Archive for the ‘News’ Category
This month we want to say thank you to our beautiful ‘Ragga Queen’ – she has tirelessly and effortlessly traveled up and down Belize’s reef gifting the perfect adventure for all those that ride her. She for many years has been our largest boat, our most comfortable ride as she was brought on to take us to the ‘next level’.
As of the end of May she will come 2nd in line to Ragga Empress, our new catamaran which will once again give our overnight customers the comfort and class that they very much deserve but in the fanfare we may forget our Queen! Fear not, Queen will not be put up to pasture but may spend more time around Caye Caulker, undertaking the Hol Chan day snorkeling tour!!
So for now, we will extend our heartfelt thanks to this classy boat that has traveled more of Belize’s inner reef than any other in this country, by making her our Facebook profile!!
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 February 09, 2013 in News
It is not often that you genuinely believe that you have witnessed something short of a miracle but I feel that this week has been one of those instances.
One of Caye Caulker’s greatest characters, Ras Creek (Bert Nicholas) fell into a coma last Saturday. He had been complaining of headaches and had not moved out of bed for three days and by Saturday his girlfriend realized something was far from correct. Creek was moved to the hospital where it was discovered he had not one but two blood clots on his brain and he was operated on. Doctors removed the clots successfully but felt that his prognosis was not good due to the injury and they worried that he perhaps would at least be disabled or even die.
On Wednesday morning the Doctors decided to ‘wake’ him up and by the afternoon he was singing and making jokes in the hospital bed!! Improvements have been so speedy that Doctors are now confident that Creek will have a full recovery!!
For me, this is a miracle – this and coupled with the amazing strength and resilience this true champion, pulled Creek from a desperate situation back to life!!! Or perhaps it was the power of prayer – Creek rightly so (due to his enormous heart and his impossibly infectious character) is a minor celebrity and is loved all over the world. The outpouring of international love that were willing him back to health was truly for that of a superstar – truly amazing! He and his rasta boat is synonymous with Caye Caulker and life without here would not be the same.
We do not need to consider life without Ras Creek because as of today he is out of intensive care and on the long road to recovery – and that I feel is a miracle!!
Ok so here it is the party of the century – but I have to apologize as you are not invited!!
Yearly we have a crew party (generally around Xmas) and within the party we give out Awards to reward those have over achieved over the past year. This year at Xmas there was no time and importantly no budget for a Raggamuffin party – not in the style that the crew demand, so on Monday 11th Feb we will be date for the Raggamuffin Awards 2013.
The party will be hosted at Paradiso’s Cinema as it will be closing its doors for the occasion and crew and their significant others are invited. The evening will be one to allow the entire crew to celebrate our success together at one time (as there is very rarely a time when all of us are together due to the overnight tours) and of course for a few to receive their Awards.
This will all be washed down with plenty of drinks and a delicious dinner – and I promise we will fill you in with photos afterwards!!
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!!
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.
On November 27, 2012 in News
It was the initiative of a number of the motor boat snorkel operators who felt that the price ‘war’ that was being fought on the streets was going to take many of them out of business!! The increase in taxes and gas, the fact that gas is no longer tax deductable and therefore the increase in all costs of running these tours meant that all Operators have been finding it hard to run the efficiently run tours they know they should be putting out.
The Caye Caulker Tour Operations Association (CCTOA) was formed a few weeks ago with Mario Verde of Mario’s Tours being the president, Vice President Hans Badillo of E-Z Boy Tours, Eduardo Arceo of Liberty Tours is the Treasurer, Edith Chavarria (Manager and office genius) at Raggamuffin being the Secretary – Board Members Carlos Arce of Hicaco Tours, Shedrock Ash of French Angel Fish, Heather Martin of Tsunami. This official and registered Association will work together with the Belize Tourist Board’s Tour Operators Committee to ensure that all Operators on Caye Caulker maintain a quality level of service and to ensure that they maintain the new price of the tours. The CCTOA will ensure that those who do not operate within these guidelines will be subject to losing their License to operate and therefore ensuring that all Tour Operators on Caye Caulker maintain the highest of standards!!
This is a great relief to all in the industry and for all future customers who can ensure that our collective services are excellent so that all persons who visit here come back with wonderful experiences and indeed memories of our beloved island Caye Caulker!!