Where do Belize guides go on vacation?

Our 39th season has just ended, and I have been back from Belize for a couple of weeks. It was great to be down there and see all of our Belize guides, cooks, and other staff, as well as our wonderful guests. I had a great time.

Slickrock staff at Bocawina

Back row: Luis Gonzales, Neri Chi
Middle row: Martin Ramirez, Lavern Garcia, Marcy Norales, Apolitico Salam, Jose Garcia, Aurora Roches
Front row: Mary Avila

After spending five months making sure everyone else’s vacation goes off without a hitch, after the season is over our staff likes to go on a mini vacation of their own. Bocawina Resort, where we go ziplining and waterfall rappelling for the first day of our Belize Adventure Week package, offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse (thank you Javier!!) For a day they hosted our entire Belize staff at their resort. Everyone just went last weekend, so I was already home in Utah and missed the fun… too bad! How I wish I could have seen Aurora, Lavern, and Marcy (our island cooks) on the zipline!

Here are some other great pics from their trip:

Daring octopus escape

inky-the-octopus

Our on our island in Belize my absolute favorite underwater creature is the octopus. We see them at low tide in our tide pool, and also when night snorkeling. Occasionally you will see the Common Octopus during the day, but that is rare. Mostly we see the Caribbean Reef Octopus, which is typically nocturnal.

Octopus can take many shapes, including the ability to squeeze through almost any size hole. The only hard thing on their body is their beak, which is quite small. The rest of them are all skin tissue, so they can fit almost anywhere by readjusting their shape to fit the space. It is wonderful to see an octopus ooze across the sea floor. I have also seen octopus turn into a Frisbee and spin away from us, into a hole in the coral.

I loved this story which apparently made international news of Inky the Octopus who escaped from the New Zealand Aquarium! Read on: www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/world/asia/inky-octopus-new-zealand-aquarium.html

Worldwide coral bleaching event enhanced by El Nino

Coral-Bleaching-at-Lizard-Island4

Coral bleaching is a phenomena that results from high ocean temperatures. Coral thrives in a narrow temperature window, unable to grow if the water becomes either too hot or too cold. Sometimes a worldwide or regional weather pattern of particularly high temperatures will cause coral bleaching, where the coral dies as a result, turning white rather than it’s natural color of tan, yellow, brown, or green.

According to this excellent blog post on the subject by Dr. Jeff Masters of Wunderblog, the entire globe (but mostly the Pacific) is currently experiencing an extended coral bleaching event.

The last coral bleaching event we experienced out at Glover’s Reef in Belize where our island is located was in 1998. This high temperature season culminated in Hurricane Mitch, one of the strongest hurricanes to date, that drastically altered our island. It does not appear that the current event is affecting us out at Glover’s Reef in Belize; the ocean temperatures have so far are remaining normal, which is approximately 80 degrees F.