Monday, February 02, 2009

Belize Mission Trip: Tobacco Caye

Saturday was our free day, and Elizabeth and I decided to go snorkeling. The best place to do that (according to Ben, a guy in my Greek class who had randomly been there) is Tobacco Caye. (Caye is pronounced "key", like the Florida Keys.) Tobacco Caye is a very small island on the end of a barrier reef. Elizabeth and I went along with four others from our party. We left Dangriga by boat in the morning. The trip took about 40 minutes. Every so often, we would hit a wave pretty hard, which would make Penny (one of the nurses in our group) squeal. It was quite amusing, but the jolting made Elizabeth uncomfortable because of her pregnancy. The day was a bit overcast, but not as bad as Friday at the construction site, so we were hoping that it would clear up instead of raining. Once we arrived, we explored the island, which was rather small. There were conch shells literally everywhere. Since they're protected they are not allowed to be taken, so the ones in immaculate condition were used to line trees, staircases and cabins, while the chipped or worn ones were simply thrown in piles in the harbor. The sun did come out a little bit, and we ate lunch at a restaurant that sat over the water. They apparently ran out of fish, because half of us got fish, and the other half got chicken. The food was good, though, and we shared a little bit so that everyone could try the fish. There were a group of nursing students at the island as well. They had left Dangriga just before we did, and were staying on the island for a few days. They got to go out snorkeling before we did, and so we had to wait until they got back before we could go. The longer we waited, the more windy and rainy it got, but we didn't want to pass on the snorkeling (and who really cares if it's raining when you're in the water), so as soon as they got back, we hopped in the boat and headed out. The reef was pretty cool. Since it was a cloudy day, it wasn't as bright as it could have been, but hopefully the pictures from my waterproof disposable camera will come out (I haven't gotten them developed yet). It's a bit difficult to frame a shot when all you can do is point the camera in the general direction and hit the button. We didn't see anything spectacular, but there were lots of colorful fish, coral, and a few rays. After snorkeling, the weather was pretty bad. The wind had picked up, kicking the waves up along with it, and it had started to rain. We hurredly got our things together and into the boat. On the way back, we stopped by a wildlife preserve, where several species of birds made their nests. On the way back, we got completely soaked to the bone. Not only was it raining, but every time we hit a wave hard, it would splash water up, which would then be blown by the wind right on top of us. We had pack up and leave the following morning, so we were glad that there was a laundrimat nearby. We took all of our wet and filthy clothes (minus a pair of my jeans that had ripped and were covered with cement), and dropped them off so that we could take them home clean and dry.
Pelicans We're here! Tobacco Caye The restaurant where we ate lunch On the trip back The aviary
Land ho!

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