Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Even if you only half like beach volleyball this weekend was a resounding success. The Lazy Lizard and Crystal sponsored a beach volleyball competition that entertained us all weekend and we have to thank them for that.
Not only was the island packed with tourists, but locals from far and wide came to cheer on their favorite doubles act in both women and mens competitions.
With six teams entering the mens competition (three from Caye Caulker and three from Belize) this commenced first on Saturday and the finals took place on Sunday. For the womens, only four teams entered and one team from Caye Caulker their competition took place on Sunday.
For those who may not be in Belize in the moment please understand that this weekend was very much about the sweltering heat and the beating hot sun. It can be commented that only the foolhardy or the immensely fearless and physically fit that would even consider entering this competition and therefore you have to take your hats off to each and every competitor!
Needless to say, by the time Sunday’s sunset drew in all those partaking in the event looked very much sandy, sweaty and weary! However as in all these scenarios there has to be a winner – for the womens competition Belize City took the trophy, with our own Seni Rosado coming in a well fought third – well done ladies. However, for the mens competition the finals was hard fought and truthfully extremely close and both teams were Caye Caulker locals.
Chico and Broaster just managed to beat Luis and Tico in the third and final set which was a nail biting and end to end stuff – thrilling for all those watching. Chico impressed all onlookers who are not familiar with his volleyball prowess – he will never look the same sitting behind the BTL desk anymore after we have seen him on that volleyball court!
Thank you for all those taking part and especially the sponsors – the Lazy Lizard and Crystal Water – good weekend had by all!!
When you work year in and year out in the tourism sector of Caye Caulker to begin to recognize patterns and seasons both with numbers and the difference in demographic each month.
Whilst our high season definitely runs from November to May, an additional high season in the summer of July and August is traditionally witnessed for us in the ‘back-packer’ market of Caye Caulker. This small influx is like a blessing to us here on the island as it will allow us to save money to take us through the slow (almost dead) months of September and October.
This August and July has not disappointed as the Split, Caye Caulker has been quite the place to be at sunset with scantily clad Europeans running around and enjoying our Caribbean flavor!! For as long as I can remember, August has been christened ‘Italian Month’. Although Italians obviously travel throughout the year, August is a month which at home they take the month off and therefore Italians travel the world on mass during the month of August.
Their presence is distinctive as they generally travel in large groups – Adventuro del Mundo – and their leader will research for tours and hotels, their goal to strive for the best quality at the cheapest price. If there is generalizations that one can apply to these Italians is that they are always animated, fashionably dressed and they will definitely win the award for the Nation that wears the smallest swim attire!!
Whilst back 4 years ago their groups were at least 20 and perhaps above, with the Italian’s economy the size of the groups and even the number of groups have definitely dropped this year – however, their presence is very much still here and we are enjoying every minute of it as they make the Split seem colorful, well tanned and beautiful!!
Yes, it is here, the official Shark Week 12th – 19th August celebrated by the Discovery Channel. And, although they are mainly celebrating the sharks on the opposite end of the spectrum with regard to fear ie the Great White, our Nurse Sharks deserve a little applause too and so we are here to give them a big hand!!
Both the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve have varying numbers of resident Nurse Sharks. These non- agressive members of the Shark family serve an educational purpose to all of those persons who have been terrified to get into the water since ‘Jaws’ first came out, proving that not all Sharks are going to tear your head off!!
Shark week will be on the Discovery Channel for the rest of the week so for those wanting to learn more about how we can protect our apex predator and therefore protect our marine environment. Or perhaps you just want to terrify yourselves or even just admire the prowess of these magical creatures in the water – whatever the reason, it will be interesting!!
We are celebrating two birthdays this week – Captain Jerry and one of our gorgeous office ladies, Maday!
Jerry actually celebrated his 29th birthday on the last overnight tour – lucky passengers – as he chose to be on the seas (as that is his favorite place to be) and Maday’s birthday 28th birthday is today and she is at home with her friends and family!
Captain Jerry is one of the original crew members at Raggamuffin as he can actually boast that he was sailing with Captain Jimmy, long before Raggamuffin even became a reality – a true member of the Ragga family!!! Jerry is a true favorite of both passengers, crew and office staff due to his highly infectious cheery personality – in fact, Jerry won our crew ‘Personality of the Year’ which was voted on by all our staff as their choice of their favorite person to work with – well done Jerry!
But we have to make a big shout out for Maday as today is her birthday! Maday has been with us for almost a year and in that time she has become very much an integral part of the office team – her sweet, selfless and humble nature easy for everybody to absolutely love!
A big shout out to these two wonderful crew members – may they both have many more blessed birthdays to come – we love you both!!!
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!!
Raggamuffin Junior – Malik, son of Jimmy and Charlie turned 7 yesterday and in good old Ragga fashion, we all celebrated with him!
What does a spoilt 7 year old want to do on his birthday - have fun on a jetski and an inflatable ring with all of his friends!! This new and increasingly popular rental business in Caye Caulker – Reef Watersports has got all the kids on the island buzzing with the excitement of Big Bertha, the inflatable ring that is pulled behind a motor boat – too much fun!!!
Yesterday Malik’s party had the added attraction of a jetski that responsible Captain Jimmy took command of, spinning the kids round the back of the island at great speed! Jerry took the responsibility for Raggadat and Big Bertha and as many as 4 kids were pulled around at a time – great fun!!
The party finished off at Malik’s house with a water balloon fight, followed by pizza and of course 2 cakes!!
Needless to say, once the kids left, the rest of the Ragga crew came round the house to ensure that Malik’s birthday was a success!!
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!!