San Ignacio

Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
1
48
420
Trip End Dec 28, 2010


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Monday, May 26, 2008

Time to leave having spent another hour or so trying to clean up the termites. First stop was at Big Rock, another waterfall; this one has a straight drop of about 45 feet and is quite impressive, particularly as we had quite a lot of rain yesterday. The rain did not really help the road, we actually had to use low gear in a couple of places and where still sliding around the road at times. Anyway we made it safely to San Ignacio where we managed to do some shopping and go to the Inglewood campsite for the night. We had to sweep up lots of wings on arrival and we can still see lots more trapped inside our blinds, we will leave them for a couple of days to see if we will get any more, apparently they covered the whole area from Douglas to here, a distance of 38 kms, there must have been millions. Whilst parked here we managed to see our first wild agouti, it's almost like a hare.26th.-Another trip to Georgeville and along the road to Douglas da Silva, this time though we were in the back of a pick-up en route to the Barton Creek Cave. We had already been advised we could not drive ourselves as the road is too narrow. The tour consists of an hours drive to get there; we passed acres and acres of orange trees as well as lots of strict Mennonite properties. On arrival at the cave it was into canoes complete with the guide and we each had a 12 volt searchlight. Getting into the cave was a bit tight as we had to brush up to a rock whilst bumping over rock on the bottom, but then it opened out to between 10 and 20 feet wide. We needed the lights because the ceiling is over 100 feet high in places. The cave is a living cave so there were lots of water drips coming down on us, but it was worth it to see some magic stalagmite and stalactite formations. Some of these where on the ceiling whilst others extended down to water level. In addition to these the caves were also used by the Mayans as a burial chamber, nowadays you are not allowed to climb out and go to the area itself, but they have a skull and several bits of pottery that you can see from the water. The main site also has a bridge over the river built by the Mayans, they used their own form of concrete and it is still standing. A bit further on there are a couple of natural bridges caused by the river sweeping in mud and stone when it flooded, these got blocked across the river and over time became sandstone forming the bridges. In addition we saw quite a lot of fruit bats. The tour lasted about two hours and was very informative; our guide was the first modern man to explore the cave in 1987 so he knows quite a lot about it. After the tour their was an opportunity to swim in the river, although I only had a paddle and watched the local children playing. Then it was the hours drive back to town and home. We were intending to do some shopping on return, but today is Commonwealth Day which is a celebrated holiday here, so it is now a lazy day.
27th.- Of on the moped to do the Mayan Medicine trail, this walk follows a path with numerous different types of plants used by the Mayan natural doctors. The man that set it up never went to school but was awarded a PhD by one of the New York Universities for his knowledge of natural medicine. It was a nice walk along the edge of the river but Mike would have liked more information about the plants and what they are used for. After that walk it was another 3 kms to get to the Belize Botanical garden. This was started in 1993 as an orchard to introduce different tropical fruits; following that in 1997 it was expanded to show all Belizean plants and trees. We did a self guided walk around the 45 acre garden and it was very interesting indeed. They provided a booklet that gave information on around 70% of the plants, the rest were named but did not have so much information. Never the less it was a fascinating visit, indeed it would be good at any time of the year as there are always different plants and trees in season.
28th.- Today we are mainly in the camp doing washing and cleaning out the termites ready to go into Guatemala tomorrow.
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