Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
On November 14, 2013 in Culture
Remember yourself as a young child in primary school drawing a flat piece of brown land that protruded gradually in the center like a baseball mound with a coconut tree right in the middle. It was surrounded with blue water that had black squiggly lines scattered everywhere to signify soft waves. In the water you drew a triangle –as a semblance of a shark fin- and somewhere much closer to that brown piece of gradually-protruding-land, you drew a stick figure of a neck and a head breaking through the water with its arms sticking out. To top it off, you drew a conversation bubble over the stick figure screaming, “HELLLLP!”
Okay, okay, so you may never have drawn the bubble, the stick figure, or the triangle. And you never knew it then, nor probably even know it now, but that piece of brown land was not actually an island. It was a . . . caye! It’s pronounced as “key,” and depending on which part of the world you’re in, it’s sometimes spelled “key,” as in the Florida Keys, or “cay,” such as the cays you find in the Bahamas. And well, let’s face it, Greenland is an island. Australia is an island, an island with an area of 7.6 million sq km (4.7 million sq miles), far from the idyllic paradise portrait you drew as children. But “size” is not so much what distinguishes between island and caye, but more so formation, makeup and elevation.
An island is any form of land mass that’s completely surrounded by water. The two main types of islands are either formed by volcanic action, or are part of a continental plate floating on top of the Earth’s mantle. Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines are examples of volcanically–formed islands. Greenland and Australia are both continental islands. Cayes, however, are sandy, low-elevation islands that form on top of coral reefs. According to our ever so reliable Wiki scholars, cayes are formed when different “ocean currents transport loose sediment across the surface of a reef.” The accumulated sediment that forms the caye is made up of plant and animal skeletal remains that are swept from surrounding reef ecosystems. Soil and vegetation appear over time with the help of guano bird manure which helps fertilize the sediment. This helps explain how coconut trees can grow and thrive on a caye and then eventually appear in your childhood drawings. Cayes are fragile and incredibly vulnerable to weather, so much that residents typically build sea walls to protect their caye from serious erosion. In more vegetated cayes, you will find that red mangroves exist and act as natrual sea walls. So If you’ve ever wondered why, or have been disappointed that a tropical location like Caye Caulker doesn’t have a stretched beach, think again, you’re on caye. So next time you see a portrait of a paradise island, ask yourselves, it this an island, or a caye?
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??
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!!
Caye Caulker is thankful for the love from its residents and visitors alike and the Children’s Park is feeling that love today after it’s renovation and paintwork undertaken by the village yesterday!
Visitors (and hopefully long-term visitors) Fernando, Aurora and their little son Hugo came to our little paradise some 2 months ago. They fell in love with the island but particularly the Children’s Park that is located next to Caye Reef and opposite Frenchie’s Dive Shop. The Park was created many years ago by Lionel Heredia (Chocolate) , Maria Vega and Ilna Auxillou who have tirelessly organized its repair and upkeep and we are grateful and thankful for their endeavors.
However, Fernando and Aurora felt that they could assist in the renovations this year and have taken it upon their shoulders to muster up the assistants of the community for both the labor and for donations to get this project underway. Yesterday was the big day and it was heartwarming to see so many people get involved and pick up a paint brush or a hammer to make the park safe both safe and eye catching!!
THANK YOU to all concerned!! It is community spirited projects like this that keep our island looking vibrant and colorful – plus a wonderfully safe place for children to play!!
I have often mentioned that the price for our perfectly sandy streets here on Caye Caulker is that pot holes are far too easy to come by after any small amount of rain and sufficient usage!!
However today Tiger was a sight for sore eyes as he and his big truck along with his friend’s grader, were pounding our streets to ensure that they are silky smooth.
For those with bikes, golf carts or even those of us on our two feet will from this weekend onwards feel that movement up and down our island feels a lot more comfortable. No more will those of the fairer sex have to brace themselves on a small trip to the shops on their golf cart and children can care free ride up and down the streets without fear of falling in a hole!!
So thank you to the VC Crew and to all concerned as we once again enjoy traveling on our streets again!!
And so it was, on an extremely hot and sunny Saturday afternoon – NYC’s B Boy Ultimatum gave Caye Caulker its first breakdance competition! And so, from young to old, local to tourist lined the basketball court on Saturday afternoon to thoroughly enjoy this unique spectacle!
We were treated to two rounds and then a final to have ‘Short Legs’ be the eventual winner – chosen by unanimous decision by the crowd! The guys are no doubt talented and fresh out of Belize City they looked just like we see on the television – real professional!!
What made the crowds day was the half time entertainment of gutsy Blayd Vernon (Wendy Auxillou’s son) getting up and showing how the young of Caye Caulker too have their own talent!! Us locals cheered him and he did us all proud!!
Thank you B Boy Ultimatum – you are welcome back to Caye Caulker any time!!
Caye Caulker with it’s multi cultural population holds this tradition high and for those of us that have been around for years, it is one that we cherish.
This weekend (on Saturday 27th October) the ‘adult’ part of halloween – the costume party, will be held … commencing at 88 West with their Halloween Monster Bash, following on to the Lazy Lizard at the Split and then last but not least the Oceanside till 4am!! Prizes galore will be given out and much will be had to drink during this process. And the best thing is that Halloween is traditionally rained out but this year’s forecast is for glorious weather under the prospect of a full moon – too much fun!!
For those of you who do not live in a community like Caye Caulker it would be hard to imagine the enjoyment of this spectacle. The whole island becomes alive – at least 250 people that we all know and love will make an enormous effort to disguise themselves under their costume. With their costume persons takes on a new identity or character and this always proves absolutely hilarious!! Can you imagine your local postman or bank clerk coming at you as Frankenstein or similar????
I can guarantee you that a costume to the party is not a pre-requisite as 50% will not dress up but just come along to enjoy the fun – this is no problem as, in my experience, there is always enough of those who have made the effort to go around. This night is like no other and with very little tourists on the island, the local contingent is always in full force and ready to enjoy Halloween.
The kids version or the ‘trick or treat’ element of Halloween will always be observed the traditional 31st October – nice and early as it is a school night!!
So if you are on or near Caye Caulker, come join us – you will not be disappointed!!
Please understand that we are almost at the end of high season, festivities and a reason to celebrate has been low on our agenda but now high season is around the corner. This twinned with a Belizean’s natural flair for the creative
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!!
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!!