Day 11: Hol Chan Reef Tour + San Pedro

San Pedro Travel Blog

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Caye Caulker Bakery

Woke up early this morning to more rain and panicked. Luckily, upon waking up later I found the rain had finally stopped. That meant our Hol-Chan snorkeling tour was still one.

We headed off to the Caye Caulker Bakery for breakfast, stopping to pick up OJ at Glenda's. We were issued flippers and masks and board the motorboat for our full day trip. It was a small motorboat (seats approx 12 people) and Jon and I sat up front. It was my first ride in a motorboat like this. It was REALLY bumpy, like we were going over rocks. Apparently that is just the sensation of the boat coming off down the swells of ocean waves. There were side rails to hold on to and in my case I also held onto the rope they use to tie the boat to the dock.

Jon readies for snorkeling
  It was like riding a horse and holding the reins. Scary at times but also exhilirating!

Our first stop on the snorkel tour was Shark Ray Alley.  "For several years, local fishermen often cleaned their catch in this area, located just inside the reef, to the south of Ambergris Caye. When fishermen noticed that their activity had attracted Nurse Sharks and several Southern Sting Rays, they reported this information to the dive operations in San Pedro, who then dispatched some divers to investigate. What they found was a bonanza, and "Shark-Ray Alley" quickly became a very popular dive site."

(source: http://ambergriscaye.

com/pages/town/parksharkrayalley.html)

It was my first time snorkeling and I admit I was anxious. I'm not the best swimmer in the world. We all got into the water by jumping or sliding off the boat (Jon jumped; I slid carefully). It took me a few moments to get the hang of (a) swimming with flippers and (b) breathing in exclusively through my mouthpiece. We looked at some nurse sharks and the guide asked everyone to follow him out further to see more. I'm a slow swimmer and still not confident with the flippers so I was keeping my head above water and doggie paddling as we followed him. The guide noticed and asked me to stay near the boat (not follow them) and practice getting horizontal because I would need to have the skill mastered when we swam over corals later or I'd hit the corals (which can destroy them, and some of them sting).

Jon on the snorkel boat. Woo!
I was disappointed and felt left out but what could I do? So I stayed near the boat while Jon and the others swam off.

The came back about 10 minutes later and we spent about 15 more minutes in the water near the boat. The guide caught a nurse shark and let us pet it. It was very rough. He also caught a ray and let us touch that- very smooth.

Our second stop was to see a huge sea turtle. It was majestic. We same alongside it and watched it gobble up some small fish. Very cool! Jon took plenty of pics using the underwater disposable camera we had purchased.

Third stop was Hol-Chan reserve where we saw eagle rays, groupers and many different varieties of fish schools and coral.

We docked at 1:30pm in San Pedro, a town on Ambergris Caye. It was just like Virginia Beach transposed into Central America.

sea turtle and fish
Touristy, trafficked and overpriced. I'm so glad we chose to stay on Caye Caulker for our vacation. We had lunch at Caliente and that was delicious. I'd call it California style Mexican cuisine.

After lunch it was back on the boat for our final stop at the Coral Gardens. They were exquisite. Brain coral, soft coral that looked like big purple cabbage leaves and long tubular blue corals were among my favorite. So pretty. Also saw a lot of fish and a wierd bundle of worm looking coral. We were there about a half hour or so.

Before taking us back to the dock our guide surprised us with a quick side trip into the sea grass near shore on the other side of Caye Caulker to show us sea horses. They were amazing.

We docked the boat and headed back to the room for a quick clothing change in order to make the 5pm sunset sail at Ragamuffin tours.

Welcome to San Pedro
We raced over to their dock only to find that the cruise had been cancelled. So instead we spent the rest of the evening wandering around town and enjoying our final night on the Caye. We had dinner at Syd's again and then walked down to the Split. I saw Mama dog (the nickname I gave the recently pregnant dog) but did not see Split anywhere. Then we watched American Idol and rubbed each other down with Aloe Vera to soothe our burns. We look like toast that was only toasted on one side- our backs are very burned from being face down in the water snorkeling all day, while our fronts are golden tan.

Tomorrow we go home. What an adventure it has been.

 

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Caye Caulker Bakery
Caye Caulker Bakery
Jon readies for snorkeling
Jon readies for snorkeling
grouper
grouper
Jon on the snorkel boat. Woo!
Jon on the snorkel boat. Woo!
sea turtle and fish
sea turtle and fish
Welcome to San Pedro
Welcome to San Pedro
barracuda
barracuda
coral
coral
ray
ray
coral
coral
stray cats
stray cats
stray parrot
stray parrot
butterfly
butterfly
flower
flower
the stray pack
the stray pack
326 km (203 miles) traveled
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photo by: Reephboy