© 2015 by Belinda Woodhouse

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Bel V's Shark

January 5, 2016

Good Mawnin!

Hee hee hee everybody sounds like that on Caye Caulker, an Island situated on the Caribbean side of Belize. Isn’t it fabulous! Cheap lobster, cheap cocktails and a lot of rum. Yeh man! They love their rum, they love their reggae and you can relax there. Easy man, go slow, you are on island time now.

 

The water taxis run on time but everyone and everything else runs on island time (including the sharks apparently, but more of that in a minute). A laid back, relaxed sense of time where it’s OK, everything will and does happen so don’t stress. If it takes five minutes longer than it would at home so be it. Enjoy a cocktail or have some rum punch while you wait and look at the ocean fringed with coconut palms swaying in the breeze.

Isn’t it bewtiful?

 

And Oh My Goodness yes, yes it is. You feel the stress of life drain from you as a Caribbean sunset takes your breath away and relaxes muscles you didn’t even realize were tense. Laze in a hammock and watch the sunset if you like or sit at the bar on a swing.

 

Careful you don’t spill your drink though, not the rum punch!

If that’s not your scene, gaze at the water from a beachside grill where they grill your lobster of choice right there on the beach while all you do is…..well, nothing. No problem man.

All these friendly people want you to do is relax and they’ll take care of everything for you.

 

Snorkeling, sailing, diving, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, you name it, they got it. All water sports can be found here on the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

 

My choice? A full days sailing/ snorkeling trip. Plenty of fresh fruit, lunch, more fruit, freshly made salsa or ceviche and as much rum punch as you can handle are included. Trust me, you will not starve or go thirsty. But remember, the rum punch is for the way home, don’t want any underwater mishaps (I don't need rum for that).

 

Setting sail with Captain Shane and the crew of the yellow boat (just so you don’t get confused with the blue or the green boat) includes three snorkeling destinations. All of which are guided tours of the reef so you learn about the different corals, fish and various marine life teeming around you. Also to protect the reef and Marine Park from tourists whom we all know can be a little stoopid sometimes.

 

My favourite? A shark experience. Up close and personal with Nurse sharks whose skin shines like diamonds underwater. It does. I swear. There is a definite shimmer there when the sun hits. Completely harmless, these guys are friendly, not like at home where most of them want to eat you. Or at least try a bite as a taste test….before rudely spitting it out. So don’t be scared when they arrive en masse as soon as you pull up.

 

Looking down into shark-infested waters is basically every sailor’s nightmare. That didn’t stop me being first in the water to cruise alongside these gorgeous creatures and cherish the first few minutes alone with them.

 You see, they don’t bite. They prey on crustaceans and have more like plates for crushing rather than teeth for biting.

Oh, I know, I know, I still don’t want to stick my hand in their mouth but it does make one feel a little more at ease doesn’t it?

Swimming with them will be a highlight of your life. Although mine was a little more up close and personal then most people might want to get. And I hadn’t even broken into the rum punch yet!

 

You see, after diving down to see a huge Green Moray Eel and being thoroughly awed by it, (obviously! It was massive) my mind was not paying attention on my ascent to the surface. So imagine my surprise when BAM! There was an underwater collision.

One of the sharks had been off with the fairies lazily swimming along (he’s on island time too). I was off with the fairies thinking ‘oh my god did you see the size of that friggin eel’ and as neither of us was paying attention I will take half the blame.

Still looking down at the eel (we should blame the eel) and not watching where I was going when BAM – shark/human crash. Hilarious! They say not to touch the sharks, but it seems it is OK for the sharks to crash into you! Dumbass' the pair of us...

 

Even this guy was incredulous. Look at him. He’s saying  ‘dude didn’t you SEE that shark? I'm looking right at it’. He was swimming with me at the time supposedly. Thanks for the heads up buddy.

 

We both sort of looked at each other and then continued swimming. I swear if sharks had shoulders he would have shrugged them with a smirk and said “no worries man” in that fabulous Belizean drawl. Actually I think I imagined a little bubble coming out of his mouth saying just that. You know, like in the cartoons.

Once the realization hit of what had just happened I was laughing underwater. Don’t worry, when I hit the surface everyone nearby was laughing his or her asses off too! Oh, the birds’ eye view from above would have been priceless.

 

Hand up if your the idiot that collided with a shark....(look right).

Poor shark nearly crapped himself and there was a moment, I will admit that, when I nearly wee’d myself before realizing it was a Nurse shark. NOT JAWS.  

And my god, where were all the cameras?  No one got a photo. Noooooo! I sincerely wish they had because that is definitely a once in a lifetime kind of experience.

 

BAM – attack of the Bel shark…. watch out, she’s scary and may hug you to death!

After that hilarious incident there may have been a few rum punches on the sail home. Just one…or two…or....damn they just keep refilling your cup. Which means, upon arrival at the dock, the gentlemen of the crew will kindly take your hand and help you out of the boat. Finishing off a wonderful day full of wonderful memories. 

 

So my darlings, if you are ever out Belize way, go see Captain Shane and enjoy the sail, enjoy the ocean, enjoy the sharks. Enjoy giggling at his dreadlocks floating underwater too. It looks like he has an octopus on his head half the time.

Hilarious.

And remember to watch out for the Bel Shark…she’ll get ya.

 

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