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Visit small private islands and dive with whale sharks? Check Placencia, Belize

The southeast of Belize is our next destination; Peninsula Placencia. It’s a long village on a small piece of land and water on both sides. Big villas are passing by while we drive, as well as many banana farms. Placencia was once a fishing island and there are still a few fishing families but nowadays it’s a popular place for the Canadian and Americans people.

Chabil Mar
Our hotel, Chabil Mar, is a really nice place of a few white villas that has a romantic look and feel. Cashew nut- and mango- trees are growing in the beautiful and well-maintained garden.

Each of the 20 luxury suites has their own veranda with a breath-taking view over the bay. With a white handmade hammock is this one of my favourite spots of this resort, next to the jetty. We enjoy the hammocks on the balcony and look out over the blue bay.

“Chabil Mar stands for ‘Beautiful sea’ in the language of the locals.

The night falls and we go to sleep in our king-size beds.

The Jetty
The next day we enjoy the jetty, also one of my favourite places of this hotel, because of the shadow and the wind. There are wooden loungers were we sit down and relax a little. From the jetty, we can dive into the sea and admire some beautiful fishes. Although we like it here we also want some action and so we decide to go to the diving school ‘Splash’, which is close by to our hotel.

Dive centre Splash
In the morning we arrive early at the Splash Dive Centre in Placencia. We enter the luxury catamaran yacht ‘Tropical Adventure’ our base of today.

“The ship sets sail for the Silk Cayes, three tiny islands, surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise water.”

Splash offers me an opportunity to do a refreshment course of my PADI diving licence. A tempting offer I cannot refuse. I’m already a certified diver but my last dive was about 20 years ago in Africa. I did my open-water license in Curacao and my advanced at Honduras and just when I wanted to do my rescue brevet at the Maldives, I turned out to be pregnant with my daughter Chiara and was not allowed to dive. After I didn’t dive anymore.

No boring classroom for this refreshment course: The lessons started on our little yacht. We go through all the safety details and later we will practice in shallow water near one of the three Silky Cayes. But first, we pass by Harvest Caye, a private small luxury island that can be rent.

Hatched Caye
Then we enter Hatched Caye. This little idyllic luxury island had a restaurant on it, a few houses which you can rent and also a pool and several private seats and beaches where you can spend a lovely day.

My colleague is staying here while I’ll do some fast photography. A small boat with the diving equipment brings me back to the yacht where the other guests are staying and we continue our path.

Silk Caye
We arrive at Silk Caye, a little island with a bird colony on it, 2 hammocks, some tables, seats and a tiny toilet house.

“In the shallow depth of the azure blue sea, I practice my renewed diving skills… and we go deeper each time.”

I have to do some exercises on safe depth with my diving pale, a Mexican guy. We are busy for about 30 minutes at 30 feet depth at Silk Caye Shore. After we went for lunch on the island. We enjoyed the view, the calmness of this little magnificent silky “pearl” with white beaches and hammocks to lie down in. Two birds are sitting in a palm tree, which hangs over the water. Not far I see one of the other Silk Cayes…

“The birds, the natural habitats of this tiny island can’t wait to get a piece of our food and they seem quite familiar with people.”

After lunch, it’s time for the deeper dive of 45 minutes on 45 feet at the white hole.

We drop back from the boat and we follow the rope down. My dive instructor commands me underwater to give my weight-belt to him cause he needs weight. Although I feel a little uncomfortable doing that, I feel I have no choice to obey and I grab him tightly, so I will not float to the surface and risk decompression sickness. My Mexican diving pale is still learning and is a little uncomfortable and because of that, he’s soon out of his air and has to go back up. Since we meet, underwater, the three other quests of the boat with another dive instructor, my dive instructor gives a signs that I have to join the other group. Better for me, now the real relaxing diving begins…

“Although I haven’t done it in 20 years, everything goes natural and calm.”

I’ll manage my diving well after such a long time. I see some jellyfish, lionfish, lobster, snapper, parrotfish and a lot more… And then it’s time to go up. We make a safety stop on our way and go slowly up to be safe.
At the surface, the boat is already waiting for us. It’s windy and there are a lot of high waves, so I’m glad to get on deck.

“What an unsuspected remarkable day! New dive licence in tha-pocket! So I can dive anywhere in the world again 🙂

After being sick for one day, (yesterday) I got a privileged opportunity to “update” my diving license since 1994. I’m really happy with it. Except that I hear that

in 2 weeks, at full moon, the whale-sharks will pass by which are HIGH on my bucket list to dive with, and I’m already home by that time! Well, the more reasons I have to come back here soon!!!!

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The next articles will be posted every week, so stay tuned:

 La isla bonita of Madonna. This is paradise, you better Belize it!
Victoria House, barefoot elegance in front of Belize Barrier Reef.
Caves Branch; Cave waterfall climbing in Belize, it can’t get any better than this!
Belize’s Belcampo, me Jet set Jane, you Tarzan!
Caves Branch, luxury tree houses in the Belizean jungle.
– Round-Trip Belize: The land where Jacques Cousteau meets Indiana Jones

My colleague Harmke Kraak also wrote about this trip, you can find her experiences on the Dutch Verkeersbureau website.
If you want to share your opinion about the adventure of Belize, or if you have some extra tips, leave your comment below.

 

 

 

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