The morning of day three there wasn’t any change in the weather. I was most surprised that even though the wind was constant and strong, it never rained.
I was already awake when we heard the captain yelling “good morning everyone…coffee is ready”. Everyone was much more chipper after a night’s sleep in the cabanas…there were many more smiles any way. After a round of coffee, the captain took those of us that were interested on a walking tour of the island while breakfast was being made.
Our first stop was a Noni Fruit tree. According to the captain there is research going on right now to see if Noni Fruit can be used to cure cancer. Even though I wasn’t sure if it was the truth or not, I have since found mention of Noni Fruit on The American Cancer Association’s website. Based on the captain’s description of the taste and smell, I’d have to have a serious condition to eat it. He must of said “it tastes horrible” ten times as he told us about it.
He also explained that in Belize grapes grow on trees and not vines. They weren’t ripe yet, otherwise I would have tried them.
Next was a description of the origins of the name Tobacco Caye. Tobacco never grew on the island, but it was a storage facility for tobacco. The large barges couldn’t make it in the shallow waters inside the reef, so the tobacco would be brought to Tobacco Caye, stored, and then loaded onto the larger barges for shipping.
Other things we saw or learned about were, the local osprey (a sea hawk) and it’s nest and the area in which local turtles lay their eggs.
The tour ended just in time for another breakfast feast, followed by a serious discussion. The weather was still really rough and the next section of our sailing adventure would take us through an area that wasn’t protected by any cayes (islands). Meaning it was going to be a bumpy and cold ride.
Option #1 – Continue with the planned trip to Placencia and endure 5 1/2 hours of relentless wind and waves. We were unlikely to get in any snorkel stops as the water would be too rough.
Option #2 – Stay on Tobacco Caye longer. The crew would rent a small boat, so that six of us could go fishing and the rest could go snorkeling (if we wanted). We’d also have a large barbeque on the island and then the tour company would pay for everyone to take a water taxi about 1 1/2 hours to Dangriga. From there people could catch buses to their desired locations (Placencia, Hopkins, Tikal).
It was clear that the crew preferred option #2, but they left us to discuss and come to a consensus. For my friend and me option #2 seemed absolutely perfect. We had been worried about making it back from Placencia in time for my friend to catch her plane and we figured we’d likely leave after everyone got on the water taxi. It wasn’t long before the entire group decided it was the best option too.
There were six men on our tour (and 13 women), so the men went fishing. And, all but two of us decided against snorkeling in the wicked water. I personally laid in the hammock for a few hours and even dozed from time to time.
After one more feast of fish, shrimp, rice and even chips, peanut butter, and banana jam all the guests except my friend and I boarded the water taxi to Dangriga. In hopes of heading back to Caye Caulker as soon as possible, we pitched in for clean-up duty. But, it wasn’t long before we started getting mixed messages. A local drunk gal told me “they aren’t leaving today” and my friend heard them say something about waiting for the water taxi to come back. Turned out that the water taxi was bringing back fuel for the sailboat (vital since we tore the mail sail the previous day).
We hoped that once the fuel was back, we’d be on our way. Nope. At first we had no idea if we were leaving that night or the next morning. Neither captain seemed to be in a hurry to make a final decision. So, we sat in the dark for an hour or so before my friend “conveniently ” bumped into one of them walking around the island. He was surprised we were not in a cabana. Hmmm…guess we weren’t leaving that night. One captain told us we’d leave at 4am and it would take 5-6 hours to get back to Caye Caulker. The other captain told us we’d leave between 6-7am and it would take 7 hours or maybe 9 hours because of the weather.
That’s when we realized we were screwed. My friend was scheduled on a flight from Caye Caulker to Belize City at 3:10pm the next day. Our hearts sank…we should have gone on the water taxi with everyone else.
They finally settled on leaving at 6am and then got us a cabana shack to sleep in that night. Let’s just say the cabana we had the previous night without lights and hot water was a resort in comparison. There were water spots on the walls from previous flooding, the electrical wires were scary looking, and there was no light bulb in the bathroom (probably a good thing…not sure we’d want to see what was there any way). But, at least it had four walls and a roof…kind of.
Both of us were restless all night. The last thing we wanted to do was cause a delay in the 6am departure. At around 1am we went outside to watch the stars and attempt to take photos. At 5am we woke up. We decided to be at the dock at 530am just in case the crew got up earlier and wanted to get on their way. Nope…didn’t happen. It was 7am before we saw any life out of the crew and it was nearly 8am before we lifted anchor.
I promise the adventure is almost over…I’ll post more tomorrow…stay tuned.