Archive for the ‘Caye Caulker’ Category
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!!
Dolphin sightings are fairly common, meaning if you go out on boats regularly you are very likely to see dolphins on a regular but by no means daily basis. So when between Sunday to Monday an increased number of dolphins were sighted in front and around of Caye Caulker, it has some of us scratching our head to question our good luck!!
As I said, between Sunday to Monday there were at least 8 different sightings of different size pod groups of Bottlenose Dolphins directly in front of Caye Caulker. On Monday, when the activity seemed to be at its peak, the dolphin activity was very much in front of the two water taxi docks and therefore did not require even a boat to see these beautiful creatures! Pod groups varied from 15 or so dolphins to as small as family units (mother, father and baby). We did question as to whether it was all the same pod that had broken itself down into smaller groups – a possibility but not always common as they normally travel together.
Numbers of tour boats, from Ras Creek, to Anwar Tours, E-Z Boy and even the San Pedro boats stopped to allow their passengers to follow these playful creatures – all just in front of us on Caye Caulker.
The reasoning behind the activity and our good fortune is not clear – was it the opening of conch season (a favorite food source of the dolphins) – perhaps the fisherman cleaning some of their conch on the way home to the island left a scent in in the water or some particular spawning going on in front of Caye Caulker. We are left bewildered but extremely happy at their presence and wish that whatever the reason for their activity, it bring them back again to spend time with us!!
Anyone for conch ceviche, conch fritters or even conch soup … these are always a must to any Caye Caulker menu and the fact that Conch came into season today, makes it almost 100% certain that villagers will be sampling either one of these today!!
For local fisherman the season opened yesterday Monday 1st October and anyone who knows his game was out from sunrise this morning, making much use of the day!! Before many of you had even opened your eyes boat loads of conch were making their way back to the Caye to be carefully cleaned and carried to their final destination, most likely our mouths!!
For anyone that is interested in more of how locals dive for conch and clean it … look at our video with Captain Jahlee from last year – click here.
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!!!
You may not believe it but occasionally islanders need to ‘get-away’ from our island paradise and what better than Caye Caulker – an even smaller island paradise, namely Goffs Caye!
So Sunday, three boats took off from the Raggamuffin dock filled with excitement of sunshine, fishing, diving and Belikin beer!! Jimmy, Simeon from Black Durgeon Diving and Carlos Ayala from Carlos Tours were the designated drivers ensuring passengers had sufficient space to be comfortable for the ride out there.
Although the ladies and the kids were happy sunning themselves on the sandbar of Goffs Caye, the boys seemed to have other ideas for their days entertainment. Simeon (Black Durgeon Dives) went diving with Simon (Seaside Cabanas), Jimmy (Raggamuffin) and Rafael (Barefoot Fisherman) went spearfishing and Carlos took the rest of the pack for some relaxed deep sea trawling!
When the men returned from their adventure they came bearing gifts of Tuna, Snapper and Baracuda and whipped up some food for the ladies to eat!! This washed down with the various alcoholic beverages that were consumed throughout the day, meant that this lucky crew were very much enjoying their day off the island!!
So now it is back to reality as the work week is in full flow – however, the next adventure is already in the pipeline to pull us though slow season!! Thank you all for all concerned – didn’t we have fun!!
Ocean Academy, the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School and Little Stars Pre School paraded to celebrate their love for Belize this morning.
Children in the CCRCS had voted during the week for their Class Queen and Kings and each class decorated a golf cart upon which their chosen King and Queen rode upon. Mia Cutkelvin was voted (by the children of the school) to be class Queen and she was crowned Queen in a small ceremony at the Park before the parade.
Caye Caulker was alive with the sound of the drummers, the colors of red, white and blue scattered around and the excitement in the air with September celebrations.
Roll on Independence!!!
Firstly we have to remark that September’s weather has been unusually glorious. Yes, we have been experiencing hot weather but the traditional September cloud and overcast skies are not present – sunshine has been continuous and with that we have happy tourists and islanders – the law of averages would suggest that a little rainfall should be on its way before September closes??
Tourism is definitely down on previous years Septembers. The streets are unusually slow, some would say that they never really picked up after Hurricane Ernesto and we would tend to agree. The Split is populated with a more local vibe than tourist – not a bad thing a local energy is always a good one but the balance is necessary for everyone to sustain an income.
It must be noted that tourism perhaps is just taking a different pattern than previous years as the high season this year saw an increase – it is just this slow period that appears to have taken a drop – could this be accounted for the numbers of hurricane scares in this period over the last few years??
Along with the drop in tourism we have noticed a closing of businesses slightly earlier than usual – Habaneros, Don Coroleone, Rainbow, Barefoot Caribe and Sandbox have all been closed the past week – not to mention that the cake lady has dropped a number of her daily outings!!!
September 10th on the island went past without a drum, a whistle or a swinging of engine – this is not unusual. We are hoping that the September Celebrations Committee have got it all in store for us for September 21st as we are all saving ourselves for this big bang!! Roll on September!!
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!!
Tico Raquena is now infamous for his deadly spearfishing skills with the giants of the sea – the Jew Fish and today confirmed this once again.
Tico went out fishing with a number of islanders yesterday (Tuesday) and due to the wonderfully calm weather, they went out to the blue – outside the reef! As a fishing expedition in one boat, it seems obvious that not all the men on the boat can fish with rods – therefore Tico armed himself with his weapon of choice (his speargun).
Although you can see from the pictures that this was quite a sizeable fish and very few fisherman can ever claim a catch of this size, this is not an isolated incident for Tico. Only a year ago he turned up at the Split with two Jew fish, both the same size as the one that he caught today – his partner in this escapade being his 14 year old son – Karl Raquena!!!!
Although much can be said about Tico’s prowess on the speargun, a huge factor to the success of catching this fish is the teamwork necessary for those in the boat, to haul onboard this Goliath of the ocean! A big hand has to be given to Emmanuel Rodriguez (Tol) and Emilio Novelo who completed the task!!
Tico yesterday made fun of his spectators and sized up his catch by holding Raggamuffin Junior – Malik against the fish – much to Malik’s terror!!
The fish has already been filleted and each and every part will go to supporting a number of island families in the months of September and October where business is very much slower!! Thank you Tico and Crew!!