Mountains to the Sea
5:45am comes early in the jungle. Bug spray applied, binoculars donned, we headed out to see what feathery friends we might find. Highlights included Crested Guan with wattle perching in a tree, Black & Red Swallowtail Butterflies fluttering past, thorn bugs hopping trees, and Boat-billed Herons waiting in the pond, all ready to make our list.
As it was our last night in the Preserve, we needed to eat all of the fruit previously purchased our market visit, we ‘pango sweated fruit.’ We learned from our Belizean teachers that this was Creole for ‘eating everything on your plate, in this case in the fruit bowl. Delicious fry-jacks slathered with Marie Sharpe’s fruit jam, eggs with Happy Cow cheese and fried beans.
After breakfast we began our hike to Ben’s Bluff waterfall. The hike was uphill and hot. After a strenuous hike, we could hear the water promising a cool respite from the jungle. As we rounded the corner, exclamations ensued and we jumped in. Cool water was a surprise after the tepid water of the rainforest rivers. We each took turns swimming to the falls for another wet group shot. Refreshing!
We said goodbye to the falls and goodbye to our friends at Coxcomb Jaguar Preserve as we loaded up and headed for the island. As we were leaving we stopped by the Mayan Center for one last time to gorge on local chocolate bars made by the Mayans. It was a sight to see each of the educators, candy-bar in hand … just like Christmas!
So far we’d experienced the savannahs, local villages, rainforest, and mountains… what would the Belizean beaches be like? We donned life-jackets and boarded a luggage-laden boat. Anticipation grew with each bump of the waves and each glimpse of the blue-green water. Ooooohs! and Ahhhhhhs! were what we heard as we stepped from the boat onto white sand and into the sea breeze.
For some of us, snorkeling would be a new experience. Pairing up with more experienced snorkelers, the newbies carefully learned the technique of breathing only through our mouths. But so worth it! Purple fans, yellow-orange coral trees, green-swaying sea grass, teeming with schools of fish swimming with one motion… blue, green, spots, & stripes … so much life … so much movement. We had to be dragged from the sea with a promise of a shower and dinner.
At our group meeting, remarks began with how much we had missed the wind. In contrast to the sweltering heat, trickling sweat, and jungle funk, we are now experiencing Caribbean heat, warm breeze, and salty smells. We are thrilled to have arrived at our last stop — South Water Caye, where we eagerly anticipate learning the island fauna and flora.