By , November 4, 2011 10:27 am

The truth is, somewhere along our travels, we’ve become serious cheapskates.  So as we hung out in Caye Caulker, Belize, eating stewed chicken with rice and beans for every meal (pretty much the cheapest eats on the island if you’re looking for a full meal, and luckily for us, it just happened to be super delicious) we debated long and hard if we should spend the money on a snorkelling excursion.

Hanging out at “The Split” in Caye Caulker

A half-day snorkelling trip from Caye Caulker cost $50 BZ (about $25 CAD) per person.  So we weren’t really talking about breaking the bank.  Our plan, however, was to head to Utila, Honduras to try our hand at scuba diving after our short stint in Belize.  So we thought… why spend money on snorkelling now when we’re about to spend a lot of money to do a lot of diving (and probably snorkelling) in Honduras?

Ultimately, though, we silenced our inner cheapskates and decided to snorkel.  Am I ever happy that we did!

The trip involved a five minute boat ride out to the reef, with three snorkelling excursions in three different locations.

Boat ride to the reef

The guide led us in the first trip out, and we saw some really cool stuff.  He coaxed some eels to swim up out of the reef, and we saw some barracudas and a manatee.  At least Mike saw the manatee.  Unfortunately, my mask had a major leaking issue and I missed out on the manatee while I was clearing the water out of it.  Oh well… hopefully I’ll see one later.

Next up was Shark and Ray Alley.  Which is exactly what it sounds like.  Our guide tossed some chum in the water and instantly we were surrounded by nurse sharks.

The sharks we swam with

Several Southern stingrays joined in the party too.  I was a little nervous jumping into the water (“Make sure you don’t land on top of a stingray – they don’t like that much”), but my anxiety was quickly replaced with excitement and astonishment as the creatures swam around us.  We were told not to touch the sharks, but the rays were fair game.  In fact, the rays actually seek out human interaction.  They rubbed up against our legs just like our cat used to when she wanted attention.  We could “pet” them too… as Mike says, they kind of feel like the white part of those gummy frog candies (you know, the green and white ones) – soft, slippery, and smooth.

Southern stingray

At the third stop, we did some independent snorkelling along the reef, seeing tons of colourful fish.

Definitely a great trip and an unforgettable experience!

4 Responses to “Snorkelling with Sharks & Rays in Caye Caulker”

  1. Mica says:

    Ahhh the split! We loved Caye Caulker- yea it was a bit pricey but one of the smallest islands I’ve ever been on. I loved it. We ate a lot at this place where you’d just pick your fish from the catch and he’d cook it up-forgot the name now- and it was so juicy and full of flavor. Amazing. Did you guys do the blue hole? The day we were supposed to head out it was cancelled due to bad weather. Now we have a reason to go back and dive it!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Caye Caulker was a lot of fun. About half the restaurants were shut down while we were there because of slow season, but it didn’t take away much from our experience. We never made it to the blue hole, since I wasn’t certified yet (we decided to do our scuba course in Utila where it’s cheaper) and it was pretty pricey as far as dives go.

  2. Audrey says:

    With winter slowly creeping in, these photos look beautiful!!! How great that you guys got to see so many different sea creatures while snorkeling!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Brrr, winter. Just thinking of it makes me shiver. It certainly feels great to be here in the heat next to the ocean (even if it is rainy season). Especially while reports of snow roll in from home.

      We’ve really started to fall in love with the ocean and all it’s creatures. It’s absolutely amazing how full of life the ocean is. At least the protected parts like off the coast of Caye Caulker.

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