Tropical Ecology

“Island Time”

We’re on island time now!

We slept last night to the tune of torrential downpour in the jungle. While the newly muddy paths did not dissuade any of our avid birders from tramping through the jungle in search of wildlife first thing this morning, the rain did cancel our original plans to paint the St. Jude Roman Catholic Primary School near the Maya Center. Instead, we dropped off all our painting supplies and our various donations at the Maya Center and then said goodbye to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Remember what we looked like when we met in Raleigh in April…

12 head shots of group

Before the trip…

After our time in the Jaguar Preserve, here we are…

12 head shots in a grid

After the Jaguar Preserve.

On the outskirts of Dangriga, we stopped at the Garifuna Museum. We were welcomed by Wahrisi, our phenomenal museum guide; she then led us through the various exhibits telling us about the history, cooking, and agricultural accomplishments of the Garinagu people. Along the way, she sang us traditional songs, and then showed us two of the drums, the Segunda and the Primero, central to their rich musical traditions.

two drums side by side, one larger

The Primero (left, tenor) and Segundo (right, bass) drums used in Garifuna music

We then headed to the Pelican Beach Resort to drop off our luggage and eat lunch. After a delicious meal, we loaded up two boats – one for our luggage and one for us – and headed to our new, temporary island home at South Water Caye. The boat ride was forty-five minutes of endless blue water and brilliant blue skies overhead, and it ended at a tropical island paradise.

After settling into our cabins around the island, we all met up with our snorkel gear to check everyone’s masks and get a feel for swimming in a group in the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. What most of thought would be a brief check of our gear turned into an hour of snorkeling, exploring the shallow waters right off the beach. We got to hold a sea cucumber, and we saw conch shells, a spiny lobster, a southern stingray, coral, reef butterflyfish, rock beauty, cocoa damselfish and graysby.

group walking down dock

Heading down the dock in Dangriga to board a boat for the trip to South Water Caye

three people next to chalk board with palm trees in the background

We were warmly welcomed to our island home on South Water Caye

Our daily meeting was held at sunset on a platform overlooking the sea. It was a perfectly picturesque end to a day that started wet and gray in the jungle. After dinner, we have our first night without a night hike, so we are taking advantage of the time to set up hammocks and enjoy the island breeze. We’re looking forward to the next two days of snorkeling and keeping our fingers crossed for more beautiful, sunny weather.



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