Everyone is looking forward to a future where we can travel again, where we can see people again, and where we can be together again. It’s the same for us here on Ambergris Caye. It’s a beautiful place to be marooned – no question, but people here still must find ways to survive. That’s a big challenge when so much of the economy is based on tourism.
The COVID-19 epidemic has only “brushed” the country of Belize. We have had 18 cases, with two deaths and 16 recovered. So as of today we are COVID-19 free which is a huge benefit to anyone looking to travel in the future. The Belizean government acted quickly to impose quarantines on the country, including Ambergris Caye, with extensive restrictions on the movement of people and cargo. Masks and social distancing are strictly enforced. Of course, all of this does not make for great travel-related blogging, but it’s pretty much the same the world over. Bret and I have been making the best of it. The ocean, the sky, the beaches and the wildlife are all still here. Big wildlife, too! April and May are traditionally the best months to observe whale sharks, which, if you haven’t seen them, are mind bogglingly big and beautiful.
Their name might be a little confusing. But whale sharks are sharks, not whales. But they are as big as whales. Some can grow up to 40 feet long. They swim slowly through the water and eat plankton, krill and small fish. At this time of year, they tend to appear in sync with the full moon. These photos, borrowed from the Seahorse Dive Shop, show you just how large these beautiful creatures are. The Seahorse Dive Shop offers courses and tours and are worth checking out here.
We are staying optimistic that life around the world will slowly and carefully return to normal, or an altered form of normal. It will be a while before any proven vaccine is universally available, of course, but when you listen to the sound medical minds, there seems to be an opportunity for us to get our lives back by modifying our habits. This will include additional spaces between people at restaurants and on buses, more frequent use of masks and smaller gatherings. But it should be possible.
As such, I can look at the beauty of spring and summer in Ambergris Caye and describe it to you once again – not as an impossible destination, but one that is now very possible and as always very beautiful.
People often talk about “bucket lists.” I have never really liked that term because it has a certain darkness to it, and we have all seen way too much of that. But I do like to think about “life goals.” There are two things people have learned from the pandemic lockdown. One is that we tend to take much of life for granted – even the boring parts; and the other is that work, for many of us, might be more flexible than we have been led to believe. Now is a good time for us to revisit those life goals.
We are hoping that this inspires people to take some more time off for themselves. To travel, to see things and to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us everywhere. Even before the pandemic, it was still a fact: life is precious.
So hopefully, you and your family will choose to take some time to travel somewhere, and see something that you have always wanted to see. That’s one reason why Bret and I came to Belize in the first place, and of course we would love to welcome you to our particular corner of paradise. But regardless where you identify your dream destination, hopefully you can start to anticipate the opportunity of doing so. We just need to hang on a little while longer, maintain that social distance, and focus on collective healing. The world is out there for you to enjoy, and the time to do so is coming ever closer.