You Betta Belize It

Tyler and I just got back from Belize and it was so incredible! I don't want to miss telling anything so I just going to get started from the beginning. It is  long so hopefully you have some time to read our adventures!

Day 1, May 14th: It started off early as our flight was scheduled to leave at 6am. My lovely mama picked us (Tyler, me, our friend, Emma) up at our house by 430am and got us to the airport (thank you mom!!!). We headed to Denver, then to Houston, where we picked up Tyler's mom, Cynthia who had taken a different flight from Montana. We had just enough of a layover to each some lunch and drink some margaritas (I decided to hold off until we got down to Belize before I started drinking since I am a light-weight!). I was really happy with our flights and all but we were not sitting next to each other on any legs of our trip, which was kind of annoying. Oh well, note to self about booking flights with United.

We made it down to Belize and our first mission was to go to the Duty Free shop and hit up some cheap booze to last us during our time on the boat (Total tally: 5 cases of beer and 7 bottles of booze drank between the 5 of us... not to mention the drinks on the islands.... we know how to celebrate and have a good time). I got a bottle of nice champagne for Genevieve's birthday as well as a bottle of vodka, Emma got a bottle of vodka and a bottle of gin, Tyler got gin and whiskey, and Cynthia got 2 specialty rums for Genevieve in honor or her birthday- we were all set! Genevieve picked us up at the airport and was so great to see her!!! She brought along a gentleman named Sherman, who helps maintain the sailboats for Belize Sailing Vacations, the company Genevieve works for. He took us to the marina to get to the sailboat, Aubisque.

This little iguana was welcoming us to the dock
Aubisque

Aubisque is a 50 foot catamaran that can hold up about 4-6 guests and 2-3 crew members, depending on how it shakes out. Tyler and I shared a cabin, Emma had her own, Cynthia had her own, and then Genevieve was in the captain's cabin. There was a dining area inside as well as on the outside, the inside had A/C on during the evenings and night time, and there was a kitchen that we could cook or bake pretty much anything we wanted. Tyler thought the kitchen reminded him of a Winnebago so we called it the "Sea Winnebago" or the "Floating Winnebago". It was bad-ass.

The first night we had drinks with Cliff, the owner of Belize Sailing, which was nice before we enjoyed dinner. We then had ceviche, coconut rice with some vegetables and some baked fish. . It was delicious. We had an early evening and decided to take a walk along the dock and then turn in for the night.


Day 2. May 15th: We woke early so that we could get out and do some sailing. Tyler was the first mate essentially and helped Genevieve with putting up the sail and setting the anchor, as well as other various tasks. Emma and I helped too with some of the sailing when we could. Otherwise we all helped with cooking, dishes, Emma filled up the cooler with cold waters and beers, while Tyler was mostly in charge of cocktails. We all had our jobs and it seemed to work out pretty nicely.

 My view as we sailed to Goff's Caye
The morning sky against the blue water

We said out to a little island called Goff's Caye, where we set out to do some snorkeling.


We started snorkeling around the sailboat but then Tyler and I decided to swim on over while the rest took the dingy over to the island with the gear and cooler (priorities!). Tyler and I saw a couple of sting rays, a bunch of fish, and a couple starfish on our way over.

 Tyler and I already on the beach while the others were making their way over to meet us
After we all went snorkeling together and were enjoying a refreshing beer (wish we could have gotten Emma in the photo too)

Closer to the island we saw even more cool fish, like this one rainbow fish that was just gorgeous and then I was lucky enough to see a barracuda, which I found to be very scary. We all enjoyed a beer or two and then headed back to the sailboat on the dingy. Funny story, the dingy always had to pumped up before we used it and I became the "dingy pumper", which I was quite talented at I must say. It soon became a funny inside joke... maybe it was funny because of the beer. Oh well, it was humorous to us at least.

From there we sailed on to do some spearfishing. Emma, Genevieve, Tyler and I took the boat out to try it out, which turned out to also include more snorkeling. Genevieve and Tyler had the spears as Emma and I weren't quite sure we could spear a fish well, but it was fun to watch. Tyler ended up spearing 3 fish! The baked them up that night and they were pretty tasty. We ended staying the night in this area on mangroves, which are basically the beginnings of new islands. They are really cool but evidently home to crocodiles, which we were hoping to get a glimpse of but no such luck. That evening we ate some shrimp curry-excellent dinner. I ate so much fish this week... I may need to detox.

Day 3, May 16th: Unfortunately we woke up to some windy and somewhat gray, cloudy conditions. The plan had been to sail on but being that we were safer in the mangroves, we decided to stick around there. We ended up taking the dingy out in the morning to go see the different areas of the mangroves, including an area that had been made in order for cruise ships to take passengers to for parties and an area to hang out.
On our way in

 Tyler looking out the dingy at the mangroves... watching for crocodiles
These are the branches that truly just come up from the water and sprout all the leaves, in other words, the mangroves

We decided to walk around the little man-made island to take a look. It is not currently kept up so it definitely was not in tip-top shape but it looked like it had been a fun place to hang out. 
 A gazebo off a dock
 The shores were basically made of sea shells-there were so many of them!
That's a huge starfish!
 On one of the docks
 We found 5 little crabs, decided to pick one for ourselves and watched them race! Mine won every time... somehow I picked a winner!

We headed back to the boat and enjoyed some Balderdash as well as some cocktails and one another's company. It was kind of like being at the lake, making the most out of the time we had together, even when the weather wasn't so great. We did take the kayaks out and took them around the mangroves so we could get a little closer than with he dingy. Emma and Genevieve took one and Tyler and I took the other and we had a blast trying to find crocodiles and manatees. Genevieve saw the head of one manatee but the rest of us missed it. Oh well, it was still pretty damn cool.
 Tyler was a bit sunburned-that first day was tough to be sure we had enough sunscreen on and applied enough! The waterproof sunscreen was also vital since we spent some much time in the water. Poor guy was surrounded by women all week. He is definitely a patient man!
That night another sailboat, Doris, joined us in the mangroves on their way back to the marina. This is another catamaran of Belize Sailing. 

That night we had quinoa salad with some chicken. I made some tofu to go with mine. The sunset was gorgeous with the clouds. That evening we also saw lightening, which cracked across the sunset. It was so beautiful.

Day 4, May 17th, Genevieve's birthday! We all got up this morning ready to sail on. Unfortunately, the weather thought differently. We decided (and when I say 'we" I really mean Genevieve. I am no captain, this girl is legit, so we followed her) to sail on to Caye Caulker, which is a small island part of Belize where Genevieve goes regularly to get provisions. Tyler and I went with her on the dingy to load up on supplies. 

Then Genevieve and I went back on the dingy to drop off supplies and gather the rest of our crew. Once we got back it just started to POUR! It was a complete tropical storm. Poor Tyler was back at the dock waiting during all of this. It was just not what we all planned. But hell, it was Genevieve's birthday and we were in this gorgeous place so we were going to make the best of it! We all got rain jackets, headed back to Tyler on the island and immediately went to a sports bar. Genevieve had rented golf carts to help carry supplies and then tour around the island but we the rain was just not on board with that plan. So we drank beer, ate ceviche and conk fritters, and had a blast!

 It was a little wet outside
 The birthday girl before I stood up on a chair and asked the whole bar to help me sing happy birthday!
 Brother and sister!
 Double fisting
 Tyler drinking in the rain because he don't care
 Drying off watching video clips of Honey Badger-Youtube it
Our sunset after the rainy day

Tyler made pad Thai for dinner and we all laughed and talked until we were too tired to party any more.

Day 5, May 18th, Genevieve's birthday, Part Deux: We woke up to a lovely sunrise:
And we knew it was going to be a great day. We headed to Caye Caulker to drop off laundry, pick up some more supplies, as well as our guide, Ellis, for our adventures planned later that day. We stopped and ate a fryjack , which is basically dough that is fried and filled with whatever you choose. Genevieve and Tyler ate the meat fryjack and I had a refried bean fryjack and it was just so good-terrible for you but good.

We headed back to the sailboat, pulled up the anchor and sailed on. We got to a reserve where you can swim with sharks and stingrays! Now before you get freaked out, they supposedly do not have teeth, which I believe since no one died. So Genevieve had some fish to get them close to the boat and then we all jumped in. At one point I was swimming with 7 sharks! It was amazing! Epic even! That was one of the coolest things I have ever done. Sorry, no pictures. Emma took some video so maybe she will post that soon. 

Then we headed closer to the corral reef, which is the second largest in the world, next to the Great Barrier Reef. We snorkeled and saw a sea turtle eating and then coming up for air, we saw more interesting fish, a few barracuda, and so much cool coral and all the life that lives among it. Tyler was having trouble with his mask and mustache and was questioning shaving it- whew! That was a close one.

Next we sailed on to San Pedro for a little shopping. This was another island that was a bit more tourist-y and a bit fancier. We spent some time walking around to mostly do some shopping and find some souvenirs. Tyler found some cigars, I found some dresses, we found coffee and rum and other delicious things too.

From there we headed back to Caye Caulker to spend the evening and go to a nice, fancy dinner. On the way we got to enjoy Genevieve's champagne, which was mighty tasty! Then we started at the Split and had some beers before heading to 88 West for some margaritas. Then we went to Habanero's for dinner. On the way though this happened:

That was pretty fun! Got all five of us too!

At dinner I had the seafood curry and I think I will dream about that for some time to come. It was so delicious. Everything we ate was. Plus the frozen mojitos! I had seafood and drinks every day. Yikes, I definitely enjoyed myself! We ended the night with some trivia at the sports bar. We didn't win but we had some serious fun playing. Tyler and I are trivia junkies!

Day 6, May 19th: 
This morning we slept in a little, moved a little slower, and planned on spending the day on Caye Caulker. We made it over in the morning and did some more shopping, finding some cool anklets and bracelets, ate some more seafood, drank some more beer, Belikin as well as Dragon Stout, shared a Lizard drink (it's bright green and complete alcohol-like a Black Opal or Long Island), and found some more trinkets. Then Genevieve asked for a tour around the island so we got a golf cart tour guide to tell us everything about Caye Caulker. We even went by the swamp area and saw the top of a small crocodile's head! He never came up again but still, it was pretty cool. We found lots of cats and dogs along the way, making Tyler and I a bit homesick. We ended the evening back at the sports bar to have some dinner, fish and chips, and a few drinks. The place was pretty fun and it was cool that Genevieve knew so many people. Everyone in Belize is just so NICE! I have never met such sweet people while on vacation.

Day 7, May 20th: Last day in Belize. We got up early to sail back to the Marina. We laid in the sun, had breakfast, cleaned up the boat, and savored our remaining time together. We got back to the marina and got to take showers, which was such a nice luxury! A few times throughout the week we did take little baths off the boat. We kept our suits on and washed up and then got back in the ocean to wash off. We used fresh water to wash off the salt water and that was the "spa treatment". It actually was much better than I had thought but the shower on land was pretty great. We made our way to the airport, via Mason, a gentleman who often picks people up and drops them off for Belize Sailing. We said our goodbyes to Genevieve and Cynthia as Cynthia was staying a couple of extra days. They decided to stay on the main island and do some touring on land for those couple of days. It looks like that included the Belize Zoo, which I am definitely envious of! We made our way to Houston and then to San Francisco, where we stayed until 7am this morning. Kaz picked us up (thank you!!!) and now we are home.

We have already snuggled with ours babies, started laundry, did a little yard work, and now I believe a nap is in order. Thank you to my sister for watching our house while we were gone and taking care of our animals. Plus, thanks for cleaning- you are the best!

Most of all, thank you Genevieve for this AMAZING opportunity! This was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you to Emma and Cynthia too for everything you did to help make the trip so fantastic. And thanks Tyler for being my partner through all of it :)
Margaritas at 88 West in Caye Caulker

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