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Old 03-16-2013, 09:11 AM   #871
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Thanks for all the stomach flu advice, guys! Will probably not be the last time we encounter this... I did the "1 sip Gatorade, 2 sips water" regiment and that seemed okay for my delicate stomach. 1 gulp of anything and I had to rush to kneel at the ceramic altar.

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Originally Posted by motoged View Post
Placencia is a destination in Belize, but prices all over have gone up over the years.
Yeah, a couple of our friends just bought a property in Placencia. We didn't make it down there, but I can imagine it's beautiful! They say real estate in Belize is booming with foreigners buying up a lot of property. The fact that the official language is English also helps alot.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:58 AM   #872
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Turtles!

The underwater stuff is just amazing
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:26 PM   #873
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Sadly the people of Belize think their reef is the best, but from what I saw it's very, very poor. It's dieing quickly and from the sections we viewed, there wasn't much to see. Fish and what not yes, but very little to no coral.

I'm not sure about San Pedro, but I know down further south you can't harvest meat from the waters because it's protected, yet the tour boats WERE doing it. I'm assuming the guy with that boat is doing something he shouldn't be doing.

This should probably be confirmed, but our boat tour El Jefe was telling us this, just before he started killing the snails too. haha.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:59 AM   #874
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Awesome underwater pictures. Those giant sea turtles are magnificent. What a great connection you have with them on this trip. You saw them hatch and set free to hopefully grow into one of these.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:17 AM   #875
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Yeah, you two are awesome. Mexico is so damn colorful!
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:35 PM   #876
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Great pictures.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:53 AM   #877
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Killer Rays

Great RR. I have been following since the start and really appreciate the great photography, well written report and the time you must spend creating and uploading it.

But I must say I was horrified to see Neda hovering over that ray in the "Kill Zone!". We lost a very famous Australian down under on 4th September 2006, Steve Irwin, AKA "The Crocodile Hunter" when he was struck in the chest by a sting ray after swimming over the top of it as depicted in the picture of Neda. His heart was punctured and he died soon after. It has happened before and since. They are not to be underestimated for their potential to kill, I have dealt with them personally and know their tail is more deadly than any scorpion. If you are above or infront of the ray you are in the kill zone, behind them you are safe. They don't attack, like a shark as such , they strike in defence when they feel threatened. Please, please be carefull.

Enjoy your fantastic journey.

Ian
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:23 AM   #878
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget_65 View Post
Great RR. I have been following since the start and really appreciate the great photography, well written report and the time you must spend creating and uploading it.

But I must say I was horrified to see Neda hovering over that ray in the "Kill Zone!". We lost a very famous Australian down under on 4th September 2006, Steve Irwin, AKA "The Crocodile Hunter" when he was struck in the chest by a sting ray after swimming over the top of it as depicted in the picture of Neda. His heart was punctured and he died soon after. It has happened before and since. They are not to be underestimated for their potential to kill, I have dealt with them personally and know their tail is more deadly than any scorpion. If you are above or infront of the ray you are in the kill zone, behind them you are safe. They don't attack, like a shark as such , they strike in defence when they feel threatened. Please, please be carefull.

Enjoy your fantastic journey.

Ian
Not saying it's right or there is no danger, but the tourists in these areas are told safety isn't a concern, but yes, you are right. There is always a level of danger. These ones know the humans feed them, but at the same time are still wild.

Good pointers though, I never knew where the save zones are. I was snorkling above a few in Belize, but it wasn't because I was trying to, they swim under you. Some were HUGE (6' in diameter).
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:25 AM   #879
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Yes, wow, those are great photos. Funny, you can't see the sea floor for all the shells.
Having a great time following along on your adventure, sadly not quite as great a time as you two thou

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Old 03-19-2013, 04:03 AM   #880
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Not saying it's right or there is no danger, but the tourists in these areas are told safety isn't a concern, but yes, you are right. There is always a level of danger. These ones know the humans feed them, but at the same time are still wild.

Good pointers though, I never knew where the save zones are. I was snorkling above a few in Belize, but it wasn't because I was trying to, they swim under you. Some were HUGE (6' in diameter).
You'd have to be very unlucky. Steve Irwin was only the third death by sting ray on record in Australia, but there was an American case soon after where the victim survived because the barb was left in after his heart was punctured as a result of the publicity of the Irwin case.
In Australia Bull Rays grow to well over 10 feet in span!

Cheers,

Ian
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:48 AM   #881
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Stingray barb that Dan showed me in Majagual .

Gene & Neda your underwater photos are amazing !
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:42 AM   #882
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Wow, coincidentally within 30 minutes of my last post re the sting rays I saw "River Monsters" on ABC television in Australia showing the hunt for Giant fresh water sting rays in Thailand. They even mentioned the Irwin case. No antidote to their venom, horrible barbed sting as shown by Hektoglider, paralising pain down one side of a man from just a grazing strike, sting up to ten inches long! Definately not to be underestimated for their potential to kill.

When I have caught small ones on rod and reel I have lifted them by the tail so they are unable to strike or pinned the tail down with a fishing rod while removing the hook to release the beast. The Aboriginals here like to eat them but not for me.

As I said they are not really aggresive, but do have the potential to kill when threatened. Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread just wanted to recommend some caution with these animals.

Cheers,

Ian
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:52 PM   #883
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget_65 View Post
Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread just wanted to recommend some caution with these animals.
Knowledge enables people to make informed decisions. Rays look harmless enough, but should actually be given a wide berth. +1 on the cautionary advice.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:59 PM   #884
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/80.html



We would love to have stayed longer in San Pedro, but when we initially entered the country, we had only applied for a 1-week visa, thinking it was such a small country, how long would we need? The 4 day stopover in the islands was entirely unplanned and as we sat in our hammocks on the beach, we regretted only applying for 1 week. I think it worked out in the end, because we probably would have drained all our travel funds in this one place.


Neda is Belizeing a path through the lush scenery!

After getting off the water taxi back to Belize City, we rode a very short distance to San Ignacio, which is close to the Belize/Guatemala border. We're stopping here for the evening to get all our documents in order for the border crossing. As we walked around the small tourist area (a single street) in San Ignacio, we noticed we were in the company of a lot of foreign tourists. We eavesdropped on a few of them and recognized that subtle Canadian accent that separated them from Americans - also the way Canadians always end their sentences on a higher pitch, as if constantly asking a question.

Belize is very popular with North Americans because the primary language here is English, even though more than half of the population speaks Spanish.


Neda makes a new friend while walking around San Ignacio

There's not much to see in the town of San Ignacio. It's more of a hub for the tours that fan out to see the Tikal ruins or cave tubing or other adventure sports in the area. Since we blew our budget in San Pedro, we're going to skip Tikal and head straight for the Guatemala border the next morning. That, and our 7-day Belizean insurance expires on Feb-29-2013. There is no Feb-29th! So because of an insurance slip-up, we're leaving on the 28th, just to "insure" we don't run into any problems!


Bye-Bye San Igancio, we're going to Guatemala!


Roadside stop to pet a horsie...


Aduana (Customs) at the Belize/Guatemala border

The Guatemala customs border was fairly easy, at least according to Neda as she did all the talking, since she was the Spanish-language expert. I noticed that the border official we were dealing with was originally very cool towards us, almost annoyed at us, until Neda started speaking fluent Espanol. Then instantly he warmed up to us. Actually he warmed up to Neda. He was still annoyed at my amateurish attempts to speak Spanish. So I just shut up and tried to stay out of the way as Neda got us out of Belize and into Guatemala in a heartbeat, telling jokes and charming all the border people in Spanish.

I think this is the primary reason why people report so much difficulty crossing Central American borders - not being able to communicate in the official language.


Ta-DA! We don't need no steenkin helpers, we have a Neda!


Amazing roads in Guatemala


Passing lots of farmland in the north of Guatemala

We're kind of heading south-west, back towards the Mexican border, trying to get as much distance done today. The roads are in way better shape than Belize, and it surprised us a bit. Quite a lot of twists and turns along the way which made us happy as well. There's a bit of a discrepancy between our two GPS maps. Neda's map routes us quite a distance to the south, while mind shaves off 150kms and seems like it's a more direct route.


This is the reason - ferry crossing at Sayaxche

Turns out Neda's map didn't know there was a ferry to take us across at Sayaxche, while mine did. I'm glad we've got two different maps to consult. The ferry was powered by a small outboard motor off towards the side!


10 minutes waiting for the ferry to load, 5 minutes to cross


Riding through Sayaxche

We were running low on Quetzals, since we didn't buy too many from the money changers running around at the border, fearing that they'd rip us off with exorbitant exchange rates. Unfortunately, my bank card doesn't seem to work in Guatemala, something that Kari (fellow Canuck we met in Oaxaca) had warned me about over e-mail. So Neda is officially our money person for this country.

I am feeling a bit like a useless appendage on this leg of our trip. My wife plans the route, finds the hotels, does all the border crossings and gets all the money. All I do is take pictures...


Posing in Sayaxche

It was getting pretty late so we decide to stop in Sayaxche for the evening. We found a casita just outside of town to stay for the night. The owner had twin 10-year-old boys who clamoured around the motorcycles and peppered me with a million and one questions in Spanish. Since Neda was already busy talking to someone else, I had to fend for myself.

Guatemalan Spanish sounds a lot different than the Mexican Spanish I had learned in La Paz, so I had no idea what these two boys were asking me, which frustrated both of them! They brought out their English textbooks but because they only studied family members, were only able to ask if I had a grandmother, a sister, a nephew... Finally Neda finished up and was able to translate for them: they wanted a ride around the block on the back of the bike!


Taking one of the twins out for a spin around the block

So I made them a deal: they could each take turns sitting in the back if they guided me into town and then helped me with my Espanol so I could buy groceries for dinner.

To further thank them, I also bought them some chocolate, so I think I've made some friends for life..


Renaldo and Rivaldo hanging out in our room playing video games on our computers and iPhones
When their mother called them out to finish their homework, they were very disappointed!


I took each of the twins out separately to the corner store for chocolate. The second twin was very sneaky - while in town, he wanted to extend his ride a bit longer so he made me do 7 left-hand turns in a row... all the while the GPS in front of me was drawing nice overlapping squares all over the map... :)
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:44 PM   #885
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Thanks to all your warnings about stingrays, however it's all very unnecessary...

Shortly after that blog post, Neda's dad Skyped her and gave her a very stern lecture about chasing after stingrays. His exact words were, "Didn't you hear about what happen to Steve Irwin!?!?"

I LOLed!

Then my dad e-mailed me and told me to lay off the tacos. He said I was getting fat.

Neda LOLed.

Never sharing our blog entries with parents again...
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