Friday May 2
Debbie and I make it to the airport just in time to get an early morning strip search
. First leg of flight - no problem, even got in to DFW early. Met Eracsder (Gene), Islenutt (Jan), and a couple of girls not on the board, but interested in how our group had got together - so we told them about the board. A slight problem with the plane kept us from leaving Dallas for a couple of hours
. Fortunately we arrived at BZE just in time to get the last flight to AC (via Caye Caulker - quite a landing strip there).
We arrive at dusk, so going thru San Pedro in the van was a little hard to get a handle on the town and how it's laid out. They block some of the main streets in the evening on weekends so we zig-zagged thru town. Islenutt heads for Banana Beach, and our van drops Gene at the Mayan Princess.
When we arrived at the Paradise Villas, we find that Kristen with Hustler has provided us with a fridge full of Belikin & Coke. We take in the view of the ocean from our balcony (room 2-B is Great), then go to Wet Willys for some sustenance and brew. Gene and I walk the beach down to Sharks Bar taking in all of the nightlife of a Friday night. Fido's is jammin' and next door the Roman Catholic Church is holding services, while just up the street the street vendors are peddling their wares. Sharks' Bar has live music and everyone is having a blast.
Morning comes early on the island when you dive, so we decided to call it a night around mid-night.
Saturday May 3
Going Diving Today
! Hustlers' taking us out beyond the reef - what a ride. When we hit the open water coming across/thru the reef, the clam waters turn into 8-10' swells, we hold on a little tighter and keep our mask/snorkel close at hand just in case. It's obvious that the sea knows whose boss.
The size of the reef is amazing. Fields and fields of coral, sponges, and fans galore. We are somewhat disappointed at the lack of marine life. After a 65-70', we return to the dock for our surface interval. The second dive in the same general area is about the same - nothing spectacular, but some good bottom time blowing bubbles and a beautiful view of the world below the surface.
After off-gassing in the room for an hour or so
, we decide to look for food once again and end up at the street vendors by the central park. The chicken, rice and beans were pretty good, I don't think I could live on it but they don't seem to have any problem eating it everyday.
We decide to take refuge in Lagniappe's for a cool drink. Just as we are sitting down, Debbie points up and says - "Doesn't that guy look familiar?" I turn around and sure enough it's Captjeff, my soon-to-be-fishing companion. After introductions we all decide to meet up at BCs the next day for the BBQ. Oh, and by the way, Lagniappe' has the best burger in town / on AC / and in Belize for that matter. We crash for the evening, beat and ready for bed.
But the island is not without it's downsides.
In the middle of the night the electricity decides to go down. I'm here to tell you - that place gets really dark when there is no light coming form anywhere - not even a moon. Thank God for the flashlight (and whoever came up with that idea on the board).
Electricity is only one of the creature comforts we have come to take for granted in the states - water is another. Without electricity we had no water
. I assume that the water is pumped by electricity, hence the problem. This would be an ongoing situation throughout the week.
Sunday May 4
Up with the sun and down to the dive shop just to find out they want us to come back at 10:30 to go to Hol Chan for a 1-tank dive and a snorkel. While I'd rather do a 2-tank dive beyond the reef, I figure we have all week to do those types of dives, and this gives me a chance to dive with the wife on an easy dive. Hol Chan proves to be a shallow yet challenging dive. With a strong current pushing us, we find the marine life we have been searching for. We saw large Groupers, lots of fish and a very large eel. I followed Debbie and dive master Everett, with Gene bringing up the rear.
Debbie had a ball. Everett took such good care of her, leading her by the hand, showing her things and helping her with the current. This frees me up to have more fun and less worry about her. After a bad experience with the dive operators in the Florida Keys, I didn't know if she would ever dive again (she threatened to sell her equipment after that trip last year). She told Everett he had saved diving for her and I believe it even though it would prove to be the only dive she would do this trip due to the wind.
I would just like to comment again on the job Everett of Hustlers did. He took such good care of my wife. I would recommend him to anyone diving - Novice to Pro
After diving we found the power and water had returned
. Then we sprinted to BCs for the BBQ. We saw CaptJeff, Islenutt, Eracsder, Chuckelbutt, d6pack and wife, Seaislegal (151 rum in Jell-O shots?) and group, Becky Bound for Belize, Pedro, and many others from the board.
It was a great time, and a great opportunity to put faces with board names. The BBQ was really good, almost as good as my own.
OH YEAH, 6PACK don't forget to email me for those recipes.
Another day in paradise shot, but not wasted. Time to think about the fishing trip on Monday with Captjeff. Gene comes down and helps me knock off some of the grog in the fridge. While we plan to fish he plans on going to the Blue Hole on Monday. We are all beat from a full day so we call it a night.
This is all I have time for now. PART 2 will feature ROY D. MERCER'S fishing in Belize - MAN OVER BOARD - Oh never mind it was just River Shark!!!