We woke up early the next morning and packed up for our NCL Excursion, "Sharks and Rays Getaway". We met in the theater for our excursion and they led the way through the bowels of the ship to a tender boat. They were rushing us and threatened that we would be left behind, because one family had been missing the mother and had held us up. Luckily, we got on the tender just fine and made it to our meeting point for our excursion. We followed like good little sheep behind a man holding a sign and got onto another boat.
This was a large catamaran and was very nice. We settled in the back under a canopy and enjoyed an hour long ride through the mangrove islands. There were maybe 40 people on the boat with us and several guides as well as the captain. Our main guide kept us entertained and instructed. We ran through a pod of dolphins that played along side the boat for quite a ways as we made our way to Caye Caulker.
When we finally arrived in Caye Caulker, we docked at a restaurant, used the restroom, loaded some extra guides and then headed out to the reef. There we put on our snorkel masks and life vests and hopped into the water. It was chest level for the adults and Michael and I each had a boy on our back. They were feeding the large rays and at least fifty of them were swooping back forth around our legs. We could touch them and they were so soft. It was a little freaky, but also really, really fascinating. There were also nurse sharks and one guide picked one up and held it like a baby. Davis got to pet the shark and was so bowled over by the entire experience. The reef is so amazing and so beautiful and we had perfect weather.
After a while, we loaded back on the boat and went back to the restaurant for lunch. The food was only average, but the Maria Sharp's hot sauce was divine and Michael and I each drank a Belikin beer in honor of my dad. I insisted to Michael that we use our remaining half an hour on the island to shop and find some hot sauce to take home. I fell in love with Caye Caulker. The light was blindingly bright and everything was white sand and brilliant blue water. There are no paved roads there and people are laid back and easy going. Everything is brightly painted and casual. I would really like to spend days there, just lounging and grooving and snorkeling the reef.
Our thirty minutes went by way too quickly and we dashed back on the boat at the last minute, laden down with souvenirs. We circled around the island and fed some sword fish in a quiet inlet and then headed back to Belize City and our ship.