(Another long one. Gimme a break! I'm trying to be thorough here!)
Breakfast at 8 (eggs, sausage, pancakes, refried beans, tortillas, fresh fruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice-make your own). Yum! Once again, into our jungle clothes (shorts this time).
At 9 we're off for our River Cave trip. We all loaded up on this big flatbed truck with our inner tubes. Once again "over the mountains and thru the orange grove, to the river cave we go!" (OK. So I'm not a lyricist.) In about 20 minutes or so, we're at the little river inlet that goes into the cave. We grabbed our tubes and head lamps (we were in the caves all day).
This trip consisted of a combo of tubing on the underground river and hiking thru and exploring various caves and caverns. The formations were incredible!! Amazing how nature can create something like that. The rock/minerals actually looked like liquid in some areas. The caves were full of bats, fish in the river, formations and a lot of darkness (save for our head lamps and flashlights). We saw tone of Mayan evidence (firepits, incense bowls-with the burn marks still on the low ceilings, pottery shards, huge wine decanters, hand-made clay figures-one of the Monkey God/God of Fertility Sebron made me hang around that one a lot...Can't figure out why. Hmmm...). We even saw Mayan footprints. They had to be old prints because mineral crystals were forming in the bottoms of them. This takes 1000's of years to do. We did a lot of rock climbing into various high caverns and tunnels. Ended up going about 2 miles into the caves. At the farthest point, we stopped for a lunch prepared by our guide (Pablo, you're the best!). There we sat o the floor of the cave next to the river, by a "spirit" rock formation with the Monkey God watching over us (that Monkey God guy...I don't know about him). We ate by candlelight, out voices echoing thru the cavern. At times, we turned off all lights to see how dark it really was. Couldn't see your hand right in front of your face! No exaggeration! We headed back, using a little different route because we were in our tubes most of the time with our lights off the whole time. We tubed in total darkness. We simply locked hands or ankles or whatever and trusted in Pablo (the Monkey God couldn't help on this one!) It was SO weird! These guides know the caves like the palms of their hands. At one point we stopped for some reason. Pablo didn't answer our calls. Next thing you know, he's on the shore of the river about 50 yards away shining a big light on us. He had tubed us into a little cul de sac, so to speak, somehow slipped out of his tube with no one hearing (the girl "hooked" to him said she had been hanging on to a cord on his inner tube; not him). After a few more minutes, we were back where we started from, muddy, wet and pumped up from the trip.
Back at the lodge, we took another one of our "South Pacific" showers and roamed around a little. The howler monkeys were back again playing in the trees. A couple even came down a bit for a better photo op. Barnaby (one of the guides) offered to drive us over for a short trip to see the Blue Hole (yes, there's an inland Blue Hole, too) before dinner. The Blue Hole Nat'l Park is right at the entrance of the driveway to the lodge. This Blue Hole is a fresh water "swimming hole". Kind of like a cenote. It's called the Blue Hole because of the color of the water-a very vibrant, irredescent blue (especially in the area from where the water comes). It's about 20' deep. The water comes from one of the underground rivers. So, one end of the hole actually turns into a water-filled underground cave that goes down about 65' and into the caverns. At the opposite end of the hole, it narrows into a little creek that feeds yet another underground cavern/river and continues on to connect up with the river that runs by the lodge. There's no current since the water in the hole is actually being pushed up into the hole from down below. Great for swimming!
Dinner that night was salad, cream soup, okra, squash, chicken, potatoes, fried plantain, fresh bread, bread pudding and more. After a while of visiting with the other guests and staff, we headed to our bunkroom. We we're dead on our feet again (are you seeing a pattern?). No howlers that night (they waited until the morning) but we were told to bring extra light with us if we had to take any late night walks to the facilities. A fare du lance (sp?) snake had been spotted nearby a couple days before. These are very aggressive at times and one of the deadliest in Belize.
Bugs, birds, breeze, caves, rivers, hiking, snakes, Mayans, zzzzzzzz........