Island Expeditions met us at the airport and drove
us to the Tropical Education Center, where we met the other two couples on
the trip. We each got
two 20-liter dry bags to pack all of our stuff for the next five days.
We were supposed to head out at 10, but the driver was delayed an hour by
a traffic accident on the (only) road.
This is the cabana we stayed in. We hung out on the porch reading until the driver finally arrived.
This giant iguana was hanging out in a tree right next to the cabanas.
Waiting for our ride...
Once on the bus (actually just a van driven
by a guy named Edwin), we made numerous stops:
- at a fruit stand to buy oranges and papayas
- at a citrus orchard, where it is ok to just stop on the side of the
road and grab fruit off the trees. Edwin picked and peeled some
grapefruit, which turned out to be surprisingly sweet.
- at a "mystery spot" where you can shut off the car engine and appear
to roll uphill
- at a grocery store in Dangriga
- at Edwin's house to drop off the groceries and fruit.
- at a boat dock on the river in Dangriga, which turned out to be the
wrong drop-off spot
After all of this, we finally arrived at the launch point, where we
boarded a motor boat to Coco Plum Caye.
While Omar, our guide, made lunch, we walked around Coco Plum Caye. The water was an amazing blue-green color.
There were mangroves growing on the edge of the caye. Mangroves help hold the island together
The pelicans would suddenly dive into the water, making a huge splash.
The area right next to the mangroves seemed to be a good place to catch fish.
After practicing flipping our kayaks and getting back in, we headed out. We could see birds circling for a while before we got to this island.
Pelicans, red-footed boobies, and frigate birds use these mangroves as nesting areas. The male booby birds had puffed up their bright red necks like balloons.
Our destination for the next two nights, Tobacco Caye, is in sight!
We stayed on Tobacco Caye for two nights, in a cabana right on the water. The island is about 5 acres, and we walked completely around it in about 10 minutes.
When we checked in, we noticed our light didn't work. The guy played with it a little, then disassembled the switch. When it still didn't work, he told us they'd need to get one from the mainland with the next boat -- the next day. Once the sun went down, it was dark. We tried to stay up until 9pm but didn't quite make it.
All of the fresh water comes from rain, collected in huge barrels. To help conserve water when showering, you have to hold down a lever to get unheated water to trickle out.
Our kayaks were parked a few steps away. The first afternoon, we paddled out from the island, anchored, and jumped out of the kayaks to snorkel. We saw three eagle rays that looked like they were flying in formation, along with a sting ray, parrot fish, jacknife fish, and lots of red fish with big eyes hanging out by the sea fans. The next morning we paddled out for more snorkeling. In the afternoon we went snorkeling right from the beach. We briefly saw a turtle heading out to deeper water. Our guide Omar picked up a conch (we assume to eat later).
Our cabana was right on the water, and came with a hammock. Paul is standing in the ocean to take this picture.
There were conch shells everywhere: lining the path, piled around trees, and used as doorstops.
view from the hammock on our balcony
The cabana didn't have air conditioning, but opening the shutters on both sides created a pretty strong breeze.
Our balcony was a good spot to watch the pelicans.
These pelicans are hoping for some scraps from the guys
cleaning fish near the dock.
We brought drinking water with us in big water bags.
We had plenty of time for relaxing before and after snorkeling trips.
Our guide Omar, with Tobacco Caye in the background.
We've just jumped out of our kayaks, and Paul is getting ready to go snorkeling.
Our guide swam down to get this closeup of a string ray.
After settling on the bottom, the string ray wiggled around until it was almost completely buried in the sand.
It's easier to take pictures of things that don't move.
The sea fans often had a crowd of fish hanging out in front.
returning to Tobacco Caye after snorkeling
This is pretty much it for evening entertainment on Tobacco Caye.