Archive for the ‘Belize’ Category
Whether you are a mother or you have a mother, Mother’s Day is a day to be recognized and celebrate the beauty of mothers and motherhood. Mothers Day is celebrated on a variety of different dates around the world – today is 10th May and in Central America, this is the official day of celebration (although many will celebrate on Sunday too)!!
Although for many reading this today may not be their countries actual Mothers Day, the sentiments remain the same whatever day of the year and therefore we give thanks to all mothers and indeed grandmothers around the world!
No Love like a Mother’s Love
There is no love, like a mother’s love,
no stronger bond on earth…
like the precious bond that comes from God,
to a mother, when she gives birth.
A mother’s love is forever strong,
never changing for all time…
and when her children need her most,
a mother’s love will shine.
God bless these special mothers,
God bless them every one…
for all the tears and heartache,
and for the special work they’ve done.
When her days on earth are over,
a mother’s love lives on…
through many generations,
with God’s blessings on each one.
Be thankful for our mothers,
for they love with a higher love…
from the power God has given,
and the strength from up above.
by Jill Lemming
To all our Raggamuffin Mothers as well as all those mothers of Raggamuffins – we shout out loud and proud – Happy Mothers Day from Caye Caulker!!!
The highlight of a child’s year as a 6 year old attending the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School is their school trip. For those who are unaware of the process for these activities, the Government schools are heavily under funded and for many of the children’s necessities (including their holiday celebrations and excursions) come very much fall on the parents. PTA committees are set up for each class to offer assistance by raising funds through a variety of events such as food sales and raffles- thus has been the process for raising the funds for this specific trip.
The Belize River, once a location for the logging industry, now a tourist attraction in its own right as the lush forest that fringes the river holds dense flora and fauna. Such was the choice of Infant II for their school outing last week – a decision that had been made some months ago by the parents and one that did not disappoint.
The morning was a sultry hot morning with little to now wind as the entire class was accompanied each by a parent (and may be even an additional child) for the 7am departure at the water taxi. There was definitely excitement in the air as this particular excursion is one attraction not undertaken by many of the Caye Caulker residence and therefore eagerly awaited. After an a minor mix up with boats, we were off at a slightly later than anticipated 7.30am to Belize City. There was a small change of boat in Belize City (plus a quick toilet break for those who required it) and we were off to our destination – the mouth of the Belize River itself.
On route, just to show that this class was truly blessed, a small pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins decided we were their interest for the morning. For this class, many of whom had never seen a dolphin before, were mesmerized by the families display around the boat as they swam around us for some time!
And then we were on to the Swallow Caye Reserve – home of the wonderful Indian Manatee. Our boat was too big to be ‘poled’ through the actual reserve itself so we went around, however, this did not stop all on board (after our wonderful dolphin display) feeling that luck was on our side and a manatee sighting was almost expected. For manatees today was not the day for us, not without trying – perhaps that will be next years school trip??
The boat slowed down to a snails pace whilst traveling up the meandering river and our fantastic Tour Guide, Dario, took us through the sights and sounds of this majestical place. As we travelled we we learnt about the trees and animals that we encountered on our journey – turtles, huge iguanas, many crocodiles sun bathing in the hot sun and even a family of howler monkeys. When we were not watching the animals in this habitat we were studying the trees from mahogany to bukut and bullet trees and the list goes on!!
The sun was hot and there was little wind and after well over an hour all were tired but more than happy with what they had seen. The journey’s end was the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom up the Belize River. From here were were served lunch under the shade of the trees beside the river. The children, although many had been slowly feeding on snacks throughout the morning, still found appetite for the healthy portions of burgers, chicken fingers and even rice and beans, all washed down with grape juice!
After lunch finished the pool beckoned. We had not been expecting any water relief but a few had hoped for a swim break and brought their swim attire in hope (or some would say in efficient preparation for the tour!!!). Those that had were rewarded in a swim in the pool – those that had not (which was the majority), fell into tears!! Very soon, the resort managers broke their own rules and allowed these hot and excitable children jump to do something that they do not do very often on Caye Caulker – swim in a pool – and for most of them, they were wearing only their underwear!!!
This water relief on an extremely hot day was quite the icing on the cake for the children (and many of their siblings) of Infant II as it cooled them off for their hour and a half journey home by boat, directly to Caye Caulker.
For many the boat ride was an opportunity to take a quick sleep but definitely for all the journey back for these weary adventurers was more subdued than the journey up the river!!
Last week we touched on the work of the Belize Shark Project and today we will continue.
To summarize, the shark population in Belize has decreased alarmingly here in Belize due to overfishing. The BSP intends through research, education and regulation to stem this decline and therefore to sustain healthy and functional ecosystems.
Education is high on the priorities for Rachel Graham (Belize’s resident shark expert/ aquatic Jane Godall and pioneer of the BSP). Due to Rachel’s successful work in protecting the magnificent Whale Sharks off the coast of Belize and Mexico she won the 2011 Gold Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature based in the UK. These funds she channels back into education in her community by two pronged approach.
Firstly informing those currently within the industry of the importance of the sharks in their ecosystem – meetings were held in both Caye Caulker and San Pedro the beginning of this month. And then secondly and equally as importantly to educate the youth of the Belize that sharks are not to be feared but encourage them to protect them for the future of their ocean.
Yesterday was one of those special days for 20 students from Punta Gorda traveled down to Belize City for a weekend of their dreams. Their original destination was the Shark and Ray Alley in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve but due to the unexpected strong North West wind, the trip was re-routed to the slightly smaller Caye Caulker Marine Reserve Shark and Ray Village.
Their vessel was the limosine of the water – Belize Dive Services, Maera and therefore their ride out was smooth and without problems. The students and their three teachers, oblivious to the difference in reserve were still absolutely delighted at their very first experience out with the numbers of stingrays and of course the sharks. All students successfully got into the water and interacted with the marine life and conquered their fears whilst gaining confidence that these sharks were indeed nothing that they should fear.
As if icing on the cake .. the students, as a reward for their good endeavors, were brought back to Caye Caulker for lunch at 88 West. After lunch and all the chatter about their morning each student received a certificate by Rachel that titled them as a ‘Belize Shark Ambassador’!!! And then their final ride home and back to Belize City.
Previously students from Sarteneja had undertaken a similar day out to Hol Chan. If you want to enjoy their experience, click here for the video for this wonderful day.
These small but pivotal steps towards educating our youth in Belize plays a huge role in the safety of these very much endangered creatures – thank you Rachel, the BSP and BDS!!!!
On April 21, 2012 in Belize
The following article was written in the Huffington Post, Travel Section just yesterday.
Although the article features hotels in Ambergris Caye and even San Pedro, this extremely popular internet newspaper reaches the perfect audience for Caye Caulker too and endorses the fact that we here in Belize have it all!! To read it click here.
Many of you realize that the environment around us is fragile and if we wish to have conserve its strength and beauty for our future generations, then we need to work together – but many do not realize that for our well known and loved marine ecosystem here in Belize, the shark population is key to its longevity.
Rachel Graham, the Shark Expert here in Belize, came to Caye Caulker yesterday to inform us of the work that she is doing with the assistance of Belize Dive Services, on Sharks here in Northern Belize. Rachel’s work prior to this was done with the Whale Sharks down in the South of Belize and now that their populations are not high risk, she has turned her attention to both sharks and their lesser known cousins the rays.
Rachel told us ‘The world is finally learning that many populations of sharks and rays are in global decline as a result of excessive fishing pressure. With tens of millions of sharks and an unknown quantity of rays captured yearly as by catch to the tuna and swordfish fisheries and as targeted catch to supply the voracious demands of the Asian fin soup market and the Lenten season’s requirement for white meat.’
Sharks, in their role as apex predators, play a vital role in healthy and functional marine ecosystems and commercial fish stocks. However the fact that they have few offspring, live long lives and mature often in their teens means that as a species they are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and therefore a great risk of being fished out!!!
With no time like the present, we are answering her call for attention and in our own small way, we intend to assist and back her endeavors in order to protect our reef that we so love!!
Next week I will write about how Rachel and the Belize Shark Project Team hope to prevent the shark population of Belize being diminished but, if you cannot wait until then, please feel free to find further information on www.belizesharkproject.org!
This year’s Easters festivities were far the best that I have ever experienced in all my many years on this beautiful island. It was a combination of factors … both the Split’s entertainment and Easter Temptation were excellent, the energy on Caye Caulker was a positive one and all were here to have fun, not to give trouble. The police presence was a positive and well organized and of course, the those whose responsibility was to keep our island clean worked hard at doing that!!
The Lobsterfest Committee need to be applauded for their Easter Temptation leaving us to only wonder how good this year’s Lobsterfest will be!!! The venue was attractively put together, the line up kept everyone dancing all weekend long and their selection of games innovative and onlookers enjoyed them immensely. Raggamuffin sponsored the cash prize for the greasy pole – Ish did a fantastic job at the ‘bottom man’ but unfortunately his team was not the eventual winners.
The Split were not to be defeated and the new beach had three tents, a second Heinekan bar and even additional toilets for the event. This was definitely the location to be during the day yesterday as Electosounds played for the island – the surrounding water acting as a fantastic way to beat the heat whilst enjoy the party!
Congratulations to all involved in this Easter’s celebrations – roll on Lobsterfest 2012 – it just cannot come quick enough!!
For those of you who are not lucky enough to be with us, we will keep you updated on the excitement on Caye Caulker as much as possible. Although the party has officially not commenced, the stages are set and they far outweigh any that we have seen before here on Caye Caulker!!!
Alongside the excitement for the evening, the Tour Guide Association Sailing Regatta 2012 took place and once again, Raggamuffin’s Crew were Champions taking 1st in the larger sailboat race and 2nd in the Open. Jimmy, Patrick, Jerry and Shane were the team that took honors (on the lovely Ragga Gal) – congratulations guys!
Easter Temptation at the Palapa Gardens looks set to be the place to be as the venue has been decked out with a lounge style furniture plus dancefloor, it looks too good to waste on just one nights events!!! Although nobody has been taking advantage of this area today, tonight will be a different thing as the DJ will make us understand why it has been named ‘temptation’!!
The split is, as you would expect, crowded today with everybody doing their best to beat the heat. The new beach being put to use as the area where the band will be playing!
Easter, in the Belizean calendar, is that where one and all go on vacation – Businesses close in the cities and this leaves four days for everybody to relax and play. So this is our time to be centre of attention, a moment where Caye Caulker’s population will triple in the next few hours and the entertainment has been laid on, Caye Caulker style!!!
Easter Temptation is being billed as the event not to mis (and I am inclined to believe them!!). The Palapa Garden (at the Centre of town, opposite Da Real Macaw) will be the focus of the weekend bringing Belize’s Artist of the Year Nello Player and Federation 501 to entertain the crowds on Saturday night, dancing under the full moon!! On Sunday day there will be the Tour Guide’s Association Sailing Regatta with both small and large boats and even windsurfs I believe. In the afternoon we are all looking forward to the games .. there are promised to be large cash prizes for Raggamuffin’s Greasy Pole competition and many many more … fun for everybody!! And finally on Sunday night, the party will continue to 1am!
And this is not all .. the Split too will be having their own very impressive Easter bash. They have brought the live bands Electosounds (from Orange Walk) and also a band from Mexico – as well as porter toilets for our convenience later in the evening!! Once again, with a back drop of the moon plus the ocean view, revelers will be able to drink and dance until they drop!!!
So hurry, hurry, hurry – if your ticket is not already booked then you may miss out!!
We are proud to announce that Belize and indeed our own very beautiful Hol Chan Marine Reserve is topping the list for best diving and snorkeling locations in the world!
The National Newspaper based in the Unite Arab Emirates voted Belize’s reef as No 2 in the world and, although we will allow them a small discrepancy (Belize should have been No 1) we very much agree that we earn yet another recognition for our beautiful reef!!
In preparation for the upcoming Easter festivities and of course to consistantly upgrade and improve our islands beauty, the Split has gained additional beach.
In previous blogs you have witnessed the construction of this beach but finally it is complete. Tourists today were finding their way back to the west side of the split as the beach is now extended and from what we can see, there is full approval!!
Roll on Easter Temptation …!!