extensively cleared and much of the beachfront growth has been chopped down. This made cleanup easier, although the lots look a bit devastated.

I’m sure big plans are in the offing.

Here are nearly 20 photos from the First Friday cleanup, from Sue Blair.

This is a nicely maintained section of the path, north of the former Palapa Bar.
This is a nicely maintained section of the path, north of the former Palapa Bar.
Now we're getting into an area that traditionally is left to the elements -- usually covered in plastic waste and seaweed. You can see what a great job the Grand Caribe crew did on Friday!
Now we’re getting into an area that traditionally is left to the elements — usually covered in plastic waste and seaweed. You can see what a great job the Grand Caribe crew did on Friday! There will always be sea grasses washing up on shore, but the sargassum menace of the past year-plus is over, for now.
More of the same path, north of the former Palapa Bar, now clean of trash!
More of the same path, north of the former Palapa Bar, now clean of trash!
You can see what a pleasant walk this can be when the plastic waste from cruise ships and other trash has been cleaned up! Hope you enjoyed this walk with me!
You can see what a pleasant walk this can be when the plastic waste from cruise ships and other trash has been cleaned up! Hope you enjoyed this walk with me!

 

 

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3 thoughts on “When the power goes out on Ambergris Caye, the feet start walking

    Emily said:
    June 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Enjoyed seeing my old stomping grounds much cleaner than I’ve ever seen it. So happy to know that so many volunteers are helping to make the island a nicer place to be. The trash used to depress me to no end, and it really does take a village to make a dent in it. Great photos. Thanks!

    Like

    Julia S Smith said:
    June 6, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Bob, After the trash pick up, where do they put it? Does it go to a landfill on the mainland of Belize or where?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 6, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi Julia,
      Yes, the town picks up the bags of trash and first takes them to a huge refuse clearing-house at the south end of the island, where it is supposed to be separated into recyclables, organics and other. It is then barged to the mainland where a modern, centralized landfill for the entire country opened last year.

      Like

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