It seems like all we have done is go out on boats, but when you’re in a beautiful place known for the clear water, a huge coral reef, and a marine park, why not.
We had an all day trip planned but we weren’t sure when, until I got a message on Monday to be ready to go at 10:30. The boat picked us up at the dock of the hotel where we are all staying, and headed out to the coral reef for some snorkeling while we snacked on fresh fruit. Many thanks to Sharon and her GoPro camera for these photos, and to Gus, our awesome tour guide, who also took some of these photos. There’s a young nurse shark, a barracuda that we found hanging out under the boat, a turtle, a ray, and other various fish we saw along the way.
The water was relatively calm but you still got rolled around a bit, and eventually it made me queasy. The guys on the boat made me coca cola with lime, and I was surprised at how much it helped, and very quickly.
It was interesting that on our way out we were met by an official who handed us arm bands. That said that our tour had paid the fees for going into the marine park. Our tour guide said they are a different color every day and you never know which color is coming next, which makes it hard to cheat the system.
Next stop – Shark Ray Alley where we could swim with sharks. I know it sounds creepy but they are harmless nurse sharks. They are still pretty big though. They have learned to come when they hear the boat because Gus had fish to toss to them. I was still a little queasy so getting back in the water wasn’t appealing, and I probably had a better view from the boat anyway.
Next, we headed off to Caye Caulker, a nearby island, for lunch. Joel drove the boat, I drove the boat, everyone got a chance to drive the boat! It wasn’t exactly hard – just keep it pointed in that general direction. ha! Gene was blowing on a conche shell, and Gus was conferring with Joel at the helm.
Lunch on the island was a traditional meal passed through a window at a little hole in the wall place by a nice lady, and we ate at a picnic table on the beach. Beans and rice, potato salad, chicken, a piece of fried plantain, and it was really really good. Sometimes you just can’t beat street food.
After lunch we set off to explore a few things on the island. The first stop was to feed the tarpon. They are protected so people don’t eat them, but they hang around in an area where people clean their fish and feed them scraps. We were taught to hold the tail of a fish between your thumb and knuckle of your first finger, and hold it over the water. The fish jump out of the water and smack your hand pretty hard when they grab the fish, but with your hand held flat they can’t bite you.
https://www.youtube.com/shorts/3j1_mbhSq0o (I don’t know why this one won’t embed, but the link works)
Here’s a few pictures of the tarpon area. Then, we walked to another area where they had nets in the water to help the vegetation and coral grow. That kind of striped thing in the middle of the 4th picture is a sea horse. I walked to the end of that dock and saw a ray swimming away.
Then it was back on the boat for the ride home, while sipping delicious rum fruit punch.
This was a very good day! There’s still more to come, but I’ll leave that for another post.