Western Caribbean Cruise day 4

We were docking off the coast of Belize City, Belize at 7 am and we had plans to go snorkeling along a reef (the 2nd largest in the world).  I was picturing a nice lazy meandering swim while looking at pretty fish... instead I nearly drowned.. twice! 

After a quick breakfast on ship (fresh fruit and yogurt).

We got our instructions for tendering and how to find our tour group once in Belize City.  We arrived and it seemed like organized chaos. The tour company seemed alarmed by how many of us were signed up and kept trying to divide us into groups and then changing the group make up.  

It took FOREVER for them to get us on a boat.. but eventually we had 92 or 93 of us on a boat and we headed out to snorkel over the 2nd largest reef in the world.  

Our tendering boat; looking back at the ship.  We had a 45 minute tender to shore

There were at least 6 or so guides with us on our snorkel trip and one of them talked a bit about the country,  their languages,  and their history.  Then they gave us a quick briefing about our itinerary.  They handed out masks with snorkels and flippers and life jackets.  

We pull up near the reef to fairly big waves and our boat began rocking wildly.  We're all starting to feel pretty nervous now and eyeing each other and the water.  We had to jump off the side of the boat,  which required us to climb a few steps so the guide suggested we put our gear on in the water. That seemed logical so I stepped up to jump in and was alarmed at how high up we were,  I just took a deep breath and jumped.  

The water was freezing and I was immediately swamped by waves.  I'm trying to swim away from the boat toward the guide waving his arms but I just kept getting closer and closer to the boat.  I actually bent my knees and pushed off the boat like it was the side of a pool and still got nowhere. I finally felt a strong arm grab me and haul me out: it was our guide and I was so grateful. I still had all my stuff in my hands... and there was no way I was getting those flippers on my feet! It was all I could do to stay afloat with my life jacket around my armpits like a floatie. My arms and legs were moving as fast as I could; just to stay in place! 

My husband finally got in (with flippers on!) and even he was struggling.  He offered to help put on my fins. With them out of my hands I was finally able to get my mask and snorkel on.  I could keep up but refused to let the guide out of arms reach. I did see quite a bit of the reef but had to keep emptying my mask from water.  The waves were rather large the whole time and I'm pretty sure I swallowed a lot of sea water that day.  I settled in after a bit and while I was nervous I did start to see actual fish and coral and things.  No real photos though because the water was so cold my phone could not recognize my touch. 

We eventually made our way to the ladder and were told to take off our fins.. even holding on, I was being swamped by waves and started struggling. The force of the waves kept pushing me off the ladder.  Our guide finally reached down himself,  pulled off my fins,  passed them up to the ship,  and pushed me up the ladder.  In case your counting that's twice I felt like he had saved my life.. 

Once everyone was back in the boat everyone near us was commiserating over how awful it had been and speculating that the tour groups should have canceled or modified our trip.  

After the reef they were taking us to an area where nurse sharks and rays like to congregate where we'd get back in the water... I wasn't sure I was getting off the boat again. 

Can you see some of the dark fins of the sharks coming up to the boat? (to the right of the photo)


Honestly I nearly skipped this,  but many people could touch so I went back in.  It was really neat but there were far too many of us in one tiny area.  I felt like I was kicking and bumping into everyone.  There were rays all around near everyone legs and feet and the guides were showing select people how to pick up a nurse shark; because if you flip them over on their backs they fall asleep. 

I'm glad I didn't skip this part... but I had pictured something far more organized where each person would get a turn and it wasn't just one big free for all. 

I couldn't touch but my husband could and pulled me back to the ladder when it was time. At this point I just wanted back on the cruise ship and a hot shower but we had one last stop to make in Caye Caulker where most people on our boat had ordered lunch. We were only go to be on island for 1 hour so we elected to skip lunch so that we could walk around and then just planned to eat on the cruise ship when we got back. 

Lunch too was organized chaos with 3 or 4 other boats all trying to get their food too. People were walking around yelling names with large trays of food and then passing them off to anyone who had ordered said dish.  It was crazy.  We found a bathroom, walked around the town, and tried to get away from the business of this one little area.  But when we went to load the boat an hour later we were told the boat was broken. 


We had unexpectedly lost speed on our way to the Caye from the reef and everyone who had been sitting over the engine moved so they could fix it... but I guess they only fixed it enough to limp us to shore.

We were told it was going to take an extra hour (which meant we were all missing the last tender to the ship!-- one reason why I always suck it up and pay for the shore excursions through the cruise line is that I know no matter goes what goes wrong the ship must wait for us or figure out what to do to "rescue" us). 

The guide offered to walk us to an area where we could feed tarpons to keep us entertained until it was time to go. We figured, why not?

I noticed my foot was hurting as I walked and found that I had a few small slices on the bottom of my feet either from the reef or perhaps some barnacles on the side of the boat when I pushed off.  But there wasn't anything I could do about it. 


We came to a dock near a large patch of mangrove trees and found a shack that sells seafood for feeding to the Tarpons. The tour guide bought quite a few trays and showed us how to feed them safely (they'll suck right onto your hands if you don't hold the fish right).
 



My husband and I bought ice cream. And all of that killed about 20 minutes... so we found a spot in the shade and just sat around for another hour (because island time means another hour really turns in to another hour and a half).



One of our guides walked up from the other side of the island holding a part... so we waited while they fixed it.  They got it started and ran it for a few minutes before having us all board. 

We still had an hour until we reached Belize City. Thankfully it was uneventful but seemed twice as long as the ride there.  We docked in Belize City and our ship had a special tender waiting just for us with the engine running.  

As soon as we got back on board we went to our room, showered, and changed for dinner.  I was starving after only having had some fruit and yogurt for breakfast and a small ice cream for lunch. 


We made a quick stop to pick up band-aids for my feet from the medic's office then went back to Normandie to eat.  

I was starving....so no food photos because I just forgot! I didn't like my appetizer but I did enjoy my main course of turkey parmesan. And I loved my tiramisu (my favorite dessert of the whole trip)! 

We nearly skipped the show but figured 7 was too early to go to bed. I think we could have easily slept though.  I am a strong swimmer but all that fighting against the waves all morning made every muscle in my body sore. 

The show was a combination of dancing, singing, acrobatics,  and a lot of screen/ special effects. It was really neat and I did manage to stay awake! (It ended at 8 so this is not a huge feat by any means!). 

And yes, that man is standing with a person on his head after starting off on all 4's in the previous photo




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Comments

  1. Wow, that does sound like a frightening experience. Glad you were able to get something out of a chaotic day! I like your spotty dress.

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    1. Thank you! We kept everyone entertained on the ship that night with our "tales!"

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  2. Oh goodness! That would be terrifying! Large groups of people can make things like that more dangerous for sure. I’m glad you’re okay!!

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  3. Oh my! That sounds scary! I'm glad you were ok, but that would make me hesitant to trust that kind of excursion off the ship!

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    1. I told our table mates that night that I was hesitant to go on the one we had scheduled for the next day now and she assured me that we'd have a great time in Cozumel (and we did!).

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  4. Sounds like a fun day minus the huge waves and the boat having a problem. But you´re right- it was so good you had booked through the cruise ship so they couldn´t leave you. That show looks really neat!

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    1. It was definitely one of those days that makes a great story afterwards!

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  5. That sounds like a rough day. Yikes. I hope your feet were okay for the rest of the trip.

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    1. Yep, I just switched to some sneakers for a day or so and then they were fine; thanks for asking!

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  6. OMG, what a day! I would have been so frustrated by the entire thing. But you have a story, that's for sure. When we went snorkeling in Hawaii, I felt panicky a few times with all of the big waves. My husband and I ended up holding hands while swimming so I didn't need to be constantly looking for him. In the end it, was fun.

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    1. I tried to take it in stride but I know I did WAY more complaining than my husband wanted to listen to! LOL

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  7. Oh friend! What a frustrating and scary day! I’m so sorry you had to go through that I truly feel they should’ve canceled that excursion at least the first part! You sure did look pretty in your polkadots though and I’m glad to show was good, at least you ended your day on a sweet note and with that wonderful tiramisu!

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    1. I think they should have to; one of the ladies in another group/boat than ours actually got bashed against the reef and it split open her entire leg! But we did end the day on a great note!

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  8. Cruise ships can be wonderful or can have little problems. The show and food look good. I went on a cruise once and it was really rough seas so I know that's not fun. #MMBC

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    1. We have been so lucky to have really calm seas for the most part when cruising; I'm not sure how I would handle rough seas... I always pack some Dramamine just in case!

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  9. Wow! You were such a ninja powering through! I don't think there is anything more physically exhausting trying to swim with strong waves/currents- eek. Glad you were safe and made the most of it!

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    1. I kept thinking "at least I'm getting my exercise today!"

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  10. That sounds like a nightmare, especially since I can't swim. You were very brave. The show looks incredible though.

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    1. Aw, thank you! I was much too flustered and bewildered by what was happening at the time to truly feel scared (thankfully!).

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  11. Oh my goodness what an eventful day! That is a good point to book excursions through the ship so you don't get left behind. That would be a huge fear of mine.

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    1. That is a huge fear of mine; especially since they recommend you leave passports behind on the ship. To get separated from the ship and left in a foreign port would panic me!

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  12. Thanks for sharing the photos. You did great.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  13. Wow, what a crazy day. I love the Caribbean, but have never gone by cruise. Glad you are okay, but what a time. Hope the rest of the trip goes well!

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  14. Oh my, this day sounds like such a nightmare! I'm glad you were ok and got back to the ship. What a mess!!

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    1. It really was! Luckily all our guides were super nice and fun and upbeat.

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  15. Eek! Nearly drowning sounds like no fun at all, it in fact sounds like a terrifying experience!
    It is good that you ended your day well with the show, that looks pretty fantastic and your spotty dress is so pretty.

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    1. Thank you! I love that dress and so rarely get to wear it.

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  16. As a non swimmer, your close call gave me chills! There is always another side to everything, even a vacation...glad it al turned out OK

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    1. There definitely is and I am so glad it all turned out okay in the end too.

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  17. That sounds like a horrible ordeal. Cold water, close to drowning, no lunch to speak of. I'm glad the show was nice (and probably relaxing after all that.) And you look great. But yikes....

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    1. I don't think I have ever been so happy to get back to our room before! LOL. It was wonderful to have a hot shower and just relax knowing we had nothing we had to do for a bit so we could just eat, and rest, and relax.

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  18. Wow, that's a crazy experience. I'm so glad you're okay.
    Xoxo
    Jodie

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  19. What a disappointing excursion! I'm glad to hear you are both ok apart from the cuts on your feet. I think the chaos is one of the reasons I would prefer a smaller cruise ship with less people.

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    1. Surprisingly this is considered a "small" ship... most cruise ships nowadays are 2 to 3 times larger! I do think it would be nice to try a smaller river cruise though.

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  20. Oh, that excursion sounds like such a bummer! As someone who used to work in cruising, I always recommend not going through the organized excursions anymore. It's too busy, too expensive, and it's often just TOO much. Most cruise ports have great local organizers once you tender to land! Looks like it was still beautiful though!

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  21. Joanne, oh wow what a scary time for you and I'm glad the guide was able to help you out. You looked so pretty in the dress and the food and show sounded great.

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  22. Wow! I would have been too scared to try a second time in the water so kudos to you! How frustrating, though, to have everything be so chaotic. I'm glad you finally made it back to the ship in time for a good dinner and a fun show.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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  23. Yikes! That was a frightening experience and I'm glad you guys were ok. Back on the ship, the food sounds delicious and the show looks spectacular! I love your polka dot dress Joanne, you look amazing.
    Ruth@playworkeatrepeat

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  24. Holy cow!! That's a wild day! I am glad you guys made the best of it, but still! Whoa! I love that polka dot dress! It looks great on you!

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  25. I'm sorry that you had such a rough port day! I'm glad that you're okay! I'm going on my first cruise in April haha, this definitely made me glad that the one day we booked an excursion it was through the cruise line!

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  26. This sounds like such an exhausting day with not much reward. I was picturing this whole scenario based on past cruises I've taken. I agree, I have learned to book excursions through the cruise lines. What a trooper you were to keep trying. Glad you were okay!

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  27. I'm curious to know if you took anything for motion. Maybe you mentioned that and I missed it? I struggle with motion sickness and this would have been a nightmare for me lol. I have done a few snorkling trips that were a bit rough, one in the Keys where several people were cut by the coral because the water was so rough. I'm glad you got that tiramisu!!

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    1. No I didn't have to take anything; motion rarely bothers me. We did hear of a women in a different group that got cut by the coral when some waves slammed her up against it.

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  28. Wow what an adventure! I would've been a little nervous too. I'm glad you were okay!

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    1. Me too! I was so relieved to get back to land safely.

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  29. Very cool. This cruise deal looks like a wonderful time.

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  30. How neat. Love your last dress. I'm not a good swimmer, so I'd have to pass on snorkeling.

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  31. That sounds scary! I had something similar happen to me. It is NOT fun. But the sea life looks so neat! I'd love to see rays up close like that (just safer--ha ha). Visiting from the Talking About It Tuesday linkup.

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    1. I have only ever been snorkeling in lagoons and things; never out in the open ocean... and I don't know why I didn't think about the fact that a coral reef would be out in the open ocean!

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    2. Ha. :) I've done both and definitely prefer coves and lagoons and such. Thanks for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #22 linkup. Hope to see you next week at #23.

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  32. That was quite a adventures trip. But I hope the sealife was worth it. I'll bet it didn't take long to fall a sleep that night!

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    1. I don't think it was worth it! LOL BUT I did sleep great that night!

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  33. That sounds like an eventful day, scary for you I can imagine. No snorkling for me, I only just go with my feet into the ocean as I prefer swimming in a pool. Too many creatures in the sea LOL. Glad all ended well and it looks like an amazing show at the end of the day. The long dress looks so beautiful on you!

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    1. The largest creature we saw while snorkeling was a lobster so I was okay with that!

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    1. It really is; the various colors we saw the whole week were just incredible.

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  35. Oh goodness, what a scary ordeal! I've never been snorkeling and even though I'm a good swimmer, it does sound intimidating. The ocean is too unpredictable!

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    1. It sure is! I'll stick to snorkeling in lagoons and other inland bodies of water.

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  36. Holy cow! I can't believe they didn't just cancel your excursion. I hate that you weren't able to have a better time. Belize is such a cool place.

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    1. We were all surprised at that too; we thought for sure they should have canceled!

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  37. Girl! You are so brave! What you experienced is exactly why I no longer swim in an ocean. I love to see it and feel it with my feet and shins, but that's as far as I go. I have been knocked over before, so many times in a row, that I was fighting to stay up and catch a good breath. My husband saved my sister one time, and later on the same day, our son Drew. No thank you! I'm so glad you were okay, though, and that you have this memory. Also, I hope your feet have healed! That sounds so painful.

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    1. Yeah, it was an experience for sure and I definitely wasn't so good natured about it at the time. My feet only bothered me for a day or so and then they were fine.

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