Dennis retired on Friday. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined the 3, yes 3(!), retirement gatherings that were held for him. It was a wonderful send off for him.
While packing up photo albums and miscellaneous notebooks, stationery, office supplies today, I found a journal that I started writing on our January 2005 trip to Belize. That particular trip was the first one after we had sealed the purchase of our beach-front jungle property nearly 7 years ago. From my writing it is easy to see that we were fairly naïve about many things, but our “lessons learned” haven’t been too distressing.
No photos today, but here is an excerpt from the trip 7 years ago.
A big adventure today! Ralph took us on a tour that started innocently enough. We went south past Punta Negra and Punta Ycacos into the Port Honduras Reserve Area. The day was overcast and rained off and on, mostly on, nearly the whole day. We stopped at Abalone Cay were the Reserve Ranger Station is and met George, the ranger. He showed us a beautiful hand-painted map of the reserve with its 108 cayes, 4 of which are even more protected than the others. This area is beautiful. Payne Creek, Golden Stream, and several other rivers drain into Port Honduras. In spite of the cayes, the water is very deep in many areas. Back in the logwood days, it was a major port that sailing ships and, later, steam ships came to. We saw the old tracks that were used to deliver the logwood to the water’s edge. At Abalone Cay, we climbed to the top of the lookout that is in the center of the station. The views were terrific even though it was very overcast. It must be spectacular in clear weather. I hope we can go back. The station built in 2001 as a project with one of the British military groups that train here.
After looking at the map of Payne Creek, we asked Ralph to take us backup the creek. It was lovely. We saw kingfishers, a green heron, swallow, etc. From there we headed out to W. Snake Cay for lunch. A lovely little cay with a white sand each that had a lot coral bits and shells washed up on it. Two pairs of pelicans were diving into the turquoise water and an osprey was perched in a dead tree on a little spit of sand. The water was wonderfully clear and I could see incredible corals down below. We explored the cay for about 15 min (it’s small) and then ate chicken curry and rice lunch that Elna packed for us. We got back in the boat to head by toward Monkey River and maybe stop at another cay to snorkel if the sun came out. But the boat wouldn’t start. Ralph finally for it started, but then it wouldn’t go into gear. He worked on it for about 30 min before radioing for help. He finally got hold of someone who got hold of Elna who contacted her brother George to come and help us. It took about 1½ hour for him to reach us. In the meantime we were at anchor and the sea started to pick up a bit. Dennis felt a little queasy, but I was OK and even managed a little nap being rocked by the water. George arrived in his little boat and after only 15 min, he and Ralph got the engine going and in gear. Now the anchor was stuck. More boat maneuvering to transfer the anchor line to George’s boat so he could pull it from the other direction. In the meantime, the engine has stopped again, so we are in a boat without an anchor in rough water near a coral caye. It took about 5 min to get the boat going. So we finally headed back to Monkey River with George leading the way in his boat. The waves are higher now and we are getting air born every so often. Still nothing as bad as when John Moore took us from Gale’s Point to Rendezvous Cay. But after one particularly had landing, the throttle cable broke, so we were just puttering along. George realize something was wrong and came back to check on us. He had a piece of wire that Ralph used for the throttle, but it still wasn’t very good. Another boat from Monkey River also stopped to see what was going on but they couldn’t help either. Ralph suggested we transfer to George’s boat so he could get us back to the village.
We finally did make it back just fine and even had time to go visit Sam and Martha that same day. I recall that the rainy, misty morning on Port Honduras was magical with soft silver light all around, melding sky and ocean, and hardly a sound to be heard. Looking forward to going there again.
In 10 days, the cat and I will be on our way to Belize. Lots to get done in such a short time …