Well here I am, still with my anchor firmly dug in behind Cay Caulker. This is proving a very hard place to leave. I was all set to head off down to Belize city to visit some family down there and maybe do some touring around the mainland, but things turned out otherwise, and maybe for a reason.
I dropped in to see my mate Henri at Contour tours here and we got to chatting about a possibly exploratory trip out to some of the atolls off shore when Joe gets here and as I was trying to decide whether to stay or go I got a call from the family I was to meet up with in Belize city telling me that they were here on the island. So that was that really, not pulling that anchor just yet.
Meeting up with some of the family I've never had the opportunity to meet before has been one of the highlights of this trip, and as I walked down the beach to where I was to meet up with Marcello, Maria and the rest of the family there was really no danger of missing them. With the splitting image of Granma sitting there, in her sister, Petra, and the family resemblance alive in so many faces there was no doubt that they were family. Spent the afternoon hanging out and getting to know each other a bit and had one of the slowest, although funniest, lunches with the good humor of Benedict, one of the local guys on the island, making up for the leisurely speed of the food.
I have decided to stay here and wait for Joe to arrive before heading south, and while waiting decided to head out to the blue hole on a charter just in case the weather doesn’t permit to take Kuhela out there. Was a bit of a rough ride out there with squalls passing through every hour or so, but once we arrived it cleared a little. This blue hole is much larger than the one the Bahamas, but not as deep. Its hard to get a feel as to the size when your out there, but dropping down the ledge at 20M and peering over out into the darkness is truly amazing. I considered using scuba for the dive, but decided to just free dive it, and after a few dives was feeling really good and doing drops over the ledge and into the fading light below. There were huge snapper that live on the upper ledges and an occasional Caribbean reef shark would come cruising up over the ledge to have a closer look at my strange, and less graceful, form as I drifted down through the water. This is definitely somewhere I would love to explore more and dive properly, being by myself I dived pretty conservatively, but there is just so much to see and the feeling of falling into the dark, calm water is the closest physical thing I can describe to a deep meditation or reflective moment.
The other dives for the day were just as impressive, Belize definitely has some of the best diving I have seen anywhere in the world. The colors and variety of the corals and sponges that compete for every inch of space available and the fish, large and small, and of so many different species that you come across on every dive is truly remarkable. I easily saw some of the largest mutton and dog snapper that I have ever seen and didn’t even know that hog fish could get that big. I really hope the weather plays the game and Joe and I can come out here to explore a bit more and do some more photography. Spearfishing here would be amazing, but would only take half an hour to hoot more fish than we could ever eat quick enough. Just seeing reef like this though is enough for me, it is what it must have been like when you hear the old boys talk of how things were in many of the spots I have fished, even makes some of there more exaggerated stories seem a bit more plausible.
After saying all that, it may come as a surprise when I say that I am ready to head off. Not that I am so ready to leave this place as I am ready to feel Kuhela heeled over with the wind and hear the gentle gurgle of waves whispering past the hull again. I feel like with all the time ashore I have been neglecting her a bit. I am looking forward to setting sail again, this is the longest time I have spent at anchor since I left and have enjoyed it thoroughly, but when Joe gets here it will be time to hoist the sails and make our way south. I am longing to be at sea, where things are in some ways easier and quieter, again.