Blackadore Caye hosts the ultimate Christmas office party

Posted on

A visiting couple from Corozal tied up on the back of Blackadore, making for a setting out of a Joseph Conrad novel.
A visiting couple from Corozal tied up on the back of Blackadore, making for a setting out of a Joseph Conrad novel. Bonus points if this image makes you think of Gardner McKay and Adam Troy in “Adventures in Paradise.”

There are office parties and then there are OFFICE PARTIES.

Yesterday, the good folks who have been preparing Leonardo DiCaprio’s 104-acre Blackadore Caye for development into what will likely be Belize’s most prestigious and eco-friendly resort island ever held a party for staff and friends. Around 150 people came to the island on four boats organized by Marcos and Karen Zul’s  Creative Tours Belize to shuttle back and forth from Ambergris Caye.

It was a celebration and a bittersweet farewell at the same time.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

This was the last time that the public will be able to step onto the pristine island as construction is set to begin in 2017.

We have been so blessed to visit the island on several occasions, including a surprise birthday party for me, organized by Rose Alcantara in April. Thanks for the use of the island, Leo. You’ve got something really special there.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

The island base was alive with arrivals, the fizz and pop of Belikin caps and wine corks, kicky music, chatter and the greeting of old friends. Blackadore’s crew had a couple of whole pigs cooking underground, Mayan style, under the supervision of Pepe, a civil engineer who learned  how to prepare and cook pibil as a child from his grandfather and other family members.

He spent some time describing to me the three chambers holding the pork, the fires that were started the day before to heat up the rocks that do the actual cooking, the layers of plantain leaves, the tin roof that covers all before layers of soil are shoveled carefully over the pit to hold in the heat.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

“It is like a pressure cooker in there,” said Pepe. “You don’t want the heat escaping.”

He had me poke a finger through the cool surface of the soil and sure enough it was piping hot inside. Pepe and his crew had begun before the sun rose on Sunday. The pigs had been cooking for two-and-a-half hours when we talked and he expected as much time more before the unearthing of the pibil.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

That meant time for my favorite Blackadore exercise — walking alone down the narrow island’s sole path, soaking in the raw beauty and the silence, trying to imagine who or what might have walked this path a century or two ago. There is a Jurassic feel to this. Something about the lack of human clutter — mostly. The transcendent, undisturbed, feeling of lost in time.  Even though scientists on the island can probably give you an exact count of every plant, bug, rodent and bird.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

As I walk alone in silence, I half-expect to see a gang of baby velociraptors bolt from the tall savanna. The sound of children kicking a day-glo football about returns me to the present.

On this day, the rain has passed, the sky is a mix of fluff and robin egg blue, the breeze is a gentle caress and the water beckons. All seems so right on Blackadore Caye.

Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Blackadore Caye, Belize.

But I shed my skepticism long ago: This is an island in need of rescuing, or loving care, at minimum. Signs of ocean over-run and shoreline erosion are everywhere and dying palms litter the island.  The island will submerge in the rising ocean waters and blow away to the west a bit more with each major storm — Earl took a chunk of beach and relocated it well to the west — if Leo’s crew does not intercede.

Homeostasis would be the natural course of things but, looking around, I find it unthinkable when something good can be done for the island, for tourism, for employment, for the economy and the reputation of Belize.

Pepe and his crew unearth the pibil on Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Pepe and his crew unearth the pibil on Blackadore Caye, Belize.

I turn and head back to “civilization” where the Rompe Raja Band is setting up its gear and Pepe is preparing to extract the pibil and venison. The Belikin is chilling on ice and the covered dishes are being set out in the bodega.

The other Blackadore highlight is finding a nice spot in the shallows to sit in a circle with friends and chat, gossip, reminisce and generally enjoy our special Ambergris family.

Party goers gather at the Blackadore Caye base, awaiting the arrival of the pibil and venison.
Party goers gather at the Blackadore Caye base, awaiting the arrival of the pibil and venison.

The feeling is that great things are ahead for Blackadore and the development staff there has been extraordinarily generous in listening to the public, adjusting its plans accordingly, sharing this island gem with all when it can, and creating an exciting future for Blackadore that will include significant employment and economic opportunity for Ambergris Caye citizens.

For now though, it is just another beautiful “desert island.” Enjoy the photos. (I apologize for the quality of some — my new waterproof casing wasn’t all that waterproof.)

Rompe Raja Band plays for the crowd at Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Rompe Raja Band plays for the crowd at Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Two little boys dance to the beat of Rompe Raja.
Two little boys dance to the beat of Rompe Raja.
Lots of room to kick the football around on Blackadore Caye, Belize.
Lots of room to kick the football around on Blackadore Caye, Belize.
A couple of guys get into the music, the one on the right a look-a-like for Prime Minister Dean Barrow who had fun with the case of mistaken identity.
A couple of guys get into the music, the one on the right a look-a-like for Prime Minister Dean Barrow who had fun with the case of mistaken identity.
All our friends from San Pedro gathered int he shallows for some relaxation and  kibbitz..
All our friends from San Pedro gathered int he shallows for some relaxation, imbibing and kibbitzing.
It wasn't easyy being on the first boat back to Ambergris Caye in the afternoon but we had folks to send us off with good cheer!
It wasn’t easyy being on the first boat back to Ambergris Caye in the afternoon but we had folks to send us off with good cheer!
A last look back at Blackadore Caye, Belize. The next time we set foot on the island it will be a very different place. I'll cherish the memories we have of it.
A last look back at Blackadore Caye, Belize. The next time we set foot on the island it will be a very different place. I’ll cherish the memories we have of it.
On the way back to Ambergris Caye we passed by the latest water craft of Seaduced by Belize, a party boat called SEA's d Day. The crew was making practice runs on the back of the island. Looks like fun!
On the way back to Ambergris Caye we passed by the latest water craft of Seaduced by Belize, a party boat called SEA’s d Day. The crew was making practice runs on the back of the island. Looks like fun!

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Blackadore Caye hosts the ultimate Christmas office party

    Palapa Pappa said:
    December 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

    You are so lucky.  All the great things you get to do   How fun! 
    Scott and Jodie Harnish
    “Living The Dream”
    Palapabarandgrill.com
    Palapa Bar and Grill on Facebook
    501-226-2528 or 501-610-4322

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s