Archive for the ‘Caye Caulker’ Category
Increasingly we are finding that Caye Caulker is finding itself toping the ratings tables for popularity in various media publications or websites around the world – but can you put your finger on the button as to what makes the island so special??
One can definitely not pin-point its success to one particular restaurant, hotel, bar or even snorkel or dive operator as we are but a small piece in the jigsaw puzzle that creates the bigger picture. Our success lies in our island’s unique charm and beauty and for that everyday we are grateful!!
Sandy streets – where else in the world can you stroll up the main high street, blown in the breeze, with the most magnificent view of the reef. Our sandy streets give us that laid back and ‘un-touched’ feeling that you have gone back 50 years or so in time to a small fishing village in Belize and nowhere else in the world is quite the same.
Along with the sandy streets come the lack of motorized transportation – most walk barefoot or use bicycles and even electric golf carts are chosen above engines – nothing moves too fast on this island!!
Belize is diverse in its cultures and nowhere so more than Caye Caulker. The ‘go-slow’ vibe of the island makes you feel you are less in Latin America but in the Carribean and with English widely spoken tourists can engage easily in conversations with all the local characters on the island.
The island is famous for its local food sold on the beach at affordable prices – various vendors are doing this excellently well serving fresh lobster, fish and shrimp fresh off the BBQ for their customers to be able to eat on the beach front.
The Split during the day and the I&I for the night time party. Not that I wanted to name businesses but it has to be said that the I&I is synonymous with Caye Caulker. With it’s rasta charm, its famous swings and hammocks, it has been around since the dawn of the island and everybody at sometime in their short or long stay has ‘swung their engine’ to its beats!!
The Split is the day time hang out spot for sun worshipers, the social butterflies and for those who just want to dive into the aqua marine water. There is no doubt that the Split holds a special place in every bodies heart as those from all around Belize come to enjoy a ‘bucket of beer’ with their feet in the ocean!!
And to top all of that – as that is not enough – at our doorstep we have the most beautiful reef in the world. People travel far and wide to witness the beauty of our ocean and the ecosystem within it – for us it is the jewel in our crown and we are immensely proud of it.
For each and everyone, your love affair with this tiny island is so very personal and most likely not like any other place in the world. We are thankful that we live here and are blessed enough to work here as Caye Caulker is truly paradise!!
It is no ‘old wives tale’ that after a storm, the fish find a safe harbor to feed and the Split here in Caye Caulker is a well renowned spot where they come in abundance to nourish themselves. Therefore yesterday there was a rather unusual spectacle at the Split as local fishermen, guides and various onlookers joined in the fishing bonanza!!
By the afternoon the sky had clouded over and it was almost strange to see instead of sunbathers, fisherman lined up on the sea wall to get their chance at taking home dinner. Red Snappers were biting all yesterday and in fact, locals believe that they still will be there today.
Good and even inexperienced fisherman were walking away from the Split with at least 3 or 4 good size snappers – just in time for their better halves to throw in the pot to cook for supper!!
The real damage that any Tropical Storm and or Hurricane creates is the loss in tourism. It is catastrophic and even more so in the month of August our expected ‘high season’ the time when you are suposed to be ‘banking’ money for the upcoming slow season.
Ernesto only real damage, like 99% of the storms that we are affected by (both meaning even hit or at some point within the projected path) was the loss of tourists. The scaremongering that is created with the media hype and ignorance of accurate information (perpetuated on the most part by those who have no stake hold in the industry), causes future tourists that intended on coming to Caye Caulker to change their plans without any need to at all. If anyone would feel sorry for us in any way, feel sorry for that – not the life threatening winds, which were never at any point life threatening, even if the storm hit head on!!!
Yesterday the island ‘un-packed’ and set back up all bars, restaurants, dive and snorkel shops – back ready for business this morning! The packing and un-packing process is time consuming. Each and every time you pack your items away to safety knowing the exercise is almost completely unecessary as you know the storm will not actually do any damage, however, the one time you do not prepare yourself, is the day that one of these storms do actually hit – namely Hurricane Keith 2000!
Today, business as usual – as expected the whole island has had some cancellations for various hotel bookings and even tours for this weekend. Why, through ignorance and stupidity – definitely anything to do with Ernesto. However, today we woke up with beautiful sunshine and a strong breeze. Tomorrow more sunshine, less breeze and an isolated chance of showers – no Tropical Storms or Hurricanes forecast!!!!
In summary, if you or even you know someone who is intending miss Caye Caulker out of your travels due to this storm or any other storm, think again!! – the impact of your decision to not come to Caye Caulker directly effects all of us here and you miss out on arguably the highlight of Belize!!
The day today is a tale of rain! Hurricane Ernesto – as it became a hurricane this morning – outer bands spread far and wide and last night we had thunderstorm that sent chills down the spine of even the toughest islander (unless you were a child and then you were more likely to be asleep through it). Since then, all it has done was rain!
The storm is over 150 miles away from us, expected to hit land at about midnight tonight the eye being placed above well above the boarder of Mexico, Belize in Mahuhual. The North East quadrant of all hurricanes and this one is no different, will always be where the strongest winds are located. We are South of these winds and currently we believe will not even be experiencing Tropical Storm winds – thankfully! Ernesto has not moved much from its predicted path over the past four days and, although anything is very much possible with regard to mother nature, we are expecting little to no change (crossed fingers!!).
In preparation all boats have been placed in their owners particular safe harbor – Raggamuffin’s sailboats are all tucked into a lagoon on the North side of Caye Caulker along with many of Frenchie’s boats too. This lagoon is surrounded by mangroves that will bend with the ever changing wind direction that the storm will produce and yet their roots are immovable and therefore one of the most original ways of securing a boat. This was all undertaken yesterday afternoon and so for this morning, very little hurricane preparation is required to be done.
For the rest of the island – small motor boats have been hauled out of the water (to protect the boat from flooding and sinking in the constant rain expected which would damage the engines). There has been no official hotel evacuation and therefore those who want to remain on the island have done so – some hotels have however been boarded up but truthfully very few.
No alc0hol is permitted to be sold in the shops or in bars etc and therefore they are mainly closed but all establishments will be closed by tonight. As of yet no curfew has been imposed but it is very much a possibility and we believe that Belize Electricity Limited plan to keep the power on until there is any sort of failure.
All in all, we are just waiting for Ernesto to clear us – as for the Raggamuffin crew, nobody has left the island and if necessary everybody will go to Charlie and Jimmy’s house to sleep out the storm together!! However, we are almost sure that there is no real threat but we are taking the necessary precautions that if there is a change in the direction or strength, we are very much prepared!
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.
It is not a common sight to see a 4ft crocodile being carried on somebodies back through the streets of Caye Caulker but yesterday many of us did!! Onlookers were amazed that the croc was so big and yet seemingly so docile in the arms of Ricardo Alcala (Piojo).
Ricardo captured him on Saturday night after he found it terrorizing his dog behind his house. He has encountered many crocodiles (both smaller and larger) in this same area and captured them all. Once caught he tapes up their mouth and (rightly or wrongly) keeps the reptiles a few days and then sets them free, back in to the seas but away this time from residential properties where they can do harm and come to harm.
Whether he is right or wrong to keep the crocodile, that is not up for debate – what we are at least happy about is that the croc ends up back where he belongs as for so many of these creatures in Belize, they end up as food or even somebodies purse!!
There have been some strange antics around Raggamuffin these past two days, ending in persons seemingly covered in garbage, all in the name of sportsmanship!!
G Adventures (the largest adventure tour company in Central America to pass through Caye Caulker) is celebrating the Olympics by participating their very own Glympics. Just like the five rings of the Olympics they have five core values at G – Embrace the Bizarre, Do the Right Thing, We Love Changing Peoples Lives, Lead with Service, Create Happiness and Community).
The whole G Nation, from Africa to Asia and to Central America are posting video or photos on Twitter about what these core values mean to them. G Adventures basecamp in Toronto will be giving out bronze, silver or gold medals to each photo or video. We will see which part of the world will win the Glympics.
Here in Caye Caulker, two G Adventures groups participated in an island cleaning competition. The game: Pick up as much trash as you can in half an hour and then: Decorate your CEO (Tour Leader) with that trash. Both groups competed hard and both CEO’s (Zema and Luis) ended up being covered in trash – but in the end and there does have to be a winner, Zema’s group won for their creativity.
The Village Council truthfully do a fantastic job of keeping the island and particularly the front of Caye Caulker clean, however, the more residential areas are really the responsibility of locals and these are the areas that need the assistance – therefore this was the focus of the clean up! All in all 10 bags of trash were picked up in just a few hours, so it sends a huge message to their passengers and locals alike that we need to take care of how we dispose our trash!
Caye Caulker is a beautiful place and G Adventures passengers helped keep it that way yesterday – THANK YOU G ADVENTURES!
To follow their CEO’s and staff around the world by following #Glympics on Twitter!
Yes, can you believe it but yesterday at Hol Chan, Captain Kevin and a group of G Adventure snorkelers found a turtle covered in oil and saved its life!!
The group were out snorkeling in the Channel with Captain Kevin being their guide, when they came upon the motionless turtle. The turtle initially looked dead and covered in black oil that surrounded it but when they lifted out of the water and away from the oil the turtle looked to try and gasp for air. Kevin removed the excess oil from its mouth and quickly summoned the attention of the Marine Park Rangers who quickly took the injured turtle back to San Pedro to be treated!!
Initially all concerned, including Rangers felt that the turtle had traveled some miles with the oil as this had been an isolated incident that day and there were no reported oil spills around San Pedro that day. However, the day was far from over!!
Only minutes after the turtle was saves, continuing with their snorkeling of the Reserve the same group encountered yet another patch of oil and this time snorkeler Alexandra Bagge from the UK managed to tangle herself in the heavily sticky black liquid!! Enough was enough and the extremely good humored group made their way back home and commenced on the intensive job of trying to get the oil out of Alexandra’s hair (gasoline and huge amount of shampoo) right outside the Raggamuffin office – everybody was involved as Madai and Adela drove poor Alexandra to the clinic to try and save her hair!!
We are happy to say that Alexandra’s hair is looking as good as ever and experience is now quite a story to tell her friends!!
The Hol Chan office reported this morning that the turtle is doing better than yesterday – he is under strict observation and they are hoping that he continues to improve and can be set back into the reserve as soon as possible. They are very much looking into the cause of the oil as there is no drilling here in Belize and as mentioned, there were no reported oil spills from boats. What is a small possibility is that there can often be natural oil spills from a location called Rocky Point – all of these are being looked into to avoid this unusual incident from happening again!!
Keep up the good work Hol Chan Marine Reserve staff!!
And this bright yellow quadricycle is quite the newest attraction here on Caye Caulker. Both tourists and particularly young locals have been seen making their way up and down the streets for the past two weeks enjoying the benefits a bicycle gives – breeze and speedily getting from A to B and of course the key benefit for the youth, the fact that they can all do it together on one bike!!
The bike is rented by the half hour $5US per half hour through the Mirimar Hotel and it has been on hot demand since Lobster Fest when it came into its own!
Today our Raggamuffin youth have been enjoying the bike – young Harrison Jr (Harry’s son) and Malik (Jimmy and Charlie’s son)!! When you come to the island you should rent it too – it is quite the newest fashion!!