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Belize Dolphin Studies

DS21 Update — Saturday, July 23, 2011

Laughs and Travel!

What an awesome day! Jam-packed with 2 long boat rides, an amazing dive, fun during our morning shopping run and arrival at the gorgeous Black Bird Caye! Today started with an early 6 am run for Abbie and I (Galen), and a 7:30 wake up call for everyone else. By 8 we were all clustered into the kitchen of room 5 to eat the delicious eggs, toast, and fruit cocktail that Abbie, Josephine, Robbie and I helped to prepare as well as the left over rice and beans from last nights dinner. Breakfast became an experimental affair when Josephine and Chelsea put cinnamon sugar on their rice instead of just on their toast. It was actually quite good! After breakfast was finished and Michael, Victoria, Nathalie, Abbie, others and I helped clean up there was a bit of time to do some preliminary packing until 9:20 when we all met down stairs to head into the heart of Caye Caulker’s touristy area one last time. We decided to walk all the way to the end of the island before stopping at any shops… it almost worked. However, we managed to get ourselves caught at a bag stall. There Nathalie and Josephine bought headbands while Sammy bought some shorts and Mia bought a bag. As there was also a small grocery store right next to the bag stall, Nathalie, Chelsea, Caleb, and Victoria bought drinks while we waited. After finally tearing ourselves away we continued our walk down the island only to turn around shortly thereafter as there were no more shops in that direction. On our way back towards the apartments we stopped at various booths of jewelry, carved stone, and a small clothing boutique which had souvenirs as well. The one disappointment of our escaped into town was due to the fact that the wonderful homemade ice cream shop, that we have all so enjoyed, was closed. But other than that one slight disappointment the morning’s wanderings abounded with chatter, pictures and some good finds!
Back at the apartment we had a little less than an hour to finish packing up and searching the rooms to make sure nothing was left. Then at 11:10 we again met downstairs with all of our bags and proceeded to lug them over to the doc were we were to be picked up by the dive service at around 11:30. While we waited for the boat people hung out on the doc and we ended up in a long line on the edge of the doc just dangling our legs over (which provided some very fun photo opportunities!). After climbing on to the 2 level dive boat we immediately began getting into dive gear with the exception of Alejandro, Chelsea and Cooper.
On our wonderful dive we saw a wide variety of colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs as well as hermit crab crawling along the sandy bottom. Following our completely wonderful dive part of the group made their way to the 2nd level of the boat to enjoy the sun and the sights as well as nap while others went up to the bow to hang out, get some sun, and of course “act out” the “flying” scene from Titanic! Those who went up top to enjoy the beautiful Belizean weather where Mia, Nathalie, Sammy, Sarah, Josephine, and Cooper, while Caleb, Jandro, Michael, Robbie, Abbie, Victoria, Chelsea, and I went out on the bow. During the time we spent leaning over the railings we were also able to watch the coral reefs go shooting by underneath us in flashes and streaks of light and dark shadows and various colors of green.
Around 20 minutes out from Belize City I made the call for lunch and everyone got to have yummy chicken, rice, and potato salad, a very typical Belizean meal, before we got to the dock and had to unload everything (including our dive gear). While we were unloading Michael came up with the completely ingenious idea of just passing all our bags out in a bucket chain style line, it worked quite well too. Once all the bags and dive gear was unloaded all of us kind of just collapsed on the doc until the boat that was to take us to Blackbird Cay had all of the food loaded and was ready for our baggage. Then came another trek to that boat while hauling all of our bags. Once we were all on the boat it was another hour and a half till we got to the Caye, and many people ended up napping or sitting on the sides of the boat to enjoy the spray, which had me totally soaked by the time we arrived. One of the very exciting parts of the journey was a pod of dolphins that we were lucky enough to see from a ways off. The excitement had everyone rushing to one side of the boat to get a good look at the gorgeous animals!
On arriving at Blackbird Caye and the oceanic society we sat down to an orientation by Cathy on the ground rules and expectations while we are here. We were also introduced to Eric, the dolphin researcher and a man who is here researching crocodiles! As well as us and the staff there is also a woman and her son, who are here to go snorkeling and are very nice. In between orientation and dinner at 7 we had a bit of time to shower and write journals or in my case start on this trip update! However at 6:45 we did our dinner rituals including Glums and Glows, toast, moment of silence, quote of the day (Burn brightly with out burning out-Richard Biggs ) and today sharing something that we noticed that was beautiful (that was the goal of the day). Some of things mentioned were the sunset by Sarah, the dolphins by several people, a conversation on conservation by Abbie, the coral reefs, this Caye by Caleb and the sunrise from me. Finally we got to play the game Animal, which many people seemed to enjoy immensely and involves signs for animals and a great deal of concentration, before we ate a delicious dinner of fish and rice and salad. Shortly after a dinner full of laughs (Mia actually started crying from laughing so hard!) we settled down to watch a movie on dolphins and studying them. It was a fairly good movie even though some people thought it was a bit cheesy during some parts (I agree) but there were valuable parts on some of the research that goes on. After the movie everyone started to drift off to bed and that is the day! A very good day I would say, with lots of laughs and relaxation and well as cool sights!

(We will not be able to post any pictures for about a week as the internet connection here would not be able to support it… so we will post pictures later! :) -Galen )

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