Belize Barrier Reef
We spent all day Saturday playing “tourist” on a boat, a local favorite called the “No Rush.”
It is an older catamaran that holds about 24 people, plus crew. It is the crew that makes it a favorite, they are long-time friends to many aboard. That, and the fact that the No Rush lives up to its name. This catamaran raises sails when ever it can. Most of the newer and larger touring cats tend to motor out to the reef and back. When you sign on to No Rush you have to plan on letting the rest of life rush past you and put your faith in the winds. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Here’s a new term for me: “the fringe of the sea.”
This the space between the eastern shore of Ambergris Caye and the great Belize Barrier Reef. From space, I imagine, the relatively calm and shallow blue-green expanse must look like a colorful collar. This fringe teems with life, aquatic and human.
In many ways it is a highway, too. At its busiest, it is filled with water taxis, sailboats, barges, para-sailors, jet skis, resort boats, pleasure boats, kayaks, fishing boats . . . . If it floats, it will make its way up and down the coast.
Beneath the aqua and emerald waters you can spot turtles, dolphins, sharks, a thousand varieties of colorful reef fish, brightly hued corals — and conch and lobster, too.
From the shore, the white rumble of the surf against the reef seems so close — and in some spots it is.
As Rose and I ponder the pros and cons of living inland or on the coast of Belize, a new thought enters my mind: Could we be going about all of this wrong?
I have been looking at this scary interactive map on the National Geographic website titled “If All the Ice Melted.” The map invites you to “explore the world’s new coastlines if sea level rises 216 feet.”
Apparently 216 feet is how high the oceans would rise if the title of this interactive comes true. In other words, if Tea Party’s climate-change deniers and industrial polluters prevail and Ted Cruz gets elected president and puts Sarah Palin in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency …
Naturally I went straight to Belize on the map.
Or, where Belize used to be. Read the rest of this entry »
It is uncanny. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is vast and, well, under the sea. But Nick moved through it like it was his personal playground.
He knew in which crevices the Moray eels hung out — he’d swim down and clap and they would come out like cobras to a flute. He knew where to find conch and sea cucumber. He spotted sea turtles and sting rays and sharks long before any of us.
Nick even caught a three-foot-long shark with his hands and held it so Rose could pet it. “It felt coarse, super coarse, said Rose, “Like starched jeans. I thought it would feel like a portobella mushrooms.”
Nick was our guide on an overcast, windy and choppy day off the lower tip of Ambergris Caye.
I started calling him “the fish whisperer.”
He’s been at this for five years now, taking tourists like us into the national preserve and the nearby Shark-Ray Alley to take in the vast and varied life below the sea.
Nick delivers a lecture on respecting the reserve’s environment and cautions about touching the coral or picking up shells. He points out one sandy area and says “this is the only place in the reserve where you can stand on the bottom. OK? No where else.”
You get the feeling Nick and the other snorkeling and scuba guides are pretty protective of this, Belize’s greatest natural resource. Hol Chan Marine Reserve runs right up against the Barrier Reef and is marked by one of the few deep water channels, through which come fish, turtles and more.
I went a little crazy with the iPhone camera with its waterproof cover but for what it is worth here are many of the photos that I took. They are in chronological order, from the moment I dropped into the water until I reluctantly, got out.
The aquamarine coloring is exactly right. This is what the water looks like off of most of Belize.
I hope you enjoy them.
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- Foot-dragging from village to village through Belize (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)
- No! Not that trip to Belize (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)
- Hello, Belize, you beautiful, colorful, complicated thing you! (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)
- Found: The Weasley Family’s vacation retreat in Belize (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)
- Monkey Bob bets on Belize (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)
- This old house, and a new one, in Belize (robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com)