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So, despite the impending doom you may have felt at the close of our last message, we did complete the rest of Shark Hole without incident. Eventually I got one of my flashlight beams working, we circumnavigated the cave with its amazing stalactites and saw 1/2 a huge nurse shark sticking out of a dark recess in the wall (the recreational 1/2). In fact, we actually did 3 dives that day, seeing a lot of great coral, a ton of different rays and literally dozens of fish.
Moving on, both literally and figuratively, we decided it was finally time to leave Ocean’s Edge. We knew it wouldn’t be easy returning to the mainland, to a world where we were no longer guaranteed an hourly dose of Cher’s Greatest Hits, or at the very least, Celine Dion’s “Greatest” Hits. I’ve got to say, I’ve come to rely on these brilliant ballads and campy dance tunes so much that I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to score without them. As is the case for most women, nothing buckles Laynni’s knees like the sound of a liposuctioned she-male or a French-Canadian with Princess Di’s hair and the body of a 12 year old Dutchman.
The Journey: Part II
Destination: Mainland Belize, 12 miles west, approximately 1/2 hour by boat
Scenario: Steady rain, limited visibility
Crew: Captain Buck, evidenced by the fact it was painted on the side of his tiny 6 seater
Passengers: 2 Canadians, 2 Germans, Vivian from France, Colorado Pete
15 min – wet, confident
30 min – soaked, anticipating landfall
40 min – drenched, mild concern, boat seems to slow
50 min – dripping, beginning of alarm resulting from puzzled look on Captain Buck’s face, 2 mph pace of boat
60 min – alarm, triggered by Buck’s doing a slow 360 degree turn in the back of the boat while scanning the sky, presumably for divine intervention
75 min- “I know that island, that’s Sandfly Caye. Ya, Sandfly Caye.” Since Sandfly Caye is 15 miles in nearly the opposite direction we were supposed to be headed we assumed the question was either rhetorical or meant for the God of the Sea, and we let it remain unanswered
90 min – after a lengthy “discussion” Bucking appears to agree to follow Colorado Pete’s tiny keychain compass west until we hit the Central American coast (having no map or compass on the boat himself)
120 min – tension mounts as the boat repeatedly veers off its westerly course like a dog sniffing at trees; Captain Buck argues that he “can’t see land that way” while we counter with “we can’t see land any where”
150 min – the now-familiar shores of Sandfly Caye emerge out of the rain, surprising the hell out of ol’ Buck but seeming nearly inevitable to the rest of us
165 min – fuel too low to continue, boat is anchored and passengers huddle in abandoned fishing shack on uninhabited island
180 min – as castaways establish source of fresh water, discuss food supplies and possible sleeping arrangements Captain Buck suddenly produces a cell phone causing a reaction of general disbelief among the others
210 min – help arrives from Tobacco Caye with fuel, vague westerly pointing of arm intended to solve directional concerns
240 min – heroes arrive back on Tobacco Caye – wet, hungry, baffled by chain of events
That brings us to Mama Noots, a so-called eco-friendly jungle lodge nestled in the midst of Mayflower Bocawina National Park. Everthing runs on solar power yet tortilla and eggs go for $US10. A land of contrasts to be sure. We did a couple great jungle hikes, both ending in waterfalls, and heard some wildlife. We did pass a couple on the trail who thought they may have seen a jaguar track “back a ways”. In the time it took us to walk past them we were informed that – it was a steep trail, nice jungle, hopefully the weather clears up, and that they were from Wisconsin. We responded by saying that we had not seen the track and had more than likely stepped on it.
Next up – Placencia.