Monday, May 26, 2008

Trip To Belize: Day 3

May 15, 2008

Well, we survived our first night. At about 5 in the morning we were woken up to the sound of howler monkeys in the distance but went back to sleep. We woke up a little before 7, reveling that we had not been killed in the night and congratulating ourselves for being in paradise. We went down for breakfast which was amazing. Actually breakfasts were my absolute favorite meal; it was buffet style and always had cereal, some kind of eggs, some kind of meat, fresh (and I mean fresh) fruit, toast/muffins/flapjacks/pancakes, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Then we went back to our cabana and got ready to go on our first day trip to the Hokeb Ha Cave at Blue Creek. Here's some pics of our cabana starting with this one that shows off the outside and the raised walkway (the entire cabanas are on raised walkways, Ewok village-style):

Here's Jobina on the front deck looking beautiful:

Here's what it looks like when you come in the door and step in a few feet. There is a private deck on the back overlooking the river with a nice couch, chairs, and hammock:

Here's the deck, my favorite place to to laze around reading my books, watch the iguanas and lizards chase each other up the trees, and enjoy the breeze off the river. Jobina and I spent many hours on this deck:

Back inside to the right of the entrance to the riverfront deck is the bathroom. The centerpiece of this bathroom is a huge jacuzzi tub/shower combo. As you can see, the shower is open style and overlooks the river. On hot nights we had the option of cooling down with a cold bath - a piece of heaven! Seriously this was the most sensual bathroom I have ever been in. Actually the whole cabana kind of just oozed sensuality:

Here's a nice mural next to the tub and sink. You can't see it, but the ship's name is "Wild Thing." Appropriate, I thought, for a honeymoon cabana:

Lastly, of course, our king size bed with mosquito net and thatched roof made of palm leaves. That thatching is layered and about 8 inches thick - completely waterproof and very quaint. The floors (like much of the cabana) are made of polished Rosewood and the perimeter of the cabana is encircled with wood shutters that can either be closed for privacy or opened to let in afternoon breezes:

So anyway, after this at about 9:30 we met up with fellow guests Dagny and Jeremy and headed out to Blue Creek and the caves. Let me just say this was probably one of our biggest highlights of the trip. The 20 minute hike down to the cave mouth was picturesque to the max and I saw a boa constrictor along the way (briefly). The sense of awe I felt as we emerged from the trail to see a massive gorge with a blue creek running out of forebodingly beautiful cave mouth stopped us all in our tracks. Sadly, we were all idiots and had not brought any camera! Rather than describe the experience, I will leave that for another day as we returned to the caves a few days later (with cameras). I should warn you though that pictures could never capture it. Anyway, after a great once in a lifetime experience, we headed home for appetizers and another four course meal. By the time dinner is over, it's pretty much dark. I don't have any night pics, but here is one at around dusk:

Later in the evening Jeremy invited me to go on an impromptu "night walk" around the property. Now, I'm no coward but this is the jungle and I was just starting to get comfortable with feeling safe in our cabana never mind traipsing around with who knows what lurking out there (Jaguars? Fer de lance snakes?)! Of course I agreed as I did not want to look like a coward. I got my headlamp and we headed down to the river. Jeremy had done the official night walk tour already so I let him lead. We looked at these cool poisonous toads that only come out at night and sit motionless on the shore until night comes up. Apparently the guide told Jeremy not to "beat the toads until the white poison on their back goes into the air as it will hurt you", so we we refrained. We did see an opossum in the trees by the river which was cool. After that we headed out to Jeremy's Jungle Cabana (which we were scheduled to spend our last two nights at Cotton Tree in) which is half a kilometer away and deep in the "real jungle." The walkway to the cabin was also a highway for leaf cutter ants which looked cool by headlamp. At the cabana it was very dark but I did manage to find 3 large tarantulas hanging on the thatching on the outside deck. Not content with this, Jeremy took us deeper into the jungle until we were even beyond the jungle cabana. Finally we stopped on the trail and looked around. "See those diamonds everywhere? Those are actually spiders out hunting" said Jeremy, matter of fact. Scattered on the jungle floor were literally hundreds of little diamonds. Great. Then Jeremy suggested we turn out our lights and listen to the jungle. We did this for about two minutes and every second that the lights are out the jungle gets louder and you hear more sounds. It's amazing how two minutes can seem like a lifetime. Finally in the dark Jeremy said "You know, it's kind of freaky out here?" "Maybe we should go back," I said as absentmindedly as possible. "Yeah" he said.

We hightailed it out of there.

Strangely when I got back to my cabana that night I no longer had any fears of anything that could be waiting there. I practically embraced the much smaller spiders that routinely came out at night - thankful that they were not like the massive ones out at the Jungle Cabana. I tried to gently let Jobina know what I had seen out there - not sure she took the tarantula thing well.


Stacey said...

I like the story about the trek thru the jungle! Hey I'm enjoying reading all about your fabulous trip to Belize, seeing the pictures and comparing the posts between your blogs. It's interesting to read the diff't yet similar perspectives. Sounds awesome! You both really deserved this. What great memories you will have!

Anonymous said...

You've got wayyyyy more guts than me, Mark! You wouldn't catch me out in the jungle at night and you definately wouldn't catch me turning off my light!

P.S. That Boa Constrictor you saw would have killed me...I would have had a heart attack right there on the path!


Jay Boaz said...

I can totally see you doing the night jungle excursion. You didn't take your machete down there with you did you?


Mark said...

No, I didn't take my machete, although at the time of my night walk I dearly wished I had. There are jaguars in that area! And here I was out so far in the deep, think jungle that even if we screamed for help no one at the lodge would be able to hear it ...