Postcards from the Ledge: You'd Better Belize It!

What follows is an accounting of the adventures Indy and Lisa experienced during a brief one week visit to the country of Belize, which is located in the middle of Central America, surrounded by Guatemala to the south and west, Mexico to the north, and the Caribbean Sea and the second largest barrier reef in the world to the east.

Well, here we are, in tropical Belize, on Caye Caulker, watching the storm as it rages around us.

Well, actually, it's mostly done raging. But still quite blustery ("fresh breeze" according to the wind speed measuring device we have at the house), and raining. And actually, it's been raining here since before we arrived. Which was an adventure in and of itself. Due to Tropical Storm/Depression Alma, our flight from Georgia was delayed while the crew attempted to coax a few people to delay their flight until the following day. This is because the plane had been topped off with fuel and was now too heavy for all the passengers, luggage, AND fuel (the extra fuel was in case we could not land in Belize and had to be diverted elsewhere). Finally two girls who were staying in Belize for a month got off with four big pieces of luggage and we could go.

Flight mostly uneventful. Ran into rain of Alma. Took a completely full puddle jumpter to Caye Caulker. Very cool. We were the only two people to get off (everyone else was going to Ambergris Caye/San Pedro). There was a golf cart taxi waiting to take us to the house we rented where we then unloaded luggage. After we explored a chunk of the island, in the rain. Talked to the dive service about diving. And hung out and relaxed. Weren't much else to do in these weather conditions here, after all. Sunday. Weather got worse. More rain, and more and more wind. Diving canceled. Thought to take a water taxi to San Pedro, but decided against it (seas rather choppy). Hung out at the house.

That night the storm got worse (apparently Alma got together with TS Arthur and Arthur...grew). It was...and entertaining evening, with high winds, strong rain, and more lightning than you can shake a palm tree at. Woke up to find that the house suffered some leaks. Fortunately it wasn't catastrophic flooding, and we had some buckets and bowls to deal with the leaking. Overall it's a good house, pretty solid, and I suspect this was not an expected happening (no prior water damage evident).

Anyway, this morning the storm had mostly subsided. Still blustery winds (diving canceled), and raining, but not the torrential downpours we had last night. The streets are extremely flooded, lots of minor wind damage all around the island (tree branches down, signs blown off buildings, etc) and lost of minor flooding in a lot of businesses and hotels/guest houses (one couple we met yesterday got flooded out of their room overnight; the house we're staying in is propped up on a pedestal and stilts about 10-12 feet in the air, so we would be fine except for an extremely high storm surge).

To do something than wander the island in the rain, we took the first water taxi to San Pedro (half hour ride), hung out there briefly (saw a sailboat that had broken free of its anchor during the storm and was now stuck on the beach), then the next (and last for the day) water taxi back. The planes and water taxis did not start running again until mid-afternoon, much to the dismay of many people who were trying to get off of the island for other travel destinations (or to just get home).

Anyway, that's the brief from here. More later, with some photos. The above image is a satellite view of the remnants of Arthur (which the National Hurricane Center - if you go to their website - says that it is unlikely to redevelop, but caveat, it could still happen ;-) ). Hope all's well back home! :-D

(Lisa says "We're still on vacation - yay!")

Go slow to Chapter 2