September 16, 2010
It seems we update our Caye Catcher Blog everytime a storm passes nearby and Karl, now a hurricane ,passed to the north of Belize a few days ago without a gust at the Resort. That is a blessing because we need another 4 weeks or so to complete four ongoing projects before the ‘Season” begins.
We will open our Starfish Bar under a 24 foot thatched Palapa perched in the middle of a giant outdoor saltwater pool surrounded by seawalls and populated with our local fish inhabitants in early November. Swim, Snorkel, or just Float to your hearts content!
The bar area is constructed in the shape of a Starfish with seating for 24 guests. An 8 foot opening in the center of the deck will allow all to see the tropical fish in the crystal clear water by day and under lights by night.
A floating Movie-Video screen is being anchored in the saltwater pool for Boat-In Movies under the Milkyway. Every week, a new release or classic award winner will be featured with a side of Popcorn of course.
This is the first of 4 improvement projects underway on the Caye and I’ll update the progress of each weekly.
Our Dive Team has acquired an underwater video camera and the singular spectacle of marine Life in belize can be seen on our Facebook page as Underwater Minutes. Even if you can’t join us beneath the surface, you’ll be able to experience the colors, textures and creatures of all shapes and sizes as we update our Underwater Minutes. More to come……much more!
July 17, 2010
Tropical Storm ALEX paid us a brief visit a few weeks ago with 50 mph winds with some higher gusts but, we’re happy to report that we were left unscathed.A comprehensive clean up was required but, that gave us the opportunity to give the whole Island a mini facelift and identify areas that we believe can be improved. We’re widening the north beach and placing more Thatch umbrellas for shade and completing work on our overwater Starfish bar before the new season begins. In the next few weeks we’ll begin planting our Kitchen Garden with culinary herbs and green veggies that can handle the island environment.Our Chef, Alberto Teul will supervise this island garden project.
We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Martin Spragg to our Marine Activities Team. Martin has been a Dive Instructor in central Belize for the past 15 years and is as familiar with our local snorkel and special dive sites as his old friend and colleague Victor (Chico) Escobar .Martin and Chico will share Dive and Snorkel responsibilities and Samuel Xipot continues as our resident fish whisperer with his brother Jeremias captaining the boats and assisting in all the fun above and below the water.
The Government of Belize has finalized rules for activities and restrictions in The Southwater Marine Reserve where Thatch Caye is located. We’re pleased that the Reserve is now a “NO TAKE ZONE” which will preserve as well as stimulate the local fish and marine populations.Belize continues to be a model for sustainability along with Costa Rica in Central America protecting it’s rich natural green resources with protected areas on land and along the Great Western Barrier reef.The catch and release policy for salt water fly fishing allows this activity within the many flats and handline and trolling activties are still allowed outside the Reserve boundaries.
Finally, we’re excited to announce that Phil Brisebois has joined the Thatch Team as resident Manager. Phil comes to Thatch with over 10 years experience in the Hospitality business and most recently served as Operations manager at Belizean Dreams in Hopkins. Phil brings a wealth of experience with food, beverage, and all levels of guest services.
February 16, 2010
And so Jessie and her Belize Yoga group visit the caye again and are blessed by blue skies and turquoise water…
In between the yoga sessions we get out to the reef and snorkel in one of the best spots in the area – Tobacco Caye Channel. We start inside the reef, admiring the colours of the Queen Angelfish and the flash of silver as a barracuda cruises by, through the channel and then we are outside the reef. The water is so calm you can lie there, letting the gentle current guide you over the pristine corals until an eagle ray, majestic in her spots, passes underneath us – a great sight.
As time went on more rays came along, 5 in all, and then a loggerhead turtle covered in barnacles and algae joined our snorkeling group and swam with us for a while before heading off into the blue. Turtles are regular visitors to our snorkels and are a great favourite with everyone.
Back on the boat and back to the caye for yoga, normally a ten minute journey, took nearly an hour as a pod of dolphins made everyone eager to get back into the water. This pod, a mother and calf with two juvenile females, have been in the area for a few weeks now and we have been lucky enough to snorkel with them often.
The full moon approaches and we are preparing to see the whale sharks that visit Belize every Spring. Here to feed on the spawning snapper before heading up to Mexico, we dive for two or three days getting to see these giants gorge themselves as thousands of fish spawn.
November 29, 2009
Thatch Caye´s second ever yoga retreat just ended and the yoga group left very relaxed and satisfied with their time spent on Thatch Caye. The sunset yoga was the highlight for everyone with incredible sunsets filled with bright orange and pink clouds reflecting the rays of the falling sun behind the Maya mountains. The sunset palapa out over the warm Caribbean ocean gave added appeal to both the yoga and the sunsets.
The guests who stayed behind after the yoga retreat ended were in for a special day, however. One group set out for Glover´s Atoll, once home of John Glover, the notorious British pirate and now home to some of the most spectacular marine life anywhere on planet earth. The other group stayed in the area and decided to do a snorkel to Tobacco Caye channel, one of the most biodiverse marine areas along the main Belize Barrier Reef. The Glovers group were all scuba divers and they saw several sting rays, huge groupers, lots of barrel sponges, tube sponges, coral canyons, and a couple of turtles. They did their surface intervals between Long Caye and Middle Caye in the turqoise waters of the sandy atoll. All divers came back wanting to go back again soon.
The guests who did the Tobacco Channel snorkel may have even gotten the better end of the deal though. As they jumped into the ocean off of the boat, three sting rays were playing right in front of them. Along the reef they continued to see nine more of the southern sting rays, two Spanish sting rays, hundreds of snappers, masses of grazing parrotfish, angel fish, trumpet fish, cow fish, schools of blue runner jacks, and blue tangs, and EIGHT spotted eagle rays. The eagle rays were the highlight of the snorkel as they cruised in and out of the coral canyons, gliding over fire corals like fighter pilots weaving over enemy landscape.
Altogether an amazing day topped off with live music by Thatch Caye´s very own acoustic guitarist and singer Gary Dingott. What could be better than a good day in the ocean and some Jimmy Buffet songs to go with the evening happy hour and dinner?
April 25, 2009
I awoke early to the sounds of the jungle birds at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. It was early, but I didn’t mind. I lay with my eyes closed for 30 minutes and just relaxed. Breakfast was similar to yesterday, served buffet style with a choice off eggs, fresh fruit, cereal, potatoes and pancakes. Delicious!
At 9 o’clock on the top I met my tours guides, Edgar and Darryl for the River of Caves tour, another popular choice for guests of all ages. Today my group was made up of a family of four from Boston with two curious seven year olds and a mother and daughter from Maine. The tour began with a short bus rain through the orange groves. Great mountain views greeted us with a few clouds in the sky, but otherwise sunny and beautiful. We received a tube and a headlamp, our tools for the day. Dressed in a pair of running shoes, shorts and a tank top I was ready for whatever challenge greeted me in the river. We sat in our tubes and slowly paddled upriver for about 10 minutes until we reached the mouth of the cave. This proved to be an excellent photo opportunity. The sun shone on the vines that hung from the jungle canopy and cast a soft shadow on the wall of the cave. Once everyone had captured the beauty on film we switched on our headlamps and slowly paddled into the darkness. We were greeted by fruit and insect bats, slowly gliding through the cave and pack to a perch on the wall. Stalagmite and stalactites were beautiful and name for their physical appearance. Some shone like diamonds, others cast an eery glow while our lights shone past them. The guides joked about seeing an eight foot scorpion spider, which turns out is a slightly larger than a daddy long legs spider with eight legs.
We paddled to an area of the river that was low due to the rainy season and stacked our tubes. We climbed up about 30 feet into the air and admired the beauty from above. At one point we sat in a circle around an old Mayan fire pit where some ancient pottery was stacked. We all turned off our headlamps and sat and listened to the sounds of the caves. We heard the water running below where a new current was running as well as the faint sounds of bats in the distance. Some areas of the cave were low and required us to carefully hunch down until we reached an open area, which appeared to be a ceremonial site. The guides shone their headlamps onto various rock formations showing us how the ancient Mayans had done picture shows with shadows
I arrived back at Caves Branch and tidied up my bags before heading up to the main lodge. I spoke with some of the staff and thanked them very much for the excellent opportunity to be a part of their experience for the past two days. It was such a treat.
Late afternoon I took a shuttle from Caves Branch to Dangriga. We travelled though the mountains, shopping once at a Mennonite roadside stand to pick up the most delightful chocolate chip cookies. We arrived at the boat dock and took the 45 minute journey across to Thatch Caye Resort.
I am in Cabana #1, which was decorated with fresh flowers on the king-size bed and in the three piece bathroom. After quickly changing clothes I went to the main palapa to enjoy a pre dinner snack of nachos. The bar area was busy with other guests telling stories of their snorkeling and diving adventures of the day.
I sat down to dinner in the thatch roof dining room, while some of the other guests ate in the screened in open air dining room, and it was served in three courses. The first course was a lovely garden salad with a citris vinaigrette sauce. The second course was grilled zuchinni, rice and beans. The third course, an apple crisp served with cream and star fruit.
After dinner, I sat and chatted with some guests and staff before walking back to my cabana. It was a clear night and the stars were beautiful. I sat in a hammock for a few moments and the wind blew evenly. As I headed to sleep, the breeze was steady and refreshing as it blew through the open window. The wall fan is also doing its part to cool the room. The temperature is pleasant. Tonight I will drift off to sleep with the sounds of waves washing into shore and the light wind.