This lucky dude got to take a trip out to Blackadore with some friends this past week - an fairly exclusive deal since no one is really allowed on the island.
Owning Ecologic Divers (partial owning...is that better?) I push that Ecologic is more than a name. We recognize the incredible importance of keeping the environment clean. If we don't take care of our ocean and our islands then the source of our livelihoods will vanish, and us along with it. So What does my feeling along those lines mean for my thought's on Leo's grand plans? Well...you see I am also a realist in terms of development. We are a growing people; development will go on. So if Leo is truly going to be as he says - and develop an Eco friendly resort then I say do it. I just hope the realities are feasible, and he really can keep a very low impact. Things like this help us to improve developments in other ares - seeing better methods and technologies is a great thing. We need to employ many of those methods and technologies here.
Blackadore Caye is currently a basically untouched bit of paradise. Picturesque shore lines, dry cracked useless soil in the middle, with a rather impressive expanse of savanna style "grass lands" in the middle - so tall only one of our party could see over to the ocean (an entire 50 yards away).
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this little island is the excellent care taker it has - Guillermo. This man lives on the island and just works, and works, and works. We convinced him to sit a bit and tell us about the island, fed him a PB&J and some fresh fruits, before we left him to his chores. He has a great deal of knowledge about the area and has done a great job at making sand...which I didn't know was a thing till now. Thanks for the samiches Sara, they were more filling than the termites.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see LOTS more photos in the Reset and Restore Blog
Your first thought when you step off the boat and on to Blackadore Caye is “This can not be real.”
It is like a Hollywood movie set for a tropical island adventure film.
The coconut trees seem too perfectly spaced to be real. The ground beneath them too perfectly swept clean. The sand too white. The water on either side of this long, narrow caye shimmers in variants of teal, turquoise and aquamarine. The dry, cool wind sweeps so sweetly upon the skin, not a drop of perspiration survives. The cloud-dappled sky is a dreamy blue — azure color #007FFF, if you are into replicating sky colors from an RGB color wheel.
I walk south along a gently etched trail, marveling in the stillness broken only by the rustle of palm fronds in the breeze and the lapping of water against a rough limestone retaining wall.
The palm tree oasis yields abruptly to a wall of dense, razor-sharp grasses, with a wide fresh path carved down the middle, beckoning me to walk on. But in the tall grass the wind dies. The dense air suffocates and boils. It feels almost malevolent how quickly the island’s personality changes. Not many steps in I opt to retreat to the palm trees and the gentle breeze.
Oh, this island is real all right.
Here and there, too, are signs of the island’s precarious place in the Belize constellation of cayes. You can see where ocean water has occasionally over-run the land. And where rain water has ponded small stretches into mosquito breeding grounds. And where insatiable waves have carved away the shoreline, toppling palm trees into the sea.
As I walk around in solitude, I try to imagine the island’s owner in these footfalls before me. I try to imagine what he must have felt, and yeah, I can picture Leonardo DiCaprio thinking, “I must save this fragile island. I must rescue it from nature’s corrosive bent.”
The actor’s idea of saving an island has been derided by some, myself included. Who saves an unoccupied island by building a high-end resort on it?
Well, maybe DiCaprio can and will.
Give him some credit. He is trying to design what could be the most ecologically sensitive and harmonious resort in the history of the world and at the same time ensure that the largely undeveloped sections of the island remain strong and flourish with island-appropriate flora and fauna. If a plan to plant thousands of mangroves takes hold the island might even grow back to its 1600s-1700s fighting weight.
The island’s development/regeneration design is on at least its third iteration in the past 10 years. We should be seeing the new proposal in a month or so. Most notably, gone is the huge boomerang pier with housing, hotel and shopping facilities that was positioned just offshore. people hated that. Just as in the previous design submission they hated the airstrip. That is long gone, too.
I don’t know what shape the new proposal will take. There is a whole new design team at work on it.
Another thought arises as I walk about this island. It is about another Belize island far to the south.
Harvest Caye is being carved up into a personal playground for the passengers of Norwegian Cruise Line ships. I use carved up in the same sense that Joan Rivers, Barry Manilow and Melanie Griffith got face lifts. Harvest Caye will be pretty darn unrecognizable once the Disneyesque design lads get done with it.
Not that you or I will get to see it, unless you work at one of the bars, restaurants, zipline and watersport rentals or simulated Belize lifestyle experience designed for the reality-challenged.
Where was the umbrage when Norwegian began slicing and dicing Belize’s dream of eco-friendly tourism? There was some. I assume envelopes changed hands and *cough* *cough* you could hear a pin drop, or a coral reef get crushed.
I don’t know why it is so hard for the Blackadore project to get wings. It is far more high-minded and beneficial to the Belize economy than the insular cruise ship bubble island. Blackadore will employ lots of Belizeans — probably San Pedranos, as this is the home base for their crews.
I still don’t understand Belize well enough to know why some things glide through so smoothly and others must struggle at every turn.
My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
I am here on Leonardo DiCaprio’s private Belize island with around 20 of my friends from Ambergris Caye for my birthday. No, Leo could not make it, but his ad hoc hospitality did not go unappreciated.
This excursion was put together by my wife, Rose Alcantara.
On an island where there are no secrets.
It is both heartwarming … and disturbing … to think that 20 people you know so well can keep a secret from you for days and days. Especial since the night before many of us sat at the same table at Jackie and Adam’s Casa Picasso for the annual and fabulous wine-pairing dinner with Wine de Vine. The same table! Where alcohol did not loosen lips the way it is supposed to!
And me, the island sleuther of secrets!
And so, when I glanced out the window at 10 a.m. Sunday, in a state of shock, there they were standing on our dock, waving and blowing party horns as Marcos and Karen’s boat the C-Monkey pulled beside them.
That lump in the throat thing is very real.
I think I was in a daze for most of the day, like my head was just beneath the pool water. I kept looking at all of these people with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Not just that they went to all the trouble of helping me celebrate my birthday but gratitude that for so many different reasons we all ended up living here on Ambergris Caye and found our way to friendships that will last forever.
Throw in a deserted island on a brilliant Caribbean day with insanely delicious food and bottomless mugs of rum punch — and a rum cake that should only be legal under adult supervision — and you have a day for the ages.
Thank you, Rose.
What do you do all day on a deserted island?
One of the most notable things is you sit and talk, you chat, you eat, you gossip, you laugh, you speculate on the future, you tease, you share hopes and dreams. Now for a while, you do this sitting in chairs encircling two picnic tables. After a while you do this while walking about the island.
Eventually you find yourself in a circle in the warm, lapping Caribbean waters, just off a tiny beach. Here, you talk and laugh some more while trying to keep your balance as little waves roll in and the circle of friends expands and contracts with the tug of the currents, but never drops a soul.
One small event of historic note during the day: I stretched out in a hammock. Historic, because it is the first hammock I have stretched out in in more than two years living on a tropical island.
I know. Crazy, huh?
You think “tropical island” and the next thing you think is “hammock.”
Now that I’ve tasted this forbidden fruit I think I could become a hammock person.
Making sand, pretty cool use of the Turtle grass, I can see it! Not so much the organic material but all the sand it catches (and deposits when the grass breaks down) as well as any calciferous "growths" on the grass from critters. A really good use of the shoreline material...one wonders if this was one of the prime natural mechanisms for building beaches on the islands.