Ambergris Caye, Belize
Saturday April 22, Day 1
We set out early in the morning around 6 am. We drove to Nashville, flew from there to Atlanta, then on to Belize City. We trudged through the long line at customs, then made or way with a little help to Maya Island Air. Everyone was so helpful, and we hardly had to touch our luggage.
Maya Island Air was a small puddle jumper, making our flight very interesting. The views out the window of the airplane made the flight enjoyable, though. We dropped some people off at another Caye and then it was on to San Pedro. San Pedro is a cool, colorful little town with lots of bright buildings and lots of friendly people. We were ushered from there to a waiting van that took us to the water taxi. We had a little bit of a wait so we drank some beers and chatted with some other travellers.
When the water taxi arrived they put us on the boat along with our luggage and we headed off to our resort. It was a 20 minute boat ride to the resort but what a beautiful resort awaited us
when we got there. We were greeted by some friendly faces and a nice drink and again we didn't have to touch our bags. Costa Blue is small, laid-back and beautiful. Our room is big and well appointed with a beautiful view of the water.
After changing clothes and freshening up we went to have dinner at the Blue restaurant. Dinner was great. After a short trip around the small resort we retired to our rooms for much needed rest.
Sunday April 23, Day 2
We got up to beautiful views, ate a little bit in the room, then headed to the dive ship to set up our dives for the week. We had to wait a little for the shop to open, but it finally did and we arranged our dives. Then it was off to rent a golf cart and begin our journey to San Pedro, 7 rough miles south of us. The first 4 miles were not paved and were pock marked with pot holes. It was dusty and very hot.
San Pedro was crazy, with people and golf carts everywhere. We bumped our way through the busy streets until we found a good
place to park. As we were both hungry, we decided to have brunch. I had chocolate chip pancakes, yum. Rob had a really spicy breakfast skillet. It was good.
From there we decided to check out the town square to see why there was a crowd there. It turned out to be an outdoor church service. Everyone was dressed up for church. It was lovely. Just as we were walking past, a white dove took to the air from amongst the people. Rob said it meant a blessing for us. I'll take it.
After walking around a bit and checking out gift shops, we went to get groceries and then made the arduous journey back to Costa Blue. The long trek to town left us hot and sweaty, so we got on our bathing suits, and headed to the pool for swim. It was so refreshing. We stayed for several hours before heading back to the room.
I did a little Facebook surfing, and then dressed for dinner. It was delicious, and the ocean air kept us cool in the outdoor dinner area. The sun went down as we ate. The resort is lovely at night. With
soft lights and few of them to distract, we got a nice show from the stars.
Then it was just blog, relax and sleep.
Monday April 24, Day 3
Well, we got up and got ready to go diving, though honestly I was still feeling the cold as well as the sun burn from the day before. I took the cold medicine and we headed out. I let them know at the dive shop that I was on medication for a cold and they recommended that I not dive. I was bummed but it was for the best.
Rob went on the dive while I went back to the room. I just relaxed and took pictures of the resort. After Rob got back, we went to eat lunch, then walked up the beach to X'tan Ha resort. The beach along the way was covered in decaying beach grass and trash and smelled like sulphur. The other resort was not as nice as ours, but we hung out a bit for desert at their restaurant anyway. We were glad to get back to our oasis at Costa Blu.
We rested in our room until
around sunset. After some hammock time we headed to dinner by the water. It was so windy that it was actually on the cool side. Were walked out on the dock after dinner and looked for fish in the water below. There were some little ones, but only a few.
Then it was back to the room to blog, watch TV and sleep.
Tuesday April 25, Day 4
What an awesome day! We got up, got ready and went diving. I was worried about clearing my ears and I did have trouble, but I managed to make it down for the first dive. It was incredible. On my way down a huge sea turtle first swam at Rob, then came right toward me. It swam around me a bit then headed off into the blue. It was then I noticed the nurse shark swimming below us. The photographer with us found a huge crab that he stirred up to photograph and the shark was curiously swimming over him. The dive master speared a lion fish and fed him. The shark took it readily, it was cool. Another nurse shark joined us and they followed us the whole
dive. The dive master kept them interested by occasionally spearing lionfish to feed them. Then another sea turtle came swimming right at me. Steve, the photographer, got a shot of me as I put out my hand the turtle brushed against me. The reef was beautiful and full of diverse fish. Great dive!
Between dives our boat captain, Buda, took us to a shallower area so the Francois, the dive master, could look for conch. While he was doing that we were all chatting when an eagle ray suddenly leaped out if the water nearby. So cool. No conch at the shallow spot so were went on to our next dive spot. I stayed on the boat due to ear trouble, but Rob went on the second dive.
When they surfaced, the dive master had a conch. The boat captain chopped it up right there and mixed it with a pico de gallo mix and we had conch salad or ceviche. It was delicious.
After our dive we cleaned up, had lunch, then took siesta in our room. Afterwards, we went to the pool, ended up in the heated area and chatted with other guests. Were made reservations
for a 7:30 dinner and went back to the room until then. Dinner was as delicious as it had been all week. I had jerk chicken and Rob had the braised beef. Yum!
Wednesday April 26, Day 5
We got up at our own pace and went down to breakfast. Like every meal we've had here it was delicious. We then got things together and caught the water taxi in to San Pedro. The day was really windy so our water taxi ride was very rough. We felt a little beat up by the time we got to town.
Just like our first trip to San Pedro Town, it was hot and bustling with manically driven golf carts. It was a feast for the senses, with all the color, noise and crowds. We shopped around for souvenirs, spending way too much. Then we found an air conditioned ice cream shop and had some ice cream to cool off. Rob found a frozen yogurt place and wanted to try that too, so we did.
After a hot day in town, we endured the pounding water taxi ride back tour lovely oasis. We skipped lunch and went straight
to the pool after changing. It was nice and refreshing. In fact it cooled us down so much, I had to go to the heated part of the pool to get comfortable. We stayed down there a while listening to the reggae version of all these classic songs. We both cracked up when we heard “The final countdown” slowed down and set to a Caribbean beat. Their version of all the songs was better. I though so anyway.
When we felt we were getting too pruney, we went back to the room. It was so windy that we decided to get room service for dinner. It was relaxing after a hot day.
Thursday April 27, Day 6
We got up early and got ready to go diving. We met up with some other divers and were transported to the TuffENuff main dive shop. As luck would have it, we got to go out again with Francois, Buda and Steve (the professional photographer). It was breezy again and the water was a little rougher than the last dive day, but we still managed to get in a good couple of dives. On the first dive, we saw a
reef shark, about 4 feet long. We were followed by nurse sharks again, just like the other day, but this time the dive master did not feed them. He said that with the reef sharks around, he didn't want to risk it. Our second dive, we went to a spot where reef sharks were not known to inhabit, so he took with him some sardines for the nurse sharks. This time he did feed them, all six or seven of them swarmed the sardines in a feeding frenzy. It was cool to watch. The sharks stayed on the bottom where they were fed and let us pet them. They seemed to like being touched. There was a bit of a surge in the water that rocked us back and forth, a feeling that would stay with me even after we got back on dry land.
After our dives, we snacked on ceviche again and ate some fresh pineapple. Life was good. We got back to the dock around 12:30pm, but not before I asked Steve if we could get some of his pictures that he took. He gave us his card and we let him know he would be
hearing from us.
Tired from the dives and wanting to avoid the wind, we ordered lunch in our room. I took a little nap before we headed out to the dock to meet the boat to the Sunset Cruise. It was our anniversary, so a sunset cruise sounded romantic. That was before I found out the other name for it was the Booze Cruise. They had beer and rum punch and kept it coming to those that wanted it. We didn't drink but a few drinks, but others had more than their share. A group from X'tan Ha resort came on board and they were clearly already a few sheets to the wind. They all sat in the front of the catamaran on bean bag chairs while the older, calmer couples from Costa Blu sat in the back in camp chairs. It was quite a split. They were partying it up and we were getting lessons on the history of Belize from our tour guide. We must be getting old.
The sun did set while we were on the boat, but most people didn't really notice. We were being entertained by the drunks in the front of the
boat as one nearly fell off into the water. The sail was about two and a half hours long and was pleasant, but I was glad to get back to the room as I was still a bit tired and still felt like I was being tossed in the current. We ordered dinner in our room again and drank some of the wine that they left for us the first night we got there, and then just relaxed in the room.
Friday April 28, Day 7
We got up at our leisure and got ready and went down to breakfast. It was really windy...and yet also really hot and humid. We ended up eating breakfast as far back toward the building as we could to avoid the wind. My hair was still blowing in my face, so I had to put it up. Our last day in Belize would be spent there at the resort...packing. So sad. We go everything ready for our trip home and then I relaxed in the room while Rob swam a little at the pool. I got bored with him gone. I realized I should have gone to the pool with him, but
at least I got everything packed up. After another dinner in the room we went to bed for the last time at Costa Blu.
Saturday April 29, Day 8
Today we travelled home and what an adventure it was. First stop was to the front desk to pay our rather large food, drink and diving bill for the week. We paid cash for our breakfast, so as not to add to our bill, and then we met the boat to go to San Pedro. It was even windier on this day and also hotter than the day before. It was a long, hair blown, sunburn kind of ride to San Pedro where we were met by a tired looking van that took us to the airport. The airport was air conditioned, thankfully, but was still rather stuffy and small. We waited the hour and a half until our flight came in and boarded the prop plane to the mainland. It was not air conditioned, so the flight over was very uncomfortable. By the time we got to the airport in Belize City, Rob was drenched with sweat and feeling a bit light headed. After tipping the porter to get our bags to check-in, another porter offered to get us through the crazy long line for security...for a price, of course. We agreed to do it, since neither of us felt like standing in a long line in a hot airport. We got through pretty fast with his help and then waited for our flight for what seemed like forever. It was nice to get back on a bigger, air conditioned airplane headed to the States.
We had long lines waiting for us in Atlanta as well and this time no quick way around. It took an hour and a half to get through customs, which was good considering how long the line was. Then we finally ate something for dinner. It was a good thing we had a three hour layover in Atlanta, as we used most of it up before getting to the gate. It was not much of a wait there before boarding the plane to Nashville.
After a difficult two hour drive from Nashville we finally stumbled into our house around 2:30 am Sunday morning. And so concluded our trip to Belize.
All underwater pictures were taken by Steve Dietel, photographer extraordinaire.
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