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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Belize Part 2

    Monday, September 25, 2017
    Caye Caulker, Belize

    The Caveman (right) of Caveman Snorkeling Tours in Caye Caulker, Belize.
    The Caveman (right) of Caveman Snorkeling Tours in Caye Caulker, Belize.

    The Caveman gives a pre-snorkeling speech at Caveman Snorkeling Tours in Caye Caulker, Belize.
    The Caveman gives a pre-snorkeling speech at Caveman Snorkeling Tours in Caye Caulker, Belize.

    A little after 10:00 am, I walked up to the office of Caveman Snorkeling Tours on the beach in Caye Caulker, where a couple of dozen other foreigners were busy signing in and trying on their rented snorkel masks and fins. (I’m so serious about snorkeling, I brought my own.) After a lengthy speech / pep talk from the Caveman himself covering our itinerary, the marine life we would see and our safety, he asked us if we were happy. When we said yes, he replied that it was his job to make us happier. If that didn’t happen, he said that he would offer a 100% refund on the snorkeling tour. What a good deal! I wonder how many people, if any, have ever claimed they weren’t satisfied with the tour?

    A school of tarpin near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    A school of tarpin near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    Snorkeling near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    Snorkeling near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    Next, the Caveman divided us up into three groups of around six to eight people and put us on three small motorboats that were, fortunately, each covered with a tarp roof for sun protection. Our first stop was on the opposite side of the island, where we got out of the boat and looked for sea horses from on top of a wooden dock. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. At least we did get to see a little baby barracuda, though.

    A loggerhead sea turtle.
    A loggerhead sea turtle. Photo by by Bachrach44.

    Snorkeling above a school of fish near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    Snorkeling above a school of fish near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    At our second stop, we spotted some long, skinny tarpins that were two or three feet long, and can grow to a length of five to six feet. They swam all around our boat, and jumped up out of the water to feed on small fish held aloft by our captain, which was really a neat thing to see. At our third stop, which was the first time we got to jump into the water and snorkel, I got to swim right next to a huge loggerhead sea turtle that was three or four feet long. I was so close to it, I noticed that there were a couple of small fish attached to its underside. Hell, I could have reached out and touched the side of the turtle! But, I had to restrain myself, as I didn’t want to get arrested by the snorkeling police.

    A couple of west Indian manatees.
    A couple of west Indian manatees. Photo by By Galen Rathbun.

    A sailboat near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    A sailboat near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    At our fourth stop, we spotted two or three west Indian manatees. Once again, I got to to swim so close to one, I could have reached out and touched it on the side. It was thrilling, to say the least. A few minutes later, I also spotted two of the manatees laying on the seafloor nose-to-nose in a romantic pose. It was so adorable! At this same location, we also spotted two or three southern stingrays cruising along the bottom. You definitely don’t want to get too close to one of those, as it has a barb on its tail that can give you a really bad, painful sting.

    A southern stingray.
    A southern stingray. Photo by Tomas Willems.

    A nurse shark feeding frenzy near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    A nurse shark feeding frenzy near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    At our fifth stop, the boat was surrounded by a school of nurse sharks. The fact that one of our crew fed them small fish probably contributed to that situation. More like overgrown catfish, nurse sharks are mostly harmless. Armed with this small bit of info, we jumped into the water and proceeded to swim amongst the hordes of nurse sharks right in the middle of a feeding frenzy! It was exhilarating. For the sixth and final stop, we anchored over the wreckage of a small ship. By this point, I was so exhausted, I had to skip that one and lay down to rest my poor, sore neck. The captain of the boat told me I wasn’t missing much anyway.

    Whoa! Like, check out this cone shell, dude! Snorkeling near Caye Caulker, Belize.
    Whoa! Like, check out this cone shell, dude! Snorkeling near Caye Caulker, Belize.

    Overall, I was super happy I got to swim right next to so many kinds of large marine animals, which was a first for me. In addition to that, we also got to see plenty of brightly hued small fish, beautiful and intricate corals–including the intelligent-looking brain coral–and other assorted psychedelic underwater foliage. This was definitely the funnest snorkeling adventure I’ve ever been on. Needless to say, I did not request a refund from the Caveman.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

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