Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Monkey river trip
My cousin, Roger, really wanted to have the chance to see a crocodile, so we decided to take the trip up the Monkey River. Robert's Grove has lovely boats and guides. We left from the marina at the Grove and took a few little side channels to view the mangroves. Most are being chewed up on the peninsula by dredging and filling to make way for development, but I was a little more heartened to see they're still thriving to the south.
The village of Monkey River is on the south side of the mouth. The road in stops on the north side of the river, so they only get to the village by boat. We were surprised to hear that the river is fresh water so there aren't any mangroves along it's banks. We were thrilled to view so much beautiful jungle and lots of water birds. Yes, Roger go to see his crocodile, altho' we're not telling that they weren't really big. I suggested that he crop the photos and tell his friends that one was actually 8 - 10 feet long. Hey, a croc is a croc. When we'd gone in quite a long way, we put into the bank and walked along a trail into the jungle with the hopes of seeing Howler monkeys. We hear them a lot on our place, but they stay near the river or where there are mangoes or other fruit that they like. We trekked thru the jungle, but didn't see any monkeys. The jungle is different here, with taller trees, but much less underbrush. We passed huge stands of green bamboo. It's not native to Belize, but is thriving in this lush atmosphere. It's a large timber bamboo.
There were a couple of groups going thru and several fellows trying to spot the monkeys when, all of a sudden, there they were. You'd swear from the volume that they'd be the size of gorillas,but they're actually not huge, but boy are they loud. We were warned to be careful if we were under them as they often throw branches or other debris at those below. It turned out that there were two family groups challenging each other so we were treated to lots of noise. What a thrill!
We then went a little further up the river and the back down, sighting lots more birds and wildlife. We stopped in Monkey River at a little restaurant and were treated to fantastic chicken rice and beans. We headed back, thinking that was the end of the trip when our guide stopped near an island where we watched for manatees. They're hard to spot, but we were lucky to see a couple stick their noses out to catch a peek at us. They feed in spots where there is lots of sea grass.
This was a thrilling trip and it showed us so much more than we'd seen before.