We are all aware, living on our tiny little island paradise, that we are all blessed!!! Our simple lifestyle is different from that of those in the larger world and its simplicity is part of its enormous beauty! This has been proved by a totally charming book that has been written by our resident yoga guru Jessica Retseck Wigh.
Jessica, originally from Indiana, lives on the island with her husband Brad and their two young sons. She appreciates the carefree lifestyle of the children born and raised her on the Caye and has decided to write a book to illustrate this and we LOVE IT!!
For more information on the book and how to purchase click here.
For us at Raggamuffin, we cannot help but see the uncanny resemblance to our very own Malik Jones, son of the owners Jimmy and Charlie – do you see it too??
This month we want to say thank you to our beautiful ‘Ragga Queen’ – she has tirelessly and effortlessly traveled up and down Belize’s reef gifting the perfect adventure for all those that ride her. She for many years has been our largest boat, our most comfortable ride as she was brought on to take us to the ‘next level’.
As of the end of May she will come 2nd in line to Ragga Empress, our new catamaran which will once again give our overnight customers the comfort and class that they very much deserve but in the fanfare we may forget our Queen! Fear not, Queen will not be put up to pasture but may spend more time around Caye Caulker, undertaking the Hol Chan day snorkeling tour!!
So for now, we will extend our heartfelt thanks to this classy boat that has traveled more of Belize’s inner reef than any other in this country, by making her our Facebook profile!!
On April 25, 2013 in Video
With the ocean beside us and indeed all around us here in Caye Caulker the local boys become adventurous as to what activities they can undertake both above and underneath the water – this video shows exactly how creative a Sunday afternoon can be with a group of boys attempting and indeed succeeding at biking underwater – well done boys!!
Yesterday, after what started out to be one of the greatest days in Caye Caulker history, ended with the loss of our dear friend Lionel ‘Chocolate’ Heredia! He died peacefully in his house on the island with his wife Annie at 83 years old – his passing away leaving us all deeply saddened!!
For as long as I have known Chocolate has been Raggamuffin’s neighbor and friend, a mentor and a true support right from the beginning! His continued efforts towards protecting everything that inhabits our Belizean ocean were deservedly recognized with awards by all with any form of investment in her. He will be most recognized for his work to protect the Belizean manatee and indeed Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary – his work creating a legacy for generations to come.
For us at Raggamuffin we will miss our neighbor and friend as we look out of our office – no longer will we see him scuttle past the office to go and purchase his afternoon’s sweet bun – he was part of our family and our daily lives and we are now forced to adjust to life without him – RIP dear friend, you will forever be in our hearts!!
In all my years being here I cannot think of one that will be so pivotal for Caye Caulker’s future. Today the Hon Manuel Heredia (along with our local Caye Caulker Village Council) will give away 150 lots of land to the good honest people of Caye Caulker – all of them located on the North side of Caye Caulker!!
It’s times like this that make you proud of nominating the good people into office in our Village Council as it looks like the very difficult process of selecting the lucky 150 new land owners has been done objectively, honestly and to the benefit of our community! It is the youth of our village that will today have their lives changed for the better – those who have not had the benefit of been given land before, persons who have lived here for more than 15 years or so and those not likely to sell it for mere profit!!!
From here on in – the backbone of our village the future of our island paradise will have the opportunity not only to build and make a home on their new gift of land but and almost as important, the title now can be held as collateral for loans to create or even improve a business. This changes everything – this is a blessing for our community and one it very much deserves!!
Today is a day I will not forget – a day which I gained renewed faith in the official bodies that govern us, a day which I feel that Caye Caulker’s youth have been a much needed gift to help them prosper – thank you for all concerned, today is indeed a good day!!
On March 14, 2013 in Exploring Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker could possibly be sitting on the LARGEST MARINE CAVE IN THE WORLD!!! It’s a big statement but something that the well regarded National Geographic will take their time to explore in 2014, along with the elite in the dive world, lead by James Petersen or ‘Chip’ from Belize Dive Service and his team of researchers!!
Although many of us have been unwittingly sitting on this cave for most of our lives, the recent developments for the cave will prove monumental for the Caye – the increase in visibility on the dive map as experts and tourists alike will flock to see this unique natural beauty. Not forgetting the impact this will have on the earth science world (biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists etc) as this cave acts as a time capsule preserving life forms and conditions of a more ancient earth. And finally giving Caye Caulker global recognition for a truly magnificent natural marine creation as unparalleled as say Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon!!
The story so far is this … the cave was first explored back in 1981 when the first owners of Belize Dive Services Paul Heinerth (to this day an International cave diving pioneer and author of many books on the subject) and Chuck Hattel dug into the cave. Frank Bountain took over the shop shortly after and amounted over 500 dives in the cave itself – thus becoming the person who has dove the cave most to this date. These pioneers amassed significant initial information that included basic mapping and even documented research.
Frank left Belize Dive Services in 1995 and from then there was no active diving undertaken in the cave until November 2012 when Chip Petersen and Bill Oestreich ‘Bert’ – both recognized Cave Dive Instructors entered the cave once more. Chip and Dani Petersen bought Belize Dive Services back in 2009 and have already been contributing to the longevity of our marine environment by funding the Belize Shark Project. Chip’s real dream in purchasing BDS was to follow the footsteps of his predecessors and access the cave system to allow Belize to realize the potentials of this natural beauty so when his mentor, Bert, turned up on Caye Caulker he seized the opportunity.
So to date, Chip, Bill and Marty O’Farell from San Pedro (all qualified and heavily experienced Cave Divers) have been re-tracing steps. Chip has been given approvals and in particular the Permit by the Department of Archeology and the Environment the for surveying, mapping and scientific research in the caves of Belize. Together they have been making accurate surveys through computer technology and thus far verifying and giving greater accuracy to the original data.
In the years and months to come the cave will attract the elite in the dive world to come and see for themselves this natural treasure of Belize (and indeed Caye Caulker!!). From a commercial perspective, Chip together with the Village Council Chairman Alberto Villenueva, has pushed for the area between and including Tarpon View and the caves as a mini reserve – co-managed by the Village Council and the Dept of Archaeology. Their aim is that a significant proportion of the profit of the reserve lies firmly in the hands of Caye Caulker and not, like the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve or even the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, monies are used elsewhere by the Government!! This means that the money goes back into the community that it serves ie Caye Caulker!!
Chip is anxious that Belizeans get involved in the cave but stresses the dangers for those diving the cave. All divers must go through a 15 day course to learn the specifics and skills of Cave Diving before accessing the cave. Safety concerns are essential for those without the capacity to use the specialized equipment and techniques. Experienced divers are the most frequent divers to lose their life in cave diving – this was illustrated by 2 lives being lost in this same cave back in 80′s – this is a situation which Chip very much wishes to avoid!!
For this reason the Belize Cave Diving Society has been established to promote safe and responsible cave diving in Belize. Rules for guiding will be based on established methods used worldwide and a Cave Management Protocol created for all cave divers. For more information please look on Facebook for updates on information as and when they have it!
This news of our hidden gem underneath Caye Caulker is indeed welcome news to all that care for her and indeed Belize – that which we know already and the possibilities are enormous and truthfully beyond what we can imagine at this point. It is causing a great deal of excitement for those connected with it and we applaud all those who have actively taken their part in making this dream become a reality!!
On February 23, 2013 in Photographs
As February draws to close we have to express a small sigh of relief as to the gorgeous weather conditions we have had and the bustling energy of the island! I wish every month was like February!!
Caye Caulker truly glows at the moment as businesses are enjoying the income the high season is generating and as they each individually put it back into their businesses! A number of businesses have set up brand new front street locations giving the tourist on this island a greater (and more colorful) selection and choice for their time on the island – Black Durgeon Dive Shop is now located right beside Happy Lobster and the additional space now gives them greater visibility for what was already a fantastic product but also greater room to assit their customers.
Barefoot Fisherman has brought its operation from the back to the front street beside the split – right next to the Jetski rentals. These guys are one of the few Operators which focus on the very popular activity of fishing and therefore they are sure to take off!
And last but not least … one of my favorites, Scoop Dis has located her delicious ice cream and pastry shop to a opposite the Sandbox. This cleverly acquired land has given her greater space for her customers to enjoy her delights and given her well deserved more visibility as she was situated in a rather congested part of town!
A round of applause to all of those on Caye Caulker who are stepping up to the plate and raising the standards of businesses here on Caye Caulker – together we will grow and prosper as individuals, but benefiting the greater good of our island paradise – Caye Caulker!!
On February 13, 2013 in Photographs
The annual Raggamuffin Awards were held on Monday night. The idea behind this evening is for Management to thank the staff for their hard work over the year and to recognize six of the crew members for outstanding performance.
Raggamuffin is now a very large and very well oiled machine and I believe from the bottom of my heart that each and every single employee has a small but SIGNIFICANT part in her success. Without consistency of excellence throughout the team, Raggamuffin’s reputation would not be what it is today.
The evening commenced with cocktails and conch ceviche, followed by a Belizean favorite being turkey and ham with rice and beans and potato salad (not forgetting delicious cranberry, onion sauce and gravy!!). The focal point of the evening were the Awards which were presented by owners Jimmy and Charlie Jones.
Three of the six awards were secretly nominated by the staff and each winner received a trophy, either a champagne or Black Label and a cash prize. This year’s best Newcomer was won by Vito - his easy going and professional nature loved by both passengers and the rest of the crew. The Sales lady of the year was hotly contested (in fact most of the crew really could not decide on which of the wonderful Edith, Adela and Madai as they are all so loved!) – but in the end our tireless Manager Edith won the vote and very surprised she collected her award. Raggamuffin’s crew personality of the year again had a number of favorites there or there abouts – but the final winner was Chilo – who even gave us a ‘belly dance’ when he received his award!!!
The last three awards were in fact voted by the general public – we tallied the number of times each crew member were mentioned on TripAdvisor over the past year and thus we created our statistics. The side man of the year was our one and only sweet Li Shane – his infectious smile and his humble character always be one that everybody loves. And for the second of the year was Dane – only arriving at Raggamuffin a year ago Dane has fitted in like a glove within the crew and the office – and yet it does appear he is also a favorite of the public. And to top our Awards was TripAdvisor’s personality of the year who was Kevin – outstanding at his job, passionate about the environment and just one of the nicest people you will ever meet in Belize – Kevin definitely deserves his Award and we are immensely proud of all his achievements!!
Once the awards were complete, we all made a toast with champagne to Raggamuffin (as we do love ourselves!!) – we have been blessed with much good fortune over the years and we hope many years still to come!
On February 09, 2013 in News
It is not often that you genuinely believe that you have witnessed something short of a miracle but I feel that this week has been one of those instances.
One of Caye Caulker’s greatest characters, Ras Creek (Bert Nicholas) fell into a coma last Saturday. He had been complaining of headaches and had not moved out of bed for three days and by Saturday his girlfriend realized something was far from correct. Creek was moved to the hospital where it was discovered he had not one but two blood clots on his brain and he was operated on. Doctors removed the clots successfully but felt that his prognosis was not good due to the injury and they worried that he perhaps would at least be disabled or even die.
On Wednesday morning the Doctors decided to ‘wake’ him up and by the afternoon he was singing and making jokes in the hospital bed!! Improvements have been so speedy that Doctors are now confident that Creek will have a full recovery!!
For me, this is a miracle – this and coupled with the amazing strength and resilience this true champion, pulled Creek from a desperate situation back to life!!! Or perhaps it was the power of prayer – Creek rightly so (due to his enormous heart and his impossibly infectious character) is a minor celebrity and is loved all over the world. The outpouring of international love that were willing him back to health was truly for that of a superstar – truly amazing! He and his rasta boat is synonymous with Caye Caulker and life without here would not be the same.
We do not need to consider life without Ras Creek because as of today he is out of intensive care and on the long road to recovery – and that I feel is a miracle!!
Ok so here it is the party of the century – but I have to apologize as you are not invited!!
Yearly we have a crew party (generally around Xmas) and within the party we give out Awards to reward those have over achieved over the past year. This year at Xmas there was no time and importantly no budget for a Raggamuffin party – not in the style that the crew demand, so on Monday 11th Feb we will be date for the Raggamuffin Awards 2013.
The party will be hosted at Paradiso’s Cinema as it will be closing its doors for the occasion and crew and their significant others are invited. The evening will be one to allow the entire crew to celebrate our success together at one time (as there is very rarely a time when all of us are together due to the overnight tours) and of course for a few to receive their Awards.
This will all be washed down with plenty of drinks and a delicious dinner – and I promise we will fill you in with photos afterwards!!