Picture this sight - the sun setting on the horizon, slowly disappearing into the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. In the middle of this breathtaking view, a small sailboat powered by the gentle breeze moves towards the picture-perfect sunset. Doesn't this resemble a postcard depicting the wonderful beauty of Ambergris Caye? It certainly does, but more than that is the reality that many have experienced this, thanks to the services provided by one of San Pedro's most unique tour guides - George Eiley.
George was born in Belize City on July 18th, 1957 to Olive Young of Belize City and Oliver Eiley of Placencia Village. George was the youngest of nine children raised in the quaint fishing village of Placencia where he attended elementary school. George treasurers the memories of his childhood days in Placencia. He explained that his father was a lighthouse keeper, a very important job in those days. George would often tag along with his father, days he remembers as both fun and educational, and soon he learned to navigate the waters of the area. He fondly recalls summer vacations as a child when his father would take all nine children fishing to nearby English Caye, Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Atolls.
When George was fifteen years old, his father passed away. His mother moved the entire family first to Belize City and then to Belmopan where George attended Belmopan Comprehensive High School for two years. Next, George decided to enroll in a vocational school where he learned carpentry, a skill he enjoyed very much. He began his new trade doing small jobs "here and there" and soon after, was offered a job in San Pedro.
At the age of 18, George moved to San Pedro but found more than what he had expected. Apart from the job, George met and fell in love with a beautiful "island girl" and decided to stay. In 1983, George married Atlantida "Tanta" Guerrero and together they are the proud parents of three charming daughters: Georgina (18), Shirley (17) and Johayra (7).
Having been raised in a small fishing village, George felt at home in San Pedro. Now a family man, Mr. Eiley decided to make his childhood dreams of owning his own sailboat a reality. After saving enough money George was able to purchase his "dream sailboat". The fishing sailboat he bought, commonly known as a Bahamian Sloop (day sailor) was outfitted for fishing but being a skilled carpenter, George soon rearranged it to his liking. Tourism was just beginning to blossom at that time so Mr. Eiley felt positive he could contribute to the industry by providing day tours for visitors. George christened his boat "The Rum Punch" and started out providing tourists with relaxing cruises that included various snorkeling stops on the way to Caye Caulker. His trips quickly gained popularity and became a preferred activity for vacationers. He has since increased his services to include picnics, sunset and moonlight cruises, and "once in a blue moon" he sails to his homeland Placencia.
When the tourism season in San Pedro slows down, George returns to carpentry to sustain his family. A member of the San Pedro Dart team, George spends his spare time sharpening his dart skills. He is presently devoting more time to the sport hoping to join the Belize team when they travel to the Cayman Islands next month for the Caribbean Dart Tournament.
Fifteen years later, George Eiley continues to live his dream sailing the waves of the Caribbean. His great knowledge of the surrounding waters, his charm and personality all contribute to his success. George is a fine example of the multi-talented people of this island, and a friend to those who choose to sail the calm waters around "Our Community."