Day 37: Caye Caulker / Swallow Caye / Goff's Caye / Shark & Ray Alley

Caye Caulker Travel Blog

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slightly miserable on our boat
 

When we woke up the next morning we saw a blue sky - hadn't seen much of that since our first day in Chetumal really.

Unfortunately the blue skies would not last. Before we had completed the payment of the snorkelling tour the sky was overcast already.


We decided to go on the tour anyway. It's a bit of a waste of your Caribbean island not to, right? And it wasn't too bad at all. We did get one heavy shower, which meant we were soaked for the rest of the day (not much fun when there is a wind) but on the whole the weather didn't bother us too much.


The tour consisted of three parts. First part was Manatee Watching, in other words, stare at the water in silence, looking for bubbles which may or may not be caused by a (rare species of) manatee under water.

Paradise just looks differently when it rains
Manatees are mammals, like whales and dolphins, so they have to come to the surface every once in a while to breathe. Unfortunately they don't need to stick much more than their nostrils above the water, so we all we could see of the actual animals were the nostrils and a grey-ish shape in the water.

Our guide seemed a little frustrated as well, because the animals stayed much further away from the boat than normal. Must have been caused by the weather.


The next part consisted of snorkelling on the reef, which we did from a tiny uninhabited island.

This too was made somewhat less enjoyable by the weather. Not only had most of the fish stayed at home because of the rain, the waves made it difficult to snorkel without hitting the precious but razor sharp coral.


The coral here was quite different from the coral I'd seen before in Australia and French Polynesia.

a very old hermit crab welcoming visitors to Goff's Caye
Rather than one long reef, the reef here consists of huge separate coral trees, which have very broad branches which you can swim in between.


We had little lunch on the island. I found a coconut and I wowed the rest of the group by demonstrating my Tahitian survival skills and opening the coconut with a single hit with a stick. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get more coconuts from the trees.

The island was also full of hermit crabs, which are always fun to play with. We found one, which, judging from the size of it, must have been at least 20 or 30 years old. One older guy in our group knew quite a lot about the animals and he explained how hermit crabs this size and age are quite rare.


But we saved the best for last: feeding stingrays.

swimming with stingrays
I had done this before, in French Polynesia, so I know just how much fun this is. The animals are just so surprisingly soft. Robbel and my dad had never experienced this and they didn't know what was happening to them when they were overwhelmed by about 20 (quite aggressive) stingrays.

Stingrays are normally quite gentle. They don't have teeth, so they won't bite, and as long as you just let them to their thing, they won't harm you. And it was obvious that these are used to humans.

However, I was somewhat worried about their tails. If such an animal feels threatened it can whip you pretty hard with its tail (pretty hard as in hospital pretty hard, or even killing you as a certain Australian presenter would find out several years later).

And with over 20 of those big fishes around you it is quite difficult not to accidentally thread on one.

swimming with stingrays
Fortunately they had more eye for the pieces of fish the guide threw in the water than for the humans that swam in between them.

In French Polynesia I had been able to hand feed the stingrays, but this proved impossible with these.


Back on the island we didn't do much more. We had a nice dinner in a little restaurant next to our hotel, opting for barbecued chicken this time, after two days of lobster. Not entirely unsurprisingly the chicken cost more than the lobster!


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slightly miserable on our boat
slightly miserable on our boat
Paradise just looks differently wh…
Paradise just looks differently w…
a very old hermit crab welcoming v…
a very old hermit crab welcoming …
swimming with stingrays
swimming with stingrays
swimming with stingrays
swimming with stingrays
some of the coral, photographed wi…
some of the coral, photographed w…
snorkelling the coral reef
snorkelling the coral reef
Robbel making friends
Robbel making friends
storm approaching to Caye Caulker
storm approaching to Caye Caulker
resident gecko in our hotel room
resident gecko in our hotel room
Caye Caulker
photo by: vulindlela