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Snorkeling at San Pedro, Belize

Written by Raenelle on Sunday, November 9, 2003
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We set off early in the morning and caught the first water taxi across to an island Robin and Noreen in Belizeabout 1 1/2 hours offshore. We spent the whole day there checking out the little town (San Pedro) and snorkeling in the water offshore. We picked up our snorkeling gear a few hours before our snorkel trip started and we walked down the beach and practiced our snorkeling techniques at a small dock. There were tons of fish under the dock and there was lots of eelgrass everywhere – very interesting to see.

Just before we left for the snorkeling trip, the skies opened once again and dumped on us for about 10 minutes. We got into the boat just as the sun was coming out and headed out towards the coral reef. Belize has the second longest coral reef in the world (the Great Barrier Reef off Australia is the longest). Fishing off dockA large chunk of the reef is protected within a marine park where access is strictly monitored. Our snorkeling trip took us into the marine park where we snorkeled the reef for about an hour and then took us a little further away to Sharkray Alley where we snorkeled with nurse sharks and stingrays. It was amazing to see sharks and stingrays all around us, and some even came up and rubbed against us. We were able to hold a nurse shark and Robin was gutsy enough to hold a huge stingray (see the photo album!) which was an amazing experience. The coral reef was also really cool. There were miriads of tropical fish around us, darting in and out of the coral, and we got to see a couple of really cool eels too! After almost three hours of snorkeling, we headed back to town in time to get the last water taxi back to Belize City. What a great day – thanks mom!

We headed back to the marina and crashed for the night but were awoken by a terrible storm. The rain pelted down like we have never seen before, the wind blew our tent, and lightning and thunder boomed. We tried to sleep through it, but were awoken a little while later with lightening and thunder right above the tent. There was no time between the lightning and thunder – the lightning flashed and the thunder boomed right at the same time. We decided to move like greased lightning! We weren’t sure whether the lightning would strike the tent since it was a sitting antennae with metal poles above the truck at the end of a long spit! WeSan Pedro, Belize abandoned the tent (which was wet anyways) and ran into the truck where we spent the rest of the night. We got absolutely drenched in the 10 seconds it took to leave the tent and get into the truck, and we sat in the truck watching the storm. The lightning was absolutely blinding – sheet lightning that lit up the whole sky and left bright flashes in our eyes for over 20 seconds. The thunder boomed and literally shook the truck. We’ve never heard thunder boom for over 40 seconds before – it was unbelievable. In the meantime, Noreen was still in her little dome tent beside the truck and apparantly spent most of the night holding the sides of the tent up to prevent them from collapsing in the rain and wind. She also got wet, as did all her sleeping gear, but she couldn’t leave the tent because it would have blown away as soon as she exited under the heavy wind!

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