Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Belize Dolphin Encounter pictures

Here are two more pictures of last week's dolphin encounter. I never did collect the underwater pictures of my scuba dive though as it started raining badly on San Pedro and the dive shop was quite far from the hotel.

Oh well.....

Aidan with his 'babysitter'. The people on Spanish Lookout Caye were really helpful & when Aidan couldn't join in at the dolphin encounter they made sure that he was being watched at all times. Doesn't he look funny with his floppy sunhat on?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Scuba diving in Belize

Can you believe that I have managed to live in Belize for 6 years, without having been scuba diving once? I do have my PADI advanced Open Water certificate & love diving, but I just haven’t had a chance to do so whilst living here. For all this time, we were either too busy building our business or I was pregnant or nursing. So I’ve never been on more than a short snorkeling trip (which are great trips too, by the way)

Anyhow, yesterday I finally went on a proper scuba dive. And it was brilliant! My dive master Marcos was just amazing. The sea life we encountered on the two different dive sites were acting like they were all his personal pets. I’ve never seen anything like it. He didn’t even feed any of them, but he just seemed to communicate with them by touch.

Through Marcos’ help, we were able to pet a giant eel and tickle a nurse shark. The eel was actually a ‘friend’ of his. He calls her Esmerelda and he had been looking for her for over a month. He was so excited when he found her again. I have never seen a man beam over the sight of an eel before, but Marcos surely did when we got back to the boat and he told us about how Esmerelda had been hiding since Hurricane Dean had come near.

We also swam right beside a turtle, tons of other nurse sharks, a stingray, a parrotfish and we got kind of ‘attacked’ by a Moreno fish? I forgot the actual name of the fish, but it was a fish that normally attaches itself to a shark or a whale & had obviously lost its host. It then tried to attach itself to us as we were hovering around waiting for our ears to equalize on our way back to the surface. It kept trying to nibble at my hair and in the end the dive master had to punch it to get it to move away from us.

All in all, it was a fantastic first diving session. And I definitely won’t wait another 6 years to dive again.

Oh, and I will try and get hold of the pictures that were taken by the dive master later today

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spiderman, spiderman

Oh, my boys do crack me up. Aidan is quite a handful these days. His favorite thing is playing in mud and grabbing things he shouldn't grab. He also lifts up your shirt to blow raspberries on your tummy (laughing hysterically as he does so). And he has started to talk a bit too. Just a few words so far: mommy, daddy, night-night and juice & in Dutch: koekje en vissen. He's attempting other words, but can't make them sound right yet.

And Lucas? Well, what can I say about Lucas. He actually believes that he's Spiderman. On some days he thinks that he's the boy from the Incredibles (the one who can run on water), but most days he's Spiderman. To be honest, I even think he's Spiderman sometimes. Just look at this clip and you'll understand what I mean.

Oh, and before I are some more funny comments from Lucas: "Oh mom, you should have seen these little baby rabbits. They were so cute, I almost cried"

And a while ago he came home from school to tell me that he has a girlfriend. "Wow" I said, "That's nice. What's her name?"

"Er...I forgot"

"Well, do you want to invite her over for a play date soon?"

"Oh, no!" He answered mortified "I don't talk to her. I'm scared of her"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Belize Dolphin Encounter

Days out with the family don’t come much better than this! We went to Spanish Lookout Caye yesterday, which is a 20-minute boat ride from Belize City and experienced the Dolphin Encounter there. It was amazing!!!!

We’d been meaning to check the dolphin encounter out for ages now, but never got round to it before. We wanted to see first hand if the place was exploitative in any way. If it was, we would make sure never to send any of our guests there. But after having been there, I’m happy to say though that the place is run in a very responsible manner & that it is highly educative, with an emphasis on conservation.

Before you go into the water with the dolphins, the trainers teach you a thing or two about the animals. About their physiology, their behavior and about ways that we can all protect their habitat. You are then taught how to behave in the water with the animals. The 4 dolphins at Spanish Lookout Caye are bottlenose dolphins, bred in captivity & they are all relatively young, about 4 to 6 years old, so they are still learning a lot and don’t always behave perfectly (but then, which 4-year-old does?)

Still, the two dolphins we met did wonderful. They were so bright and so excited about everything. It was really cute to see how much they loved their trainers and how they loved all the positive reinforcement they got. When one dolphin was a bit naughty, the trainer just blanked him for a moment. Which is the dolphin equivalent to a ‘time-out’.

These captive dolphins get regular visits from their wild counterparts & the two boys seem to be doing very well with the ‘wild’ ladies out there. So there is a lot of flirting going on between the dolphins at the lagoon and those just outside the barrier.

Of course, there is nothing as great as dolphins in the wild. But these captive dolphins seemed very happy (something that can not be faked) & I am sure that they enjoy this highly interactive lifestyle to being stuck in a tank at a zoo somewhere.

I definitely recommend this encounter to those visiting or living in Belize and we’ll start adding this day trip to our own packages soon too.

So if any of you want to go on this daytrip or any other Belize daytrip/vacation, contact us at Green Dragon Adventure Travel.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A few more pictures from our travels that I hadn't posted yet

Here's Aidan hanging out with my cousin Lida. We had a lovely day with my two cousins and my cousin's little boy Meldy at a local playground/fairground/crazy golf place. Lucas was even saying that he wanted to move to Holland as there are more playgrounds there than in Belize (which is easy as there really aren't any good playgrounds in Belize) and also because he gets more presents whenever we are in Holland.

Our easy rider Aidan. Doesn't he look cool?

Lucas and his new best friend Meldy. Lucas had been asking me for ages why he hasn't got any cousins (Andy and I are the first of our siblings to have kids), so he was delighted when I told him that Meldy was actually a real cousin of his. I just didn't tell him that he is his cousin third removed, or whatever it's called. After meeting Meldy Lucas kept talking proudly about 'my cousin this' and 'my cousin that'. Meldy is a really great kid, so it was nice to see how well they got on.

Here I am trying to take a picture on the timer with my cousins Lida and Esther. I just figured out how to use the timer on my new camera and using it brought back all those memories of my father taking timed pictures when we were growing up. The camera would never go off when we expected it to, but wait until my dad got up and check the camera. So most pictures would be of his worried face right in front of the camera, with us in the background trying to pull him back. I always found it hilarious.
Anyway, it was great spending time with Lida, Esther and Meldy. I hope we can do it again real soon!