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11/2-11/9 Trip/Wedding/Dive Report #59319
11/22/02 11:39 AM
11/22/02 11:39 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 40
Indpls., In
scubatsa Offline OP
scubatsa  Offline OP

Leaving Indpls. Sat. AM when the pilot comes over the PA system and tells us that since we don't have a "water certified pilot or co-pilot" we'll be flying to Belize over land. (Louisiana-Texas-Mexico)--BUMMER-ADD 2 MORE HOURS TO OUR 3 HR. FLIGHT. We were informed to "set back our watches one hour and slow down our pace". Anyway it's a direct flight to Belize City and most visitors to BC have to do transfers.
Arrived in Belize City and went through the customs etc. then boarded the Tropic Air plane for AC. All flights went well and we were ready "to get down". Our party consists of the bride-to-be (it's her 2nd trip), her parents (their 3rd trip), the husband-to-be and his parents, the best man, the bride's maid (sister of the groom), and Chip (the wedding photographer).
The planning for the wedding and dives, basically, consisted of frequent e-mails sent to the Sunbreeze Hotel and Ambergris Divers.
Upon arrival at the Sunbreeze we noticed that they had done some remodeling and extended the roof out to increase the area in front of the rooms for sitting. "Very Nice".
After checking into the Sunbreeze (around Noon) we walked down to Fido's. We really liked the remodeling done there also. The roof 's higher, but still thatched, still have the shark/diver hanging from the ceiling (which adds character). The East side is opened up more and the windows are gone. The stage sits in the NE corner of the floor. Barefoot and part of Cat 7 came in and did a "sound-check". The 23 year old bridesmaid had never seen Sprite in a glass bottle before so she felt that she was experiencing something different.
Hung around Sunbreeze till the Happy Hour (4-6). 2 for 1 rum punches and then walked the beach South, to Ambergris Divers and talked with Roberto and Karen and set up our dives for Sun. Found out that Roberto would be working with UNESCO on Sun. and Mon. photographing and studying the reef.
Sun. AM Gilbert from AD picked us up at the Sunbreeze dock and took us to the AD shop for the necessary paperwork and fitting of dive equipt. There are 6 divers in our group and 3 had just had their Open Water Cert. (in a cold Indiana rock quarry). Did a dive at Hol Chan in the AM and then a little deeper dive in the afternoon just outside the reef. The new divers really noticed a difference in the colors of the fish and reef structure. (In the quarry, they sink a lawn mower or barber's chair and you look at the same couple of blue gills while you fight the cold water temp. There's no current so if someone stirs up the bottom, it stays cloudy for hours.) Both dives were good refresher dives and went well. We got a really good close-up of an eel (he zoomed in on me).
Mon. we were waiting for the 8:30 AM pick-up when Roberto called and said that the weather got a little rougher (we arrived at the end of the hurricane season). The early reports were that the visibility wasn't too good and we would hold off till 1PM. We mellowed out and waited. At 1PM we were picked up at the dock by Ruben and taken back to the AD shop where we picked up our gear and set out for a dive and a snorkel trip at Shark Ray Alley. The dive went well and Ruben picked up a live conch and showed it too us. The snorkel trip in Shark Ray Alley at 4PM was a disappointment, however. We never saw a shark or a ray. My wife and I have been there a half a dozen times and this was the first experience like this. The consensus was that the boats normally stop there in the morning and by 4 PM the sharks and rays had full bellies and left. Mon. PM we did the Happy Hour at Sunbreeze followed by "Joke Night" hosted by Barefoot at Fido's and a Beliken. Returned to our room and found that Chips Bar (unfortunately the room next to ours) was open and in full-swing. By this time, Miss Cathy (mother of the groom) had bought most of the bracelets, ankle bracelets, and necklaces from the throngs of children and was an easy target {being crutch-ridden}. I think that by the end of the week, we were bordering being evicted from the Sunbreeze for keeping the children coming and the dog (she adopted for the stay). Chip did a good job of keeping the kids supplied with coke and ice cream.
Tues., we were picked up again by Ruben at the dock. This time, after gearing up we got into the 45' boat and headed outside the reef. We logged 2 dives and saw lobsters, sea cucumbers, eels, yellow tails, groupers, and a 3' barracuda. In the evening it was a stroll to the street vendors (they are now housed in little cubicles, at the same location). Same vendors, same good food, and same low prices.
Wed. was a windy day for diving. Pick up at the dock at 8:30 AM, short trip to the AD dock and into the 45' boat again. Outside the reef and there was one wave that broke over the boat. Giant stride entry again and everything was good down below. As we did our safety-stop I noticed the ladder over the side of the boat coming into the water and back out as the boat rocked back and forth so I knew that we'd have to time the ladder approach. Roberto had told us all before the dive to just remove the fins and they would help us on the water exit. We did and they did. I noticed several divers and one instructor chumming at the back of the boat when I got in. I was "holding my own" until the same instructor started joking about "a good old greasy breakfast with eggs and bacon and ……" One of the members of our party almost went over the stern while he was chumming. Luckily he caught himself by two finger nails and one toe nail. That would have been bad, to have to climb into the boat twice that day. After this day the wind died down and the visibility cleared up and we only had good dives. After a local lunch it was down the street to Aquarius Salon for hair cuts and trims. During the afternoon, Miss Cathy and her daughter delivered books and globes to the local school and read to the children. This was part of "Ambassadors For Children", a worthwhile project by ATA to help out kids in other countries. At dusk it was time to head to the Pier Lounge for the "Chicken Drop". As usual the crowd was more entertaining than the chicken. That night we dined at Rosa's (street vendor). Had the "Super Dog", potato salad, rice, beans and a coke for $5 US. Then it was back to Fido's for the "Category 7" (good old Roll 'n Roll) and a Beliken. Then down the beach to Ramon's for a Purple Parrot.
Thur. the 10AM wedding got started closer to 10:30. This time it was the American Factor, not the Belizean Factor (the bride wasn't ready). Julia Edwards the Sunbreeze manager and Pastor Welch were most helpful and patient. The bride looked great and the groom was handsome, everything went as planned. The bride in her barefeet, and the father of the bride in his shorts and sandals. The ceremony was performed in the picturesque loft above the bar and the weather was most cooperative. Julia and Chip took photos and videos. The father of the groom, who just went through a wedding for his older daughter, said, "This was so beautiful, it's the only way to do it." Following the short and sweet ceremony, the newly wedded couple and their parents headed to Sweet Basil. We were served by Sergio, and when the owner found out we had a new couple in our midst, he provided the champagne for a toast. It was our first time there and the view from the 2nd level area is just beautiful. You can see the small fishing boats on the West side fly fishing for bone fish and the Carribean is on the East side. For supper, all 9 of us caught a water taxi and headed to Capricorn for lobster, steak and crab. As before, Annabelle and George were the gracious hosts. By this time, the father of the groom, leaned across the table and asked, "How'd you ever find this place?" (referring to AC). Earlier in the week, he admitted that he was wondering, "What in the world have I gotten into?" Later that evening, my wife and I snorkeled under Ramon's dock. We'd heard that there were barracudas and eels spotted there in the daytime. We saw a ray working on the remains of a filleted mackerel, a lobster hanging out under the anchor, some small jelly fish (one had a very small fish in it's tenticles), a couple of different crabs, and a sea slug slithering along the bottom.
Fri. was our last day for diving, sadly. Got picked up by Adolfo at 8:30 AM and taken to the AD shop. Fitted for gear, the sea was calm and the visibility and dives were good. We saw some large groupers that followed us like the dogs in town and beautifully colored sponges and corals. Supper was with Roberto and Karen at the Ambergris Delight then I had to have a killer "Super Dog" from Rosa's (the street vendor) and back to Fido's for Barefoot Skinny and a last Beliken (till we return). Then back to our room (next to Chip's Bar) to pack our suitcases.
During our one week visit we had numerous visits to BC's and the Blue Water Grill and as always enjoyed our stay one the island, eating and drinking with the people we've met there. The locals are always so friendly and helpful, it's no wonder that visitors return.
Sat. was spent saying good byes to Roberto and Karen (at Ambergris Divers) and Kim (at Aquarius Salon). Then a walk down the beach to Ramon's for lunch and a Purple Parrot. As we were leaving the Sunbreeze, we met Pastor Welch, coming in to perform a wedding for another new couple right here on "Temptation Island". The kids were all sad to see Miss Cathy and Chip leave but I think that they'll return to spur on the SP economy (so kids - keep making those bracelets). Arrived back in cold and rainy Indpls. At 9:07 PM. but, ------------"We shall return!"

Re: 11/2-11/9 Trip/Wedding/Dive Report #59320
11/22/02 12:09 PM
11/22/02 12:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,419
Some times there, some times h...
Almost as good as "Hoosier Hospitality" wasn't it? What we can't figure out is that there were 8 of us on that same plane, and at no time did we hear about the nupituals. Hmmmmm, perhaps it's that pesky reputation again.


Re: 11/2-11/9 Trip/Wedding/Dive Report #59321
11/22/02 02:43 PM
11/22/02 02:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 6,251
NYgal Offline
NYgal  Offline
Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy reading these reports. You had a good size group that were happy too.

Re: 11/2-11/9 Trip/Wedding/Dive Report #59322
11/23/02 11:50 AM
11/23/02 11:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,058
South Texas
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Thanks for the great report.
Yes, Julia does do wonderful weddings at Sunbreeze, have been privileged to observe a few.

Sure love Miss Cathy, and her fun with the kids.
Chip's Bar, how funny. Those two I would love to meet.

Glad you got to do and experience all on Ambergris. Best wishes to both of you. Always go to Belize on your anniversaries. Forget those standard anniversary gifts, BELIZE IT.

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