We got off the sailboat yesterday afternoon, but my world is still rocking. I try to look out on the horizon and find a focus but it feels like the whole world is moving. We spent three incredible days sailing through clear waters, snorkeling with the most beautiful, colorful fish and coral, speargun fishing, and camping on remote Belize islands with names like “Rendezvous Island” and “Tobacco Caye,” which, although it only has a population of about 35, still boasts three bars.
I had forgotten how much fun camping is. In particular, I love setting up the tent, which always brings out the best in people’s personalities.
There were nineteen of us on a boat that was probably only built for fifteen, scrambling to lay out in the sunniest spots, until day three when we were all burnt to a crisp and scrambling to tie our sarongs to the sails to create makeshift shade structures. My skin is about fifteen shades darker than it was when I left California. We were guided by Rafael, Kevin, and a guy who goes by Renaissance or Rasta, who sailed our ships, cooked our food, and mixed the deadly rum punch every night. They all spoke English with delicious Belizean accents, and then to each other spoke the crazy Creole language, which is exhausting to listen to.
We were the only three Americans on board the ship. I think all of Caye Caulker knew who the “California Girls” were by the time we left. I already miss that island; lazy mornings, lazy afternoons, and sun that never stopped. The hostel we stayed at was filled with people who became our friends and we would end every night swaying in the hammock garden, losing our flip flops and singing along to Coldplay and the Beatles on ipod speakers.
We met so many Europeans; we’ve only met two people from the States. All the Euros travel extensively, so you never run out of anything to talk about. They’re shocked to find people from the States traveling as long as we are, yet they’re all on round the world tickets, traveling every summer on four-month holidays, have been to Africa and Asia and the US. It’s crazy how informed they are. We’ve adopted a Brit named Steve, he’s 33 or so, and is on his 300+ day of travel right now, with endless stories of grizzly bears in Alaska, lions in Zimbabwe, getting bit by sand fish in Fiji and then like, says things like “I get my energy from the sun” and “I’ve got to go see my jaguars, I love my wildlife.” He brings a nice balance to our estrogen-heavy threesome.
As we were leaving the island, one of the Rasta guys called out to Steve and said “hey mon you can’t go walking around with tree girlfriends on dis island. das illegal. i tink i take dis one dere” and grabbed my hand. the men here are lovely, although a wee bit aggressive.
One of our last nights at the hostel, the boys all went fishing off the docks with hooks and lines attached to beer and Coca cola bottles, caught loads of fish, and the womenfolk went to the market and we bought potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and chicken. We had a massive barbecue with about twenty people at the hostel. It was so amazing all these people coming together. We ended with a rowdy drinking game that left most of us seriously ill the next day, but it was worth it. At one point, we were all harmonizing to “Barbara Ann” for an entire hour, over and over. Classic. Our best friends were Tim and Tom, two brits who liked to go out at night with fake names and fake occupations, like “tree sergeants,” or lumberjacks, and spent loads of time with us in the hammocks, or swimming over sting rays and feeling our lips pucker up in the salt water.
Back to the sailing trip. So much fun. I think I could live on a boat. We ate freshly caught barracuda and ceviche every night, sleeping under the stars. We stayed at a lighthouse island the first night. A crusty old man lives there with his two sons. Their one job is to the turn the light on at five pm every day. When we left the island at seven am he was already drinking rum. We had a huge dance party with our crew that night; a dozen of us packed in a sweaty mess on the front porch, jumping around to reggae and Belize mixes with lyrics like “white man got to pay de bills, yellow man got to cook de food, spanish man got to build de house, black man got to lay de pipes.”
We sailed through a tropic thunderstorm and watched fish dance away from our boat on the water while crew man Kevin said things like “see deez fish? Dey walk on watah like Jesus Christ, bro.”
The second night we camped on Tobacco Caye, and danced in a drum circle with the locals who taught us dances where the lead would call out phrases like “if your man gon beat you?” and we would answer “wop him wit my purse.” “if he try to steal your money?” “WOP HIM WIT MY PURSE!!” over and over. They had us sing a reggae version of “Hotel California” for them while they played drum and maraca accompaniment. Then we went to the other bar (it really was the craziest thing, you could walk the whole island in five minutes, but they had THREE BARS. Belize likes to party.) and sang karaoke. The Swiss boys really came out of their shell that night; dancing with us in the drum circle and singing back up while we belted out every song on the Beach Boys karaoke cd. We slept outside under a coconut tree, which is really dumb and shouldn’t be tried, as those coconuts get heavy and would probably kill you.
Until we meet again…
- 206: GringaDiaries: belize (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- 205: GringaDiaries: Everything you wanted to know…and then some (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- 203: GringaDiaries: Catching Latin Fever… (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- 201: GringaDiaries – “if your dog bites me i will burn down your house” (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)