:Whale Sharks and Dolphin video below:
The highlight of going to Belize was supposed to be diving the Blue Hole which is on every diver’s checklist. But once we heard that we were just in time for diving with whale sharks, we knew we had to jump on the opportunity and save the Blue Hole for another trip. The week starting with the full moon, the snappers come together in this one split between two sandbars to spawn. The whale sharks always come to eat the spawn this particular time of the year, giving divers a very small window to witness the immenseness of this fish.
Driving into Belize was like taking a trip to the Lost World. The country seems to be made up of mostly mountains and valleys, with an occasional lone yellow tree amongst all the greenery. However when we got to the peninsula on our way to Placencia, we were shocked to see mansions with motes around them and eco-friendly houses. That area was named “The Plantation.” This was a drastic difference from the few poor villages we had driven through before the peninsula. We were told foreigners had started buying and developing years ago when the main road was paved. However, almost every single house is now for sale, and many condos that were to be developed have been abandoned with just the structure left. At the end of the peninsula is Placencia, a small beach town with a popular gelato place, delicious seaweed smoothies and multiple vegetable markets.
Early on a Thursday morning, we drove off to sea with a few other boats. We were all extremely excited but unfortunately there had only been one sighting so far and many tourists had left disappointed after spending 3 to 5 days of diving looking for the whale. We only had one day, so fingers were crossed.
Our first dive was uneventful….until the last five minutes, just as we were about to go up and Ean was running out of air. Out of nowhere, a 30 ft whale shark appeared below us. Ean grabbed my back up regulator to stay a little longer. Everyone was so excited and we were the only boat that had seen it. It was amazing but part of me wished that the whale shark had been above us. I knew that was asking for so much though, and that the likelihood of that happening was very small.
My wish was fulfilled the second dive. Five minutes into the dive, we all see a big 40 ft whale shark slowly making its way above us, at the surface. I almost confused it for a boat it was so big. Whale sharks love bubbles so it was having a field day feeling the bubbles of the 30 divers below its belly. It was an incredible sight and I was just hypnotized for the whole 15 minutes. The excitement and awe I felt just put me in another state. That is when two dolphins came out of nowhere and swam next to us. I froze, stared at them, then looked up to the whale shark and decided I could now die happy. Dolphins just bring me to another level of bliss.
When we came back up, everyone was screaming with joy and told us we were the lucky clovers, and how they had been searching for days and POOF on our first day we see two whale sharks and two dolphins.
All in all it was a terrific day…except for lunchtime. We were anchored on the sandbars and resting on top of the boat with a view that took my breath away, and then the wind took my iPhone away. Right into the water. The $5 waterproof case couldn’t save it.
We powered through the next few countries, Guatemala and Honduras, because of time-constraints. Guatemala was stunning and I was just more and more impressed with its beauty as we drove through the valleys and through the villages. We stayed at a campsite by the lake with fellow overlanders from Switzerland that had been traveling the world for seven years in their monster custom-made RV. In Honduras, we stayed at a horse ranch by the lake. The next morning the juicer broke, leaving us as “The Nomads” for a little while until we bought our new juicer in Nicaragua the next day.