Sergeantís Caye in the 1940's and 1950's (before Hattie), and now
Some of you have visited Sergeant's Caye with us. Sergeant's Caye used to be much bigger. The house was a Government Rest house. Officials use to go there to relax and rest. Hurricane Hattie decimated the structures in 1961. Nothing but a sand bar, a cement septic tank and beach remains today.
The house was reserved for the governor and family. It was quite luxurious - it had 3 bedrooms and a large lounge and a spiral staircase.
The governor was Sir Colin Thornley. Typical lunch was red snapper freshly caught and typical dinner was a casserole with meat bought out in the governors motor launch MV Patricia.
One day a US Coast Guard vessel arrived and the captain came on the island telling them they just stopped by for some fresh fish and water. The island is government owned and quartered customs presence.
It's the first island that is directly on top the main barrier reef. Last time I was there a box shaped cement structure like a septic tank and timber post was still there. Now its just a sandy bay and a nice looking patch reef
Once a pristine white beached island, it boasted a large clubhouse, two smaller houses, three water tanks, a pier, dozens of coconut trees and even an adjacent islet called Paunch Caye. Princess Margaret visited it during her West Indies tour in 1958 and at one point was used as a quarantine station. Three years after the visit of our royal this house was only a memory. In the early 70's there was no house only a few coconut trees and the remains of the house were under the sea.
It is a pleasant snorkeling experience swimming around the island, and we've even encountered the endangered Antillean manatee while snorkeling here! The caye sits among a reef patch, with a shallow reef flat. On the south side, where we normally snorkel in the afternoon, there is a bathtub or cement water tank from one of these old buildings now overgrown in coral.
Karen Lake Diaz:
The House was used by military families for R&R. As well as families for vacationing. Sergeants Caye was where the Governor spent his vacation. I understood that there was also a barrack type structure for the servicemen to use but maybe not. My Nana was in there with my mum, aunt and uncle - ages 1 - 10 years. My grandfather perished in the hurricane to go and rescue them. I didnít think the house was this substantial.
Hector Silva: Beautiful Sergeant's Caye, I spent a night there. Lots of Parrot Fish.
This Caye sits on a SHOAL. - Hurricane Hattie swept the Island Crust but the Shoal remains READY TO REBUILD. My Ministry of Works made an assessment to RECLAIM the Caye. Sheet Piling and Dredging and replanting Mangroves in the inner circle.
Mr. Austin Garbutt, my aunt's husband, was the lighthouse keeper on English Caye that time. I remember her telling us that before Princess Margaret could step out of the boat, the boat with security sped up and stopped her. I guess because the caye had not been a scheduled stop, so had not been checked out.
Top photograph courtesy Belize Abroad, second photo by Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle Belize
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