the equatorial sun of Belize toasts your shoulders as Roberto drops anchor on the north side of Ambergris and hands you a hooked 6′ pole! It is time to lobster dive.
Once overboard, outfitted with snorkel and mask, you scan the limpid shallows for lobster “carports”, 12’x20’ wooden flats that look a bit like flattened parking carports on the sea floor. You are on the lookout for a protruding antenna or a flurry of sand from the Caribbean crayfish known locally as Spiny Lobsters.
It turns out that hooking the crafty crustaceans is not so easy! You hyperventilate in the waves, but dive down, again and again, as your lungs scream and you laugh underwater at your poor prowess. You slap the water and curse the reef gods, but you finally get the hang of it and snag one!
Lunch is not in doubt however as Roberto is a master lobster-diver. Before you know it, the cockpit teems with your catch. He ties off the mooring ball and putters over to a secluded cove where, with pelicans as your only company, he whips up a BBQ lunch unlike any other.
You have been curious all day about the bulging sack of dried coconut husks in the cockpit, which Roberto handily converts into a beach bonfire! And as the coals smolder in a shallow pit beneath some palmetto, he cleans and foils your catch, spices it up with onions and spritz of lemon, and slathers on his secret ingredient …mayonnaise!
As enticing scents and sizzles rise off the fire, you get an icy Belikin out of the cooler and float on the aquarium-clear water.
When Roberto announces lunchtime, you let the waves coax you gently up onto the soft beach and with your toes wriggled into the lapping water, you lounge on the warm sand and pull lobster chunks out of the charred shells, juice running down your wrists.
Later, you motor out to Shark Ray alley where you chum triggerfish to attract dozens of nurse sharks. The idea is to jump in and barrel-hug them for, as Roberto reassures you, nurse sharks fall into a trance when you turn them over and rub their bellies. The trick, it seems, is to get them turned over!
On your boat ride home from the Hol Chan (“little channel”) Marine Preserve, you feel quiet, reflective, and above all, sated.
Ambergris Caye’s manicured resorts spread out before you.
Did you really spend the afternoon like Robinson Crusoe?
“That was a trip of a lifetime”, you say. “Let’s do it again next year!”
Sharing the love of travel.