Michelle and Charlie's Around the World Trip 2004-2005 travel blog

Waterfront on Caulker

Caulker Caye, Main street

View from our hotel (Blue Wave Guesthouse) balcony

dive boat

 

snorkel sailboat

sail away

on our way to the snorkling trip

Captain Charlie at the helm, rum in hand

rum or not, vigilant on the starboard traffic

at the "Cut"

very strong current in the Cut

fishing at the Cut

almost beach at the Cut

this is the boat that does the 3 day long trip to...

 

 

 

 

 

surprisingly there are lots of signs like this on Caulker (but not...

 

The cold front brought in the clouds

big sponge on the wall

as I said before, I had problems with framing the pictures right

 

 

Grouper

swim through

 

 

 

 

 

the turtle was not all that excited to stay around. BTW, doesn't...

ALL the better framed underwater pictures are Michelle's handywork

 

 

cutting through Turneffe, local fishing boat

closer look of the fisher boat

Half Moon Caye, near the Blue Hole World Herritage Site

Our dive boat at Half Moon Caye

Sanctuary from the observation tower

Iguana getting some sun on top of the forest

 

red footed boobie (compare it to blue footed at Galapagos)

since I did not take any decent pictures in the Blue Hole,...

another downloaded picture of the Blue Hole, from the air

and the 3rd downloaded picture of Blue Hole

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 3.17 MB)

crossing through Turneffe atoll

(MP4 - 2.40 MB)

at the Blue Hole

(MP4 - 2.98 MB)

Bird sanctuary over Half Moon Caye


We got dropped off on Caulker after the diving trip at Turneffe atoll. We were told that Caulker Caye is more layed back than Ambergris was. The first impression was not exactly like that, a number of people approaching us. Also, the first hotel asked as much money as the one we stayed in on Ambergris for a lot less nice accomodation. The next one we went in, though while a little bit more basic, but was half of that price. Caulker is definitely smaller than Amergris and we were wondering how long will it take us to see our new Swiss friends (Reto and Claudia) agaig. It took about 5 min; as soon as we made it to the mini beach at the "Cut" they were there. The cut is a gap in the island, a number of years ago a hurricane opened this chanel across the narrowest part of the island.

Anyway, once we got settled, Caulker Caye indeed is pretty layed back. Even more than Ambergris while tourism is huge, but the water front is a happy mixture of locals and tourists, one street back from the sea there are many establishments aimed not towards the gringos... Yes, not that we did not like Ambergris, but Caulkey is pretty good.

We almost did not stay long, though. Right between the sea and our verandah there was a little office that arranged mostly snorkle trips in the area on their sail boats, but they also have a 3 day long trip that followas the islands south, sailing, snorkeling, fishing during the day, sleeping in tents at night on the less or not at all populated islands. The 3rd day, after reaching a southern belizian town the guests may stay there or for no extra charge they may opt to motor back with the boat overnight to Caulker. So, the boat was scheduled to leave next day, but we ended up being short by 1 person to make it happen. Instead we went on a snorkle trip with them next day. Their traditionally built sailboat draws ridiculously little water which we learned as soon as we got into the water was a good thing because inside of the barrier reef the sandy bottom might be 10 feet or more deep, but the ubiquitously present coral bunches did not leave much to work with for the sailors above. The snorkling was pretty good, like the giant groups of fish moving together at the first stop. They reminded me of the big flocks of animals out on the Serengeti plain. I cannot remember seeing this big Blue Tangs before, particularly not moving with other species of fish in groups. The second stop is the Shark and Ray alley, which indeed was visited by huge sting rays, a more unsettling sight when they are showing all that enthusiasm to hang around you now, shortly after the death of the "Crocodile Hunter" by one of these big babies. Nurse sharks also came by, although they were not all that interested in staying around for the tourists. The last stop was at one of the gaps in the barrier reef, a gap that results in a 20-30 feet deep chanel cut out of the shallow inside by the currents moving in and out. Again some pretty fish and the challange of the day for the snorkelers, a swim through on the side, near the bottom of the deep. It was fun.

Once we were sure that we are done with all the expensive things we heard from Reto and Claudia that they were going on a dive trip to the Blue Hole. This happens to be THE dive for Belize and of course we had to do it. Blue hole is in the middle of Lighthouse Reef, the furthest outlying atoll. As a matter of fact, if you go to Google maps, click on the satelite immages from Belize, find the atoll and look carefully at the kind of lower mid/right of it, you can see the blue circle there. Blue hole used to be a cave, which for one eventually got submerged under the sea, for two the roof of which collapsed. Now there is a 1000 feet wide, 400 ft deep hole in the shallow lagoon of the reef. After a somewhat choppy 2 hour boat ride we were at the site. You get in the water which has no great visibility with about 20-30 ft to the bottom, then swim over the edge where the dark seemingly endless abyss starts. Large groupers great the divers, joined soon during the descent by supremely handsome reefsharks. These have the archetypical shark look, as opposed to the mellow features of the nurse sharks. We had about 8 or 10 around. BTW the visibility gets quite a bit better lower. Bellow 100 ft we reached the roof of the old cave, little of which is still visible on the North side. This little however is quite a view with the huge stalagtites hanging down. bellow 160 ft there is a second ledge, although we only went down to 130-140 ft deep. The lonelyplanet belize dive book is moderately enthusiastic about this dive and while we agree with that there are much fewer items that one encounters here than on a reef dive, but it is so different that we have to agree with the "must dive" title. Following the dive we stopped on Half Moon Caye, a small island which could be a posterboy for any small tropical island. Half of it has the coconut trees, the other one is pretty densely populated. Walking there is like the sound track from Jurassic Park but only after climbing the observation tower above the tree tops that one can appreciate the florishing bird colony there. Huge groups of frigate birds and red footed boobie as well as the occasional sun bathing iguana lives up there. We had 2 more dives in the area at the wall, both were very nice. I give two enthusiastic thumbs up for atoll diving in Belize.



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