In 1775 Ambergrease Cay had plenty of deer
This is the largest island of the Belize coastal shelf, extending
for 40 km southwards from the largely artificial cut Boca Bacalar Chico
which forms the Belize-Mexico boundary. It varies in width from 6.5
km to less than 90 m.
Jefferys noted in his 1775 chart that there
were "plenty of deer in it and Ambergrease often found on its Beach".
Henderson (1811, p.24) described it as "of considerable size,
abounding with extensive fresh water lakes, and a t most seasons ...
plentifully stocked with many kinds of game. This Key is likewise
said to produce Logwood, and the more valuable kind of Dye-wood, named
Allen (1841, p.80) also stated that the cay was named
"from the produce of its shores".
Cay Caulker (the Cay Corker of Jefferys (1775) and Owen (1830)
Cay Caulker (the Cay Corker of Jefferys (1775) and Owen (1830)) is
a large mangrove-sand cay 8 km south of Ambergris Cay and 1.5-2.4 km
from the edge of the coastal shelf. It has been described briefly by
Vermeer (1959, pp. 55-58), Stoddart (1963, pp. 33-35, fig. 17) and
Stoddart (1969, p.6). It is 7.2 km long and 60 m t o 1.2 km wide.
Its windward side is formed by a sand ridge generally less than 1m
high, butrising at the village site to over 2 m.
In places there
are clumps of mangroves on the seaward side of the ridge. On the
western side there are extensive mangroves, with in places a low
leeward sand ridge. Palm thicket occupies the interior areas not
cleared for coconut woodland.
During Hurricane Hattie there was much
marginal erosion and surface sand-stripping and scouring on the seaward
side of the windward sand ridge. Some coconuts and other trees were
felled near the seaward shore, and exposed mangroves were defoliated.
But in general, away from the cleared area of the village, physiographic
effects were negligible and vegetation damage moderate.
34 species of
plants have been recorded (30 of them in 19651, and this is undoubtedly
a partial list. They are:
Eragrostis prolifera, Hibiscus tiliaceus,
Eustachys petraea, Sida acuta,
Cyperus ligularis, Turnera ulmifolia,
Fimbristylis cymosa, Rhizophora mangle,
Cocos nucifera, Bucida spinosa,
Terminal idcatappa, Musa paradisiaca, Catharanthus roseus, Casuarina equisetifolia, Ipomoea sp.,
Coccoloba uvifera, Cordia sebestena,
Philoxerus vermicularis, Tournefortia gnaphalodes,
Crotalaria verrucosa, Lantana involucrata,
Pithecellobium keyense, Stachytarpheta mutabilis,
Vigna luteola, Solanum blodgettii,
Suriana maritima, Ernodea littoralis,
Euphorbia blodgettii, Spermacoce suaveolens,
Euphorbia mesembrianthemifolia Ageratum littorale, Borrichia arborescens, Mangifera indica, Wedelia trilobata