From the river to the sea

Well, it was that time of year again for the annual La Ruta Maya River Race and of course, we had to be there again for the start of it. The best place to see the start of the race is at Gary and Julie’s Wish Willy Cabañas over-looking the river. They do a wonderful job every year of throwing a breakfast party at their place so you can munch out and cheer on all the racers as they go by. Thanks guys!

The start of the race

I’ve got to say it was a lot easier last year before we had our place when we stayed at Wish Willy’s. All we had to do was walk out our door and see the race, now we have to set the alarm, drive into town and hopefully make it there before the race starts at 7:00 am. Of course, there was no traffic coming down from our place so we made it in plenty of time to catch the start.

Only 170 more miles to go.

In case you don’t know what the La Ruta Maya is, it’s the biggest sporting event in Belize. It is a challenging four-day canoe race down the Macal and  Belize River to the Caribbean Sea, covering 174 miles. The hype starts the day before with bands and parties and goes on through to the end of the race. Every checkpoint along the way is another big party, and it helps that the race is always held on a national holiday weekend to give everyone a chance to cheer on their favorite team and partake in all the fun. The race was started in 1995 when canoe teams competed to raise money to help clean up the river. The race has since bloomed into a full-fledged competition with international and Belizean teams sometimes in the hundreds competing for that number one spot and bragging rights. This years winner was team NICH (National Institute Cultural History) they had a total time of 18 hours and 34 minutes to complete the 174-mile course. They were the first ones to get to the checkpoints each day averaging just under 10 mph, and that is kicking ass in a canoe. Congratulations Team NICH!

The only time team NICH was not in first place.

I know that most of you reading this will know who Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers are and that we have been fans since the beginning. So when we heard that Peacemakers lead guitarist and frontman for the Railbenders, Jim Dalton, Peacemakers bass player Nick Scropos, and Jeremy Lawton from Big Head Todd and the Monsters were coming to Belize we jumped on the opportunity to go see them. They were playing in San Pedro, out on Ambergris, not a problem it was a great excuse for us to get a little more island time in. A quick 2½ hour drive to the city and then a 20-minute flight and we were sitting on the island ready to catch their shows on Friday and Saturday afternoon. Well, sometimes things don’t always work out the way you want them to. Last week there was a massive storm in Denver grounding all flights, which meant Jim and Jeremy were stuck there instead of heading to the beaches of Belize. Nick made it because I’m pretty sure he flew out of Phoenix and there is usually never a problem there.

At least Nick made it to Belize.

I know Jim was really bummed out about the whole thing, but what can you do, there’s always next time. I know in Mexico Jim has probably at some point seen his name on a grain of rice, but has he ever seen his name on a surfboard in Belize? Hopefully, this will not be the only time we’ll ever see this.

The Palapa Bar’s venue board with Jim’s name on it.

It would have been easy for us to cancel our trip to the island and stay home and work around the house all weekend, but that just made no sense to us. Besides we already had our flights and a room booked and who would rather stay home and work than go to the island for some fun? This time we found a great place on the lagoon side of the island that was right across the beach from the Dive bar where they were supposed to be playing. This is definitely a condo we will be renting again, third story overlooking the water and very quiet.

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The view from our 3rd story balcony.

Since our plans were changed we decided to make the best of it and rent a golf cart and go bar hopping for the weekend. One of the places we wanted to check out was the Truck Stop. Last year they were closed so we didn’t get a chance to, but this day they were open. It is a bunch of 20’ containers that are all different themed restaurants and a bar. They have live music, movie nights, game night and even a pool you can use, it seems to be the place to be in the evenings.

Great idea for a restaurant/bar.

After reading all the menus and choices we decided on a white pizza topped with conch, garlic and basil on a brick oven cooked thin crust, and it did not disappoint. Next time we will have to try some of the other restaurants that all looked so delicious.

Great pizza!

The next day we headed over to secret beach which really isn’t a secret it’s just a few miles from the big crowds on the other side of the island. It’s been about a year since we were over there and it has grown quite a bit, but it is still a lot quieter than the other side of the island. Being on the west side of the island means there is no seaweed or waves, just calm beautiful turquoise water.

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Not a bad place to spend an afternoon.

After seeing the tables and umbrellas in the water we knew where we were going to be spending our afternoon. So we grabbed a couple of cold beers and waded out to our table to get some sun and just relax. It wasn’t long before the waiter came out to the table and asked if we need anything else. Well since we had planned on spending the afternoon there and we had only had one beer at that point, then you know what the answer was.

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Just chill’n.

To help make it easier for the waiter I inquired about getting a bucket of beer so he wouldn’t have to make so many trips out to our table. Well to our surprise, a few minutes later here he comes with a floating ice chest full of ice cold beer. This is just like we used to do in the summers in Mexico where we lived, standing around in the water with a floating ice chest full of beer. All we needed now was all of our friends that we used to do this with, same thing just a different country. No need to wait for the water to warm up here, it’s always nice, so come on down anytime and we’ll float some beers.

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Who knew floating ice chests full of beer was an international sport.

It was a great couple of days on the island, but now it was time to get back up to our jungle home. There is still a lot of work and projects around our place that need to be done.

8 thoughts on “From the river to the sea”

  1. You two are living the life, dreams do come true. Roger Cline and many others will be in RP early June, Cathy and I are going, be nice if you could make it to see all your friends. We will probably visit you in Jan-Mar during the high tourist time. Love you guys. Bax

    1. We were just in Rocky Point in December and saw a lot of people. Besides June is Lobsterfest here and we have friends coming down so we won’t make it this time. That would be great if you guys come down, we will have your room ready and waiting.

  2. I love your stories. When I read them, it’s as if I were there. Well, kind of. Visiting you guys is definitely on our bucket list. Just depends on when we can dip into it!!

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