Belize is all about the turquoise Caribbean sea, white beaches and lots of sea life. What better then arriving the country completely in style, by boat. This time waiting in line to get my passport stamped was not so bad. The line was located on a big dock over the clear water. A roof provided with some shade and I could feel a fresh breeze. Suddenly some people in the line started to get excited and pointing at the sea. Close to the dock where 4 dolphins jumping out of the water and playing. I think Schiphol has some room for improvement.
My plan was to stay a week on the island Caye Caulker. It has a very relax atmosphere with a lot of reggae influences. Dreadlocks, Bob Marley images and magic mushrooms can be found in every corner of the street. My first day on Caye Caulker was kind of odd. I got myself out of bed and went out to get myself some breakfast. I noticed that the island was quite calm. Besides some locals carrying construction materials there where not a lot of tourists. The restaurant I entered was as good as empty. When I entered a lady came up to me and said “Sorry but we will be closing soon.” “But it’s 10am!?” The place didn’t really look like a nightclub. “Oh haven’t you heard!” answered the lady. “Tropical storm Franklin is on its way and it might scale up to a hurricane category 1 before it hits the island.” No, I was in the middle of nowhere without any cell reception, is what I though. (See Climbing volcanoes in Guatemala) “I can provide you with a simple meal but after that we are closing and taking the boat to the mainland.”
When I walked back to the apartment I noticed that there was construction noise coming from every angle. People were barricading the windows and doors with wood and covering roofs for additional fortification. At the entrance of the apartment complex the owner was waiting for me. “Good morning Geroem, Storm Franklin is on it’s way. Do you want to evacuate?” Ok, now it’s getting serous. “Uhm I just got here, I have no experiences with storms, what are the options and what do you suggest?” “Last year we had a category 1 hurricane. The water raised by a few meters due to the heavy wind and rain. The waves where going from east to west over the complete island. We lost power for 3 days. But since your hut is on poles and everything was barricaded nothing happened.” “Ok, sounds serious but what should I do?” “Well, we are obligated to ask about the evacuation but we and all our other guests are staying. I think it will be fine. And it will hit the mainland as well, so you will need to do the same thing there.” So, not knowing what was going to happen, I decided to embrace the storm.
I teamed up with some fellow storm-chasers from the apartment complex and used the rest of the day to build our survival package. Food, water, more food and water, and illegal alcohol. All shops where ordered not to sell any alcohol because of the storm. But if you go to the Chinese guy around the corner and bring your own bag, there are always posibilities. According the predictions the storm would hit the island around midnight. We figured that we would have time enough to sit in our dark apartment and decided to go out now we still could. At the end of the street we found a nice picnic bench to have some drinks, food and nice games filled the evening. Time passed and next to the police who checked us every hour it stayed quiet. Around 1am we decided to get some sleep. Who knows, maybe we need to swim in the middle of the night. The next day I woke up and listened. Nothing. I checked the power, still on. Cell reception, check! It turned out that friendly Franklin changed his mind, took a turn and went for Mexico.
I survived the storm that never came!
Oh the rest of the week was pretty relax. Did some sailing, snorkeling and played a lot of beach volleyball. Worked from the hammock and ate fresh Lobster from be BBQ almost every night.