Our 39th season has just ended, and I have been back from Belize for a couple of weeks. It was great to be down there and see all of our Belize guides, cooks, and other staff, as well as our wonderful guests. I had a great time.
Back row: Luis Gonzales, Neri Chi
Middle row: Martin Ramirez, Lavern Garcia, Marcy Norales, Apolitico Salam, Jose Garcia, Aurora Roches
Front row: Mary Avila
After spending five months making sure everyone else’s vacation goes off without a hitch, after the season is over our staff likes to go on a mini vacation of their own. Bocawina Resort, where we go ziplining and waterfall rappelling for the first day of our Belize Adventure Week package, offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse (thank you Javier!!) For a day they hosted our entire Belize staff at their resort. Everyone just went last weekend, so I was already home in Utah and missed the fun… too bad! How I wish I could have seen Aurora, Lavern, and Marcy (our island cooks) on the zipline!
On our Belize island we have almost 20 people who are working in some capacity or another. It’s a challenge to get all of us in one picture; in fact it’s impossible to get everyone. Some arrive in December and leave in February, never even crossing paths with the late season crew. When I was recently down there I managed to get everyone in this staff photo during the Saturday boat turnaround, as some people were arriving on that boat and some were leaving, we had the most we could possibly get together at once. In fact in this photo we are only missing 4 people: Cully Erdman (my partner), Meg Griffiths (trip manager), Mark Hyde (lead boat captain), and Marcy Noralez (assistant cook). That’s pretty good!
Our guest John Cassidy took the picture. The format, with him looking down on all of us, was his idea too. Thanks John! I love this shot!
Here’s a list of who is in the photo:
Left to right, back row: Laura Diaz (kitesurf instructor), Kyle Erdman (intern), Magdaleno “MJ” Yacab (trip manager); Mark Hopkins (trip manager), middle row: Geno Leslie (boat captain), Carlos Guerra (island guide), Charlie Woodward (island manager), Emily Casaretto (trip manager trainee), Lavern Garcia (cook), Lucy Wallingford (Slickrock owner). Aurora Roches (head cook), front row: Neri Chi (Belize Adventure Week trip manager and guide), Apolitico Salam (island caretaker), Luis Gonzalez (island guide), Martin Ramirez (groundskeeper), Jasmine Ardeshiri (kitesurf instructor and trip manager trainee).
Victor Myers, one of our trip managers on our island in Belize, just sent me a fantastic new photo from a recent trip. We have the best staff in Belize, probably in the entire Caribbean. I think this photo really shows how great everyone is.
It’s hard to get everyone in the same picture because it’s always someone’s week off, but they must have taken this on Saturday when one boat was bringing out a new shift and the same boat was taking some staff members off. This one has almost everybody.
Standing, left to right: Victor Myers (island trip manager), Martin Ramirez (groundskeeper), Neri Chi (Belize Adventure Week trip manager and guide), Meg Griffiths (kitesurf instructor), Charlie Woodward (island manager), Mark Hyde (lead boat captain), LaVern Garcia (cook), Joelle Bienvenue (island trip manager), Aurora Roches (head cook), Matt Szymanowicz (island trip manager). Seated: Magdaleno “MJ” Yacab (island guide), Cully Erdman, (Slickrock owner), Apolitico Salam (island caretaker), Regan Murillo (boat captain).
The Wildlife Conservation Society, owners of nearby Middle Caye and the Glover’s Reef Research Station has just published a new on-line Picture Guide to the Organisms of Glover’s Reef Atoll. They are posted on the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve web site and can be downloaded free and used by anyone.
These are designed to assist interested individuals in quick recognition of organisms they may encounter on the islands and in the waters of Glover’s Reef Atoll. Guides have been completed for land plants, sea grasses, land crabs, birds, reptiles, marine mammals and stony corals. Under development are guides to octocorals, fishes and other marine species groups.