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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Kayakers are ready! Today is the Day!

Final preparations are ongoing for the 8th annual Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge Kayak Race that is scheduled for this weekend, May 12th and 13th. The challenge consists of two days of kayaking, a total of 42 miles, within the inner lagoons and along the shores of Ambergris Caye. The main purpose is to celebrate and highlight the importance of the ecosystem on and around the island.

The challenge, which began back in 2005, has become one of the main events that islanders look forward to each year. This year, organizers expect in excess of 40 teams to enter the challenge with over $15,000 in prizes. The main organizer of the Lagoon Reef Eco-Challenge, Elito Arceo, explained that the route has been marked and all the "nuts and bolts" are in place for the race which will kick off in two days' time (Saturday May 12th) from the Barcadero area.

The race starts at 6AM just across from the Saca Chispa Football field where a large multitude comes out to witness the kayakers' sprint to the mouth of the channel. "On the first day, the kayakers will paddle a distance of about 29 miles. The participants travel from the Barcadero and head north inside the Laguna de San Pedro, traveling through mangrove channels and creeks into Laguna de Frances, then out to the sea along the western side of the island. Next they pass along the Belize-Mexico border and finally head into Laguna de Cantena, ending at Basil Jones in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve for the campout," said Arceo. On the second day, the kayakers move from the camp site shortly before 9AM and move southwards along the eastern coast of Ambergris Caye. The kayakers will paddle within the reef, ending in front of the Central Park; a distance of approximately 13 miles.

The routes are clearly marked to avoid kayakers from getting lost. One of the requirements is for kayakers to be at a certain location by a given time; a requirement that will be explained on Friday night during the briefing. The Eco Challenge is for amateur kayakers and Arceo explained that anyone who has placed in the top 20 positions in La Ruta Maya River Challenge will not be allowed to participate. The kayakers will compete for first, second and third places along with many other station prizes along the route.

The event will end with a beach party at Central Park, where the winning kayakers will be presented their prizes. Arceo ended by inviting the public to come out and cheer for their favorite kayakers as they leave on Saturday from the starting point and arrive at the finish line on Sunday. Sponsors and family wishing to accompany the kayakers in their own vessels are encouraged to keep to the left hand side of the kayakers on the first day and on the right hand side on the second day to avoiding wave actions from reaching the kayakers.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
Super fun event. Does anyone remember what time it ends? I'm thinking around 2-3pm ish?

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
That seems about right.... mid afternoon....

Change your Latitude
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 254
And their off! The race has started in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Good luck to everyone.

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Beach bum, butterfly stalker, native plant enthusiast.
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 834
When did they make it to San Pedro? We were watching from Grand Caribe but completely missed them. Must have passed by when I was talking to my mom for Mother's Day. Hate that I missed it!

Former Belize expat traveling the USA & Mexico
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,046
I totally missed it too. They finished around 12:30...early!

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,563
I was watching for them and never saw any go by. What's the story
I hear they got rained on several times Saturday night.
AND it was not broadcast on TV as it had been in previous years. Boo Hoo

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,267
They definitely went by! A whole darn flotilla of happy campers, big boats and small and a fair amount of noise.
I think it was about 1:30-ish when they passed Mata Grande.
If you missed them you were watching at the wrong time.
I heard the ruckus from inside my house, ran out to the dock to cheer them on and then headed to town where we got to the park just before the winners paddled to the finish.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Belizean Shores Team Wins Eco Challenge 2012

Douglas Penland of Belizean Shores placed fourth in last year's kayak race along with partner Jimmy Polonio, but this year Penland with new partner Fernando Giacoman bounced back to win the 8th Annual Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge that took place over the weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

The 8th Annual Reef Eco-Challenge - A Great Town Event

Each year, two-man or woman teams of kayakers take to the water for a 42 mile, two day kayaking marathon. The event highlights reef conservation and environmental friendliness and is just a super fun competition for those paddling (I'm hoping...these guys looked WHIPPED at the end) and for those on shore enjoying a Belikin and cheering them on.

The event started at 6am, Saturday at the football field at the back of time. The racers paddled up to Bacalar Chico (the Mayan dug split that separates Ambergris Caye from the Yucatan Peninsula), camped over night and paddled back down yesterday.

There was a DJ, a big crowd and a Belikin tent. All the makings of a good after party.

There were all sort of prizes at the end (not just ones for the true winners). There was: kayaker who had the most fun/smiled the most, most eco-friendly team, team that got the most lost, team that came in last place (apparently both of their paddles broke as they were just starting out Saturday morning). Elito Arceo, the organizer and host of the award ceremony, was having a good time recounting stories of the two day event. He's a pretty funny guy.

A bit disappointed by missing the end of the race, I consoled myself at Estel's with friends and a ice cold Michelada.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

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