Prepare yourself…I’m going to be flip-flopping all over the place with our blogging. Quite frankly, I’m afraid of losing memories that are already a distant speck in my mind.
We had a LOT of adventures in 2012 and 2013, and my blog is missing literally a year and a half worth of adventures. Whole countries are missing!! My blog-writing isn’t just for our readers, it is first and primarily as a record for my family–a journal of our travels and family growth over the years. And while 2014 just whizzed by us without me posting many details, I’m even more concerned about losing all traces of details from our even earlier adventures!
So…without further ado…here’s a quick backtrack to Spring 2012, when we made a 6 week road trip down to Belize from our expat home in Ajijic, Mexico.
To frame this better, I’ll remind you that we had just driven from Lake Chapala, Mexico (about 45 minutes from Guadalajara), down the Western Coast of Mexico, all the way to Guatemala. We spent about a month there with friends–both old and new. We had just met the King Family for the first time in Antigua, as we shared a villa for the spectacular local celebration of Semana Santa. We were also joined by the Dennings whom we had vacationed with in multiple locations in Mexico. After a few weeks, the Kings returned to their (then) current expat home in Belize, inviting us to come see them. That month in Guatemala was absolutely spectacular, and we had a lot of fun exploring such a colorful, beautiful place (yes, there are still many blog posts to come on Guatemala)!
When it was time to return to Mexico we decided it would be silly to pass up an opportunity to visit the Kings in Belize on our trip back. Belize is on the way to Mexico…right?! Therefore, we made plans to visit the Eastern side of Guatemala, hit up Tikal, drive into Belize, park our van in Belize City for 5 days, and take a boat to visit the Kings on the island of Ambergris Caye.
Fast forward past a lot of fun adventures (that I WILL write about eventually)…I’m skipping to one I’ve been eager to get down on (virtual) paper! The Kings invited us to go on a private Catamaran Snorkeling Tour with them to Caye Caulker. They’d done the tour before, and thought we would really enjoy doing it, as well. They were sweet enough to split the cost with us for the all-day private tour (maybe $100-$150 each?). They set up the tour with their preferred boat captain, and off we went for a day of sunshine and water!
We said goodbye to Ambergris Caye (water’s not too ugly, is it?!):
Our good friends, the Kings:
The lovely King ladies:
The boat staff included one captain, and one assistant. Of course, they decided to take advantage of the opportunity to catch themselves some dinner while on tour!
The kids took our warnings about the sun exposure fairly seriously.
Maiya-4 years, Ethan-21 months
When we reached the reef to go snorkeling, we put on our gear and prepped to jump in with nurse sharks. Although nurse sharks are known to be docile, they’re still wild sea creatures, and the two boat staff warned us to keep our youngest away from the sharks, since he didn’t have flippers for his feet (they were afraid his feet may be mistaken as small fish)!
The Kings were prepared with floaties and an inflatable tube for their youngest, and they kept their calm as they tried to help our Maiya, who was admittedly a bit cautious about snorkeling for the first time. I forgot to consider how difficult it is for small children to snorkel without much prior experience. The King’s daughter (same age as Ethan) was a pro—no big deal for her!! But my 5 and <2 year old were not thrilled!
Heck—snorkeling can be awkward for adults, even! Now throw a kid into your arms and try to snorkel!
Ethan wasn’t thrilled about the idea of getting in. So, while everyone else was having fun snorkeling and looking at the thrills of the reef, Jared and I struggled to handle an unhappy toddler. Eventually, we sent him back to the boat where he stayed and watched us, instead.
Ella, Jared and I held on to a life preserver ring, which allowed us all something to grip as we watched the nurse sharks all go after a live snail in a conch shell on the shallow ocean floor.
This, my friends, is a nurse shark. They’re not the smallest creatures in the world (they can up to 9.5 feet long)! Would you have been scared to jump in with them?
Better yet…how would you feel about touching a shark?!!
Besides the sharks, there were other fun sea creatures to view in their natural, and not-so-natural habitats:
We even spotted a rare red-headed puffer-fish!!
When we had our fill, we said goodbye to the sharks and jumped back on the boat—heading out to the island of Caye Caulker for lunch.
The kids enjoyed the seats on the back of the boat:
And the men worked on their sunburns:
We pulled up to the dock, and started our mid-day exploration of this sleepy island.
Flat beaches, white sand, and blue oceans that stretch as far as the imagination.
Caye Caulker in the afternoon:
Everything on these islands must be brought in on boats (with the exception of FISH!). That makes the price of produce quite high!
Empty conches for sale (perhaps the nurse sharks had already gotten to them? Or they were served up at a meal in a restaurant?) 🙂
A few restaurants dotted the waterside:
The toddlers wanted to play in the shallow water—much more fun than the deep water at the reef! Poor Ethan’s sunburn was already getting bad at this point! Darn redhead skin!
After lunch, we hopped back onto the boat:
It’s amazing how water and sun can zap you of all energy. Ethan (above) wasn’t the only want to want a nap. We all soon followed his lead by hiding ourselves in the shade of the sail…
….and napping peacefully as the boat took us back to Ambergris Caye!
Upon arriving back at the King’s condo, I checked my email and discovered a “Happy Anniversary e-card” from my parents. WHAT?!! ANNIVERSARY?!!
I checked the calendar, and laughed as I informed Jared—it was indeed our 9th Anniversary!!
Well, at least we had celebrated in style!!