Quite the October so far!

This October Kelley turned the big 60. We had some good plans to go do something, but it didn’t work out, so we came up with a couple alternatives. We started off her birthday weekend with a 4 day trip over to the Caribbean in Placencia. The plan was to enjoy some beach time and hopefully have at least one good day to get out on the water and do some fishing. Well to our surprise, every day the water was calm as can be and was that beautiful turquoise blue color.

Kelley with her first Horse Eye Jack. We also caught barracuda, snapper, yellow jacks, rainbow runners, and mackerel.

So we called up a guide who we’d fished with before and headed out around 7 am. After about an hour’s boat ride in the beautifully calm Caribbean water, we were catching fish like crazy. Every time our live minnow hit the water we had a fish on. Just before 10 am we had caught more fish than we needed and decided to head back towards shore since the weather was really starting to heat up.

Enjoying a morning beer on an island in the Caribbean. Can it get any better than this?

On the way back we stopped at Ranguana Caye, a small 2 acre resort island 20 miles off the coast. Since we’d been there a couple of times before, we knew there was a small beach bar there with ice-cold beer. We knew it was early, but we figured after all those fish we deserved a couple cold Belikins.

Baby sea turtles waiting for a nighttime release.

One of the gals working on the island came over and showed us a box of sea turtles. She said that in the last two days, they have released over 300 of them back to the sea from that tiny island. She told us that they gather them up when they hatch and release them at night so that the birds won’t eat them. That’s pretty good thinking.

A couple dolphins glide gracefully in front of our boat.

After a couple of beers and visiting with some friends who just happened to be on the island for a day trip, it was time to head towards shore. As we were leaving the island there were some dolphins that came up next to the boat and followed us for a bit. It was the perfect day, glassy calm turquoise water, lots of fish, turtles, dolphins, and some friends on an island, all that and we were back on shore by noon. It was one of those days that dreams are made of.

Barracuda and a few lobsters going in the smoker.

Once we got back home I fired up the smoker and loaded it with barracuda steaks. We also threw in a couple of lobsters that will be used on a pesto and artichoke pizza. All of the fish we caught were filleted except for the barracuda, which I knew I was going to throw in the smoker.

Raquel and Anne up in the garden.

Our friends Stephen & Raquel, along with his sister Anne and her husband Brian, came down for a first-time visit to Belize. They stayed with us up in the jungle for a few days where they explored a Mayan ruin, went cave tubing, and just checked out the area around us. We showed them our garden and later they sampled some of our dark chocolate, dragon fruit, and some banana-raspberry bread.

Fresh out of the brick oven.

We went out to a couple of our favorite restaurants in town and one night we fired up the pizza oven and made a bunch of pizzas. Kelley also made some smoked barracuda dip for an appetizer while the pizza oven was heating up. Looks like they had a great time in the jungle, but now they were off to see the Caribbean side of Belize. They will be heading to the coast in Placencia to get their toes in the sand and enjoy all of the things that the beach has to offer. Hopefully, we’ll see them back down here again sometime.

Yellow and red dragon fruit from the garden.

Well, most of our dragon fruit this year seemed to ripen within a couple of weeks. Which was great, they happened to be ready when our guests were here so they could give some a try. This year most of them were deep red inside and a handful of them were white. We are sorta split on which ones taste better, I like the red ones better and Kelley likes the white ones better. Either way, they are both delicious, especially when chilled. I know they are sometimes hard to find and expensive in the States, but well worth trying if you’ve never had one.

These Cayenne Peppers will make a nice hot pepper sauce.

We have been slacking on our vegetable garden this year, but we finally got a few things going. At this point, we have okra, kale, cilantro, cayenne peppers and poblano peppers. There are also some red Italian peppers and beefsteak tomatoes from some seeds that my sister sent down from her plants in Washington. The tomatoes and red pepper plants are looking very healthy at this point so we are hoping for a good harvest. We have never had these red Italian peppers before and it is almost impossible to find anything but Roma tomatoes down here, so we are looking forward to those. At this point, the Cayenne peppers and okra are needing to be picked daily. Kelley will eventually ferment the cayenne peppers and make a hot sauce out of them.

Fresh roasted peanuts at the festival.

Our village of San Antonio just held its first Peanut Festival. After all, San Antonio is the “Peanut Capital of Belize”, so why not? It was held on a Friday and a Saturday, we chose to go there on Saturday afternoon which was our mistake. They must have had a lot of the vendors sell out on Friday as there weren’t really that many there on Saturday. Still, it was a big event for the village and I’m sure next year will be bigger and better.

Almost a total solar eclipse, taken from our driveway.

This year we were lucky enough to be right in the path of the solar eclipse. Over on the coast of Belize, they had the perfect view with 100% blackout of the sun with a nice ring of fire around it. Since we were a little to the west we just barely missed seeing the complete solar eclipse, but it was still very impressive.  Most years will have two solar eclipses, but on average, it takes about 375 years for a total solar eclipse to happen again at the same location.

We won’t be here for the next total solar eclipse, but you could be here for your next vacation. Hope to see you soon.