March 26, 2015: Day 6 In Belize by Nicole

Posted by Lauren Rochholz on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 8:41 AM PDT

This morning I awoke to my cell phone alarm. Within 15 seconds I heard two more alarms. It was 4:00 AM. We left the house at 4:45 and headed for Amir’s boat. Today, we were in for quite a trip.  The boat left Amir’s house shortly after 5AM.  Watching the sun come up is a rare occasion, but today it felt good to be there for it. Amir had recently bought a small island, and after picking up his staff, he allowed me to drive the boat about half way there. This 60 ft. boat was certainly the largest I’ve ever steered! We spent an hour on the island before we had to leave to pick up 120 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Amir invested a lot in his new piece of land, but bringing people to it was how he made his money back. Next, all (about) 160 of us were brought to the Belizean Barrier Reef for an hour of snorkeling. We saw a school of squid, starfish, conch, stingray, and numerous species of coral and fish! Hopefully the underwater pictures we took will reflect what we really saw, but those are yet to be uploaded… The rest of the day was spent eating delicious food, snorkeling, and exploring Amir’s island.  We were also able to collect some beautiful shells, which the crew said we shouldn’t feel bad about collecting, as they washed up plentifully each day.  We had the privilege to interact with Amir’s crew of 30 Belizean men and women, and learned about their jobs and lives.  Throughout the day I saw so many amazing species plants and animals, especially when we kayaked into the mangroves around the island. On our way back to Ladyville, the sun was far across the sky from where we saw it come up, and I think every single one of us began to feel a bit of a sunburn in some places.

We did not spend the day digging ditches, or sorting clothes and books, but we did immerse ourselves among the Belizean people and were able to experience some amazing biodiversity. Today we first handedly learned about this beautiful country we have chosen to come to, and we feel gratitude for that.