After a sweltering night between the sheets–or rather above–we awoke to hot coffee and daybreak. A breakfast of approximately 45 slices of french toast, a loaf of banana bread made from the bananas hanging out back, and 3.7 pineapples later, the troop left to learn about the local flora.
Craned necks scrutinized poisonwood leaflets and almond tree nuts, while curious fingers picked sea grapes and nino fruits. To the unaccustomed traveling eye there appeared to be a trash problem on this fair island of Ambergris Caye, however one man’s trash is another man’s foundation. One citizen decided that a constantly inundated lawn was best avoided through the stockpiling of a thick layer of cardboard and turtle grass neatly covered with a liberal application of sand. Strolling past this newfangled attempt at recycling, the group happened upon a gumbo limbo tree, which, interestingly enough, is the antidote to the pustule inducing poisonwood. The tiny stingless honey bees that provide the island with sweetener buzzed around our inquiring faces. We picked amongst the mounds of turtle grass blown up on the shore by the unrelenting wind, waves, and tides before heading back to TREC to ready ourselves for our first day on the water.
Goliath, our vessel for our ten day sojourn in Belize, laid in wait on the dock’s edge and we hopped abroad. After a fifteen minute sunbath on deck, we donned wetsuits, flips, and snorkels and finally dove beneath the aquamarine Belizean waters. Without much an agenda, we were relatively free to explore Tres Cocos, our chosen dive spot for the afternoon. Accountibilibuddies in tow, brain corals, trumpet fish, and the odd barracuda flashed in front of our goggles. An enormous hermit crab that had found refuge in a horse conch tried to snatch our flailing fingers as we posed for pictures.
Egg salad sandwiches and a glorious bean dip (not pictured because of the alacrity with which it was consumed) revitalized us after fighting unseasonably strong currents all afternoon. A move to the southern end of the reef yielded more fascinating corals and critters: starfish, stingray, damselfish, parrot fish abound. Pruned fingers grasped for Goliath’s steps and we pulled our sleek neoprene selves from the balmy waters. Tanned and exhausted we turned towards TREC, calling it a afternoon well spent at the office.
-Will, Forrest, and Grayson