Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun in the Sun 2013- Belize

Thursday, August 1, 2013
20,000 Microns Under the Sea- The Great Western Barrier Reef  

It is another bright and early morning in the Caribbean and Chris and I are ecstatic about being able to snorkel around one of the biggest and best Barrier Reef in the world. In fact, The Great Western Barrier Reef is the 2nd largest reef in the world behind The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

We started by waiting in the Main Lounge for the tender since the ship could not dock in Belize City because of the reef itself. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled tender time just in case and we ended up having to wait for about 45 minutes before our private tender arrive to take us out to the Barrier Reef.

Chris and I waiting for our private tender.

Once we boarded the small catamaran we were greeted by locals and given all of our snorkel gear and a briefing about the entire shore excursion. It was a 10 mile, 40 minute commute from where our ship anchored to the snorkel sight at the Western Barrier Reef. During this time Chris and I rode at the front of the catamaran just taking in all of the amazing and breath-taking sights of Belize and its water surroundings. We also took this time to secure our snorkel gear and of course, put on LOTS and LOTS of sunscreen. When we arrived at the snorkel site, the captain of the catamaran gave us one last briefing before we jumped in.

Waiting to get to The Western Barrier Reef via catamaran.

All of my snorkel gear is tight and ready to go...

I was a little freaked out at first and had 2nd (and 3rd) thoughts about this process but the push and support of my husband helped me take the plunge. I am so glad I did... It was stunning and beautiful. We were able to snorkel in the MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN with tons of fish and coral for close to an hour before having to board the ship again. I saw some very interesting schools of fish as well as a remarkable coral reef. Chris was able to spot a Sea Urchin. Chris and I stayed close to each other to point out things and it was interesting and fun to share this adventure together.

This coral was beautiful with the shades of purple. I kept swimming back to this spot to just "float" in awe!

 Another piece of coral that looks like it could be in movies!

If you look closely you can see some beautiful fish towards the ocean floor.

Another shot of the area around the beautiful purple coral.

These fish were gorgeous... They could have been in "Finding Nemo"
This was an area of the Barrier Reef that Chris captured!

It is amazing to see so many DIFFERENT types of coral and creatures.
Again, God is so amazing and I am in AWE of his creations!

Towards the edge you can see a school of fish!

Chris and I had a BLAST snorkeling and we cannot wait to do it again... BUT WHERE?!

After finishing our snorkeling, we headed to a VERY SECLUDED and PRIVATE beach on a small island out in the middle of NOWHERE. It was called Bannister Caye and it was the MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH I HAVE EVER SEEN! It looked as if it came straight out of a movie or postcard. It had about 6 Palm leaves covered huts, a restaurant/ bar, showers and a very small gift shop. While making the 4 mile trip from the Reef to the beach we even saw some dolphins jumping alongside our catamaran.

A house we saw on our way to Banister Caye and our private beach.

While on the beach Chris and I found a live Starfish and Conch Shell. The beach was gorgeous but after about 10 feet it almost immediately dropped off and the current was very strong this day. It was funny to see everyone from our boat experience this drop off and current. After relaxing on the beach for a little while, Chris and I ordered local Chips and Salsa and spent the remaining time relaxing in our private hut! It was the time of my life and I want to go back there AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I cannot even begin to describe our amazing this experience was. I am so glad I got to share it with the LOVE OF MY LIFE! Absolutely incredible!

These creatures were so neat and this one in a lifetime opportunity was priceless.

Chris found this Conch Shell too.

One of the absolute best days and experiences since we have been married! AMAZING!

Unfortunately, our time at the beach was up and we had to head back towards the ship. During this trip back to the Conquest our small catamaran turned into a party with lots of singing and dancing. This was awesome because it was something that Chris and I would NEVER do in real life or everyday life and it was nice to just relax and once again enjoy each other. We had a blast on this shore excursion and is now at the top of my destination and shore excursion list. I would recommend this to anyone and EVERYONE traveling to Belize!

The Carnival Conquest anchored several miles off the coast of Belize City

Enjoying the boat ride back to our Ship...
After another 30 minute boat ride, we made it back to our Home away from Home!
Isn't she a BEAUTY!

Once we got back on the Conquest, we got cleaned up and then went and ate at Blue Iguana and Guy's Burger Joint. After lunch we went into our Stateroom and played along with the Afternoon Show of Star Wars! Chris, The Woodsmen, got on TV and was once again the star of the show! As if his head needed to be any bigger! We then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and napping in our stateroom before the 2nd Formal Night of the cruise.

2nd Formal Night on the Cruise

2nd Formal Night on the Cruise

We went to the early show of PLAYLIST PRODUCTIONS "Latin Nights" and then went to a late and romantic dinner. The previous nights on the cruise we ate first then did the show but this reversal of events proved to be more romantic and we loved it. After our dinner we took a few quick pictures then went back to the late show conclusion to meet and dance with the stars of the show. Chris and I had a blast Latin and salsa dancing with the cast on the dance floor but WOW... we cannot dance! It was funny... Hilarious actually! You know the saying "White people cant dance"... yeah, we are not only white but we are BAPTIST! It was awful... We are SO BAD!

Dancing with the Cast of "Latin Nights"... Anyone want to teach us how to dance?

We wanted to go to this event called "The Quest" hosted by our Cruise Director but it was at 11:45 so we had to kill some time in the casino :) We ended the day in the black which was good and for the first time of the cruise we were making profits for the trip! We made our way to the comedy club and while waiting for "The Quest" to begin we watched Super Star Karaoke which is basically Karaoke with a LIVE band! I had just about picked a song when it got cut off to begin "The Quest"... real bummer!

"The Quest" was basically a Let's Make a Deal style of scavenger hunt. The Cruise Director would call out an item, such as a camera, and someone on your team would take it to him to get points added to their score. It started out fun and clean but it took a turn for the worse... It was not something I was proud of being at and ended up leaving!

Overall, this was an AMAZING day and Belize is now at the top of my favorite places I have ever visited and the Barrier Reef snorkeling is my favorite shore excursion by far at this point.

Again, I challenge ANY atheist or Non-Believer to go to this snorkel sight and argue God doesn't exist.... I dare you! It is impossible! This was the most awe inspiring sight I have seen in my near 31 years of life! Thank You, Lord for not only allow me to witness these things but for CREATING these things! You are an AMAZING God! Thank You!

God is good... ALL THE TIME!


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