Stepping off T/S Gunilla and enter the dock on Tobacco Caye felt like entering someone’s secret, private little paradise.
It is without doubt one of the best places we ever got to visit with this ship. Though I already struggle with realizing that this is my reality, I accept the mission to describe my experience to all of you out there as well. Mom, dad, and beloved stranger – here it comes.
Imagine this; an island that is just a tiny piece of white sand in the middle of the clear blue ocean. From afar it looks like nothing, but the closer you get the more excited you become. Suddenly there is a hidden pearl covered in palm trees, pink shells and fallen coconuts, surrounded by the Belize barrier reef. You arrive to the island with Berit, our M O B-boat (man-over-board-boat). The first thing you do after taking you life vest off is taking you sandals off. The sand is warm. Then you take a stroll around the island, which takes you no more than about five minutes. You walk along the shore, which takes you past a restaurant, to a tiny beach next to houses with locals calling out: Good morning! Two beach volleyball courts are located in the middle of the island along with colourful, tiny buildings just ten meters from the rest of the shore that is filled with fishing boats and your friends swimming. Remember: palm trees everywhere!
After seeing it all you have seven more hours to spend on lovely things. I swum alongside my friends, local children and rays that might have been sting rays. We also drank juices in the bar, picked coconuts from the ground and cracked them open, sunbathed, read books and played beach volleyball. It felt so peaceful. I arrived to T/S Gunilla again with sunburn.
Even though you want to get lost in paradise, there is not enough space to get lost in the Tobacco Caye-paradise. We found our way home together with a science couple that gave us a presentation on local tourism and how it effects the marine environments. Therefor I now know that the Belize barrier reef is part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef and one of the healthiest on earth. The day finished off with a barbeque thanks to our chefs.
As I said, it is hard to believe that this is our reality at the moment. Thanks to everyone who makes this trip possible! I am so grateful to this school, Tobacco Caye and the whole crew.