Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trip To Belize: Day 6

May 18, 2008

I think that today was the hottest I have ever been in my life! After a relatively cool night we had breakfast and headed out down the road 10 minutes to the nearby village of Santa Anna. The attraction: Santiago's house. The real attraction: a dry cave at the end of his property. Santiago was busy so Antonio took us there. Here's a picture of the road to Santa Anna with the Mayan Mountains in the distance (I was always cheered by this view, so different from what I see at home):

The 20 minute hike from the road through fields to the cave was punishing. We had been told to dress in pants, shoes, and socks (because of bugs which were nonexistent) and the 38 degrees Celsius (plus high humidity!) was almost unbearable. Sweat poured off of us. Imagine being completely soaked in your own sweat and using your cap to brush off the sweat pooling on your nose. Then imagine using your cap, 1 minute later, to do it again because you are sweating so much! That's how bad it was! By the time we reached the cave mouth, many of us in our party were not doing well. I almost felt faint from the heat and was looking forward to a cool cave. That's when I asked Antonio how much cooler it would be in the cave and he said "Oh, a degree or two (Fahrenheit)." Doh! Here's the entrance:

Here's me (we all had to wear headlamps and helmets - I had to wear a bike helmet which made me look like an idiot bit it did protect my head several times so I can't complain) :

None of us felt great as we explored the dry cave. Unlike the Blue Creek it was hot, cramped, and there was wildlife. Antonio explained that his dad had come to this very cave one day and found a jaguar snoozing in the entrance. How comforting! We saw several tailless scorpions (harmless), the tails of some lizards poking out of holes in the rocks, and several large spiders. At the the deepest part in the cave I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the heat and claustrophobia but then I sat down for a bit and I felt much better. We did the trick of turning out all the lights again and listened to bats moving around in the next cavern. Then we went back - nobody wanted to stay in there any longer. Too hot. Here's a picture of Jay and CeCe, and then one of us:

Needless to say, when we got back to the lodge we went swimming in the Moho again:

Then we spent some time watching and attempting to take pictures of the iguanas and lizards by the river. Here are two of my favorite shots of these funny and fast creatures:

Jobina and I also did some kayaking after it cooled off a bit. Kayaking down a jungle river is awesome - I remarked to Jobina that it seemed like such a natural a thing for us to be doing and she agreed. I could have just kept on going (and maybe never returned) but Jobina got antsy so we went back. Sadly no pictures of this excursion.

This evening was supposed to be our final night in the Honeymoon Cabana and the next day we were supposed to move into the Jungle Cabana for our final two nights at Cottonwood Lodge. Jobina wasn't sure about moving so deep into the jungle (and admittedly neither was I though perhaps for different reasons), so we toured it during the day and at night. Here's how dark it is in the jungle at night even during a full moon:
During our night tour, something VERY large crashed through the forest behind the Jungle Cabana as we were checking it out. This spooked us both quite good! Right there and then Jobina made the decision to stay in another cabana closer to the main site. Were we chicken? Partly - but the Jungle cabana is very far away and the layout and features are not nearly as luxurious as the ones at the main site. On the way back, I was attacked by ants on the walkway (ouch). I was very careful to miss the procession of leaf cutter ants and missed the fact that I was walking on a procession of smaller, meaner, angrier ants. Jobina was delighted to see me reacting to the bites - usually that is her realm alone. Last night in our beautiful Honeymoon Cabana (sniff)- but a snorkeling day trip to the Cayes awaits us tomorrow!

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