Belize Barrier Reef

This is Belize: There’s just no bad day aboard the No Rush

Posted on Updated on

Yo, ho, ho! A pirate’s life for me! And my friends. On board the No Rush on Saturday morning, Aug. 26, 2017, headed for the barrier reef and a day of snorkeling, hanging out and saying things like, “This life does not suck.” San Pedro is in the background. (Photo by Gerry Neumann, who dropped alongside us on his Hobie cat as we were under way.)

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 »

Advertisements

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

Posted on Updated on

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 »

The Fringe of the Sea inspires a form of poetry all its own

Posted on

The Fringe of the Sea -- Ambergris Caye to your left and the Belize Barrier Reef to your right. An amazing amount of life goes on between the two.
The Fringe of the Sea — Ambergris Caye to your left and the Belize Barrier Reef to your right. An amazing amount of life goes on between the two, inside the Fringe.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Waterfront property? Wait for it … wait for it ….

Posted on Updated on

In this screen grab from the National Geographic, Belize would be a small lump of land and San Francisco would be the Venice of the West should all the Earth's ice melt. Though it would take 5,000 years for that to happen, climate change and rising sea levels are already having an impact on coastal lands.
In this screen grab from the National Geographic, Belize would be a small lump of land and San Francisco would be the Venice of the West should all the Earth’s ice melt. Though it would take 5,000 years for that to happen, climate change and rising sea levels are already having an impact on coastal lands.

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 »

Nick, The Belize Fish Whisperer, leads the way

Posted on Updated on

Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air ... taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve from the air … taken as we left Ambergris Cay this morning for Belize International Airport on the mainland. You can just see the channel through the surf that gives the reserve its name.

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.

IMG_2300 IMG_2301 IMG_2303 IMG_2304 IMG_2306 IMG_2307 IMG_2308 IMG_2309 IMG_2310 IMG_2311 IMG_2312 IMG_2313 IMG_2314 IMG_2315 IMG_2316 IMG_2317 IMG_2318 IMG_2319 IMG_2320 IMG_2321 IMG_2322 IMG_2323 IMG_2324 IMG_2325 IMG_2326 IMG_2327 IMG_2328 IMG_2329 IMG_2330 IMG_2331 IMG_2332 IMG_2333 IMG_2334 IMG_2336 IMG_2337 IMG_2338 IMG_2339 IMG_2340 IMG_2341 IMG_2342 IMG_2343 IMG_2344 IMG_2345 IMG_2346 IMG_2347 IMG_2348 IMG_2349 IMG_2353 IMG_2354 IMG_2355 IMG_2356 IMG_2357 IMG_2358 IMG_2359 IMG_2361 IMG_2362 IMG_2363 IMG_2364 IMG_2365 IMG_2366 IMG_2367 IMG_2369 IMG_2370 IMG_2372 IMG_2373 IMG_2374 IMG_2375 IMG_2376 IMG_2377 IMG_2380 IMG_2381 IMG_2382 IMG_2383 IMG_2384 IMG_2385