Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Back To Business As Usual After Tropical Storm Harvey

On August 21, 2011 in Belize, Caye Caulker, News

The sun is back out a day after TS Harvey passed through Belize

We had been watching the weather reports closely for several days as a low pressure system began building out in the Caribbean Sea near the coast of Nicaragua. By Thursday the system had become a tropical depression and on Friday it was officially named Tropical Storm Harvey off the coast of Honduras. It was at this stage that warnings for the coast of Belize were sent out and people on the island and across the country were listening closely to the radio for updates and beginning to make preparations to be ready for when the storm would reach us on Saturday afternoon.

Early Saturday morning most of the Ragga bwoys headed down to the office and then began moving all of our boats around to the back of the island were they would be safe from the breeze and surges. The rain was coming down hard but the crew got everything done and then we just waited it out. There were reports that the storm could increase to a hurricane when it reached land in Belize and that it would hit further down south near Dangriga. We still stayed on alert though because you never know what Mother Nature will do. But by lunch time the storm was weakening and it was clear that Caye Caulker wouldn’t be feeling the wrath of Harvey. We were just hoping that everyone would stay safe down south.

Harvey made landfall in Belize at 1pm and made its way west. Stann Creek district and Cayo district received a lot of rain which caused some flash flooding, but overall Harvey caused a lot less damaged then was expected which was a huge relief. On Caye Caulker we had nothing more than some clouds and a slight breeze. You never would have even known there was a tropical storm passing over. We got very lucky.

We unfortunately had to cancel two overnights planned for Friday and Saturday due to the weather, but the sun is shining again today and we are back to business as usual! Let’s just hope that Belize has no more threats for the remainder of the hurricane season and everyone stays safe!

Raggamuffin Rum Punch

On August 07, 2011 in News, Ragga Crew, Ragga Vids

If you have been on our full day tour to Hol Chan then no doubt you had a great day snorkelling and coming face to face with an abundance of marine life, as well as soaking up some Caribbean sun…….but one of your other highlights will certainly have been sailing back to Caye Caulker at sunset, reggae tunes playing through the stereo while you relaxed and sipped on an ice cold rum punch cocktail. There is no better way to end a great day a sea, and it is something Raggamuffin has become very well known for :)

The crew are constantly being ask how they make our delicious rum punch so we thought that we would just go ahead and make a quick video, with the help of Captain Jacob, showing you how it is done so that you are able to make your own at home.

We also serve up our famous rum punch on our sunset tour as well as our 3 day sailing adventure.

Watch and enjoy.

Cheers!

Our July Photo of the Month Winner!!!!!

On July 31, 2011 in News, Photo of the Month

Beautiful Sunset over Rendezvous Caye - By Lorraine Fei

Congratulations to Lorraine Fei for being chosen as out Photo of the Month winner for July thanks to her stunning photo of a very colourful sunset over Rendezvous caye, taken while she was on our 3 day sailing trip to Placencia. It is a magical picture and we love it! Well done :)

We will be using your winning photo as our profile picture for the month of August as well as posting it onto our website to say thank you for sharing it with us.

Congrats again Lorraine!!!!

To all of our other wonderful passengers make sure that you keep tagging us in you amazing photos from you adventures with us and you too could become one of our photo of the month winners!

A Look In To Rastafari

On July 27, 2011 in Belize, Culture, News

Emperor Haile Selassie Ital Food

There are many misconceptions surrounding the Rastafari Movement with many people believing that to be Rasta simply means to have dreadlocks and to smoke ‘ganja’ while listening to Bob Marley. Although these certainly are customs of this “religion” (Rastafarians refer to their beliefs as a way of life as opposed to a Religion) it is much deeper than that. Because Belize has a substantial amount of Rastafari followers I thought it would be worthwhile to give some information and history into this movement for those who are interested.

The Rastafarian faith was born in Jamaica in the 1930’s due in great part to a man named Marcus Garvey who’s aim was to unite the black community in his country and promote freedom from oppression, black pride and to reconnect his people to their African homeland. It was a prophecy preached by Garvey in 1927 that became the foundation for this faith when he told his followers, “Look to Africa where a black King will be crowned, he will be your redeemer”. Just three years later on November 2nd 1930 Emperor Haile Selassie I was crowned King of Ethiopia. It was then that the movement received it’s official title after the Emperor’s birth name, Ras Tafari. Rastas believed Emperor Selassie to be the physical presence of God (or Jah) on earth, referring to him as ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah’. Selassie was King of Ethiopia until 1974 when he was pushed out by a military coup and kept under house arrest until he was apparently killed by his captors in 1975. Many Rastas believed that his death was a hoax, and that he lives on in hiding until the Day of Judgment. Others say that he lives on through individual Rastafarians.

Rastafarians believe in the Judeo-Christian God, whom they call Jah. In general, Rastafarian beliefs are based in Judaism and Christianity, with an emphasis on Old Testament laws and prophecies and the Book of Revelation. Jah was manifested on earth as Jesus, who Rastas believe was black, and Emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie is referred to as His Imperial Majesty or H.I.M. (pronounced “him”). Rastafarians do not believe in an afterlife, but instead look to Africa (called “Zion”) as a heaven on earth. True Rastas are believed to be immortal, both physically and spiritually, a concept called “everliving.” An important Rastafarian concept is “I and I,” which is said instead of “you and I.” It emphasizes the oneness between humanity and God as well as the equality of all humans. Another central concept is Babylon, which refers to the white power structure of Europe and the Americas. Rastas seek to resist Babylon, which once cruelly enslaved blacks and still continue to hold them down through poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and trickery. The greed and conceit of Babylon is contrasted with the humble simplicity and naturalness of the Rastas.

Some of the most common practices of the Rastafarian Movement are as follows:

Marijuana (Ganja)

Marijuana is regarded as a herb of religious significance. It is used in Rastafari reasoning sessions, which are communal meetings involving meditation. Marijuana is used by Rastafarians to heighten feelings of community and to produce visions of a religious and calming nature. It is believed to open the mind and allow you to have a greater understanding of the world.
(* I must note that Marijuana is illegal in the entire country of Belize, as it is in most parts of the world. Please understand if you are caught using Marijuana during your stay in Belize there will be legal ramifications)

Bob Marley One Love

Dreadlocks

Rastafarians can often be recognised from the way they style their hair. Rastafarians grow their hair long, before coiling it into dreadlocks. The wearing of hair in dreadlocks by Rastafarians is believed to be spiritual; this is justified in the Bible: They shall not make baldness upon their head – Leviticus 21:5.
Rastas may also refrain from shaving their facial hair and grow beards following the same principle as above.

Diet

• Rastafarians eat strictly I-tal which means natural and clean
• Early Rastafarians are unlikely to eat meat, scavengers or shellfish
• Rastafarians do not eat pork
• Rastafarians regularly eat fish, but will not eat fish more than twelve inches long
• Rastafarians eat copious amounts of vegetables, as they are of the earth, and therefore good
• Food is prepared without salt, and coconut oil is the most likely form of oil to be utilised
• Rastafarians do not drink alcohol
• They do not drink milk or coffee, but will drink anything herbal, grown from natural roots, e.g. herbal tea
• Rastafarians consume plentiful amounts of fruit and fruit juice

Red, Gold, Green and Black

When you arrive in Belize you will notice lots of people dressed in red, gold and green or wearing jewelry in these colors. This is because these are the colors of the Rasta Movement. Red stands for the triumphant church of the Rastas as well as the blood of the martyrs in the black struggle for liberation. Gold represents the wealth of their African homeland and green symbolizes Ethiopia’s beauty and lush vegetation. Black is often also included, representing the color of the Africans. You may have noticed that the Raggamuffin logo, boats and office are adorned in these colors.

Bob Marley

The reason Bob Marley has essentially become the face of Rastafari was that he helped spread awareness of the religion among outsiders through his appearances and his lyrics. Many people believe that Bob Marley was the main factor in the spread of Rastafari to the USA, Canada, most of Europe, Africa and Australasia. His lyrics were influential in the spread of political and social ideas of the Rastafarian movement. He spoke out against the inequality experienced by the black community and the negativity they were subjected to.

So there you have it! Hopefully now you will have a better understanding of what Rastafari is when you encounter it in Belize. In Belize you will find both strict followers of Rastafari as well as people who incorporate only some of these customs to their lives (eg. dreadlocks and a vegetarian diet). If you have any more questions or would like to find out more, just talk to the locals while you are here. Belizeans love to talk and answer questions regarding their country and culture :)

Exploring Caye Caulker: Take A Ride To The South Side

On July 23, 2011 in Exploring Caye Caulker, News

View from the pier at the south end. Bike Track

If you have visited Caye Caulker before then you will know that bikes are the most common form of transport on the island. If you are planning to stay here for a few days then I definitely recommend that you hire a bike from one of the many stores that rent them out, because it will give you the opportunity to see more then you would by foot.

Although Caye Caulker feels like a really small place, it is actually a lot larger then you would think, and there are parts of the island that you will only see if you go looking for them. For example there is a bike track that runs along the water’s edge and takes you right down to the south end of the island. You can begin this ride from the Caye Caulker Water Taxi terminal and from there you simply keep heading south along the beach. You will pass hotels and stunning holiday houses as well as passing through a plant sanctuary (keep an eye out for the signs giving the names of the different plant species in the area) and the airstrip where you can stop and watch the light plans take off over the top of you.

The further you ride the more peaceful and remote it becomes, and soon you will come across some long, wooden piers stretching out over the crystal clear water, where you can walk out and enjoy the beautiful breeze in complete silence……Just make sure you check it’s ok with the owners if they are there.

Caye Caulker is such a magical place that can also get very busy, so sometimes it is nice to get away from the crowds and take a quick ride south where it’s quiet. You can even take some drinks and snacks with you and find a nice spot for a picnic.

There is so much to see on this little Caribbean paradise, and if you take the time to really look around there are some amazing things to be discovered here!

Raggamuffin Passenger Experience

On July 16, 2011 in Caye Caulker, News, Ragga Crew

We at Raggamuffin are always happily providing you with details and information about our tours, which is no doubt beneficial to you, but we know that what you love hearing most is feedback and stories directly from our passengers so that you can get first hand recounts of their experiences with us…..and that’s exactly what we will be sharing with you today!

Click here to check out this great blog written by one of our passengers about their time on Caye Caulker, including the full day snorkeling trip they did with us to Hol Chan. Read and enjoy!

Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor!!

On July 12, 2011 in News, Ragga Crew

Raggamuffin Tours are proud to receive from the highly acclaimed travel authority TripAdvisor a certificate of Excellence!! They have notified us that our 5 star rating due to our sustained excellent reviews on the website have created our noteworthy status!!! Thank you TripAdvisor and most importantly, thank you for all of you who have taken the time to write about us – we are very grateful!!!

Exploring Caye Caulker: Visiting The Tarpon

On July 09, 2011 in Exploring Caye Caulker, News

Visiting the Tarpon Visiting the Tarpon

If you are holidaying on Caye Caulker then a trip out to the reef will obviously be on your list of things to do as it is widely renowned for its abundant marine life and beautiful coral formations….But there is another marine abundant sanctuary right on the island that few visitors are aware of, but that is equally impressive!

To get to this “secret” spot you turn left down the street just before the Raggamuffin office and head to the back of the island. At the end of the street you will arrive at ‘Purnell’s Property’ (a local fisherman). Ask permission before entering the property and then head out to the pier….There in the water you will find over 100 3-4 foot tarpon swimming around! If you don’t know tarpon are a large sporting fish which are catch and release only. It really is an incredible site to see so many large fish swimming in one area together, but it ‘s something that you need to see for yourself to really appreciate. You can also kayak around to this spot which only adds to the experience.

The owners of the property did not create this reserve for tourism purposes, but simply to create a safe-haven for the fish where they could live in peace and be feed regularly. Starting off with only a handful of fish the numbers have continued to increase over the years. There is a strict ‘no fishing’ policy in this area to protect them.

To see these fish in action you can purchase sardines and bring them down with you and feed the tarpon. They are incredibly fast and agile. And if you are brave enough you can even hop in the water and swim with them! Don’t worry they don’t bite :) A few meters out from the dock there is a sink hole where the tarpon and other types of fish gather. If you sit still enough in the water above the cave the fish will swim all around you.

If you get a chance while you are on the island I definitely recommend going down to see these beautiful creatures. Whether take the plunge and go swimming with them is entirely up to you. No pressure :)

(* Photos by Underwater Ally Productions)

LobsterFest @ The Split

On July 04, 2011 in Caye Caulker, News

Ragga Bwoys @ Lobsterfest Lobsterfest @ The Split 2011

Caye Caulker Lobsterfest was a little different this year. Instead of the whole community coming together for one big festival the managers of The Lazy Lizard threw their own event independently………and man did they do a good job!!! The festivities started on Friday and finished up last night at about 8pm when we all dragged our tired feet home.

There were rides and games for the kids, gambling tables for the adults, food stalls (filled with lobster naturally) and gift stalls and a big marquee which became the dance floor. It was a great set up. The crowds starting heading down to The Split on Friday, but things really got going on Saturday….the place was packed! The weather wasn’t great, but that didn’t put anyone off…..including lots of the crew from Raggamuffin who were there enjoying themselves.

On Saturday they had the beer drinking contest, the tornado contest for both the kids and the adults and a tug of war. There were lots of great prizes for the winners. And at night The Youth Connection Band along with Continental Cat rock the place with their live performance. It was incredible! The party didn’t end till about 3am.

Girls in the Bikini Contest Winner of the Bikini Contest - Miss San Pedro Belize Express

Sunday (family day) was equally as good. The vibe was more chilled but there was still a lot of fun and entertainment. They had the greasy pole competition and the much anticipated Bikini contest. Four girls strutted their way around the stage as onlookers were up on their toes trying to get a look. The competition was tight so they had a dance off as well which got the crowd even more hyped up. In the end a local girl from Caye Caulker was crowned Miss San Pedro Belize Express and took away $450!

After the bikini contest was over they pumped up the music and The Youth Connection band took the stage again and did there thing until the sun went down.

No one throws a better party the Caye Caulker, and Lobsterfest was no exception. It was a very well organised event and everybody had an amazing time. We can’t wait to do it all over again next year!!!

The Crowd watching the Bikini Contest Continental Cat performing with his band

The June Photo Of The Month Winner Is………

On July 01, 2011 in News, Photo of the Month

June Photo of the Month by Erin Brie

……… Erin Brie!!!!!! Erin sent through this stunning shot of a dolphin swimming along side Ragga Queens bow during the overnight tour she took to Placencia with us. This is just one of the many amazing things you may get to see on our 3 day trip down the coast of Belize.

Congratulations Erin!!! Thank you for sending this beautiful photo through to us. We love it! Your winner image will be up as our profile picture for the entire month of July.