Archive for the ‘Exploring Caye Caulker’ Category
On March 14, 2013 in Exploring Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker could possibly be sitting on the LARGEST MARINE CAVE IN THE WORLD!!! It’s a big statement but something that the well regarded National Geographic will take their time to explore in 2014, along with the elite in the dive world, lead by James Petersen or ‘Chip’ from Belize Dive Service and his team of researchers!!
Although many of us have been unwittingly sitting on this cave for most of our lives, the recent developments for the cave will prove monumental for the Caye – the increase in visibility on the dive map as experts and tourists alike will flock to see this unique natural beauty. Not forgetting the impact this will have on the earth science world (biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists etc) as this cave acts as a time capsule preserving life forms and conditions of a more ancient earth. And finally giving Caye Caulker global recognition for a truly magnificent natural marine creation as unparalleled as say Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon!!
The story so far is this … the cave was first explored back in 1981 when the first owners of Belize Dive Services Paul Heinerth (to this day an International cave diving pioneer and author of many books on the subject) and Chuck Hattel dug into the cave. Frank Bountain took over the shop shortly after and amounted over 500 dives in the cave itself – thus becoming the person who has dove the cave most to this date. These pioneers amassed significant initial information that included basic mapping and even documented research.
Frank left Belize Dive Services in 1995 and from then there was no active diving undertaken in the cave until November 2012 when Chip Petersen and Bill Oestreich ‘Bert’ – both recognized Cave Dive Instructors entered the cave once more. Chip and Dani Petersen bought Belize Dive Services back in 2009 and have already been contributing to the longevity of our marine environment by funding the Belize Shark Project. Chip’s real dream in purchasing BDS was to follow the footsteps of his predecessors and access the cave system to allow Belize to realize the potentials of this natural beauty so when his mentor, Bert, turned up on Caye Caulker he seized the opportunity.
So to date, Chip, Bill and Marty O’Farell from San Pedro (all qualified and heavily experienced Cave Divers) have been re-tracing steps. Chip has been given approvals and in particular the Permit by the Department of Archeology and the Environment the for surveying, mapping and scientific research in the caves of Belize. Together they have been making accurate surveys through computer technology and thus far verifying and giving greater accuracy to the original data.
In the years and months to come the cave will attract the elite in the dive world to come and see for themselves this natural treasure of Belize (and indeed Caye Caulker!!). From a commercial perspective, Chip together with the Village Council Chairman Alberto Villenueva, has pushed for the area between and including Tarpon View and the caves as a mini reserve – co-managed by the Village Council and the Dept of Archaeology. Their aim is that a significant proportion of the profit of the reserve lies firmly in the hands of Caye Caulker and not, like the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve or even the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, monies are used elsewhere by the Government!! This means that the money goes back into the community that it serves ie Caye Caulker!!
Chip is anxious that Belizeans get involved in the cave but stresses the dangers for those diving the cave. All divers must go through a 15 day course to learn the specifics and skills of Cave Diving before accessing the cave. Safety concerns are essential for those without the capacity to use the specialized equipment and techniques. Experienced divers are the most frequent divers to lose their life in cave diving – this was illustrated by 2 lives being lost in this same cave back in 80′s – this is a situation which Chip very much wishes to avoid!!
For this reason the Belize Cave Diving Society has been established to promote safe and responsible cave diving in Belize. Rules for guiding will be based on established methods used worldwide and a Cave Management Protocol created for all cave divers. For more information please look on Facebook for updates on information as and when they have it!
This news of our hidden gem underneath Caye Caulker is indeed welcome news to all that care for her and indeed Belize – that which we know already and the possibilities are enormous and truthfully beyond what we can imagine at this point. It is causing a great deal of excitement for those connected with it and we applaud all those who have actively taken their part in making this dream become a reality!!
Just in time for the 2012 – 2013 Xmas and New Year high season we have two new eateries that have opened on Caye Caulker in the last week.
First and foremost we are delighted to say that the island hot spot, the Palapa Bar has been handed over to two enormously popular locals – Miss Estella and Keith. Miss Stella is renowned for her skill in the kitchen will be cooking the mouth watering edibles that she is now famous for – her pastries, particularly her lemon pie is something that once you eat, you just cannot forget!! It is heartwarming that a true local like Miss Stella, who has always been the silent hero in the kitchen, now deserves to take centre stage in her own place on the island.
And the Palapa itself, now of course Pat and Stel’s is looking brighter and more attractive than ever – with good lick of paint and some additional refurbishment – the bar with arguably the best view on the island, now is quite the place to hang out – that, along with the undeniably good food that will come out of the kitchen, sounds like somewhere you should visit!!!
And secondly – the new Friend’s restaurant. This is located and what we still refer to as the old Herbal Tribe (RIP Giovanni!!) – some things never die!! These guys, originally and successfully from in San Pedro, re-located to Caye Caulker for a change. They have taken time in their renovations and the place looks totally different and inviting. Their food is from falafel, to roasted chicken, humus and even kebabs. With their Arabic flavors offer something different on the island and I can say from first hand experience the food is good.
We have to agree, and many of you would too … Caye Caulker has been rated amongst one of the 12 best winter island destinations in the world.
Caye Caulker is one of the smallest island getaways the magazine showcases but what we lack in size we make up for in charm!! The article has the island nicely summed up not only mentioning the snorkeling (of course Raggamuffin is their choice!!) but fishing, mantee watching with Lionel Heredia and not forgetting perfectly delicious Belizean food from the ‘Little Kitchen’ – finishing off at the Lazy Lizard!!
The only disappointment would that the lead photo for the article could have given a little more to our island beauty – just having a look at the Raggamuffin Facebook page could have given a better visual on our little paradise??
For the article in full click here.
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!!
So Columbus bank holiday weekend was perfectly uneventful. Perfect because as enjoyable the hustle and bustle of high season can be for color and hype, the sleepy streets of October twinned with glorious weather, can be equally as memorable.
The island was far from empty, but there was a more local/ family vibe about the weekend. Not like Easter as this is about the party, but this holiday was about families getting together and enjoying the long weekend weather and having a break together. Most of the groups of main-landers spent their time at the Split – enjoying the water and probably a Belikin beer or two. Some ventured out at night to enjoy I&I and the Oceanside but all enjoying Caye Caulker!!
The newest change on the island is the weather … winter is on its way. Tropical winter, which is unlike what most people think of winter .. no snow, no long sleeves or jackets (well sometimes) but just the cool breeze that when combined with sunshine feels like heaven! So roll on November and December – all we need now is for the island to be sprinkled with tourists and our Xmas will truly be here!
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!!
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!!!
Friday will be the night of great celebration when Paradiso’s Outdoor Cinema will present Belize’s first motion picture – Kurse a Di Xtabai!
This movie was not only filmed in Belize, by an all Belizean cast and crew but it is also in Kriol!! The film is a supernatural thriller that is set to impress and along with the fact that the screening will also have the cast making an appearance, it sure is something that we should not miss!!
So come on out and support Belize’s first motion picture – showings are on Friday 7th September at 6.30pm and 8.30pm and tickets can be bought in advance from Paradiso Cafe!
We love ourselves so much (and isn’t that the truth!!!) that we like nothing better than looking at ourselves again and again – so the next step is a video that includes all the characters of Raggamuffin, the islands and the reef we encounter on our voyages!
So here it is .. the official Raggamuffin Tours video – like it, share it and of course, LOVE IT!!