Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 5 - Belize City, Belize

 As we were up at the crack of dawn to be in the theater for a 6:45 show time, we got to follow this ship into the bay.  Today's shore excursions is a tendered situation. What this means is that there is no dock so we are moored in the bay and lots of little boats come and get us.  as we had tours we had priority to get off the boat (this is a good thing!)
 Butch and the girls waiting (yeah, yeah, yeah, it's blurry, but you can see them two rows up)
 this is the first picture I thought to take, it is right after w e had pushed off and another boat had already slipped in to take our place beside the cruise line.  Our cabin is on the opposite side of the boat, however, if it were on this side it would be on the 2nd row up - 2nd from the front - two port holes (don't worry, you'll see this again from another port!)
 you can see that "next boat" already snug up against the cruise ship, they weren't wasting any time getting us to shore to spend money!

 The next boat over is a Norwegian cruise line.
 the NEXT one over is the Carnival Line we followed in :)
 Here is a comparison of all three, ours is the tiny one to the right.  It's small, but I liked that it was smaller :)

we waited inside the shops at the doc for a few minues, then we were off into our bus to go to our tour.

 Fun road signs.  :)
 I don't know why, but I like cemeteries.  These have crypts, but we were told that the people were actually buried under ground and the concrete crypts were just there to ensure no-one was buried on top of you.  This was the largest cemetery in Belize City from what he was saying, it was only about two blocks long... and not very wide... I highly doubt it was the biggest... it was definitely not well kept!

 The mountain in the distance was also said to be the highest peak.  It appears to be a man laying down and the nose is the highest peak.  The top of the head of the "sleeping giant" is to the right and you can barely see more mountain over the lady's head in the seat.  There was never a good chance to get a better picture.
 We went out about 30 miles on a paved road that had issues as it was, then on to dirt road for what he said was 6 miles, but sitting where we were on a school but it sure seamed like more than that... oh, and they were ALL blue Bird buses for those from Fort Valley :)

 THIS is what we have to go up first... yep... STEEP
 you can see the cut in the rock going up from left to right... nice steep hill to climb up!
 lots of Tarzan vines just wrapping the trees and Bougainvillea leaves bigger than my head!!

I didn't take any pictures of the first "cave" as it wasn't really a cave, but a natural bridge type of a pass through.  We walked through that and down through the jungle into the next very LARGE cave called Jaguar cave. There was a very cool piece of rock in them middle of it that had the shape of an open mouthed cat.. really, stalagmites were the teeth and everything.  VERY cool piece of rock.  BIG too - as in taller than 10' in the middle of it and about 10' or batter long... the shadow it cast looked just like a hissing cat.
The light at the end of the tunnel!
 A cute little frog in the cave...
 there are bats in this picture flitting too and fro... not sure if you can pick them out or not...  that was the last of the walking caves.  We then walked by the river for a bit, then into the tubes... refreshing is right.  The temperature of the water was about 70 degrees  NOT bad after the hot walk through the jungle!
 our tour guide Axel

 The LAST sunlight....
 whoops, one last peek from a side cave after we floated in... yeah it's blurry, but I loved the GREEN of it...
 goodbye light!!! (over my shoulder)

 We floated through the caves for about 10 minutes... not nearly long enough for me.  I did enjoy it.  There wasn't anything really to see in the caves.  There was a lot of debris stuck in holes at the top, so you know when it rains they fill to the very top of them!  That would be a LOT of water for sure!

 We stopped at the little restaurant/shop area to have lunch of chicken, slaw and rice and beans.  It was very tasty and I tried their hot sauce.  VERY good sauce.  The local wine, not so much. It was made from a palm nut that was like a coconut (it was a 12% alcohol set up.. YIKES!  yeah, it was like cough syrup.  I didn't get the wine... they really liked it.  Cohune nut was the nut in question.  Very strong stuff.
 What you may be able to make out in this picture is the BRIDGE.  it was a wooden slat bridge with no rails and looking a bit rugged shall we say?
Then back to the ship!!

Oh, and the most important thing to take from this?  I tasted all of the jungle things that Axel tossed my way, Geranium leaves, stems and such that we were told we could eat to survive in the jungle. What not to touch.  I also ate a termite.  Yes Folks I ate a termite.  Tasted like the sap smelled off of the one tree used to produce bug spray... not so hot... but I ate one.
 Belize City is by the diver to the right... where we went was by the tapir (bray animal in the middle)
we ate lunch where the two rivers meet by the tapirs back leg and floated down the river to the right of that meeting river.  Very cool, eh?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 4 - Roatan Honduras

Up early... woke up to a change in waves is all I can think caused it.  Early is 5;30 am.  The day prior was 6:30 and with the time change it was about the same.  Sigh..
Bright lights out he window!  Ok, so it's just sunshine!
coming into Roatan

waiting in the madhouse of shore excursions
 Full theater waiting on shore excursions.
 We are thrilled, can't you tell?
 Walking down four flights of stairs to the exit on deck 1 (moooooo)
 On the dive boat waiting to go out on our dives

 The resort across from us looked GREAT!!

Diving was great too!  First dive was a wreck dive in about 100' of water however I think we maxed out at 70 some odd feet.  There were a lot of sea fans and beautiful fish everywhere.  Lots of LARGE puffers too.

There was a huge pod of dolphins the captain tried to put us on top fo to see while snorkling.  I was at the back of the line to jump in and was watching them from the boat and got to see them split around everyone in the water - why on earth would they come near 15 splashing folks in the water???  they had calves in with them too, so they were protective of the babies.  I did get to see two large ones jumping about two or three boat lengths back from us, that was so cool to see in the wild!

the folks in the water got to see some of them swimming below them with the calves, I was in the boat watching the whole pod go by and saw a lot of the babies too.  I never did jump in!

We motored back to the dive shop to change tanks and wait out our surface interval.  Liz and I got a snack before heading back out.

Dive two was a shallower dive.  There were about 5 to 6 turtles on this dive.  One very big mature one was munching on coral and we got within 5 feet of him while he was eating.  Very cool, he didn't even stop munching to look at us twice :)

The folks from our tour were in a big hurry to get back to the bato area.  NO time to shower and change :(

Oh, well, we wandered around the port area and piked up souvenirs and took a few more picutres.
I bought the ship package for all photos and have been begin the kids to take every picture they see.  they're not doing as well as I hopeed, but we have a good stack of pictures so far

Dinner was great with Thai Shrimp and escargot  Yes, we all had some.  Basically garlic flavored mushroom texture.  not horrible.

Tonight we have to rest up because tomorrow is Belize and 6:45 am show time for Butch and the girls.  7;45 for Sally and I, however we're all in the same rooms, so I'm sure we'll all be up at the crack of dawn for this one :)