THE BACK STORY
In March 2007 my wife and I split two weeks in Belize - one week in Placencia, one in Ambergris. Loved the laid back quiet of Placencia, too far from the reef. Didn't care for the hustle and bustle of San Pedro, loved the proximity and health of the reef.
This time I wanted to show our kids (recently nine and almost seven) a healthy reef.
THE LOCATION CRITERIA
On the reef (to spend way less time in the dive/snorkel boat traveling), with a beach (to give my wife a place to take the kids while I'm gone diving), and a meal plan, (to keep us relaxing instead of grocery shopping and cooking while on holiday), and a shot at the full moon whale shark diving.
We arrived on a Thursday in March, and left the following Saturday in April (yes - nine nights!) and did not want to go home!
Well kept and well run, the meals were excellent and offered much local flavour, the staff very friendly and accommodating, and the location simply stunning. The pier is over here, and forty yards away is the other side of the island and the outer reef!
The dive master(Nigel), the boat captain(Clifford) and I were the only ones in the boat for 5 of the 10 dives - their local knowledge of the reef and skills were remarkable. The changing weather stirred visibility up a little, but the reef is abundant in fish and coral diversity and in good health. I drew no small amount of satisfaction seeing boats come to South Water Caye from Placencia and Dangriga and watch them leave again to have the place to ourselves!
Spotted eagle, Southern, and yellow rays, loggerhead and green turtles, nurse sharks, dolphins, tarpon, goliath grouper, eels, seahorse, file, trigger, hog, angel, cow, trunk, and toad fish, and some of the best coral and algal diversity I`ve seen in the Caribbean.
The resort arranged passage for me to meet Avadon Divers at Gladden Spit at the Warden`s boat - we didn`t see whale sharks, but neither did anyone else - one moon cycle too early.
Our kids had never snorkeled in open water before, and being able to show them what we saw was incredible. Clifford took us all out to different types of reef, was patient and engaging to the kids, and even harvested and filleted a conch for us (which we all happily ate!).
THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP a night snorkel - made possible by the generosity of the North Florida marine biology graduate students and their professor that invited us along and shared their torch. My kids and I swam arms linked and saw two kinds of octopii, squid, three kinds of lobster, two different crabs, brittle stars, and saw and heard a coral toadfish!, And at the end of an island that far from the mainland in the dark - more stars than can be counted!
Is not actually on the Blue Marlin site - a three minute walk to the far end of the island. The beach itself is small, and there are no chairs (and Pelican doesn`t want you to use theirs). In the mid afternoon tour boats come in that use the beach for a while and then leave. The shade from the palm trees, and the sand in the shallow water is lovely and bathtub warm - watch out for the ants under the palm trees. The shore snorkelling (and the remarkable night snorkel) began here.
Cabin 15 - One king and one double were both comfortable. The AC worked well, but we preferred the crosswind through the windows. There is a fridge in the room that was modestly stocked with beer and soda. The bathroom consisted of sink, shower and toilet. The shower worked well, but the toilet tank seal leaked and required attention (which the staff attended to quickly). Our rooms were not cleaned daily and our towels were not changed when they did, though we`re sure that if we`d requested it it would have been done. It wasn`t important enough for us to ask because the proximity to the reef was the primary reason for our stay. The hammocks on the porch were Mayan weave and very comfortable. There is power in the room (24hours) but there is some noise from the generator that creates it.
Rosella, Richard(local owners), Melissa(guest liason), Alden(server bartender), Nigel(dive master), Clifford(boat captain), Ionie(cook), Roy(grounds maintenance) (and the rest - names escape me at this writing) thank you for a wonderful holiday! We definitely want to come back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Idyllic private island getaway atop the Belize Barrier Reef offering easy access to snorkel, dive and fishing adventures with leisure time for relaxation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Marlin Hotel South Water Caye
- Blue Marlin Beach Resort Belize/South Water Caye