After a 25 minute boat ride, I arrived on the second largest caye, Caye Caulker. This small island is only about 5 miles long and 1 mile wide at its widest part. As you walk off the water taxi pier, you see a mosaic with the island’s motto, “Go Slow”, very nice! The island is home to about 1000 permanent residents and 100s of tourists. There are virtually no cars on this island and everyone travels by foot, bike or golf cart on the hard packed sand roads. A hurricane split the island in two some years ago, and “The Split” was born. This is where most people go to hang out, sunbathe, swim, and get some drinks at the Lazy Lizard bar. Check out a short video(9Meg WMV file) of the hotel and the main street here on the island.
I decided to forgo obtaining the Advanced Open Water Certification for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they couldn’t teach me the electives that I wanted (like underwater photography), and secondly it is not required to dive the Blue Hole (which I mistakenly thought). I also think that I could use that $300 towards something else, like diving in the Honduras.
The first dive trip was to Hol Chan marine reserve, which was outside the reef, i.e. in open ocean. The day that we went there were 6-8 ft. seas and while diving at 70-60 ft. was nice and calm, getting in and out of the 28 ft. dive boat was quite an adventure. The second dive trip was to THE dive site here, The Blue Hole. This undersea formation is actually a sinkhole, where the roof of an underwater cavern collapsed. The bottom is at a depth of 400ft., but the cave formations are at 100-160ft. I just followed the dive master down and before I knew it, there were the stalactites. I looked at my depth gauge and I was at 135ft. We only had 8 minutes at that depth, but we got to swim through the formations. It was very surreal. We even saw a couple of reef sharks down there. Before I knew it we were headed up (slowly) and the dive was over.
I broke up the stay here on the island with a day trip to Belize City. Now I know why most people don’t spend much time there. Even though it is a big time cruise destination, it is kind of a dirty, nasty city. There is a lot of poverty here in Belize, and it is really apparent in the city.
Tomorrow I make my way back to Corozal (near the Mexican border), where Cynthia will meet me and we’ll team up for our Central American Adventure. I’m really looking forward to being with my travel buddy again!!! Stay tuned for more from Western Belize and the famous ruins of Tikal in Guatemala.
To see the gallery of the adventure in Caye Caulker, Click here.