Jan 232015

Every morning starts with a walk along this strip of the beach.

Morning walks on the beach

The beach starts another typical morning for us. We got up at 7:00 AM which is when the first flight left the Tropic Air Terminal and flew by our bedroom window as it does every morning. I make my “Bubba Cup” of coffee to go and after our showers, we take the golf cart to the beach for our walk. Now the beach is only a 10-15 minute walk for us, but with Phoebes’ short little legs, the heat some days, and the fact she not a young pup anymore, by the time she reaches the beach she is too tired to walk it. She gets up every morning and in her way lets us know that first thing, even before breakfast, we have to go for our walk on the beach.

The one exception

Tuesday morning is the only exception, that is when when we go to the docks where the Mennonite farmers arrive with fruits and vegetables for sale. If you don’t get there by 5:30 AM they will be sold out of many things and you will be disappointed. But once we get back it’s off to the beach for our walk.

The beach is our local social media.

We run into some of the same people everyday as well as meet new people. Monday it was a local guy we have seen many times on our travels, we would nod and wave to each other in passing, then on Monday we met him and talked a bit. We found he was a great guy who had lots of contacts and was very knowledgeable about a lot of things, from the in and outs of real estate here to good locally priced restaurants. We talked about why some businesses make it here and others fail.

The beach is our gringo gathering spot.

Yesterday we met Neil and Vera, a couple who live on the BC/Alberta border back in Canada (sorry guys forgot the name of your actual town), they bought a place here in Belize near Corozol that they come to each year for a few weeks and were here in San Pedro to visit for a few days. We talked to them for a good hour or so. We exchanged stories on how we ended up in Belize, our experiences to date which have all been good, their impressions of Corozol and our plans for the future. Unlike us they are not all in yet, they still live in Canada but want to retire here in the coming years when their families are grown and out on their own.
Today we met a lady from the New England area of the United States. She was here for a couple of weeks to vacation (visit).  During our conversations eventually people ask, “how long are you here for?” Once they hear we have moved here the questions start. I have found that there are several reasons people come to Belize, in some cases it is just for a vacation, some people are exploring future retirement destinations, some people wish to stretch their dwindling nest eggs or maybe crave the laid back lifestyle here. No matter what the reason their questions are usually similar to the ones that we had.

The beach is our school on Belize

We have learned from the local people and long term expats who are more than happy to answer our questions and share what they know, and, in the case of new expats and visitors, although we still learn new things on a regular basis, we enjoy passing on our experiences and the things that we have learned.For those reasons, as well as it is good exercise, except for the odd rain day our walk on the beach has become a daily ritual.

The beach is great. Right?

It’s natural to assume that a Caribbean country is lined with pristine sandy beaches. Unfortunately, Belize is not. Recently there has been a bombardment of the beaches throughout the Caribbean including Belize. Sargasso is unsightly and even a bit stinky if not taken care of right away. What is Sargasso and where does it come from? Check out this site on Sargasso.

Jan 212015
Mein (I hope I spelled his name right) is one of many worker that remove the sargasso from in front of the resorts every day.

Mein (I hope I spelled his name right) is one of many worker that remove the Sargasso from in front of the resorts every day.

What is Sargasso?

Sargasso is the seaweed that is pictured and has been accumulating on the beautiful beaches of Belize and throughout the Caribbean for the past few years. It is not often talked about in the tourist pamphlets, or highlighted in resort and real estate ads when pictures of the pristine beaches are inserted.

The “unbelizeable truth”.

In an effort to provide honest unbiased information, I will try to show “the good, the bad, and the ugly” parts of Belize. While we have found only a few procedural things that make us scratch our heads and with an inside voice ask, why? We have not come across many things to categorize as bad or ugly things. I would have to say the seaweed problem is one of the ugly things.

Where does Sargasso come from?

Sargasso comes from the “Sargasso Sea”, which simply put is a floating mat of seaweed several thousand square miles in size. It is located in the North Atlantic and is held together by several ocean currents which surround it including the Gulf Stream to the north. How it gets all the way to Belize is apparently not known for sure, but as always climate change is often blamed for possible changes to the ocean currents and/or changes to the wind patterns that blow it towards the shores of Belize.

Will Sargasso ruin my vacation?

Sargasso should not bother you too much if you move to Belize, or if you are here on vacation to dive or snorkel on the coral reef that Belize is renown for. It is only in the mass pictured right at the shore, the beaches are still beautiful and of course the reef and water beyond is clean, clear, blue and seaweed free. If it does gather in front of your resort while you are here on vacation, don’t fret you will never have to walk very far to find a place to walk into the water or to find one of the long piers Belize is known for to jump off the end of. We have found several places that are always free of Sargasso if we want to go for a swim. We live on the lagoon side (west side), and although we don’t swim there (because I’m told there are crocodiles) we seldom see any Sargasso there.

So who likes Sargasso?

I see Mein the man in the picture every morning as we go for our walk on the beach, he is always busy and while we don’t talk much, we do recognize each other and say hi. He is always smiling, maybe not because he likes Sargasso but because it does provide employment. He and his two coworkers work for the resort where this particular 200 feet of beach is located. Beginning early in the morning they clean this stretch of the beach. There will be a couple of guys doing this in front of each resort or on each stretch of beach where the Sargasso accumulates. It is cleaned up and hauled away to be used for landfill in low lying or damp areas.  Also check out this post from “Belizelogue.com” for the unbelizeable truth on the beaches of Belize.

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