Caribbean Cruise 3
Belize, Honduras, and Cozumel
Leaving port to begin our journey.
I don't think that they really had to raise the drawbridge for this guy.
A few flowers to get you in the mood for a visit to the western Caribbean.
This last one we saw in Hell (see below).
Our first stop, Belize.
As you can see.
One of the not so official greeters, an iguana.
As we wandered around the town we came on this escape room.
We didn't have time to play but we did go in and talk with the proprietor.
This place has some of the freshest chicken you will ever find.
Nancy did a little shopping and found this Tanzinite necklace that she liked.
We went by the Governors home but he wasn't there.
This resident was tending her garden in the rain.
This is Hell, or would be if you were trying to cross it.
What once was coral became rock and
then eroded to make a sharp craggy surface that looks like it would be
very hard to traverse.
Vines and a rare tree or two are all that seem to be able to survive.
Cayman Turtle Center
This fellow guards the entrance.
Inside one of our first hosts was this bird.
There were tanks with many Green sea turtles which are being raised to aid in conservation.
The facility was originally established to breed turtles for comercial purposes but has become a research facility as well.
Another Wilson's Plover.
You were allowed to reach into some of the tanks that held turtles that were small enough to pick up.
Taking one home with you was frowned
This one was ready for it's close up.
We took advantage of the chance to examine the shell in detail.
I think you can see why their shells were a favorite material to make decorative combs.
The combs were popular from ancient times until laws protecting the turtles were passed in the 1970s.
Just a couple of homes we drove past.
Only a couple of pictures from our zip line adventure.
In the first picture you may be able to see Nancy in flight along the line.
And then the second as she arrived on the landing platform.
We drove past this cemetery.
They seem to have different customs
in each place we visit,
This procession is on its way to a point upstream to begin our float trip through a cave.
We have reached the mouth of the cave.
A brief inspection and a cooling float in the river while our guides tie the tubes together into a raft.
And into the cave.
At times light from the entrance or a natural opening to the outside was enough to make reasonable pictures possible.
In the depths of the cave the light was provided by the headlights we wore.
They were bright enough to see the formations but were a bit weak for photography.
As we approached the exit we could again see the formations by natural light.
And our underground expedition comes to an end with a gentle drift to the takeout point.
Two carvings copied from hieroglyphic text on Maya Stella 7 at Seibal showing the last ruler playing ball.
I'm not sure that I can see how they show that but that's what the sign said.
The view of the shore as we went back to the ship.
We were greeted with drumming and song.
We drove up the mountain past this tower that must have been a lighthouse sometime in its history.
A walk on a trail and across a series of suspension bridges through the jungle.
We saw a tangle of vines, termite nests, papayas and well defended trees.
Our guide suggested that we try the termites, They tasted sort of minty.
As we hiked along the trail we saw where zip lines were in place but we had plans for that on a different trail.
A series of suspension bridges with trails between them led us through the jungle.
They were from 200 to more than 450 feet long.
This one was 35 feet above the ground.
I don't remember how high the highest one was but one was only 8 feet above the ground.
Long time friends (not old friends) joined us on the trail.
Birds overhead and in the trees.
Proper exposure is difficult when they are in deep shade with open sky behind.
These are probably a Turkey Vulture and a Caribbean Elaenia.
This butterfly cooperated with views of both the top and underside of its wing.
It is a Red Postman butterfly (Heliconiu erato).
It must have had a rough time. Its wing looks worn and it is missing a leg.
The jungle with the Caribbean beyond
Another cemetery and another style.
Another wet cave.
This one accessible only by swimming.
Our guide gave safety instructions for us and what must be done to preserve the cave the cave.
Because the water flow through the
cave is very slow you must shower to remove all sunscreen, lotion and
body oils before entering.
Helmets, shorty wet suits and PFDs were provided.
It was a nearly private tour, with only two others with us.
A different camera than we used on the float trip produced better pictures.
Roots from trees on the surface traced patterns on the cave ceiling.
The rock shapes are the result of erosion by water flow long ago as in the first picture.
But mostly deposition as dissolved minerals form stalactites and stalagmites.
An earthquake broke these features long ago but now deposits have started to rejoin them.
When rock that was once coral dissolves you get this porous sponge like surface.
A very good reason to wear a hard hat since it is not soft.
This is the only bat we saw.
A trick of light and shadow.
The scorpion is no longer a threat since he is becoming encased in the rock as it is deposited.
We swam and waded deep into the cave where we had the chance to leap from a ledge about 10 feet above the water.
Try that in the pitch dark.
We had a great time.
We passed the entertainers on the way back to our ship
Do you want a ship?
You can get a good price for this one.
A little more shopping.
Our ship, the Caribbean Princess
Some views around the ship.
You go ashore by tender at some ports.
A little of the entertainment on board
The head pastry chef and the chief of all the kitchen staff held a demonstration/competition on how to properly make a cake.
Things started pretty well.
It soon became clear the boss was going to try to win by pure volume of alcohol he included.
Here is the head pastry chef putting the finishing touches on his cake.
His boss had already finished, His is on the right.
The finished products viewed from above.
A tour of the kitchen
They keep the booze locked up.
Maybe from the boss.
There was an egg drop competition.
Each contestant got the same supplies
(plastic bag, masking tape, a balloon, rubber bands, string, 2 wooden
stirrers, a paper cup and an egg).
There was limited time to build something that would protect the egg when it was dropped from 4 decks up.
Here is one confident contestant and his assistant.
The landing zone and the judges.
And we have a winner.
OK, there were several including the pair in the photos above.
They even had a planetarium on board
the orbits of planets and
And a trip to Pluto
Here are those old friends again.
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