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The adventures of Fe & Chris

Mad women, premonitions and manatees

Upon finding ourselves unexpectedly in a different part of Belize we mulled over our options in a spartan yet perfectly acceptable Chinese restaurant in Dangriga. The guidebook, coupled with a look around town indicated nothing to detain the passing tourist there, so we made haste to the bus staion to correct the offset in our intended location of the day.

We took the bus southwards to Placencia where we met an American woman who suggested to us that we might like to stop at the town of Hopkins en route - it indeed sounded interesting, and she seemed a little batty, but nice enough, and conveniently had a place for us to stay on the beach.

Hopkins was lovely - a very relaxed little Garifuna town on a long sandy beach. Our accomodation was fine, if rather eccentric and the owner cooked for us, which was great.

The only downside was that our host talked at us incessantly. Utterly non-stop. She didn’t converse, she just rambled endlessly, mostly about her misfortunes. It was rather tiresome at first, but provided amusment after a while.

On our last morning we had tentatively planned to take an inflatable kayak into a nearby mangrove lagoon. It didn’t look a very sturdy craft so I had slight reservations about paddling through crocodile infested waters in it, but when both Fe and I dreamt about being eaten by crocodiles we wimped out.

It was a fine still morning, so I sat on the beach and watched the sea. After some time had passed some curious lokking black lumps surfaced 100 metres offshore - manatees - the leviathan of the mangroves! We finally succumbed to the crappy kayak and paddled out to say hello (manatees are herbivores and whilst they may be able to suck us to death, I think it unlikely).

We were treated to little ugly heads bobbing up around us, blowing lightly as they surface, then fine views of their big rounded backs as they rolled, and occasionally their great big single flippered tail would pop up.

The boat was indeed a piece of junk, but who cares? We paddled with manatees!


  Sophie wrote @ September 26th, 2007 at 6:58 am

Since you have now seen manatees can you through some light on why sailors thought they were mermaids? Was it an effect of scurvy?

  C, S & L’s Mum wrote @ September 26th, 2007 at 7:12 am

Huh - well now I can get my own back on a certain daughter who criticised my grammar - “can you through some light”| - no no no Sophie - throw some light.

I google searched manatees in Belize to find out what they looked like - mermaids! - no chance!

  Sophie wrote @ September 26th, 2007 at 11:19 am

OK, look my brain is swimming with qualitative methods/methodologies - I’m not surprised my spelling/typing went to pot - at least it’s a common feature of your childrups!

  Seasquirt » Swimming with mermaids wrote @ September 28th, 2007 at 9:42 pm

[…] at Utila - when a strange grey beast lying on the sandy bottom loomed into view - a manatee! After seeing them from the surface last week this was a real treat. I dived down to have a closer look and swam alongside the beast for a while. […]

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