On February 01, 2013 in Photo of the Month
Somehow this month we have been inundated with some beautiful photography, far more than normal!! It is for that reason that we find it hard to select one photo – but we have!
We were very proud to hit the front cover of Budget Travel Magazine last month and for that reason alone, we want our next FB profile to be our front cover – we want never to forget our moment of fame as we very much deserve it!!
For those who have not been lucky enough to read the article click here and go to pages 40 – 47!!
On January 31, 2013 in Caye Caulker
All year round we talk about the weather and, when you live on an island that’s lifestyle is so linked to the elements, it becomes the focus of your lives and livelihood!!
Dry season or wet season, lets be real, we can receive rainfall at any point in the year – we live in the tropics and for holiday makers expecting perfect weather it becomes hugely disappointing when the weather is less than perfect – we understand!!
We live our lives glued to various weather sites, trying to accurately predict the weather for the benefit for both our customers on our sailboats and less so for ourselves. The science of meteorology is not an exact science – that which defines the weather is constantly changing and yet we are considered responsible for the weather changing!!! – Go figure.
I can understand it – you save all year for your annual vacation, you strategically plan for your suntan, your idilic photos on the beach and your cocktails at sunset – and when you arrive to when you depart all you see is rain, grey skies and chilly breeze!! It can happen (luckily very rarely), but it can happen!!
As a company, like all others that take their tours out onto our gorgeous reef, we conscientiously assess the weather and based on the forecast the eve of the trip and we cancel and postpone accordingly! Never would any operator want customers to go out on a tour in conditions that are unsafe and also uncomfortable our desire to do business is not that great!!
However time and time again we are faced with tourists disappointment for two scenarios – firstly, when we cancel a trip based on the weather forecast. Most I have to admit fully understand and are indeed grateful for our vigilance but, as one of our latest TripAdvisor reports shows, some think we are downright unprofessional for canceling!! I have heard cries of ‘I am from Canada/England etc and we are used to a little rain!!’ … ‘This is far better than the weather we are receiving at home lately, I want the tour to go ahead’.
The second scenario is by far the one that creates the larger concern. It’s that then the perfect weather forecast changes to down right horrible hours after departing from Caye Caulker. Whether passengers are on an overnight or a day trip to Hol Chan our hearts go with you. This scenario is luckily rare but nevertheless when it does happen, I am proud to say that my crew continuously rise to the occasion! Efforts are made to keep all comfortable, to ensure that snorkeling and fishing are still going ahead and above all, ensure that passengers are still, despite of the grey skies and sometimes rainfall, have the time of their life!
The past week’s bad weather is an example of how inaccurate the weather forecast has been and the pre-longed conditions made it unbearable for locals, never mind the saddened tourists! I am sorry to say that at least 3 trips went out in conditions that, if we had the ability of hindsight, would have been cancelled. This is January – a month when we are blighted with changeable weather – not the whole month but intermittently really until mid Feb/ March when everything becomes more consistent.
And finally (to end) this I think is by way a small apology for any of those persons we have disappointed, not intentionally but unintentionally by not ‘providing’ the weather conditions their dream holiday was based on. In so many ways we completely understand – which is why we do take time and do cancel and postpone trips. However, I do believe that Belize still looks beautiful, even in the rain!!!
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!!
On December 10, 2012 in Ragga Crew
We want to make a big shout out to our one and only Adela for her birthday on Saturday!! There is not much that happens at Raggamuffin that Adela is not involved in as she has over the past year taken over much of what was her sisters work (Edith), masterminding the daily set up at the Raggamuffin office!
Adela kept her birthday much under wraps and let very few of us know about her special day and therefore, aside from Madai trying to get her drunk on Saturday night – she kept a very low profile!! We have obviously given her a piece of our mind as we are entitled to want to celebrate her birthday for her and we promise to make up for it next year!!!!!
We just want to take the time to thank Adela for her tireless work in the Ragga office – she has been pure joy for all of us to work with and really strengthened us by adding her efficient and bubbly personality to our crew! We were blessed the day she walked into our office.
Happy birthday Adela – wishing you many more to come!!!!
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!!
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.
Well roll on the month of festivities … December!! So as the 1st December we have already got the feeling in the air and we choose a photo to suit for our new Facebook profile!!
Wishing one and all, from Raggamffin, a very merry December!!
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!!