Calm days 25 years ago, or perhaps 35, were taken very much differently than today.Today a calm day is a perfect day with calm seas, the tourists' delight, a perfect tropical setting.
Not so in the long days gone by. In the absence of outboard motors, there were only sailing boats and wind power was an absolute necessity. Fishermen hated and dreaded the extremely calm days. With a dead sail on you, the 3 or 4 mile trip to your fish traps was a boring 2 or 3 hour expedition. A trip to Belize City Could mean up to 20 hours. No lie! I do remember the crew of many boats taking their poles and paddles to try to reach a destination.
When in high school in the city, I remember a trip where a group of us were coming to San Pedro for a Saturday night dance special. We got a "dead calm" and arrived just after the dance. Just past Caye Caulker we could see the 2 or 3 flickering lights of San Pedro, but no matter how anxious we were, we were at the mercy of the wind power and though we tried all the superstitions, Which should have brought some wind, we arrived at San Pedro at 4:00 a.m.
Meat being brought from Belize City by boat was also at the mercy of the wind and ran the risk of rotting if caught in a 20-hour journey.
No breeze-no fans. And just how do you make a hot, muggy day comfortable? There was no way You could enjoy a hot, muggy night unless you rocked all night long in a hammock. But there again, mosquitoes can't sting from under the bed, but they do very effectively from under the hammock. Then you could close the window, so the mosquitoes would not enter, but neither would the breeze. Well, one could open the windows and put up a screen net. Oh, oh- no screen nets 25 years ago. And to add insult to shame, even if you could lock up your doors and windows, mosquitoes still entered through the in any cracks and crevices that characterized houses 25 years ago, especially wooden or thatch houses.
No wind power meant no wind games for the kids of San Pedro- no kites, no airplane toys, no power for the canoes going on a firewood expedition- thus the use of the paddles and poles which we all hated. Sailing was fun. Poling was work.
The absence of wind was not the fisherman's delight. He always thought his catch at the first fish and lobster traps was best on windy and stormy seas.
Today, calm sunny days are the delight of everyone in San Pedro. Not so 25 years ago when wind power was an absolute necessity.