Heading out to the island aboard Slickrock's boat. Happy to be on vacation.
Our first view of the island.
Our cabana by the sea.
relaxing after a long boat ride
Hmmm my papa is going to be so disappointed that I can't recall which kind of heron this is. Little blue heron? Green heron?
Jumbo hermit crab (the island was crawling with them)
dead coral makes cool patterns.
We had three iguanas living under our cabana: Irma, Boris, and Rasputin. This is Irma.
lizard? gecko? I don't know...
We spent a lot of time like this.
Group wash areas.
Is this a great osprey nest or what?! The babies had fledged and the nest was currently occupied by a pair of grackles (a poor substitute)
This is Boris (I think)
So, there were four osprey on the island, two adults and two (fully grown) babies. This is one of the four, feasting on a fish.
Osprey in flight
Hmm. Wish I'd taken the towel off the balcony for this picture. It's distracting. Those towels are almost as well traveled as we are: we purchased them in Portugal and proceeded to haul them around Europe with us for two months.
This picture is deceiving. It looks like an innocent sea urchin. What you don't know is that while alive, sea urchins have inch-long spikes that easily penetrate into feet that happen to step on them. I speak from experience. Experience with a giant needle trying to pluck spikes from my foot. It hurt.
Giant Sea Snail. Seriously, it was huge.
According to the wildlife book, this might be a bearded fire worm. How on earth did they come up with THAT name?
Isn't this a nifty looking critter?! Too bad I don't know what it is..
This is my artsy shot of a blunt spined brittle star
This is probably one of my very favorite pictures from the trip. It was taken 10 feet from the base of our palapa during low tide
hermit in shell
coming out of shell. looking around curiously.
trying to escape from sonja.
scuba divers looking cold: Chris, Charles, and Tom.
how the heck does this dang dive computer work, anyway?
Looking not as cold as before
Charles and dive master Ralph
So poor crab got a baby's arm duct taped to it's claw
Pepe: Sonja and Chris' entry into the hermit crab race.
Go Pepe! (First crab to climb over the rope wins)
He's a winner! Give that boy a kiss! Ok, well he actually wasn't the first place winner; he came in second.
Posing with the champion.
Royal tern looking fluffy
Victor teaching Chris how to do Eskimo rolls. He was pretty good, once he got the hang of it. Maybe it's because he's from alaska. :)
That's me (Sonja). And I put all those boys to shame when it comes to Eskimo rolls. (Yeah, being humble is not my strong point)
Papa practicing his rolls
Diver masters Ralph and Lucky (standing on dock)
Lucky, Hubert, and Karin
ok, here is something I learned about hermit crabs. They are cannibals. Let me explain: In order to grow larger, a crab must find a bigger shell. So, a group of crabs will track down a large crab, pull him out of his shell, eat him, and then play musical shells. They'll all switch their shells up for a larger size. I wasn't convinced until I saw it happening. Good thing I came along to rescue the guy on the right; he was not having a good day.
The roof of our cabana.
So there is a funny story behind this picture. I was walking back from a dive and I was feeling sorry for myself because I had had a lot of difficulty with my ears underwater. It was a painful dive. Anyway, I was moping along feeling sorry for myself and I walked along the path under that palmtree in the middle there that is hanging over the path. All of a sudden an iguana came crashing out of the tree and nearly (within 6 inches) beaned me on the head. Both of us were pretty shaken by the near miss. After that incident, I decided that having a sore ear was significantly better than a lump on the head caused by an iguana and I cheered up immediately. End of story.
Papa, looking dapper
Hmm. don't they look like troublemakers.
Getting ready for a dive. I am truly amazed that this cat didn't end up in the water, given that both my father and husband were present on the dock. We're not really cat people.
A slightly fuzzy pictures of what I think are Christmas tree worms.
I'm pretty talented at these self portraits.
Spotted ray. Too bad I wasn't closer, it would have been a better shot.
Big 'ole barracuda
Look!, says Ralph, there's a turtle!
Nassau Grouper. tasty.
Spotted drum fish.
It was THIS big!
What a couple of cute parents.
Hmm, not sure about this one. Maybe a scrawled file fish?
My favorite! A trunkfish!
This is a remora. These guys are also called sharksuckers because they attached themselves to the undersides of whales and sharks. In fact, he tried to attach himself to us.
Giant parrot fish.
Oh, how I wish that this picture had turned out! It's a flamingo tongue. Unfortunately it was in a hard to reach spot and I got stung by fire coral in the process. Lots of fire coral. ouch!
Victor, our trip leader. He was salvaging bits and pieces from a boat wreck. We got several versions of the story but evidently a man set out in his sailboat and ended up spending five days living in his mast after his boat hull submerged. Something like that. He ended up near Long Caye and the guys fished him out of the water, dried him out, and sent him home.
What a cute Mama!
Water on the lens. bummer.
Chris and I got to sit up front behind the pilot. The pilot's son was riding shotgun and listening to his ipod.
I love the signs in Belize! They are so creative.
Now this is fresh fish!
Lots of yummy snapper.
Lots of people....no whale sharks. :(
Termites taste like carrots. I tasted one.
This is a boat billed heron, taken through binoculars lens.
Fer de lance.
Hot showers are practically worth their weight in gold. We need to get one of these out-door shower contraptions.
a cicada shed. Pretty creepy looking, eh?
Butterfly farm at Chaa Creek Lodge. Blue Morpho. Morpho pleides.
The coolest video ever! Seriously, you have to watch it. This fish is called a remora (aka the sharksucker) and he had lost his whale or shark to whom he was previously attached. So he tried to settle for the next best thing: a diver. None of us really wanted to be attached though and kept giving him the brush off. Poor guy.