Rediscovering Belize With Help From My Grandkids…and a Lobster

As we boarded the boat, our grandkids anticipation was palpable. And I was just as ecstatic that we had the opportunity to introduce them to my favorite Caribbean Sea activity since we moved to the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

My husband and I regularly join friends to spend a relaxing day on the water, with a few stops to snorkel. But this time would be even more special. We’d be sharing the adventure with our grandkids. It was their first visit to Belize…and it would also be their first time snorkeling…

We wanted our grandkids to experience and appreciate, firsthand, what drew us to this quirky little Caribbean island, and has anchored us to Belize in our retirement.

When the big day arrived, the temperature was warm, the breeze faint. As our boat, the El Gato, glided over the sea I could see everyone relax, hypnotized by the clear water and vibrant hues of the aquamarine sea that surrounded us. “I can’t believe I can see all the way to the bottom”, was a constant comment.

Gentle waves rolled over the barrier reef, with breaks that revealed the amazing wall of coral. It was impossible not to smile. Even our 15-year old grandson, Harrison, who seldom cracks a smile, sported an infectious grin on this day.

By the time the El Gato arrived at the Mexico Rocks park, the sea was tranquil, perfect for snorkeling. Our skipper, Geraldo, tied the boat up as we donned our snorkel gear and before we knew it, we were floating in the 80-degree sea.

With a buoyant floatie tied around her waist, 10-year-old Hannah immersed her mask in the crystal clear water. She popped back up, with a stellar smile. It was time to explore.

With our guide, we darted here and there, lingering over mustard-yellow and fire-orange coral…or studying a particularly intriguing fish. I circled around, seeking sea creatures. I spotted a huge lobster, lurking under a crevice and a pair of grey angel fish. Stingrays swam under us, resting at the bottom of the sea. Some buried themselves in the sand, their entire body disappearing, only their tail visible.

But the best treat of the day was when a friendly turtle swam up to the group, as if to say, “Hello, are you having fun yet?” He followed us for a while, and then continued on his journey.

Seeing the wonder of the underwater world through the eyes of our grandchildren was like experiencing it for the very first time, all over again. Sharing their wonder and delight was priceless. Our entire family was enthralled with this world that myself and my husband get to enjoy every day.

I’ve lived on Ambergris Caye for eight years. That’s long enough that at times it’s easy to take our spectacular Caribbean life for granted. Having our family visit renewed our appreciation of our stunning natural environment and I can’t imagine anything better than sharing this gift with our kids and grandkids…

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