Our boat ride was nothing short of jarring as we pounded out through the chop towards our little 5 acre island. I must admit that I was glad to get away from Dandriga; because the characters along the street were decidedly unnerving in their appearance and in the looks they gave us as we walked by. They are also much taller and very much stronger looking than the Guatemalans and Mexicans that we were used to seeing.
But once out on the island, it looked like a slice of Carribean heaven.
Turquoise water interrupted by patches that were even more turquoise and our tiny island with it's swaying palms. The Belizean reef extends the whole length of the country and this section is supposed to be less damaged than the rest so we rented our snorkel gear and dove right in. Once in the water we saw lots of beautiful small fish and rays; but the coral itself wasn't particularly colorful and I suspect that it has been damaged. Fortunately, much of the reef is off limits to any sort of boats, divers, or snorkelers so hopefully it will survive. The Smithsonian Institute has it's own small island here where they do research...now there is a good job! The next morning we took a boat trip to see Manatees( we did actually see one at a distance) as well as an island teeming
with mating Frigatebirds and Brown Boobys.
The photos are amazing and don't even do it justice. Then we snorkeled another section of the reef and saw bigger rays, tarpon, and barracuda as well as lots of smaller more colorful guys. It felt strange to see something so beautiful and not be able to take any photos to share with you. You'll just have to drop by and see for yourself!
The next day we bid adieu to Guatemala and entered Belize. We took a taxi with a German couple to the capital city of Belmopan( about an hour) and then went on ourselves another hour and a half to Dandriga on the coast where we got a boat out to Tobacco Cay What a difference! We saw half the country in less than three hours and it is absolutely gorgeous. Where Guatemala had islands of trees and mostly cleared farm or grazing land, Belize is lushly forested everywhere you look. It looks clean and very inviting if you want to get out and see the land and the animals.