The Majestic Whale Sharks of Belize
Just around this time of the year, a few weeks before school closes for the Easter holidays, a pressing thought in the minds of many a parent is: “What Easter plans should be made?”
While it is certainly interesting to be a tourist in any country, it is lamentable that Belizeans are not keener to be tourists in their own country. Take a poll on any street in downtown Belize City on any day and I guarantee you that you will find more Belizeans who have been to Miami than Belizeans who have seen the world-renown Aktun Tunichil Muknal cave of the Cayo District — a cave so rich with Mayan history, artifacts, legends and mystique that people from ... yes, overseas... pay thousands of dollars to come here and experience it. Belize is such a rich place — it is literally a wealth of fascinating adventures, memorable wonders and unique cultural experiences packed into one small country. Guaranteed, you could have a different Belizean adventure every single day of the month and yet not have the same experience twice, proving that big things do come in small packages. Some of us spend any amount of money to jet set to exotic foreign destinations (which we have been programmed to believe HAS to be located overseas somewhere for it to be truly “exotic”) and yet we fail to realize that right here — in our own backyard — in this tiny but sweet little jewel of a country in Central America called beautiful Belize, that we live the “exotic” life daily.
Many people also throw away lots of good money yearly on the purchase of material things, thinking it will make them happier. While I do not deny anyone the right to spend their money however they wish, studies have shown that the pleasurable memories that last the longest, from childhood into mature adulthood, are the memories crafted from unique experiences. In this country, we are blessed to have unique experiences everywhere.
So, if you have not yet confirmed your Easter plans, I challenge you this holiday to keep your dollars at home and plan your vacation in a little corner of our little jewel called Belize. Keep your money at home. Do yourself and your family a favor and experience a part of Belize you have never been to before. The economy needs it and the Belizean businesses deserve your support.
If you are having a hard time narrowing down a choice from the list of fabulous destinations in this country, let me suggest to you to visit the Placencia area this year, home to the majestic whale sharks of Belize. The majestic whale sharks of Belize are the largest fish in the world, and one of the largest creatures of any kind alive today. They are usually referred to as the “gentle giants of the sea”. Generally considered docile and harmless, they filter feed on plankton and small fish. Observing these giants underwater is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you can only be guaranteed to do so right here in bountiful and exotic Belize!
The best times to spot the whale sharks are usually three or four days before and after the full and new moons in April and May, just in time for the Easter holidays. They migrate yearly to the coast of Placencia to an area called Gladden Spit and Little Water Caye. This area is known to host the largest concentrations during March, April, May and June when the snappers are spawning. Snapper spawn is a whale shark delicacy. Since the whale sharks usually coast in the water around a depth of twenty feet, chances are very high that you will be able to enjoy the company of one of these magnificent creatures, even if you are not a scuba diver. In fact, you may be able to enjoy the whale sharks from the boat, even if you are not a snorkeler.
A few years ago, a big furor erupted when it was rumored that two of our prized whale sharks would be sold to the Georgia Aquarium. While the Georgia Aquarium did get its whale sharks...thankfully, elsewhere... tourists will have to pay that aquarium mega dollars just to have the opportunity to have some remote semblance of closeness to their poor CAPTIVE whale sharks. Yet, we have the luxury of enjoying these gentle giants in the wild, in the most up close and personal way you can ever imagine, right here in Belize in Mother Nature’s own unfenced aquarium. How many countries in this world do you know of that can boast to you of a similar circumstance?
If you go, please remember to follow the protocols of the area and do your best to ensure that your activities do not negatively impact the aquatic life. On the boat ride out to Gladden Spit, it is highly likely that you will also spot some of our Belizean bottle-nosed dolphins. Two awesome once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the price of one!? Now that’s not only a deal, that’s a downright steal! And only available right here in Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret!
Wherever you go, enjoy your holidays!
Wendy Auxillou http://www.belizetimes.bz/hardhitting.shtml