I give you… cruise journal installment #4.
Cruise – Thursday 1-14-16
Last night, we were all pretty wiped out, so Hubs, The Girl, and I turned in early. And once again, arose before the butt crack of dawn (7:00 am meeting time) to catch our excursion connection. We were in Belize today, and boarded a pontoon boat directly from the ship. Our fabulous crew of guides from Hugh Parkey’s took us to a nice little reef. It used to be an island, but was wiped out by a hurricane in the 60s. I have to admit, I was feeling a bit panicky, having shortness of breath and all that from anxiety over the whole breathing with my face in the water thing (last time I tried this, I had major mask malfunctions – leakage). But our guide, Charlie, was great. He gave me a life preserver tube to hold on to, and he towed me around, helping me adjust my mask as needed (when it leaked). He pointed out the different corals (like Elk Horn and Brain Coral) below us, found and let us each hold a sea cucumber (much stiffer than I had imagined) (and told us it’s nickname – Donkey Dung, because, well, look at it – bottom left, below). Of course, with his accent, I thought he said “Donkey Dong,” which works too, don’t you think?
The Girl did great, though she did get a bit tired at times. Alan, our tour leader, took her via kayak back to the pontoon boat a couple of times to rest. By the second trip back, I decided I wanted to head back with her. While I was feeling much more relaxed, I was still not 100% comfortable. So, I held on to a clip on the back of the kayak, successfully snorkeling the whole way back (yay me). It was actually perfect, because after some (more) adjusting of our masks, The Girl and I just hung in the water by the boat, and Hubs and the other girl (the stronger swimmers/snorkelers) in our group got to go farther out and see some fun stuff. For example, in our pre-snorkel briefing, we had been told to keep at least 5’ from the coral, because touching it can get nasty. Yet, when Hubs and company were in about 2’ of water, Charlie pointed out some fire coral. Yeah, yikes.
Oh – we learned a new twist on an old song….
“Stick your hand in a rock and you don’t get it back … that’s a moray!”
(it rhymes with the right accent)
Hee hee. Our guides swear that even if we didn’t see the moray eels, they saw us.
Next, we were on to a private little island cove surrounded by mangrove patches. We spent about 45 minutes there, just hanging out on the little beach, playing with a star fish, enjoying the complimentary rum punch, and snacking. We ate some conch fritters with an awesome spicy aioli sauce and the best grilled lobster tail of my life.
The whole time we were out, it was mostly overcast, saving me some grief from my sun rash from yesterday. Though, I’m still having bouts of insane itchiness – especially on the back of my legs – thanks to the snorkeling, no doubt.
Tomorrow is our last port day – Cozumel. Though I’ll have to keep to the shade for the most part (if I’m smart), I’m looking forward to relaxing on the beach once more before we head back to the chillier temps of Houston (What? What!?) and then home (BRRRRRR!).