ANOTHER GRAND ADVENTURE
May 28, 2013
It was almost 10:00 in the morning by the time we were ready to leave. Since I am considering buying a new small gas golf cart from the grocery store owner I asked for one to take on a test drive. Robert, my caretaker, drove up in a beautiful new hunter green four seater and checked the gas. Although it looked to be half a tank I asked him to add whatever we had on hand. After all, my plans were to make a 32 mile round trip up the northern end of Ambergris Caye.
The weather forecast was not favorable but it was my friends last full day here in Belize. Rich Todd had included me in many dive adventures, tutored me on video underwater photography and provided a sofa bed for the nights I wanted to stay over on the Monterey Peninsula in California. After too many years of losing track of each other we reconnected, via Face Book (which we both hate but feel forced to sometimes us). I invited him to make use of my condo any time during the month of May as it was going to be empty between leaser’s.
Please understand that it had been on the market for at least a year and a half when he accepted my offer. Don’t you know, it sold and the buyers wanted to close May 5th? What to do? Well Rich and his girlfriend Shirley got two nights in the condo then helped me move my stuff out. My house at Birdland is still under construction but the roof was on. So I moved upstairs and gave them the one bedroom (Neptune’s Grotto) casita downstairs where I have been living. This worked well for all of us.
The day before they were to leave happened to be a holiday. Since I didn’t have any workmen to supervise we headed north. I have to say the roads are in remarkable good condition past Rojo Lounge. The grader has done a lot of work and even though there are some uneven patches there are no big depressions that will soon become lakes.
The section through Journey’s end that was tiled has been dozed so I can no longer use that description as an identifier. The road simply makes a right turn and goes to the beach. I still feel bad driving through the front yards of the houses directly north of there; one is now posted for sale.
The tide was low and the beach fairly clean – here. Not so further north. Before you get to Indigo you are sent back inland and come to a juncture that can be confusing; there are no signs; you have to recognize Indigo to your right, which is the way to proceed north, and know that to the left is the East West Road. I’ve been on that one in the past and wish all roads were built to those standards. Too bad it leads to such a messy ill-defined development of tiny little lots. However, other guests have told me that the beach has an excellent place to swim. Go figure?
Jogging right then left we head on north. Soon we come to a sign for a resort that has hand painted across the top ‘ROAD ROAD’ but no arrows. Here you once again turn left. From now on there are large signs indicating ‘ROAD NORTH’ so we follow them.
I keep saying “I don’t remember this’ as the road narrows with bushes touching the cart on both sides and the flies biting our feet and legs; great big Doctor flies that you don’t feel until one takes a chucks of skin. Then they sit there eating and if you pay attention you can smash them and make a mess on your leg. If you miss these buggers they fly right along with you ready for another meal.
I realize this is all new cut and it runs exactly under the power lines. I’m not sure how far but it seems like miles when suddenly it stops! On the right side is a fence made of what here they call ‘sticks’. Behind the sticks the road is wide and smooth and leads to some buildings. Thank goodness someone had dismantled half of it and we were able to move a few sticks and go through.
Suddenly there is a big ditch with PVC pipe in the bottom. Rich told me to make a run for it. I didn’t ‘run’ fast enough and although the front wheels made it up the far bank the rear wheels stuck in the bottom. One advantage of a small cart is that one big man or one small women and a regular guy can lift and push and I gunned the gas.
This put us into the back of some resort. As we wandered around buildings, and got strange looks from workers and guest, we crossed several more ditches; more successfully I might add. We never did see a name for the place. This got us back on the beach and Shirley declared that we were not taking that road home.
There had been a full moon the night before and the tide was low so we were able to drive on the beach; mostly hard wet sand. I thought I spotted Rocky Point in the distance as a storm moved in on it. I guessed that we had about five minutes before it hit us. I was right about the timing but wrong about where we were. We were able to take cover behind a large stand of Red Mangrove with Coconut Palms overhead which all worked together to keep us dry.
The stormed passed and we moved on, coming to El Secrito before the next band of rain hit. They did have an open restaurant but it was closed up against the weather. We inquired how far to Sueno del Mar and they said another half an hour. I have friends who own units there and on my previous trip they had helped us with a problem. I made the decision to go for it and it only took us 20 minutes to get there.
Although there were workers eating at the bar they told us that the resort was closed; including the kitchen but Tranquility Bay had an open restaurant. We made a dash for it and got there just as it started raining. The restaurant was nice’ very clean and beautify decorated with underwater scenes painted on all the walls and the accent color was my favorite shade of teal. The service was a tad slow but that was because they made the ceviche fresh and Shirley said it was the best she had eaten while here.
Rich ordered the chicken tacos and they came in such a way that you built your own. I had chicken quesadilla which was large, hot and cheesy. Not expecting it to be so big I had ordered the black bean soup also and ended up sharing it with Rich. We liked the place.
Just beyond Tranquility the land juts out towards the reef and at Rocky Point they touch. The rain had let up by the time we left the restaurant and from the resort the road climbs a hill and immediately enters into a pristine palm jungle. The road was good and I think it must go all the way to Mexico. We did a lot of exploring and Rich almost constantly said “Oh Oh Oh Stop – back up.” I am eager to see the photos he shot using three different cameras.
Not far into the jungle we got a glimpse of something large in the trees on the lagoon side of the road. Oh Oh Oh – stop! There were at least five Wood Storks nestled into the tangle of trees. We also flushed out at least one owl and one black hawk. At one point we could hear the Chacalocka but couldn’t see them. Another great discovery was weird looking orange mushrooms that look like they may be radiated. There were beautiful beetles less than an inch long that were iridescent green and teal. We found these when I stopped and had Rich pick a few hands full of Ixchanon (Polly Redhead) leaves. I vigorously rubbed these on my legs that were on fire from the Doctor flies. The oil in the leaves relieves the itch.
A lot of the land is littered with dead coral and conch shells which breaks my heart to see. I gathered a few pieces of coral for a wall mural and they gathered conch shells to take home. At 3:00 I said we were heading home and not stopping. Of course you know who was the first one to spot something to stop for; I saw a beautiful piece of coral unlike any other. That gave Rich license to Oh Oh Oh all the way home.
The tide was even lower when we drove home and we never went back into the woods but were able to drive most of the way on hard-packed wet sand. Why does the trip home always seem so much shorter than the trip going?
We were back home at Birdland right at 5:00 and unloaded our treasures. Rich showed Robert a twig full of beautiful berries and asked what it was.
Did you guess Poison Wood? Sure enough he had sap on his right hand. Fortunately I have Gumbo-Limbo trees (the antidote) and Robert cut a nice piece of bark and Rich was able to use this to rub the sap off.
We all collapsed bone tired but happy to have experienced another grand adventure.