Archive for the ‘Caye Caulker’ Category
Seasons cycle, and September begins. Among many things, September brings a window portal into the local scene.
September brings the classic feel of Caye Caulker, the feel of a quaint fishing village captured in a 1960s shot with a filmy grain photo filter that emits the relaxation and serenity of an undiscovered tropical paradise. The sun and the moon dictate the only concept of time; nothing is gained nor lost in a few minutes of time, so don’t rush. Throw yourself into a timeless bliss. September brings the true essence of our motto, “Go Slow,” that invites a spirit of renewal. Travelers, backpackers, and vacationers –all those who visit need no agenda. Come and just be. The sea is yours. Camouflage yourself against the mosaic strips of aqua and blue. It’s a time when the island truly feels as though it were your own, the time of year when visitors are caught into devotion and fall into the temptation of making Caye Caulker a permanent place of retreat.
For residents, September brings a slight pause in the hustle of daily business, but brings in the bustle of a new school year. As parents align fresh uniforms for their children and tighten their children’s schedules, children in turn enjoy a brand new set of school supplies, and brag about their next grade level. It’s a time when parents, all too much, seem as if it were they themselves returning to school as they gear their children back towards a studious mindset.
For the Northern Hemisphere, summer is over, but for our tropical zone, the warmth continues. And while September brings a picturesque, slower pace, the party continues. September brings holidays, and days off -reasons to gather and stay festive with celebrations to honor the country’s two most important national holidays: The Battle of St. George’s Caye, and Independence Day. Here on Caye Caulker, proud business owners raise the Belizean flag and dress their storefronts with blue and red streamers, while others drape blue and red fiesta flags through and across Caye Caulker’s Front Street. Throughout the country, Belizeans commemorate the two events with back to back cultural festivities which can last up to three weeks, kicking off as early as September 1st with speeches, contests, and performances, then onto September 10th to commemorate The Battle of St. George’s Caye, often with a traditional regatta, and continuing on until September 21st with a Carnival to celebrate the day Belize received its independence from Great Britain. On Caye Caulker, residents will be enjoying mini parades along Front Street, a fair, and ceremonies at the Palapa Beach. Visitors, frequent or new, will connect with the quaint feel September brings.
With heartfelt pride and solidarity, we highlight the social initiatives and large strides Belizean NGO, Special Envoy has implemented and continues to implement with its mission of “advancing the welfare and well-being of Belizean Children.” Today the Belizean community joins together in raising funds towards the Inspiration Center, a facility benefitting disadvantaged and differently abled children in need of physical, speech, occupational, or mental therapy, rehabilitation, as well as education. With children comprising nearly 50% of the Belizean population, it becomes imperative to ensure that children have access and mobility towards a quality of life. Special Envoy encourages all sectors of society to pitch in and indeed, it takes a village to raise a child.
Today, the second annual telethon will take place with donation booths set up in different communities throughout the country. Here on Caye Caulker, the donation booth will be located at Jan’s Place on Front Street. Last year, the telethon raised $500,000 USD which went to constructing the building. This year, the telethon hopes to target another $500,000 USD to cover costs of the facility’s equipment. We are inspired by the action and effort that carries the hope of our children in need, and we are blessed to experience the community spirit that embodies the Belizean community.
If you wish to learn more about the Inspiration Center and Special Envoy, or participate by donation, please view complete information from this link: Inspiration Center – Second Annual Telethon.
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??
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 January 31, 2013 in Caye Caulker
All year round we talk about the weather and, when you live on an island that’s lifestyle is so linked to the elements, it becomes the focus of your lives and livelihood!!
Dry season or wet season, lets be real, we can receive rainfall at any point in the year – we live in the tropics and for holiday makers expecting perfect weather it becomes hugely disappointing when the weather is less than perfect – we understand!!
We live our lives glued to various weather sites, trying to accurately predict the weather for the benefit for both our customers on our sailboats and less so for ourselves. The science of meteorology is not an exact science – that which defines the weather is constantly changing and yet we are considered responsible for the weather changing!!! – Go figure.
I can understand it – you save all year for your annual vacation, you strategically plan for your suntan, your idilic photos on the beach and your cocktails at sunset – and when you arrive to when you depart all you see is rain, grey skies and chilly breeze!! It can happen (luckily very rarely), but it can happen!!
As a company, like all others that take their tours out onto our gorgeous reef, we conscientiously assess the weather and based on the forecast the eve of the trip and we cancel and postpone accordingly! Never would any operator want customers to go out on a tour in conditions that are unsafe and also uncomfortable our desire to do business is not that great!!
However time and time again we are faced with tourists disappointment for two scenarios – firstly, when we cancel a trip based on the weather forecast. Most I have to admit fully understand and are indeed grateful for our vigilance but, as one of our latest TripAdvisor reports shows, some think we are downright unprofessional for canceling!! I have heard cries of ‘I am from Canada/England etc and we are used to a little rain!!’ … ‘This is far better than the weather we are receiving at home lately, I want the tour to go ahead’.
The second scenario is by far the one that creates the larger concern. It’s that then the perfect weather forecast changes to down right horrible hours after departing from Caye Caulker. Whether passengers are on an overnight or a day trip to Hol Chan our hearts go with you. This scenario is luckily rare but nevertheless when it does happen, I am proud to say that my crew continuously rise to the occasion! Efforts are made to keep all comfortable, to ensure that snorkeling and fishing are still going ahead and above all, ensure that passengers are still, despite of the grey skies and sometimes rainfall, have the time of their life!
The past week’s bad weather is an example of how inaccurate the weather forecast has been and the pre-longed conditions made it unbearable for locals, never mind the saddened tourists! I am sorry to say that at least 3 trips went out in conditions that, if we had the ability of hindsight, would have been cancelled. This is January – a month when we are blighted with changeable weather – not the whole month but intermittently really until mid Feb/ March when everything becomes more consistent.
And finally (to end) this I think is by way a small apology for any of those persons we have disappointed, not intentionally but unintentionally by not ‘providing’ the weather conditions their dream holiday was based on. In so many ways we completely understand – which is why we do take time and do cancel and postpone trips. However, I do believe that Belize still looks beautiful, even in the rain!!!
Rachel Graham made her way to Caye Caulker to ask for the assistance of all Tour Guide and indeed Fisherman for research into Belize’s Shark Project. She visited many of the operators and even held a question and answer session at Raggamuffin to inform the Guides of how fundamental they will be in gathering data on both the shark and the stingrays in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.
Rachel, winner of the 2011 Gold Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature, has been instrumental protecting Belize’s reef – championing our cause to ensure that we maintain the highest levels of biodiversity. The Belize Shark Project is both Rachel and Caye Caulker’s Belize Dive Services ongoing work in educating and researching our apex predator to ensure that our reefs remain abundant and indeed flourish for both environmental and tourism interests.
This call to action will require Guides watching out for the sharks and the stingrays that have been ‘tagged’ so that she can monitor their patterns in order to assess how best protect them. Guides have been informed that they are to text Rachel with times of sightings and locations for her to log in their records!
New Years Eve was a big event here on Caye Caulker and the Split had its fair share of clientele and were jam packed for their big event! The dance floor – the enclosed area that hangs over the beach was the ‘dance floor’, although everywhere and anywhere people were dancing needless to say!!
The pressure of so much weight jumping up and down to celebrate the New Year coming in forced the floor of the building to almost collapse. All party goers were safe and unhurt but this has forced the owners and manager to tear down this part of the building. Whilst it does not detract from the general feeling from the building there is a sense of ‘what happens next’!!!
Lips are sealed and gossip is rife but we will eagerly await the new improvements and we will ensure that we will keep you posted as soon as they arrive!!
If you have not been lucky enough to pass to the West side of the island, just by Raggamuffin (between Blue Wave and Barefoot Caribe) you will not have witnessed the Tarpons that gather there, quite domesticated, next to the Badillo ‘ranch’!
Tarpon’s are one of the toughest gamefish for fly fisherman and they are protected in our waters. Fly fishing aficionado’s Ken and Parnell Coc some three years ago started feeding a small school of six baby tarpon with sardines that they caught each day. Within two years the school has grown to 100 strong and the tarpons, some that have migrated to the area and the majority descendants of the original school and they have all become quite an extension of their family!!
With the help of the Village Council Chairman Alberto Villneueva and the Badillo family, the Belize Tourist Board have recognized the unique nature of this area and the need to protect it both for the environment and for tourism and education purposes. The idea is for those passers by will be charged a nominal fee which will go towards the feeding and protection of the area as well as the BTB intend to market it as a new tourist attraction here on Caye Caulker.
Timescales are vague as to exactly how and when these plans will come to fruition but we can confirm that they are concrete and these impressive creatures will be part of a reserve for this area. This is of great news to us as we have always felt that the tarpon back by Tarpon view are an amazing spectacle for anyone to see. And aside from this, it is our very own Captain Ish Badillo who is assisting with the plans for the area.
A huge shout out for all concerned for their hard work – keep going guys!!
Un-deniably Xmas is a time for children!! Their excitement for the magic of Santa Clause brings us all back to some of fondest memories of our childhood and watching them celebrate this special time is pure joy!
Last night was the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic’s Variety Show 2012. The students have spent most of last week rehearsing and their parents patiently sewing costumes, purchasing Xmas hats and or putting together their best red or green clothes!! Each class performed, most probably twice and most if not all children took part whilst parents stood and watched this colorful spectacle!
Thank you for all took part for bringing in the Xmas spirit to Caye Caulker this year … roll on today and Ocean Academy’s Extravaganza at the Park!!