24 May, 2008

Business and Pleasure - Canoeing and Botanical Gardens

After our big cave tubing adventure, you'd think it wouldn't get much more exciting, right? Wrong!

The very next day we head off toward Black Rock for the start of another adventure - fourteen miles of canoing. Oh sure, it's downhill all the way, once we're on the river. With the river so low, it's fourteen miles of paddling and pushing through shallows, and drifting along enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle.

Here we're getting the canoes onto the pickup. Midas Resort had the canoes, and the price was pretty reasonable too.
Strapping The Canoes Onto the Pickup
Tying Them Down
With the girls riding in the cab, Craig and I rode, bush taxi-style, in the back of the pickup with the canoes.
Not a lot of room or creature comforts. I rode sitting on the edge of the pickup's bed. Actually it was quite comfortable. I hadn't ridden in a pickup bed since my youth - before it was outlawed in the States.
Peace, Man
Of course, along the way, we had to pass a police checkpoint. For some reason, they were really interested in us, so it took a few minutes to clear the checkpoint. I snapped this shot as we were heading away.
Checkpoint Charlie
After arriving at Black Rock, we put the canoes into the water, jumped in and proceeded to paddle our way downstream on the Macal River.
Dianna Taking a Breather in the Jungle
We saw tons of wildlife, birds, plants, mammals. No snakes or scorpions or spiders. We did see this tree full of hanging bird nests.
Tree Condo
We did see some of the local wildlife. I even managed to take a picture of it.
What Kind of Deer is That?
After a hard half-hour to an hour of paddling, we arrived at DuPlooys Resort (, where we took a break.
Arriving at DuPlooys
Hot and Humid
the Break Was Appreciated
The people at the resort even put out some watermelon to attract birds.
Bird Baiting
Part of the attraction of stopping at DuPlooys is the Belize Botanic Gardens (BBG) ( Maintained as a separate facility from the resort, the Gardens offer a spectacular view of much of the plantlife to be found in Belize. Well worth the visit, you can even buy plants from the greenhouse. Well, maybe not you folks who are just visiting Belize, but those of us who live here, can buy the plants and create our own botanic gardens.

Dianna decided to stay at the resort and rest while Craig, Mae, and I went on a walkabout through the gardens. One of the first things we saw was this velvet apple.
Velvet Apple
Quite a fancy arbor here. Not sure what was growing on it. Impressive all the same.
These shots are in the orchid house at the garden. Quite spectacular.
Beautiful Bridge
Beautiful Plant Layout
Cool Bamboo Planter
Lots of Orchids
Elsewhere on the garden grounds, we crossed a small suspension Bridge.
Beautiful Plants Surround Us
At one of the buildings, we even found some of the local wildlife, for example this jungle cat...
Looking for a Treat
A Nicely done rock garden
Flowers by the Dozen
Palms Galore
There was even a section on Mayan plants and an exmple of Mayan construction for their houses.
Mayan House
I mentioned the greenhouse where you can buy plants. Here it is.
BBG Greenhouse
A Nice Walk
Returning from the tour of the gardens, we rejoined Dianna and had a nice relaxing lunch before jumping back into the canoes.
Main Lodge Building
More Birds Eating Watermelon
Checking Up On Some Plants
After lunch, we headed back to the canoes. Here's a tree that understands how to protect itself.
Big Spikes
As we headed back down the River Macal, we passed so many neat plants and geologic features, including this waterfall that seemed to just spring out of the cliff face.
After about an hour or so of paddling, we stopped at a gravel bank and took a swim in the river. Some of us couldn't contain ourselves and had to swim in their birthday suit!
Craig Really Enjoying the River
Sometime after this break, Dianna and I got pushed into some low-hanging branches and couldn't maneuver enough to avoid overturning the canoe. Unfortunately, that spelled THE END for my camera. I was able to salvage the pictures on the SD card.

Later on, at the end of the journey, Mae and Craig also dumped their canoe - right in front of the low bridge in San Ignacio.

After returning the canoes and cleaning up, we went for dinner, then to bed for some well-earned rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very amusing entry. I laughed out loud reading about the canoe dumpings. Sure sounds like you had a lot of fun. Too bad about the camera though.