A new life in Belize

SEE A PALM TREE......... EVERY DAY ..........FOREVER

This is our story of leaving the rat race to enjoy a relaxing life in the sun. Some people will miss us .....but not as much as the tax man.................... We stood on the precipice ......held hands ......... and jumped ..........whooooooooaaaaaa
  • Just outside the mouth of the magma chamber
  • Under the start gate
  • Draft Belkin beers all round and even managed to get two large beer mats for Bob and Timberlakes  bar back in blighty :)

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Iceland – The nocturnal sun

At the end of June we went for a long weekend to Iceland as we missed it for H’s 4oth . It was her number one must do thing on this long trip. The flights were very reasonable at about 160 quid return each through Icelandic air. We arrived and immediately bought two bottles of wine , absolute vodka and a Captain morgans rum from the duty free before you exit the airport. If bought outside the airport the drinks are 300% more. We had hired an apartment right in the centre of Reykjavik  called Kalli’s apartment we had room number 5 A.K.A  the ” Rock Star” room because the shower is opposite the bed and you can see right in. A funky apartment with everything you need right in the centre , but no rowdy noise.

We had booked a trip inside the Thrihnukagigur Volcano where you are lowered down 400ft inside a dormant magma chamber, the only place this is done in the world. It was a 2mile hike across the lava field at the top of a mountain. There was still snow and the wind was biting hard ..good job we had our goose down jackets. Crazily they were having a heat wave and it was the middle of summer, anything over 10 Celsius is regarded as a heat wave .. how lucky were we  :)  . We were on the peasant tour at 200 quid each , the Quaffer tour landed by Helicopter for 400 quid. We arrived at the Volcano and were split into small groups of 4 to be lowered down in a cage by winch which took 6 minutes into the inky black hole. At the bottom it was flood lit and you could walk about ..it was great and much better than I anticipated ,well worth the money.

Just outside the mouth of the magma chamber

Just outside the mouth of the magma chamber

A rainbow of colours painted the walls all the way up the vent ..H colour co-ordinated :)

A rainbow of colours painted the walls all the way up the vent ..H colour co-ordinated :)

People always say that Iceland is expensive but we found it very similar to English prices . We drank heavily water and booze :) , and ate great food .. most notably a fabulous steak at the swanky Grillmarket  and also ..and it pains me to say it …The BEST fish and chips EVER ..even better than Papa’s and that’s saying something. What is expensive are the trips and tours . But you can do the GOLDEN CIRCLE tour  quite cheaply for about 50 quid each. We chose the  Night tour  as the sun doesn’t set and it wouldn’t have any kids on it. We were not disappointed we went first to the where two continental plates meet , which is the reason for all the volcanic activity on Iceland . We then where whisked off to the hot springs which border a lake and spent 2 hours in the different  pools ranging from 30 degrees to 42 . There was no rotten egg smell and it was very peaceful looking over a large lake .. every now and again there were bubbles coming from underneath H but she assures me they were naturally occurring :)  .  Next we went to the Gilfoss  waterfall, the power of the water is amazing comparable to Niagara falls , whilst we were walking back to the bus we came across a woman holding her face , she had been walking with her hand in her pockets (it was cold …we took gloves) and tripped falling on her face.  I checked her over and patched her up with the first aid kit we always carry , trying out the iodine powder spray I’d just bought ( note to self it makes your face orange)  she was bruised bloodied and banged up but she survived ..I told her she looked like a ROCKY extra that made her smile ..she was a tough Yorkshire lass … who now has a great party story.

Gilfoss waterfall around midnight .. with a rainbow to boot

Gilfoss waterfall around midnight .. with a rainbow to boot

Next we visited Geysir  the hot springs park just down the road and where the  number 5 tallest geyser in the world erupts every 5 – 8 minutes. A rope keeps you just far enough to be safe , but two young boys were scolded by steam when the wind suddenly changed a couple of months earlier.

Geysir park , where is ok to fart cos no ones gonna be able to tell  :)

Geysir park , where is ok to fart cos no ones gonna be able to tell :)

At the weekend Reykjavik kicks into full swing and the main street is full of bars which get busy around 1am , very strange walking around with sunglasses on in the middle of the night / day . It’s a friendly place and everyone speaks English. It’s so close to England can’t believe we never went before  ..so if you are thinking about it …  F@£& it , book it .. you won’t be disappointed.

Took this photo at 11pm on our way out for a tipple on the town.

Took this photo at 11pm on our way out for a tipple on the town.

TT isle of Man

It’s been a while since our last post but we have been MEGA busy … We sold Rock Lodge in April   and then house sat in the lodge for 6 weeks until the new owner came. We lounged around (for a change :)  )   then decided to start the build of our new house , so on our return we would just have to finish it off. The 15th of May we left from Cancun after spending a week on Caye Caulker for my birthday.

We decided that we worked so hard over the last 4 years we’d take a short 8 month holiday , ticking things off the bucket list. The first thing taking my old man to the TT road races around the streets of the isle of man a 37 mile long course per lap approaching speeds of 200mph no barriers just a few straw bales here or there.

Under the start gate

Under the start gate

We have a friend from Boston ( America not Lincolnshire )  who we always talked about attending the TT races as he is a  “‘crazy fool ”  speeding about on motorbikes. Well he’s had major surgery on both knee’s which has been going on years . So we got his Girlfriend to send us a photo of him secretly ( the one he sent was unusable .. A gonad selfie) and we carried it around with us. Here Don is in the off limits section goofing around .

This crazy fool is our friend Don who has had major surgery on both knees and has dream't of attending the TT so we brought him along

This crazy fool is our friend Don who has had major surgery on both knees and has dream’t of attending the TT so we brought him along

The organization of the trip was very last minute, you know what buying houses is like ,sometimes they sell mostly they fall through . So by the time we had sold we only had 4 weeks to plan things. Instead of taking the 4 hour night ferry over we flew from Manchester in 30 minutes. We ended up camping above Douglas on top of the hill over looking the Irish sea it was lovely. The coarse was a two minute walk from where we were pitched and we could hear them racing past as we sent the tent up. There was a club house on the site where we necked beers at night and snaffled on meat pies whilst watching the re -run of days racing on a big TV screen. It was pretty chilly at night A.K.A  fecking freezing 2 degrees Celsius but warm and sunny in the day time 17 degrees.

Sat outside the tent warming up after a Chilly night

Sat outside the tent warming up after a Chilly night

The last time my Dad was here was 50 years ago,  but he knew exactly where to go, we bagged a top spot at governors bridge and bought some chairs from the local wilko’s for 9 quid each. We walked in and there were no fold up chairs so I asked a guy if he had any, he said i’ll ask the manager ..yeah of course he would !!!!  then the manager comes out asks us what we want and says some might have just arrived ..Yeah really ..nochance!!!   then he wheels out a full cage  straight off the lorry ..How lucky were we ..  the Old man had brought us luck yet again.

Sat on Govenors bridge corner best seats in the house..That crazy fool got in the photo again :)

Sat on Govenors bridge corner best seats in the house..That crazy fool got in the photo again :)

We went around the pits and caught up with one of my Dads mates Gary Johnson last years TT Super sport winner I took the photo and said lets have one more … Then said “don’t know which one of you is ugliest”  the look on Johnsons face was a picture in it’s self.

The old man with the young gun Johnson

The old man with the young gun Johnson

So we had brilliant weather ,fantastic seats and memories to last a life time.

We have an action packed itinerary so watch out for the blogs they will come thick and fast … Next one posted in a few days Reykjavik here we come :)

Scooby doo

We had friends over from England ” The Realmy’s” on a repeat visit in January. To prepare for this I didn’t drink for a whole month …YES   a whole month just to give my liver and stomach  a well deserved rest , before the alcohol onslaught. H decided not to partake in abstinence as she said she didn’t want to mess about with her normal diet and keep her body in ” equilibrium ”  :) We met then in Playa del Carmen  and jumped over on the ferry to Cozumel . I had checked the port authority web site which showed 15 cruise ships docked there on our arrival. I don’t like hoards of people at the best of times, but we were going there to spend time with friends so I was open minded  about what we would find  BUT feared the worse. We boarded the crammed ferry and made the 45 min crossing sat across from a nice family. They spoke Spanish and a little English so I conversed with them for a while and then asked the fatal question” de donde eras  ”   We are from Argentina they replied , and I’m from the UK . How are the Malvina’s these days I quipped , to nervous smiles all round … That was the end of that conversation  :)  . Our friends Bob and Timberlake  had booked a lovely place for us all just outside the centre in a quiet residential area with  private pool  ..very swish .. we headed into the centre to find it not busy at all..and it’s peak season .. the cruise ships don’t have any impact on the place they go on excursions and then head back to the boat if anything Cozumel is dead at night with  a few bars and some nice places to eat . The next day we went to a place on the beach ..called ” Dirty Sanchez” or something anyway the driver of the cab new exactly where to take us and we had a great day on the beach and then drinks and another nice meal at night. I would definitely go back to Cozumel and avoid the chaos of Playa del Carmen.    We then rode the bus down to belize and got a taxi from the bus station in Chetumal just to make it faster crossing the border. Because Bob and Timberlake had packed  for a 6 month holiday :) all the bags would fit in the small taxi that pulled up ..but they said NO PROBLEM  we can take two ..I said two cars is too expensive but we agreed 25 us dollars for all of us . The two taxi’s then set off at high speed racing through the streets of Chetumal. Mine and H’s taxi was a pile of shit the steering rack had gone no shocks and the guy had to jerk the wheel frantically to change lanes , it was also a standard shift gear box. it was not until we got to the border that h said no wonder we were all over the road the guys only has one arm so he had to shift and steer at the same time ..it was like whacky  races . We get to the border sort the passports out and then go to leave the guy asks for 25 us dollars and Timberlake said she had paid him .. he said no I want 25 more for your taxi. Well I just blew a gasket .. I told him not to f3ck me around as I wasn’t in the mood when he insisted I shouted for the police ..the guy said no we don’t need to do that I continued shout for the police until he got in his taxi and ” Did one ”  :)   .The next day we flew to San Pedro as Maya air had a deal on and we stayed at the Royal Caribbean resort 2 miles out of town a perfect location and cheap taxi ride back into town for eating and drinking.

Draft Belkin beers all round and even managed to get two large beer mats for Bob and Timberlakes  bar back in blighty :)

Draft Belkin beers all round and even managed to get two large beer mats for Bob and Timberlakes bar back in blighty :)

When we had sobered up and were safely back in Corozal we took the river boat tour to Lamanai from Orangewalk  which was pretty cool with a guide and lunch thrown in. The big change is that they have built a wooden stair case around the back of the Castillo so you can’t climb up the front anymore , but they still allow you to go to the top. The holwer monkeys made an appearance and I got to feed a large spider monkey at the side of the river on the way back.

Three monkeys in front of the Castillo at Lamanai

Three monkeys in front of the Castillo at Lamanai

At Christmas we drove through Corozal at night and saw the Christmas lights in the park so decided to pop back in the night after to take a photo. Big mistake there was a parade on and the park was packed so the panoramic photo I was supposed to get got cut down to this small snap shot as the throngs of people were milling about all over the place . I have to say for a 3rd world country the Christmas lights in Corozal put most other places to shame.

For a 3rd world country the lights in central park were excellent

For a 3rd world country the lights in central park were excellent

Ground hog day approached and I decided to buy H a painting for her birthday …yes …AGAIN ..and she was pleased to open an original of a Tiger shark by the world famous ” Paul Sandilands .. it helps if your fishing buddy has hidden talents ..he can paint ..but not sure about the fishing :) H is a shark fanatic …. the restaurants here don’t serve shark fin soup ..so I got her this instead :)

In the warm shallow waters, where we all like to swim on holiday

In the warm shallow waters, where we all like to swim on holiday

Corozal had it’s first ever open class kayak race and I was encouraged to enter just for fun. I talked to some guys who were much younger (some half my age) who were keen to beat me. I explained to them if it were a proper completion I would be in the seniors class , but I had experience on my side and they had brawn youth and vigour on theirs. I had to repair my kayak on the morning of the race by re-gluing the plexiglass bottom back in and wasn’t sure if it would hold. Anyway I was hoping for rough conditions on the bay as the other guys would have trouble steering they were flat water paddlers at best. The morning of the race the bay was flat calm ,but just before the start the wind picked up and there was a slight chop on the water. The route was a 3/4 mile sprint to the  thunderbolt pier touch with a paddle then back to the Jam rock bar. The race started and I eased in behind the leader riding in his wake , I felt comfortable and broke free and touched in first place and made the turn for home .With just metres from home there were just two of us side by side the pace quickening with every stroke with 2o metres to go I was ready to start the sprint ….. When like a torpedo from the saw 3 kids in a canoe came hurtling towards me I shouted go right and they turned left ramming me broadside. By the time I pushed them off and started to paddle again I was 5 metres down with 20 to go I dug deep but it was futile and finished 1/2 metre behind the winner. This is an open kayak race in Belize, no appeals ,stewards enquiries no nothing ,strictly first past the post. The guy in 3rd place came up to me and said I saw what happened ..he smiled and said …” My friend that’s racing anything can happen”   and he was right and I got to hang the winners medal around the neck of the guy half my age and was pleased to see his big smile …. in the words of Scooby Doo … If it hadn’t have been for those dam kids………..   :) :) :)

Left to right  1st -4th place   Jamie,Gringo,Bull and Quarenta

Left to right 1st -4th place Jamie,Gringo,Bull and Quarenta

The season to be jolly

So the hurricane season of 2014 is officially over , we experience below average rainfall and no hurricanes . Our water tanks are full and the dry season should be starting in the next month which means adios to the mosquitoes which were only around for 3 months this year.

There has been a few instances of dead fish in the bay this year which has led to questions of poisoning but thankfully the last few fishing trips have yielded healthy fish . A few months ago i thought that the whole bay had been poisoned until we bumped into a local fisherman on the New River , i asked if he had caught and he told his kids to hold up the fish , the boat was full of fish they picked the biggest two.

We fish for fun, they fish to eat . A tarpon on the left and a Jack Crevalle on the right.

We fish for fun, they fish to eat . A tarpon on the left and a Jack Crevalle on the right.

Vickers and Cody dropped in for the week so we hitched a lift down to Belize with a friend who was buying a boat motor. What i didn’t realize was that he wanted me to guide him to the Yamaha Dealership which i thought was on the main road . It turned out to be in the heart of the city which is a maze of one way streets that the Minataur would have gotten lost . Thankfully he had printed of a map which i navigated pretty well until we hit a closed Street and diversion . We were now in the streets that you are told never to go down so i suggested we lock the doors and windows . A wiley looking rasta man asked us where we were going and told us we had to drive around the back streets and upon our arrival was waiting  for us for a reward. We spent so much time in the Yamaha place he had gone when we walked out. H was a little nervous and our friend said she need not be , mmmmm  not to sure about round these parts.  The next week in the newspaper it said a guy was shot in the head, right where we were a couple of days after our visit , just another day in the city!!!  70miles from sleepy corozal

We met Vickers and Coy at the airport and caught the bus back up 65 miles journey £3 each , the buses are what everyone uses to get around , the rule is never leave your bag by the back emergency door as people use this to get off the bus and you might lose your bag. We spent a couple of days in Corozal then took the Thunderbolt water taxi to San Pedro and then hopped over to Caye Caulker. The Lazy Lizard was closed but you can still use the facilities so we bought a bucket of beer and a bottle of rum and made our own fun.

At the lazy lizard ,with a subliminal message :)

At the lazy lizard ,with a subliminal message :)

We stayed at the “World Famous” Popeyes beach Resort for a change :)  We jumped in the hot tub and the afternoon just melted away along with the bottle of rum. We shared the hot tub with a visiting  group of Germans and had a good laugh it gave me an opportunity to find out whats happening out there in the world  brush up on my  German. We returned to Corozal and another friendly German took us over to the Mayan ruin across the bay. It was such a nice day even H enjoyed the sail , we spent 3 mins at the ruins just enough to take this photo before clouds of mosquitoes beat us back to the boat.

3 tasty snacks at the Cerros mayan temple

3 tasty snacks at the Cerros mayan temple

Had two bits of car trouble , drove the car, stopped and it wouldn’t start so our friendly Hotelier Mr Lawrence did a few on spot electrical tests and we head off to a local electrical mechanic who got us going again and rewired our truck so you don’t have to start it with the lights switched on. Use of ramp to diagnose problem £3, 1 hours labour  to fix electrical £7 .  The second issue we had was the exhaust was blowing , i had previously had the joint welded up but it had rotten away again so the Belizian solution was to remove the catalytic convertor and replace with a straight piece of pipe £ 18 and we were on our way. For all those eco people out there i have 40 coconuts  to offset any carbon foot print :) .

Large cats have been sighted in the area a mountain lion was caught on camera and two jaguars have been seen at the dump . A couple of weeks ago my neighbours dogs were attacked my something large and had to go to the vets on two different occasions to get sewn back up. A couple of days ago we saw a large white tailed deer right next to the house , you just have to keep reminding yourself that we live in the wild. The upside is that the solitude is wonderful . I have worn out two hammocks in 3 years ,the other option was to stop in the UK and work until i was 67 ..let me think about that :)

I have been working down a large stack of national geographic back copies and came across this great effective simple idea for water purifying.If anyone is traveling to third world countries please share this idea with local people. ***Note  The risk of plastic decaying in sunlight is insignificant to the benefit of not contracting cholera or dysentery *****

Share this idea , save and improve peopes lives

Share this idea , save and improve peopes lives

Out of the vortex

Things have been pretty barmy around here . There was a brief wet spell in May which everyone thought was the start of the wet season.We waited to fill our tanks in June ,August  and have only just managed to get full tanks this week. Record rains last year have been followed by a long dry season having devastating results on the local crops. The wet season is upon us once more and has brought it’s first bloom of mosquitoes ,sounds bad , but there hasn’t been any between Jan and until this week .I took advantage and split some banana plants so we will see if they grow or not ..photo to follow may be :)

A couple of weeks ago a storm came from the south and on it’s leading edge was a water spout .It passed right in front of us as it made it’s way across the bay . H grabbed the camera and took this lovely shot , I was more concerned about the direction of this menacing vortex . It was about a thousand feet high and a hundred feet across at the bottom. Our first ever sighting of one of natures spinning wonders.

H grabbed the camera ..i looked up at the roof ..it all turned out just fine

H grabbed the camera ..i looked up at the roof ..it all turned out just fine

A neighbour had been having some land fill delivered and after the trucks had gone a hole had appeared in the road near our house . Someone stuck a log in the hole to warn people of the hazard . I went to fill it in and discovered it was a lot larger than I first thought it was ( not a common theme through my life  :) ) . So i met up with the neighbour to find out what we were going to do.It turned out to be a cave under the road   over 25 feet wide and about 6 feet deep .He started putting rocks in when he passed so i borrowed eco lady’s yardman and we got 3 pick up loads of rock and packed it ,by crawling inside. A good morning s hard graft and the job was complete. The neighbour turned up a couple of weeks later and thanked me by giving me this Mayan spear head probably a couple of thousand years old .

It's very sharp and was found locally..i was gonna mount it on a wooden shaft .. but then the temptation to use it would have been to great :)

It’s very sharp and was found locally..i was gonna mount it on a wooden shaft .. but then the temptation to use it would have been to great  :)

In August we took a jaunt over to Caye Caulker for our wedding anniversary .Maya Air had a deal on flights 40% off so we went over in style 18 minutes later we were in San Pedro then a quick hop over on the water taxi . The flights worked out at £120 return for two people ,better than riding the water taxi for 3 hours. We arrived early and headed straight for a late breakfast but everywhere was full or shut as we were out of season. So we decided on pizza and beer …kind of  :)        Popeyes Beach Resort welcomed us back …  It gets better every time we go ..they are now selling condo’s check them out!!!!

Pizza beer and the lovely H at the Lazy Lizard ..what could be better !!!

“Pizza” beer and the lovely H at the Lazy Lizard ..what could be better !!!

People always ask us what we do with our time … the usual reply is …. Just relaxing  and enjoying each others company . Well there is always something to do down here ,if you put your mind to it. A lot of people move here and find it boring or can’t find anything to do . Think of the saying the devil makes work for idle hands (  minds)   :)  .   I grew up listening to techno and dance music always favouring  rhythm over lyrics . But recently having a little extra time on my hands I started actually listening to lyrics of songs. I was amazed to find out that there wasn’t a rat in UB40’s kitchen at all . We have recently cleared some ” rats” out of our “kitchen”    and boy it really does feel good.  If you have a minute google the lyrics to the song , they are pretty good. H took this photo on a kayaking trip . It sat in my pictures on the computer for some time but now it seems it’s found it place on the blog ..RATS  watch out !!!!!

To all the rats out there ... your days are numbered  :)

To all the rats out there … your days are numbered  :)

All Clear

Our neighbour across the road has started to clear up his 34 acre parcel as a result we now have a great sea view from the house . H and i were kayaking in the bay the other day and she snapped this photo of the house .

The view from the sea to our house

The view from the sea to our house

The land was cleared by Mennonites who are the migrant workers who originally left  Germany in the 50’s went to Canada , then Mexico and are now in Belize. They do most of the arable farming in Belize and turned out to be excellent land clearer s. They turned up with a big bull dozer and worked 13 hours a day for a week , i asked John (who is on the right in the picture below) how much he got paid and he replied nothing , my family provide everything for me and when i get married i will get given land , a house and wages. These guys really did graft hard from dawn till dusk and were genuinely very happy. They speak a mixture of low German mixed with Dutch and a little English and Spanish . They live in Ship Yard which was an hour and a half drive each way ,how many people today would do that 6 days a week?

Just finished work 7pm you can just see the fire burning on the left hand side .

Just finished work 7pm you can just see the fire burning on the left hand side .

The circus came to town and caused quite a stir as it normally does. Lions ,tigers and other big cats all part of the show . There is a strong rumor around town that they pay £5 for any dog brought alive to them as food for the animals . BUT you don’t see any stray dogs around on the streets when the circus in town . After it left there was a large “Gang” of dogs on the park ,obviously survived another year :)

Rol up Rol up   £5   a dog

Roll up Roll up £5 a dog

I was in the petrol station filling up in town and H snapped this photo from the passenger window , the BBQ was inside the petrol station not more than 30 feet from the pumps , this is when you truly know you are in a third world country . I wouldn’t mind but it’s the only petrol station in town imagine what a bind it would be if it did go up in flames  :)

The sign in the petrol station says "No Naked Flames"

The sign in the petrol station says “No Naked Flames”

Our neighbour has had a dishwasher that hasn’t worked for 5 years and 4 different plumbers have been to try and fix it, when i asked what was wrong with it , they were told it won’t work because the pipes are cemented into the wall. This seemed ludicrous as the machine is brand new and only worked twice, so i investigated , stripped it down , we hand the pump motors , tested in town (£3)   they were fine we cleaned the filters out removed a piece of glass and hey presto it now works . goes to show “don’t be believe everything you hear ” …especially about  H and i      …..   :)

A mystery  solved

A mystery solved

Rio Nuevo

 

We have a retired artist friend who showed an interest for fishing.  This is quite common down here but when it actually comes to physically going out fishing, nothing ever comes of it.  People are way too busy doing nothing (a disease down here!) or something crops up out of the blue (belikin beer or rum overindulgence!).  Which means there are in reality very few people to go fishing with.  So over the space of a few months I kept bumping into Rafael the painter and knocking the idea about going fishing around but he thought I was another blagger.  He thought the easiest thing to do was buy a small zodiac inflatable and a motor then people would have no excuse not to go fishing.  In a month he had one shipped down from Canada and the first trip was planned up the Rio Nuevo (New River).  The little 6 horse power motor was just right for the 3 mile trip across the bay to the mouth of the river.  Once in the river, the water is always calm even after heavy rains and no more than 1/4 mile an hour flow.  If the wind is blowing it can actually push you up the river against the flow and usually provides a lovely air conditioning effect.  There are no mosquitoes on the river unless you go sit under the trees, which is where local fishermen in dug out canoes go to catch snook.  We tried this on our last outing and were ravaged by doctor flies, our hands and feet swollen like balloons!  On that maiden voyage Rafael caught a snook whilst trawling and he ate him that evening.  If you are ever down here Jill and Benny across the bay from us cook a great plate of fish and chips and use snook.

 

Capt Pablo with peacock bass

Capt Pablo with peacock bass

 

 

Wood Nymph’s brother Captain Pablo came down to visit with his “friend” Miss Magnum ;)…..an aspiring foot model (face wasn’t too bad either).  After she left Pablo and I took the double kayak to the New River and went fishing.  We collected live minnows for bait using chicken liver to catch them.  Basically you drop a few bits of liver into the waters edge and hundreds of minnows come in and gorge.  You cut the top off an old plastic bottle (there are always lots lying around) and then drop some more liver in and when the minnows come back to feed you scoop them up.  Pablo proved to be quite skilled at this, wading in amongst the lily pads….until I reminded him that that is exactly where the crocodiles hang out.  He backed out of the water proclaiming “I think we have enough!”  I paddled up the river and he was asking about the types of fish we could catch.  He had an interest in Peacock Bass and I told him I had heard people talk about them some 40 miles up the river, but had not met anyone who had actually seen or caught one.  We arrive at “the spot” and tried some lure casting.  Then we thought we would try our luck at a half submerged tree with the live bait.  The first cast was successful and we had a fish on.  We brought him up quick so the line didn’t get tangled in the branches and lo and behold we had caught a small Peacock Bass.  We quickly took the photo and then released it back into the depths, hopefully to put 20 pounds on for the next time we catch him! :)

Rafael with his snook at the mouth of the river

Rafael with his snook at the mouth of the river

Whilst fishing we have been using rock bass as cut bait on the bottom of the river to try and catch the elusive “River Monster” that I know must lurk in the depths.  We would fish with slack lines then wait for the line to slowly tighten, ready to set the hook on that monster fish.  We got used to striking hard when the line tightened only to find nothing on when we reeled in.  So we took our time and then the crabs started to come in by the bucket load.  Now is the season of the blue crab and Man Mountain suggested that we bring some back for him to cook up.  So on our last trip we brought some back for him to sample.  Well, he is still alive so I’m guessing no food poisoning!….next time I might try some too  :)

Blue crabs from the New River

Blue crabs from the New River

We now have 4 water tanks which hold a combined total of 2600 gallons and this proved just enough to get us all the way through the dry season.  This is no mean feat as the dry season is 5 months long with little or no rain in between.  Toilet flushing uses a large percentage of our water and for the next dry season we have a plan to dig a shallow well which we will pump water from, up to a 50 gallon drum on the roof.  This will then gravity feed the toilet.  It needs to be at least 8 feet above the toilet to give 4 bar of pressure.  Photo to follow late November if all goes well!  The wet season came a couple of weeks early this year and coincided with my birthday which certainly wasn’t a “dry” day :)  We went to the eatery Blues for a pizza and then back to our for a gallon of rum, pool playing and dancing.  I was a little delicate the next morning and had the first afternoon nap I can remember for a long time.

Pizza at blues  with H, Man Mountain ,Wood Nymph ,Capt Pablo and Miss Magnum

Pizza at blues with H, Man Mountain ,Wood Nymph ,Capt Pablo and Miss Magnum

 

Only IN Belize – Driving

Driving in Belize is not for the faint hearted.  Congestion is not a problem and you are never going to see a traffic jam!  There is no road rage – people don’t beep their horns, scream murderous obscenities through car windows, or give rude hand gestures.  Driving after dark especially on a weekend can be dangerous as the majority of people drink and drive.  police do not have breathalysers and I don’t know or have heard of anyone being caught for drink driving.  They have just started handing out “don’t drink and drive” stickers, but change will be a long time coming.  Any side of the road is ok, no one even blinks an eye, no flashing headlights to say you’re going the wrong way.  Most roads are dirt and you drive on the smoothest side of the road to avoid the 1000’s of pot holes and sink holes.  Drive over 20 miles an hour at your peril!  There are numerous speed bumps everywhere, some with new signs and a lot with no signs!  The ones without signs normally tend to be in the shade of a tree making them impossible to be seen and almost always next to a tyre repair shop – maybe there is a link here!  :)

 

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