This is Belize

Follow little Madi as she snorkels the Belize barrier reef from end to end

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Madison Pearl Edwards is snorkeling the 190-mile Belize barrier reef to highlight the dangers of oil exploration to the country's greatest natural resource. She is 11 years old. (Photo courtesy of amergristoday.com
Madison Pearl Edwards is snorkeling the 190-mile Belize barrier reef to highlight the dangers of oil exploration to the country’s greatest natural resource. She is 11 years old. (Photo courtesy of ambergristoday.com)

Madison Pearl Edwards is about the most delightfully precocious youngster you’ll ever encounter in Belize.

I mean, it takes a lot of precociousness — and courage — to snorkel the entire 190-mile length of the Belize reef, from north to south, to publicize the dangers and absolute stupidity of off-shore oil exploration.

Even for an adult.

Madi is 11 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Hockey in Belize? Why not? Go Buccaneers!

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San Pedro Buccaneers and Withrow Park (Toronto) Tropical Knights  come together for a group shot at the end of the tournament. Two things that I heard and liked a lot: "Wait until next year!" and "We'll bring more teams!"
San Pedro Buccaneers and Withrow Park (Toronto) Tropical Knights come together for a group shot at the end of the tournament. Two things that I heard and liked a lot: “Wait until next year!” and “We’ll bring more teams!” At San Pedro High School.

They called the tournament the inaugural Caribbean Coconut Cup and the grand prize was an artfully carved and lacquered Belizean wood-and-coconut trophy.

The program cover described it as an “International Friendly Ball Hockey Tournament.”

And it was indeed friendly — after the games. At Wayo’s or some other fine beachside drinking and socializing establishment.

During the games? Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Looking a bit more like the Paradise we always imagined

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Look, Ma! No trash! A rare and joyful sight on Ambergris Caye, after yesterday's First Friday trash cleanup.
Look, Ma! No trash! A rare and joyful sight on Ambergris Caye, after yesterday’s First Friday trash cleanup.

Moppit and I walked to Ak’Bol and back this morning and for the first time in a long time this always beautiful walk dazzled me.

And I know why, too.

Not only is the shoreline almost completely recovered from Hurricane Earl but the beaches are as full and lush as I’ve ever seen them.

But, most noticeably, THERE IS NO TRASH TO BE SEEN. This is a rare and incredible sight because even the most charming sections of beach up here are usually littered with plastic refuse and bottles. I urge you to take a walk north from the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge as far as you can up the beach. Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do?

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Singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire  sits in with a gang of rowdy fans at the Dive Bar on Saturday afternoon, shortly before all the "excitement" broke out.
Singer-songwriter Kelly McGuire sits in with a gang of rowdy fans at the Dive Bar on Saturday afternoon, shortly before all the “excitement” broke out.

Saturday afternoon, the Texas-based singer Kelly McGuire was commanding the stage at the Dive Bar singing about island life, broken dreams, healing hearts, fresh hopes, sailing away and the joy of a good guitar.

We were sitting at the back of the crowd, next to the dock, where the cool breezes were floating in on the rippling blue Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »

In Belize: Close encounters of the aquamarine kind

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Mexico Rocks boasts the most precocious turtle in the world.
Mexico Rocks boasts the most precocious turtle in the world.

Do not adjust your set. The ridiculously fluorescent blue water you see in these pictures is correct. The water on the reef just off Ambergris Caye is that blue below the surface.

Up above is a different story. There, as you look out from shore to reef, the color can change numerous times, shimmering between emerald and azure.

The other day I joined friends for a trip around the island, with a little snorkeling at Mexico Rocks thrown in at the end.  Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real

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Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The last sunrise on Ambergris Caye for 2016 was a real beauty. A diaphanous gold, like spun cotton candy, filled the air out to the reef as an early morning sun shower cleansed us, washed away this most unusual year.

Happy New Year to you all! May your every dream find its path to fulfillment in 2017.

Thanks to the recent addition of Moppit to the household, sunrises are becoming a daily thing. In pre-Moppit days, I would awaken at a civilized hour and think, “Wow. That must have been a nice sunrise. Maybe tomorrow.” Read the rest of this entry »

And it isn’t even noon yet, on a glorious day on Ambergris Caye, Belize

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A Poinsettia sunrise three days before Christmas in Ambergris Caye, off the coast of Belize. Good morning! May all your days start inside your heart like this!
A Poinsettia sunrise three days before Christmas on Ambergris Caye, off the coast of Belize.
Good morning!
May all your days start inside your heart like this!

Read the rest of this entry »

Dooley Bear drops in on Holy Cross Anglican School students and a pizza party breaks out

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Lisa Cyrier reads from one of the Dooley Bear books to students at Holy Cross Anglican School on Wednesday during a holiday party for literacy program students and volunteers.
Lisa Cyrier reads from one of the Dooley Bear books to students at Holy Cross Anglican School on Wednesday during a holiday party for literacy program students and volunteers. That’s the big Dooley, unfazed by celebrity,  sacked out on the floor behind Lisa! 

Dooley Bear, a gregarious chocolate Labrador with a penchant for travel and the subject of more than a few books, dropped into Holy Cross Anglican School in the San Mateo neighborhood on Wednesday for some petting and pizza.

Dooley brought along his literary partners, Ronnie and Lisa Cyrier, so that they could read some of the books about his adventures to a special gathering of students.

The occasion was the first Christmas Party of the newly resurrected volunteer literacy program which is designed to help students of all grade levels to enhance their reading, pronunciation and comprehension skills. The program is operated by a dedicated group of volunteers from the San Pedro community under the leadership of Susan Barkhouse and Brittney O’Daniel. Read the rest of this entry »

This is Belize: Walk a mile or two in their shoes

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This is my favorite photo of Moppit so far.I may have already used it in a blog but what the hell. Who ever grows tired of looking at a beautiful face?
This is my favorite photo of Moppit so far.I may have already used it in a blog but what the hell. Who ever grows tired of looking at a beautiful face?

Moppit and I were sitting in the golf cart near Izzy’s smoothie shop at the north end of Middle Street yesterday afternoon. We were talking about life, love, this, that and the price of bread. For a dog, she’s a very quick study. As I droned on, Moppit gave me the occasional nod  and tolerant expressions before returning to her own business of observing golf cart traffic.

I have no idea where she picked up such habits so quickly.

Rose had popped into Barbara Brown’s boutique & coffee shop for some flowers, a corsage for Moppit to wear to Sandy Rigby’s memorial service at Caribbean Villas. Sandy and Moppit had been inseparable companions for nearly three years, until she passed away in late November.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blackadore Caye hosts the ultimate Christmas office party

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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. Read the rest of this entry »