Belize Zoo to Barrier Reef, Feb. 27-Mar. 2

    Moving now to our secondary base in south-central Belize, we paused en route at the Belize Zoo. This little gem of ecological pedagogy is quite a contrast to American urban zoos, with its modest decor, wryly vernacular environmental teachings, and beautiful natural habitats for jaguars, tapirs, anteaters, howler monkeys, toucans, macaws, crocodiles, and other wonders of Belizean fauna.

                                                                                  (S) Brothers in ecology -- Charlie and Phil Sellers (S)

    Our almost palatial base at the Pelican Beach Resort was a stark contrast to the shabbiness of adjoining Dangriga.

Spacious, air-conditioned suites (H)
Verandah (H)
Swimming, boating, hammocking (Wr)

    Disappointed by the resort dining room, we found a satisfying alternative in central Dangriga.  The Riverside Cafe offered good, plain food, superb beer, reasonable prices, and an infectious sociability.

Cafe across bridge and left (F)
The Riverside (F)
(clockwise from lower left) Ray Hillesheim, Marianne
Gentemann, Sue Hertz, Phil Sellers, Don & Jodi
Shannon, Charlie, Coen Dexter (F)
$1 U.S. = $2 Belize (F)

    While staying at Dangriga, we had excellent jungle birding among unexcavated ruins at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, but did not see the jaguars that occur there.  Brother Phil replaced Charlie to see good birds on a boat trip up the Sittee River.  And pursuing a last-minute tip, we had wonderful views of Scarlet Macaws at the remote Indian village of Red Bank south of Cockscomb.

Phil Sellers & Virginia Landeck, Sittee (H) Lunch at Cockscomb (H)
Gwen Woodhouse, Charlie, Phil Sellers
Sittee River (F)

Scarlet Macaws (Wr) Through Bert's scope (F)

    Our last expedition took us by boat some ten miles offshore to Belize's celebrated Barrier Reef, second in length only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef.  After landing on a sandy little palm-shaded caye and changing in the bushes, we splashed and snorkeled for several hours among the brightly patterned reef fish.

Embarking (F) Emerging from the bushes (H) Charlie coming ashore (F
    We returned to the mainland via the swarming rookery of Magnificent Frigatebirds on Man o' War Caye.  The grotesquely inflated red throat sacs of the males in the breeding season must be a great come-on for the ladies.


    Initials appended to photos indicate copyright (2003) by (F) Bert Frenz; (H) Dan and Sue Hertz; (S) Phil Sellers; and (Wr) Brenda Wright.

Click Here for Homeward Bound, Mar. 5-18

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