Tuesday, June 23, 2009

April 8, 2008

Hi friends! Time for another update on our wanderings.

We last emailed you from the island of Cozumel on Feb 23. That was our final fling in Mexico. Steve having kicked his intestinal disorder, we then scooted down to Belize, which we briefly investigated earlier. This time we'll stay longer. "Ah! I love Belize!" is Ginny's constant refrain and Steve is of like mind.

Corozal is the first town across the border. Here we met Mae and Craig of Oregon, who like many Americans have bought land here (and had a beautiful Mennonite house built on it), adding another strand to this small yet diverse culture, where one hears English, Creole, and Spanish equally, and we haven't even hit the Garifuna districts yet!

Our new friends made us feel instantly welcome in Belize after a long day of border hassles. They also found us a place to keep our truck while we went canoeing. We started with a four-day cruise in Corozal Bay and adjoining rivers and lakes. As in the Yucatan the land is flat, the waters shallow, and mangrove is the typical tree where land and sea meet. We saw the splashes of crocodiles launching themselves into the river, and heard the scratchy whistles of what we think of as the Mexican crow, but which is really the Grackler!

The shake-down trip having gone well, we now wanted to go to the outer islands, where the water is clear and the sea-life rich. But the northeast tradewinds were too powerful to paddle against, so we boarded a fast ferry to Ambergris Cay with the canoe on deck. They dropped us off in San Pedro, a bustling fishing-and-tourism town. We spent a week circumnavigating the island, up the west side to the Mexican border then down the east side along the Barrier Reef, back to San Pedro. Steve got back into his two-hour-a-day swim routine while Ginny made new friends in the animal kingdom. She especially likes the blue land crabs, the hermit crabs, the manatees and the batfish, which walks through the eelgrass on "legs" and inflates a booger-like appendage from its nose to attract small fish to eat. In other words, she especially likes the animals she has seen so far. Creatures still required include: Toucans, Scarlet Macaws, Tapirs (Steve saw one, he thinks!), Jaguars, and Crocodiles. (The plurals may be indicative of unreasonable hope on Ginny's part).

From San Pedro we canoed SSW along the Barrier Reef and its associated islets. We spent four days in Cay Caulker, popular among a more laid-back class of travellers. We camped in a sandy grove across a narrow channel from a loud reggae bar. The other islands were quieter. We'd camp where no one was around and supplement our food supply with coconuts, which we open with hammer and chisel to drink the water inside. It's slightly sweet, slightly carbonated, and oh-so refreshing. Other nights we roasted marshmallows while clouds scudded past a bright moon.

This outing ended with our arrival at the the tumble-down Belize City waterfront, where we write this email from our third-story hotel window. Outside, chaotic waves slap at the seawall. Traditional wooden sailboats swing at moorings while powerful launches shuttle tourists to and from the cruise ships that lay at anchor in Belize Harbor.

What to do next? Continue canoeing south? Go back to truck camping wherever there's a swimmable beach? But the utlimate snorkelling is out where deep channels cut through the shallow coral reefs, and at the outlying atolls, where we can't very well live out of our canoe. We need a bigger boat for that: another option. And there's still Guatemala and Honduras to see.

Again, see our captioned pictures. A new photo album has been uploaded to http://picasaweb.google.com/ginnygoon/BelizeIt. The old pictures may still be found at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ginnygoon/MexicoTrip,

We wish you well!

Ginny & Steve

p.s. Check out the batfish video found online. It's too weird!http://www.liquidguru.com/kajhtm/vidPages/2bat.htm

No comments:

Post a Comment