I am sure I am jinxing myself by saying its been smooth sailing to get to Belize but the reality is that not much has been challenging on the trip here.

The only challenge really, has been that my so called waterproof camera, that I had in the Maldives and such, must have developed a leak somewhere and fried the internal circuitry so I there goes another $400 to get a new camera … cuz I just can’t dive without pictures anymore.

The trip started with a 4am alarm to Zac Brown Band “Toes” A quick pack of a battery charger in my backpack and I was out the door. Thankfully the G-man (that’s Gino to all you uninitiated) was the MAN and woke up at 4:45am to drop me off at the airport. I have to admit even for him that was awesome!

Now I’m traveling HEAVY on this trip. Probably the heaviest that I have ever traveled. Why? Well because I decided to bring ALL my dive gear with me on this trip. That means, BC, regs, dive computer, fins, mask and booties. Those plus the bag alone weight almost 30 pounds. Then add in clothes, sunscreen, camera equipment etc and I was quickly up to a 50lb bag. But I was able to check it all the way through to Belize and it showed up with no problem… but I get ahead of myself. First I needed to connect with Ashley in Atlanta.

We had agreed to meet at the departure gate so I casually worked my way over there and sure enough she was there waiting for me by only a few minutes. So we caught up, and in moments were boarding our flight to Belize. Comfort+ on Delta which was nice as I was able to have a couple of cocktails on the airline dime. Then we are told by the captian that we’re starting to descend into Belize, I look out the window and see only clouds.. then it breaks a bit and peeking up from below is the lush GREEN jungle with a river winding a lazy path through it. And then we’re on the ground.

Now being that this is my first international trip post-covid, I was a bit worried about how immigration and customs might work. Could not have been easier. A quick flash of my vaccination card and my passport and we’re allowed to head straight to baggage claim and then to Customs… oh with a short stop at duty free shop to buy some rum since I know that the island we are going to is going to stiff me for drinks while I’m there.

Then the only two hitches in the day. First, we needed to find our ride from the dive resort for the trip to the boat and second, I wanted to get a local SIM card for my phone. Well, we didn’t see the dive operator at the curb so Ashley went to buy some water while I went across the parking lot to get a sim card. If you have ever followed my trip you know that this is always a challenge for me and this proved no different. No problem buying the SIM.. $20USD, but you don’t get anything with it, $20 gets 6GB data. What I didn’t realize is that I didn’t get any minutes with the plan so I couldn’t text or call anyone. So I’m now $40 in and I can only get email and surf the web and make WhatsApp calls. Not too helpful. For an additional $8 I can get unlimited texting so that probably will work. But I haven’t bought it yet as I am now on the Atol and there is NO cell reception here at all only WiFi.

But again I jump ahead. I get back from getting fleeced for my SIM card and Ashley is waiting and we still haven’t found our ride, but I can get data now so I pick up my email with the emergency contact who says our ride is at the airport and moments later he pulls around the corner. He muscles both our bags up in the van, we get in all masked up still, humid as all get out from the rain that was coming down all morning, and start our journey to the boat. 15 minutes later we stop and they tell us this is the restaurant and the boat leaves from just the other side of the parking lot. So we decide to stop and have a beer.. then two…. then three.. then a pizza.. then four beers and its time to get our butts on the boat. James who will be our dive master tomorrow meets us on the boat and is so friendly and enthusiastic that you just can’t help but be excited about what lies ahead in the dives to come.

Finally we arrive at the Atoll, drinks are waiting for us on the docks… rum punch… we meet the owner Sir Hakim, the property manager Andre and we are shown to our room. A beautiful white clean room with a balcony theoretically overlooking the water but there are palm trees square in our view… I’ll try and get some photos in the morning. I’m fairly wiped out so I take a power nap and Ashley goes to explore a bit then comes back and wakes my ass up telling me we only have 20 minutes to get down to meet the dive master for check-in and paperwork.

So I quick jump in the shower, change my drawers and my shirt and we head out. Finally I get a diet Coke at the bar and we start to meet the other divers.. there’s only 9 other guests at the resort. Leo and his son Jeff, both UPS employees (retired and current) from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Baine and his dive buddy whom I can’t remember right now. And I’m too tired to pull the rest of the names and locations from my head right now. But we fill out our paperwork and then decide its cocktail time.

One margarita, two margarita three margarita pizza and wings time. Yes the diet is out the window but hopefully I’ll stay somewhat in control through the week.

Finally we retire to our room from dinner, sit on the balcony chatting and answering questions from Ashleys “book of questions” and now I’m sitting here in the dark while she sleeps writing this. I’m going to post what few pictures I have so far from my phone and then its off to night night land for some hard earned zzzzz’s.

More tomorrow hopefully with great dive pics!

Bill & Ashley

3 Replies to “Smooth Sailing”

  1. Pix from airport showed up, but none of the others. Just a box with an exclamation point. Apparent videos had a slash thru the play activation mark

  2. Could it be… Bill-ease??

    Seems hard to believe, knowing how Bill travels. Also seems hard to believe I am the first with this unbelievably funny pun! Right? Right?

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