– After spending a few days in Caye Caulker soaking up the sun and diving, my time was about to change. The girls had gone on a snorkeling trip, that I decided to skip since I did it nine years ago when I was in Belize. I thought a day of me time was more necessary. The best part about the girls going on this trip was they met Captain Jermain. He was very friendly and fun to be around and was offering to take us out to more traditional outings on his day off.
Spear Fishing Trip
– So the next day, Jermain and his friend Bobby offered to take us fishing. I haven’t been fishing since I was a kid and it sounded fun. Plus they said they would take us spear gun fishing and that sounded cool! The best part was as soon as we cast our rods out, we had many bites, but the little fish kept eating our bait, so it took many tried before I finally caught my first fish. We were told we had to each catch at least two fish if we wanted dinner (but I wasn’t worried as the boys were catching a lot). In the end, I caught three fish and was thrilled and the group caught 20 fish. Not bad for the five of us.
– The spear gun fishing was one of the coolest things. We watched Bobby first and then Jermain. They would swim and size up the big fish and then aim and spear. I was just careful not to swim too close as I didn’t want to get speared like the poor fish. The boys caught four fish this was and it was a fun and different experience. We got to try the spear gun, but it was really tough and none of the girls caught with the gun, but we looked cool trying!
– We caught grouper, hog fish, red snappers, grunts, all delicious after Jermain prepared tin foil packets seasoned and Patrick barbecued them up. We got whole fish on a beach BBQ with eyes and all. These guys know how to cook expertly on a grill of homemade coals lit by coconuts.
The were able to use a nearby bar’s oven to cook up rice to compliment the fish and the garlic bread from the grill. The garlic bread was Angela’s idea, and Jermain and Patrick wondered, more than once, why we wanted it. When we went to buy the bread, I thought we should get 12 split rolls. Jermain didn’t know why I got so much and only prepped and cooked only half of our supply. When I saw this, I asked why and asked to cook the rest of the bread. So from that point on, all the locals affectionately called me ‘bread girl’ the rest of the night. But I will say…all the bread was eaten and it was good!
Special Lobster Cookout on Private Island
– The next day we took the same small boat and a larger group of people came along to a private island off the coast of Caye Caulker. We were going for a lobster cookout, but when we arrived on the island there were only a a few lobsters, not nearly enough to feed a dozen people.
– So Angela and I went with the guys to go catch some more. We went in search of more lobsters and were amazed when we went directly to a spot in the middle of the sea, anchored and expertly hooked and speared about 20 more lobsters for dinner.
The guys, lead by Jermain, again, cooked up a restaurant worthy meal of grilled lobsters, rice, veggies and more bread for the westerners. What I find fascinating about cooking in Belize is that they have, out of necessity, perfected a method of cooking where you can leave food cooking, warming, etc for hours while you wait for other food to be prepared and people to arrive and it never gets overcooked or dried out. Given the slow pace of life here, this is important!
– So after a week, it was finally time to move on. I had an amazing time in Belize and my time hanging with the locals in Caye Caulker was outstanding. I would never had had these authentic and fun experiences without meeting them, as you don’t get this kind of attention when you go on a tour.
– Tina’s Backpacker Hostel – www.tinashostelbelize.com I moved here once I was on my own. The normal dorms looked horrible for $11 (and were rumored to have bed bugs), but I stayed in the nicer apartment dorm fro $15 with Air Con, TV and a private kitchen for the 6 of us to use. I would stay again in these apartment ones only.
– Raggamuffin Tours – www.raggamuffintours.com I didn’t do this, but my friends did and raved about it. I would recommend the full day snorkel trip to Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.