Saturday, June 15, 2013


Tobacco Caye, Belize

s/v Niki Wiki at Tobacco Caye, Belize
We found a piece of heaven and its name is Tobacco Caye, Belize.

If you are ever looking for a quiet, tropical location this is one place you should consider. What you see in the photo is what you get, that's the whole island in the photo! There are a few guest cabins and rooms available on this tiny bit of land which is tucked into a curve in the great reef. The waves from the strong tradewinds break onto the reef and are a constant roar, but other than that all you can hear are the birds and the whispering of the palm tree fronds. The visitors this day (besides us) were groups of what looked like high school seniors who were staying in the bungalows. We watched them get their snorkel lessons - lucky kids.

We anchored here only for a few hours so we could explore the island and go snorkeling. Our short time here is one of the highlights of our cruising this season and well worth the extra effort!

Tobacco Caye, Belize
There was a large variety of sea life to see in shallow water. Because it was shallow (about 10 feet) you could really see the COLORS of the sponges, corals and fish. I spotted two different types of ray and hovered while one of them settled down on the sandy bottom and flipped sand up over itself as camouflage. Within seconds only it's beady little eyes showed! I saw angel fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish and even a scrolled filefish – simply lovely. 

Here's a photo John and Diane from m/v JASDIP and Jonesy standing on Tobacco Caye with a couple of the guest houses. We walked the whole circumference of this place in about 15 minutes –
Conch Shells on Tobacco Caye, Belize
it's that small.

And the conch shells! Goodness – there were so many conch shells that they used them to line the walking paths and as breakwaters along the shore. The older shells were bleached out by the sun and were beginning to break down into the little particles that make up the sand. The newer shells on top of the piles were still lovely.

Too bad we didn't have time to stay for to enjoy some delicious cracked conch to eat. But we had to hustle to a more protected anchorage for the overnight stay.

Yes. I did sneak one shell into my snorkel bag. I think I should be commended that I only took one. All the shells have the small opening cut into the top of the shell where the fishermen have cut the muscle of the animal to harvest it for good eating. Later, I complained to Jonesy that I smelled something disqusting and the smell kept following me – all the way to the boat. Oops – it was my pilfered conch shell!

So I scrubbed it with bleach and it's now out on deck in a basket getting "de-stinked" naturally over time. She's a beauty isn't she?

Jonesy was not pleased that I brought the shell back to the boat. Years ago he was attacked by one of my shell treasures on the boat and suffered a nasty cut. But I'm sure this one will behave - and it makes me happy so I get to keep it. Life is good.

Looks like an awesome place to visit. The shell breakwater boggles my mind, how and where do they harvest all those conchs?
Conchs are really just sea snails...they "infest" all the shallow waters off shore of Belize (and elsewhere in the Caribbean). Folks dive for the conchs - no scuba needed. Of course, they are getting fished-out in several locations so the harvest must be managed.
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