Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Snorkeling - Placencia
Art isn't interested in going out on the water, so this trip was my chance to go snorkeling. How exciting. Steve & Jan tried to do a little snorkeling from the beach, but found too much seaweed and few fish. Roger & Heather decided to stay at the resort and just relax, so it was Steve, Jan & me joining a boatload of others for a day of snorkeling on the reef. One thing we all noticed is that in Belize they're not indoctrinated with safety precautions. Non of us wore life jackets. Were told that there were some, but didn't see any. We headed out, once again from the Robert's Marina. We went past several small islands with one or two buildings. Can't imagine how they survive a hurricane as non seem more than inches above sea level. We went out 25 miles to 3 TINY little cays where those who were snorkeling left the boat. Two folks continued on to scuba. We were given the option of blowup vests, which I used. It took a bit to get it adjusted for comfort in the water, but I was really glad I used one. I have to admit that I was a real idiot. I had sunscreen and had my brother put it on my back, but neglected to put any on my legs. What an idiot. I knew better, but was just too impatient. I really suffered for the next several days, but no one to blame but myself.
We had a short talk by a conservation officer about the reef and Belize's rules about it's protection. I was pleased to know that they are taking active steps to protect this fragile resource. Three other boats, much smaller, also had groups snorkeling. This cay is so small that we took up almost all of it's space. Only building there was a barely functional outhouse. Our guides talked to us for a minute to describe where we'd go and that there would be one guide in the front and one in the back, in case we had trouble. They were also wonderful at pointing out things of interest. I was so often at the very back because I wanted to just hover over a spot and take it all in.
Years ago we were fortunate enough to be able to take our kids to Hawaii. I must admit that the reef and fish in Belize weren't as colorful as those in Kauai, but it was thrilling anyway. My camera doesn't work underwater, so I could only look and appreciate. My brother had a new little Fuji underwater that worked beautifully. It's just difficult because everything seems to be moving all the time. We saw tiny blue fish that seemed fluorescent, parrot fish, a few lion fish and even a hammerhead shark that was lying on the bottom.
We came in at noon for a lovely lunch provided by Roberts. They bro't it all in in large coolers that they floated in from the anchored boat. Actually, we were quite surprised at how close the boat could get to the reef, and were told that it had jets and only had a 2 foot draft. This little break was really enjoyable and then we went back out for a tour across open water to a tiny bit of reef that offered a little different view. The open stretch is where I was really glad for the vest. I used to be a fairly strong swimmer, but age and lack of opportunity really lessened my capabilities. Just about the time I was thinking that I'd have to try to just float for a bit and rest, the reef came into view and I was fine. Our guide was a gem and really watched over me. I had a ball. Steve & Jan did great as they each have wetsuits that keep them warm and buoyant.
After our reef snorkeling was over we piled in the boat and went a short distance off another tiny cay to a spot where there's lots of seaweed that's a feeding ground for turtles. Most jumped back in the water to swim with the turtles. We opted to stay aboard and look down on the group. Besides the big turtles the guides spotted a couple of rays too, but they didn't come close enough to the surface to photo.
This was definitely a must do when you visit the coast. I LOVED IT!