Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Half Moon Caye at Lighthouse Reef, with huge pictures
Besides snorkeling and diving and walking bemusedly through the pathways of the 'eco-village' on Long Caye, we went over to Half Moon Caye, also on the dive boat.
It was great fun riding on the bridge with Frenchie, do-si-do-ing our way at high speed through skinny little cuts and reefy patches – way more fun than over-exercising my imagination in those shallows on a cloudy day!
It's a quintessentially beachy looking beach, but according to the reader boards, the coconuts were planted as a crop and aren't as protective of land or wildlife as the littoral forest they encroach upon.
Frenchy told me a story about the old guy sitting under the tree: He's a 76-year old, and got bored in Belize City; prefers to spend his time out here.
There's a campground there, this day filled with Canadian students on a high school outdoor education/graduation trip. Congratulations to the grant writer or the PTA on that one! There are rangers to collect the fees, of course. Also two ruined lighthouses, a little gift shop and visitor center, some Clivus Multrum toilets, picnic tables for daytrippers and divers waiting out their de-gasification stops, and a few reader boards.
But the best part is the bird watching platform right up at nesting level. I spent several ammonia-scented aromatherapy hours here one morning watching the frigate birds and red-footed boobies sleeping, grooming, coming and going. There are iguanas living in those tree tops too. IGUANA EATING
The magnificent frigate birds - that's really their name (fregata magnificens)- look a little less elegant up close than they do soaring and scissoring their tails as they dive to rob the pelicans and boobies of their prey.FRIGATE FLYING
I had been under the impression that they never landed, but I was wrong about that. It’s just that they can’t take off from water, hence their predatory ways. Considering that, I’m surprised the boobies will live in such close proximity to the frigates. And all of them tolerate the gawking tourists on the platform with the utmost equanimity.
Whew! Some kind of breakthrough on the photo front - famine has become feast. Sorry, folks, I left the default size too big and now can't figure out an easy way to change everything (anything!) So, meantime, enjoy the whiskers on this hermit crab!