Friday, January 4, 2013


Belize blog post:

No pictures for now because the internet here on the island isn't equipped for downloading and uploading images, but I have many exciting things to write to you about.

We arrived safely in Belize yesterday, flying to Belize City first, then on a bi-plane to Dangringa, the a multi-colored school bus, and a motorboat out to our ultimate destination of Southwater Cay (cay is pronounced key.) The boat ride was quite the thrill, since the water was pretty choppy, and they drove at top-speed. The views all around are gorgeous, with palm-dominated forests on the mainland, and the Maya Mountains to the west. None of these are visible from Southwater, though; we are about 15 miles off the eastern coast of the mainland. There are a few other islands nearby to us, including Carrie-bow Cay and Twin Cay, which are both important research sites, as is our island.

We are staying with a company called IZE, and share the island with another resort and a private plot. The beach where we can swim, and where we begin our snorkeling trips is on the south end of the island. This area is part of the World Heritage Site, because it is a very unique area ecologically, and in many other aspects like politically and economically, I'm sure. We 13 women on our trip are all in one dormitory style room, with two salt-water toilets. All the fresh water on the island is rain capture, but there's plenty to drink, and the food is excellent. Since our arrival on Thursday (it is Friday night now) there have been five rainstorms, but they are brief and altogether welcome. Otherwise, the skies are pretty clear, the sun is very warm and strong, and the island is a treasure all itself.

Some of the life-forms that we have seen so far on land have been frigate-birds and brown pelicans, a few small brown or green lizards, and palms-especially coconut trees. In the water, there are nearly uncountable species, with sting rays, numerous numerous fishes, corals, sponges, sea fans, and so on! Our focus today is to learn to identify the corals. During our morning dive, Prof. McCafferty pointed out many of the corals, particularly at the genus level. Among them were brain corals, star corals, branching corals, as well as some soft corals, which are more properly called gorgonians. I'll write more on these when I know them better and can use their scientific names. This, though it might seem more challenging, it the better method, because common names can vary between places, or who is identifying the species, while scientific names are unvarying across  the board.

When I am more sure of these (and their spellings), I'll write those in too, so that you may find better pictures of these than I may provide you with, especially since I don't have an underwater camera. It is beautiful, though, and made more so by their fascinating life histories and relationships with the individuals up to whole ecosystems surrounding these creatures.

 More to come! Thank you for stopping in to read, and I hope things are going excellently your way. I  believe there is a link to subscribe if that suits you on the right side of the page. I'll figure out the details on that when we have a steadier internet connection. Next time I post will most likely be in Costa Rica. Wish me luck, good sightings, and safe yet adventurous travels until then!


  1. Southwater Caye, eh?
    I think I went there.
    Hammock between two trees, pickaxe buried in the ground for coconuts, classroom with a blackboard. Volleyball net.
    I think I studied coral reefs and animals there.

  2. The reef sounds absolutely incredible, Carrie! And using only rainwater for drinking water also is really great, I'm curious about the rest of the island's ways of taking care of day to day life (my cousin is in Costa Rica working on a farm with various compost innovations. I imagine the island must have to do something similarly.)


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