Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I can only describe the three day sailing trip I just returned from as perfect. The 12 passengers and 3 captains on the trip all contributed to making it awesome. In our group there were 2 couples from Australia, 3 people from Germany, one from Ireland, and the rest were from around the US.
The first day we sailed to Rendezvous Key. On the way we stopped along the reef to snorkel a couple times or just to take a swim. I stood on the top of the sailboat staring into the rich aqua water thinking to myself that I am in paradise. We watched the captains do backflips into the water from the top of the sailboat. We were treated with delicious food all throughout the trip, awesome music, and great company. Rendezvous Key is a small patch of white sand with a few palm trees out in the Caribbean. When we sailed up the small sandy piece of paradise I couldn't help but thinking that it looked fake. I've never seen anything like it. One man lives on the island at all times and they rotate every 50 days. No electricity, no water, no bulidings...nothing. We all set up our tents, went for a night swim, and had a bonfire. I ate about 12 perfectly toasted marshmallows while playing the game Zumie Zumie with everyone. I remember thinking how awesome it was to see people from all around the world sitting together around a fire in the middle of nowhere laughing hysterically and having a great time. After dinner we brought our mats out to the dock, laid beneath the clear sky covered with stars, and counted shootings stars. The stars were so amazing, I felt like I was in a planetarium. I then fell asleep on top of the sailboat watching stars, listening to the palm trees blowing, and hearing the water rush up to shore.
I woke up way too early and remember wondering if I had even slept. We packed up our tents and were back on the sailboat cruising the Caribbean. I hung out in the back of the boat for a while and was fishing with Shannon. Only one fish had been caught so far with the lines behind the boat, so I wasn't too optimistic about catching anything. When I decided to hold my pole I immediately felt something tugging. I was confused because I was sure I didn't catch anything. I pulled the pole back hard just in case, and after Shannon helped me reel it in we saw that I caught a barracuda!!!! He took some great pics of me with my first ocean catch and the captains prepared it for dinner that night. During the day we stopped to swim a few times, and the captains also went spear fishing to catch food for dinner. Shane came back with 4 fish on his spear, and the others kept bringing them in as well. I've never seen anyone spear fish before so that was really neat. We finally reached Tobacco Key, another remote beautiful island with only 8 residents. I stepped off the sailboat and was floored by the scenery of palm trees surrounding all of the bright funky colored houses. The residents collect rain water for water and they have a generator for electricity. I got a room on stilts right on the reef with a back porch and my own hammock overlooking the ocean for only $20. Our group sat on the dock and played Zumie Zumie again and another game called Chinese whisper, better known as 'telephone'. The difficulty with understand accents, mainly the Germans, made these games loads of fun.
The next day we sailed all the way to southern Belize. There we dropped off a few passengers, and the rest of us sailed for 14 hours straight through the night back to northern Belize. I maybe slept for 3 hours or so, but laying in the boat staring up at the night sky was definitely worth the lack of sleep. Shane entertained us with his riddles and we also passed some time with the rubix cube.
Along with the bigger events there were also little things that made this trip memorable. Showering with basically a hose, wearing my swimsuit for 3 days straight, drying off with my towel that eventually started smelling like road kill, listening to my own music being played through the speakers on the sailboat while cruising the perfect blue water, watching the sunset and sunrise, learning Shane's cross-stick way of roasting marshmallows, watching Kevin show us how he ate crackers as a kid, and being told I look like a snake because I think I shed 5 layers of skin from peeling. Joking around with the captains and having conversations with others was a real highlight for me. It was incredible to be playing games with people from all around the world, who, aside from not knowing one another and having a difficult time understanding each other, could share in the commonality of thinking that messing up on your turn in the game was hilarious. It was a reminder of how similar we really are. In summary, my first overnight trip at sea was mind blowing (thanks to Lauren for convincing me to join her) and I have truly seen my little slice of paradise.
I just took the bus from Belize City to San Ignacio. Lauren came with me to the bus station, and I hopped on the old school bus. I listened to Matisyahu and Akon while sitting 2 to a bus seat and driving the 3 hour journey into what slowly started looking more like the jungle. I got dumped off at the bus station and then had to figure out where Greedy's Pizza was so I could see if the people I'm volunteering for were there. I was immediately approached by a man who started telling me he was going to sell his bike. He kept repeating himself, he didn't make any sense, and he continuously asked if I wanted to buy some property. I ignored him and booked it to an internet cafe, where I am right now. I also found the pizza place and I'm meeting Jim there in 20 minutes to take me to the jungle where I'll be volunteering for the next 2 weeks. I CAN'T WAIT TO GET THERE!