Archive for the ‘Belize’ Category
We have to be proud of our environmental pioneers here in Belize as they have every intention of ensuring our reef retains and indeed flourishes under their guidance! The Belize Shark Project, just one of those groups have spent the last two weeks recording data of the various sharks in the area and tagging them at the same time.
The purpose of this is to protect the ever decreasing shark population on our reef due to fishing . Sharks are apex predators that sit at or near the top of the food chain. They are vital components of healthy and functional marine ecosystems, playing key roles in structuring fish communities and fostering reef resilience.
The research enables us to understand better the habits and habitats of the sharks up in Northern Belize. With sharks maturing so slowly it is important that they all reach the age to reproduce and also ensure that their breeding grounds are not disturbed by any fishing whatsoever. The BSP has been there to educate the general public as to why they should not eat and fish shark and also lobby for additional rules and regulations to safe-guard these amazing fish.
The research areas were the Corazol bay, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve with our Nurse Sharks. The key drivers behind this project is the well regarded Rachel Graham – Marine Biologist and active Environmentalist (in fact participating on one of the outings was a gentleman writing and article on Rachel for Mens Journal), much of the Belize Dive Services staff (including Chip Petersen the owner) and Hllmar.
The work is time consuming and expensive but our marine environmental warriors continually strive to protect what arguably is Belize’s jewel in her crown – thank you to all concerned!!
And they are here … what you might ask … the Sandflies!! As October the 1st hit (the normal time of the year for these pesky creatures to appear) these tiny little irritants appeared here in Caye Caulker, and probably the rest of Belize too!!
Sandflies, sandflies, sand gnat or no-see-um/ noseeum – they are all the same, a tiny midge. No bigger than a pin head they almost seem like flying dust but their bite is more ferocious than that of a mosquito! They live in the sand and therefore they are attracted to white and light and therefore anybody with pale skin (and particularly those who are new to these parts like tourists) beware! Red itchy bumps appear that may well turn into a rash for those who have not had the fortune to bump into these creatures before – for us locals we are still left with an intense itching sensation without any marks. Neither scenario is pleasant!
The only prevention (and it is indeed 100% effective and indeed environmentally friendly) is baby oil. Agreed you lube your body up sufficiently enough that you look like you want to enter a ‘strong man’ competition and indeed you may slide off any seat you may choose to sit upon, however, those suckers wings just clog up in the oil and they die a pleasant death!!
This period and their time with us, in our experience is short lived – the higher winds that come to us at the end of October flush their presence out here on the island entirely – for this we are blessed and therefore we will bide our time and baby oil ourselves up each day with much humor. In the meantime, think of us and our little critters and say a tiny little prayer that they are gone as quick as they came!!
We have always known we are special but it is always flattering when the leader of environmental issues and photography decide to focus their latest issue on our reef!!
The Mesoamerican Reef region lies within the Caribbean Sea and touches the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. It contains the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands. The greater part of this reef residing in Belizean waters.
National Geographic have highlighted the features of the reef, a number of which have been photographed in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the majority of which have been taken somewhere in Belize!
The article is excellent for Belize and those interested in snorkeling, scuba diving and the marine environment in general as it indicates that it is a far healthier and abundant than its larger counterpart over in Australia – big up Belize!!!
For us Belizean’s it is the holiday of the year, the one that everybody, and I mean everybody, celebrates the birth of their independence back 31 years ago. Here in Caye Caulker the streets have been adorned with the red, white and blue of the Belizean flag for the entire month of September but it is really the 20th and 21st on the Caye that we really celebrate the month.
The eve of Independence was Thursday night and all islanders, from young to old were out to watch the spectacle of the fireworks – they did not disappoint, and for tourists in the crowd they were treated to a display of international standards to see in our 21st!
And then onto the parade … it is a spectacle that probably only us islanders can really appreciate – one that brings smiles on every bodies faces for their hearts burn with Belizean pride as we dance in the streets. It is the one day of the year that you can see all that characters that you know and love in a different light … the staff of Atlantic bank synchronizing themselves to Byron Lee plusLouise Aguilar and her aerobic class never disappoint!!
Music and food continued on in the Park for the rest of the afternoon and into the night … right up until the heavens opened with what feels like the first real rain since July!!!
Well done again to all concerned – Independence remains one of my most favorite of holidays!!!
The pride of all Belizean’s overflows during the month of September and nowhere better can it be seen than during the Carnival to celebrate the 10th September. This Saturday, was no exception. The city comes alive as its inhabitants prepare for this annual spectacle.
Like many countries around the world, Belize is totally broke – and with 90% of Belizeans under the poverty line, you would have expected the budget for what some may consider, non-necessities (like costumes for Carnival) being low or non existant. But this Saturday showed us all Belize’s heart, her pride and her glory in full color on the streets of Belize as float after float slowly paraded down the streets. Belizeans expressed their love for their country as they danced to celebrate their independence and 10th September – and they did so in style!
From the Caribbean flavor of the Coca Cola truck’s steel drum pirates to Lova Boy singing live on the Belikin truck – the crowd were wowed with crew after crew’s performance and costumes. Yes the country is in desperate need of financial assistance – but what is clear is that the country is bursting with National pride and is fully capable of putting on a parade to rival that of Rio itself!!
This is the month where we in Belize and Caye Caulker celebrate two significant dates in Belize’s history – firstly 10th September – the Battle of St Georges Caye, where the Baymen fought off the Spaniards to defend their territory. And secondly 21st September is Belize’s Independence.
So the month of September becomes one that we find every reason to party or even to adorn our houses, our golf carts and even ourselves in National pride – red, white and blue! Tomorrow, many (not all) will travel to the City to watch the carnival take place – this is a colorful extravaganza in notably sweltering heat!!
So … as the celebrations begin … we wish to welcome in the month of September and enjoy all it has to offer us!!
Friday will be the night of great celebration when Paradiso’s Outdoor Cinema will present Belize’s first motion picture – Kurse a Di Xtabai!
This movie was not only filmed in Belize, by an all Belizean cast and crew but it is also in Kriol!! The film is a supernatural thriller that is set to impress and along with the fact that the screening will also have the cast making an appearance, it sure is something that we should not miss!!
So come on out and support Belize’s first motion picture – showings are on Friday 7th September at 6.30pm and 8.30pm and tickets can be bought in advance from Paradiso Cafe!
For anyone that is interested in our welfare and indeed wanting to keep up-to-date with the changes in forecast and current weather, then we will be at the end of the internet (as long as communication will allow!!).
As far as Ernesto goes, all storms are to be respected – mother nature can produce enormous amounts of damage if we were not to heed warnings, however, we are not expecting anything more than perhaps a strong Cat 1 (the models vacillate between strong Tropical Storm and weak Hurricane). I would imagine that by the end of the day today we will be under at least a Tropical Storm Watch/ Warning or perhaps even a Hurricane Watch/ Warning and those with boats (including Raggamuffin) will commence putting them on land most likely this afternoon and tonight.
However today and indeed this morning, the weather looks beautiful … you would never imagine that a storm would be pressing down on us!! We will be undertaking tours today, ensuring that those who have taken the time to come to this fair island will at least get time in the water!!
Tomorrow we would expect the weather conditions to start to change ie clouds and increase in thunderstorms. We have had a particularly dry later July and August – very little rain at all for the past two weeks, we are due for some rain at least – however, we are all crossing fingers that the wind and as importantly, the surge remains as low as possible so that the island sustains little to no damage (which is likely from the force of winds predicted!!).
We are prepared and that is the key – we are used to this by now and I could almost guaranteed that by Thursday, it will be business as usual – however, in the meantime, your thoughts and small prayers for us down here would be very much welcomed!!
GO AWAY ERNESTO – You are not welcome!!
Back on the 2nd July our own Hol Chan Marine Reserve celebrated it’s 25th birthday!! The marine world is struggling at the moment with the news of oil spills and decline in health of the reef but here in Belize, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a beacon of hope for all of those invested in the marine world.
The Hol Chan Marine Reseve was created 25 years ago through a combination of Government and World Wildlife Conservation Society – the intentions: for education for both the public and particularly conservationists to study the reef in Belize and internationally!
To this day we at Raggamuffin have to thank those involved for the beauty that they have sustained and in so many ways created in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – as it is this that makes Belize so very unique on the international map!!
For the full article in National Geographic click here.
Once again Belize tops the voters best of listings and this time, its a big one. Travel and Leisure Magazine is one of the largest (5 million readership) and most respected international travel magazines and websites. The BTB announced last week that in its August edition of this year it will reveal its worlds best travel destinations and of course Belize will be right up there.
Since January of 2012, Belize has received a number of recognitions from a variety of publications around the world including leading travel web and social media sites, magazines and newspapers – However this definitely is one that has the most significance!
Well done Belize!!