In March of 2004 Craig and I went on a dive trip to Belize with Charlie from Boise Water Sports. On this trip many friends (Dave with son Bryant, Sandy with son and daughter, Ed, Joyce, and George) from past dive trips came along in addition to my cousins Kenny and Cindy and Craig’s mom Russett and many other new friends.
Russett, George, Holly and Kiril in LAX
Puddle jumper to Ambergris Caye
Russett, Darwin, Roberta, Bryant, Dave, and Kiril
In Belize, our first stop was a week of scuba diving with the entire group. We stayed on the small island of Ambergris Caye (pronounced “key”) www.ambergriscaye.com. Ambergris Caye is the largest Caye near Belize, it is 25 miles long and ranges from 4-100’ feet wide. The town San Pedro has a population of 4,500. The streets are dirt and most transportation is via golf carts or bicycles. The indigenous people of Belize are Garifuna (American Indian/African descent) and Mayan.
Our hotel, The Sunbreeze, was right beside the airport, but we heard very little noise from any planes. Of course, look at the size of the planes – tiny.
Our hotel was placed perfectly within walking distance to town and most of the dive sites were very close. Many of our surface intervals were back at the hotel around the swimming pool.
Charlie had the “social room or meeting spot” on the corner overlooking the ocean. One evening what was originally meant to be a fruit “appetizer” before going out to dinner turned into a fruit “dinner” for everyone.
After diving one day, Russett, Craig, Kiril, and I wanted to see the island so we rented a golf cart and went exploring. Below are Kiril and Craig hamming it up while crossing a small part of the island on a hand pulled ferry.
One of the favorite places we discovered to eat were the local stands in the above right picture. The traditional Belizian dish was red beans and rice with chicken. These stands made some of the best and KILLER smoothies !
The diving in Belize was KILLER. We dove over 10 dives including the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and an overnight camping trip to Half Moon Caye and diving the famous Blue Hole.
Craig and George
Holly petting her first shark
Ray at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
The overnight camping trip to Half Moon Caye was fun. We dove a few sights near Lighthouse Caye on the way over. Half Moon Caye is actually a Booby Bird Sanctuary. The Audubon Society does research on this island, so we were fortunate to have the use of their tents for the night.
Diving the Blue Hole the next day. It’s the deepest we have every been 137 feet – can you say “narked” : )
After a fun week of diving, Dave, Bryant, Kenny, Cindy, Craig and I decided to head inland for some sight seeing versus coming home. We spent the next four days on the mainland of Belize living in a “tree house” at the Hamanasi Resort (www.hamanasi.com).
Oh boy, Craig is the co-pilot
This is a puddle jumper!
Within the first day at Hamanasi, we met Gregg and Kathy Kroll. We all soon became inseparable and decided to do as many “tourist” things as we could. Of course, between the sightseeing, we needed to relax around the pool.
One of the places we all wanted to see were the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. Before beginning the tour, Ramon who was our guide on all of the trips, was giving us a history lesson in the shade of the trees.
The “Mighty” Craig
Dave and Bryant taking pictures from the top of the ruin. The fire in the background is over the boarder in Guatemala.
In addition, we visited the Cockscome Jaguar Preserve. We hoped to see Jaguars, but the looped trail was huge and could only be done as a backpacking trip. At the beginning of the trip we decided to walk a small loop to the right and as it began to rain, we learned what the locals do for an umbrella – banana leaf !
We ended the Cockscome Jaguar Preserve with a swim under the refreshing waterfall.