Reef CI

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
1
30
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Trip End Jan 16, 2013


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Where I stayed
Tom Owens Island

Flag of Belize  , Toledo,
Monday, January 7, 2013

I woke pretty early Monday morning to what is possibly the loudest earth shaking thunder I   have ever experienced! My whole room would shake every time there was a clap of thunder. It was quite amazing. I checked out of Natures Way and took a taxi to Snack Shack where the rest of the Reef CI people would be. The meeting time was between 9 and 9:30 but we didn't get picked up until 11:30. We played some card games and ate to kill the time.

 

By the time we left the storm had blown over but its was still cloudy with the odd spots of rain. The sea was looking pretty calm though so I thought the boat ride over wouldn't be too bad.

The island we would be staying on is about 35 miles from the main coast line of Belize and is in a group of islands called the Sapodilla Cayes.

Well I was very much mistaken about my expectations of the journey, it was rough as fuck! The first 45 minutes weren't too bad as we were in fairly shallow well protected water. As soon as we hit open water however it got a lot rougher! The trip normally takes an hour and fifteen minutes but it took us nearly two hours! When we arrived at Tom Owens Island the sun was shining and the clouds pretty much gone :-)

We were given a tour of the island and assigned our rooms. I had a small round Cabana looking out to the dock and the sea which was pretty sweet.

We did a shore dive around the island and I was able to crack out my spear and catch a few Lionfish. I asked the chefs if they could cook the lionfish for me instead of having meatballs. Im so glad I did because this was the nicest lionfish I have ever eaten! Im not sure what they did with it but it tasted sooo good.

The week was spent getting up for the 7am briefing followed by our first dive. The first morning I had to be woken up by Sami because I over- slept! Back by 9:30 for breakfast. We would a little time to relax before the next dive at 11:30. Lunch would be served at about 1, 1:30pm and then back in the water for our last dive of the day at 3:30. Dinner would be served at around 7pm. The food was amazing. I don't think I've eaten so well in the last three months as I did with ReefCI! We ate Tuna, Baracuda and Conch! (I know, not exactly in keeping with the idea of conservation. I am a little confused by it but it was line caught from just off the island)

I think we were quite lucky with the guests staying this week. Everyone was really nice and quite a cool bunch of people from a variety of backgrounds. Roland (Polly's husband) had bought two of his younger sons on the island as well. I spent quite a lot of time playing volleyball with them and trying to push them off the dock! :-) They were both pretty sneaky and always seemed like they were scheming against us. They didnt really speak much English as they lived with their mum in Guatemala but that didnt stop them getting involved with everything. Were really keen to learn as much as they could about the fish we saw and how to fillet a fish.

Tuesday night is Trade Winds evening. This is where a sailing company called Trade Winds comes to the island for dinner, which is pretty good for us as we get to have a three course meal :-)

 Wednesday turned out to be a great day. We did a morning dive which was pretty cool and when we returned to the boat, Roland our boat captain had potentially spotted a whale shark so we to go investigate, and he was right! It was such a cool experience. We all jumped into the water and there it was completely vertical with its mouth at the surface. It turned and swam towards me before diving down and swimming away. Sooo cool. We got back on the boat and managed to find it again. We stayed with it for about half an hour before returning to base. On the way back I got deliberately pushed off the boat by the captain! It wasn't because I was being annoying, it was part of Ariel's Rescue training and I had agreed to help out. I knew it was coming but didnt quite expect it when it happened! lol. I had to flap around pretending to be drowning, which is quite tiring in itself. She managed to come save me though and comfort me by saying we would be having breakfast soon! Which made me chuckle.

We had breakfast fairly swiftly and headed back out to search for the whale shark. Unfortunately my GoPro decided to start playing up and what would have been some amazing footage turned out to be very short 3 second clips. I did give my other camera to Kayley who was able to take some photos and videos for me, so thanks Kayley.

In the evening we did a night dive. It was quite a cool little dive. I saw String of Pearls (bioluminessence), two Southern Stingrays, two Nurse Sharks and some other cool creatures. I missed the sea snake though.

 


Thursday night Ann organised a talent show where she invited any guests with a talent to perform in front of everyone. As my skills are with my hands I said I would be the MC for the evening. :-p
It went really well. We had people doing juggling, reading poems, dancing, fire poi and a stand up act. Ariel even managed to teach Roland's kids a magic trick which she perform with their help. It was quite entertaining watching her teach them the trick through a mixture of English, gesturing and saying the odd word from a Spanish dictionary.

Friday was our last day on the island. We were meant to be diving first thing in the morning but the wind was blowing too hard for us to go out. This also meant the journey back was going to be rough again...... and it was! I made the mistake of sitting up at the front of the boat and felt every wave we hit. It was 2 hours of neck and back crunching stuff. The poor boys were pretty sea sick.

I just want to say thank you to ReefCI for letting me come on the island last minute and to everyone who was there, Ariel, Ann, Rich & Lizzie, Rick & Maria, Don, Hayley, Noah & Mani and all the staff. It was a genuine pleasure meeting you all. :-)
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