Aug 112016
Hurricane Earl Slams Belize

Hurricane Earl first Struck Ambergris Caye in Belize during the wee hours of the morning. Just after midnight on Aug. 04, 2016. With sustained winds of 80MPH Earl had only just made the Cat I hurricane classification hours prior to hitting Belize.
Photo Courtesy of RobertjHawkins of “Bound For Belize”.

Hurricane Earl Arrives Overnight.

Hurricane Earl first Struck Ambergris Caye in Belize during the wee hours of the morning. Just after midnight on Aug. 04, 2016. With sustained winds of 80MPH Earl had only just made the Cat I hurricane classification hours prior to hitting Belize.

Ambergris Caye Was Hit First.

In San Pedro, although there were no deaths reported at the time of this post, most of the businesses and infrastructure along the shoreline were totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Here is a link to a photo tour of the devastation reported by Robert J Hawkins the morning after. 

Belize City Was Lucky, But Not Unscathed.

In Belize City, flooding was reported. Earl hit the mainland north of Belize City which is fortunate for the city. The effects or the counterclockwise motion meant the winds would have been blowing offshore reducing the effects of the up to 5 ft. Storm surge and wave over effect. Much of Belize City is below sea level and when hurricanes hit south of the city the onshore winds pull the storm surge onshore having a much more devastating effect. Here is a video of the flooding and damage as reported by News 5 lives video the morning after. 

Hurricane Earl Weakened As It Moved Inland.

In Bullet Tree almost at the west border, Hurricane Earl weakened considerably. We experienced heavy wind and rains but other than small tree damage there was not much to mention. In Bullet Tree and I suspect in other parts of the country the danger didn’t end when Earl passed.  Hurricane Earl brought up to 12 inches of rain and with it a threat of flooding as the rivers swelled. People with homes by the river were ordered to evacuate yesterday as the Mopan River was rising at a rate of about 6 inches per hour and threatening those in the low lying areas and beside the river. Here is my YouTube video of the river yesterday and this morning to give you an idea of just how fast and to what degree flash flooding can occur.

A Reminder To Take These Storm Seriously and Be Prepared.

This is a reminder of the importance of taking all precautions during a hurricane watch. Hurricane Earl was a Cat I, and the destruction to Ambergris Caye was devastating. But as the Hurricane classification increases, so does the resulting damage increase exponentially. Here is a link to the National Hurricane Center that has a model at the bottom of the page that illustrates this.

The History of Hurricanes in Belize and how to be prepared is outlined in my article published on June 06, 2016 titled Hurricane Season In Belize – How To Be Prepared.

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Jan 272016
Golf Carts are the Cars of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Life in Belize ~ Golf Carts are the Cars of San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye, Belize

Golf Carts are San Pedro’s Car of Choice.

Golf carts are the choice of those that are not among the many people in Belize that either walk or ride bicycles in San Pedro, Belize. There are cars here on the island but they are usually used by service companies and as delivery vehicles (there are some exceptions). Taxi cabs account for a large number of these vehicles and can sometimes only be recognized as cabs by their green license plates.

When a motorized vehicle is needed, many people drive scooters and motorcycles and although they are not used much (if at all) on the mainland, golf carts are the car of choice for most on the Cayes (islands) like Ambergris Caye where San Pedro is located, golf carts far outnumber the traditional vehicles that we are used to driving on a daily basis back in Canada and the US.

Select your color, shape, and style.

Golf carts come in many colors, shapes, and styles that range from the typical cart with a bench seat in the front and a second in the back facing the rear. Sometimes the rear seat is removed and replaced with a cargo box converting it to a pickup truck, some even with ladder racks on top. Some are longer with three bench seats facing forward and a fourth facing backward to provide the equivalent to a limousine.

Safety Features of a golf cart.

Safety features are few other than brakes, a horn (that usually doesn’t work), and of course headlights are required for night driving and must be turned after 6:00 PM. Although some do, most do not have signal lights so keep an eye out for the sometimes very discreet hand signals that are used. I have noticed that there is no real rules pertaining to right of way, it is more of a first come, first served attitude, and I wouldn’t count on that golf cart entering your lane from the side street to stop (or even slow down) at the stop sign, if a sign even exists.

Golf Carts are available to rent.

Golf carts are readily available from one of the many rental companies to tourists (visitors) that have a valid driver’s license and credit card, but be sure to pay attention to the basic road rules orientation that will inform you of  things like;

  • Which roads are one ways (not much signage to let you know).
  • That you cannot park at a curb that is painted red.
  • Always lock up your golf cart when not in use and never leave personal belongs behind on the cart when you walk away from it, even for just a minute.

My tip of the Day.

Many people overlook the obvious, after all it is just a golf cart ………….. right?

Well, as you would anywhere when renting a vehicle, save yourself some grief and money later by doing a walk around and have any damage on the cart documented, and finally check under the seat to be sure that the gas tank is full of gas and remember that it must be returned that way.

If you would like to get an idea of how many people drive golf carts I have included this short video that can be found on the video post page of this site or at this link on my YouTube channel

Dec 072014

Participant in the 2014 Lighted Boat Parade in San PedroSan Pedro’s Lighted Boat Parade.

One of the events that marks the beginning of the Christmas season here in San Pedro is the “Lighted Boat Parade”. Last years event was cancelled due to low participation, so as we attended last night we were thankful for the opportunity to witness what we expect is the return of this visually stunning “annual” event.

It was a beautiful evening with a full moon and clear skies. Many people gathered at the Central Park in downtown to view several the boats that were decorated and lit up to participate in the Lighted Boat Parade. All entries were well done and were a beautiful contrast of color against the black background of sea and sky. My favorite is pictured here and was the depiction of Santa Claus in his little flippers riding a bull shark.

At the 2014 Lighted Boat Parade, Santa Clause was also on hand at the Central Park in San Pedro.Central Park, the place to be.

Central Park is the hub for activities during special events. The Lighted Boat Parade was no exception featuring a local DJ with event specific music (last night of course was Christmas carols). Also during these times of gathering local groups share a look at their rich history and culture with displays of local dance and other relevant presentations. Last night also saw the Jolly Old Elf  himself, Santa Claus stopped by to watch The Lighted Boat Parade and to pose for photos with both families and children.

Central Park is also occupied every day and evening with the kiosks of several local artisans showing and selling their wares. These might include beautiful hand made jewelry, colorful tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, and of course some of the best tasting local Belizean food dishes you can imagine.

This post has been updated to include this short video by “iTravel Belize“. To see some of the 2015 Lighted Boat Parade click here.