Page 55: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
San Ignacio is a great area to spend a few days. Our next destination is the Jaguar reserve at Cockscomb Basin. I hiked there during my ride here in 02’. I liked hiking the Jaguar reserve a lot and I want to show Heidi.
We stopped for gas and lunch in Dangriga, a mostly Garifuna village on the Caribbean coast. Dangriga is 12 miles out of our way but we wanted to ‘check it out’ while looking for an alternate place to spend the night. A bridge connecting southern Belize could still be washed-out so we may need to stay here. The bridge was destroyed last week after a tropical weather disturbance rolled through. Anyway, the road into town ends at a ‘T’ at the waterfront. We found a good place to eat right there. We should have gotten the conch like a lot of other people were ordering. We talked about stopping back here on our way north again for conch. No Problem…
Cockscomb Basin - Jaguar reserve:
The reserve entrance is off the main highway 6 miles down a dirt road. It rained while we were riding today. The rain did finally stop and the dirt road to the reserve felt good, just a lot of bumps.
We check into the rustic cabin right next to the staff quarters. This cabin is ‘rustic’ for sure but at least it has a big screened in porch in back that feels like you are sitting in the jungle, bugs, lizards, frogs and all.
I asked the park ranger for a trail map. He said they are all out, then walked me over to this map. I hiked here in 02’ and knew what I wanted, the jungle trail up to the waterfall swimming holes. The ranger gave us detailed instructions on how to get to both waterfall areas. We will need two nights here to do both.
The hiking trails start out groomed and wide.
Then quickly become steep and hard to follow.
We hike to the end of the trail to Ben’s Bluff. It is a heck of a long and steep hike but worth it of course, once you get there.
Cockscomb Basin – Second highest peak in Belize
Clear cool jungle water after a long hike…..
We must have left our last bottle of mosquito spray by the pool in San Ignacio. The rustic cabin has a lot of cracks open to the outside and it has no power. We stayed up late sitting on the screened porch listening to the jungle come alive. The kerosene lamp was burning real low. We listened to the same super loud crickets we had in Costa Rica. Before long we started seeing bright lightning and could hear thunder. There is no shortage of mosquitoes and critters outside and inside. It’s too hot to be covered up in bed but without our bug spray we have to wrap ourselves in a sheet and tough it out. We still got bit through the sheet. It stormed hard and rained even harder and lasted until after daybreak. We’re concerned now about the road out of the reserve, it looks like clay and could get “slippery when wet”. I didn’t properly prepare and we are out of food and more important we have no bug spray. Heidi is not happy and I have to get her out of here.
The rain finally stopped. We are on the road before 9:30 AM. Everything is wet but the road is staying firm, ‘All Good’.
I get a ‘double jab’ signal from Heidi. She says she loves ‘birds of Paradise’ and runs off with the camera.
The road was slippery at times but stayed do-able’. We take it ‘real slow’…..
We ride south down the Hummingbird highway toward the Placencia turnoff. Soon we come across the downed bridge. The bridge is wiped-out but there is a temporary ‘land bridge’ which they are still working on. A giant bulldozer signals us to pass. We cross the bridge. The water was rushing fast through the temporary culverts and the new gravel bridge is not that far above the river.
Placencia is 21 miles down a dirt road that stretches along a narrow peninsula sticking out into the Caribbean. Heidi and I rode there 2-up in 02’. The road was wet and slippery then. I voiced my concerns about the road and our options. While talking, Heidi exclaims “I really, really want to make Placencia” I said to myself, ‘say no more, I will get us there’. The road was ok in spots and was really bad in spots. It was mostly clustered potholes but the few sections of deep red muck were my concern. We proceed slow and steady…..
A road sign here says ‘wait here for planes taking off’. Tropic air
We score a private cabin with a refrigerator and stove for $30 a night, ‘Garden Cabanas’. It’s located a block behind the futbal field, 2 blocks from the end of the peninsula. The feel here is Caribbean, we hear palm trees blowing in the breeze and the air smells like beach. We are liken’ this.
Worlds narrowest Main Street.
Placencia is ‘adventure central’
The end of Main Street is the tip of the peninsula and a harbor for boats. Around the corner is a coffee shop, juice shop, dive shop and a lot of white beach. A few blocks away we knew a woman from our last visit who cooked seafood out of her small beachfront place. It was the best we ever had and cheap, ‘Merlenes. Now there’s a large open-air bar jetting out over the water right in front of her place. We were glad to hear she still prepares and serves the same great food, but now we sit over the water, are served drinks and the food costs double.
The plan was to spend 3 nights in Placencia. While chillin’ and listening to the local radio station we hear word that with all the rain the temporary land bridge we crossed to get here was just wiped-out. Belize has one road and only one road connecting the southern region of the country, where we are, to the rest of the country. There is no way around it and no way out of Placencia without crossing that river. Today starts the annual 3 day ‘lobster fest’, food, music and fun on the beach. Heidi and I walk down to the fest and find a place to discuss our situation. ‘I guess we can handle being stranded here’. We are determined to survive, no matter how long it takes. :)
There are a lot of tents set up serving food and blasting music.
We buy a bucket of lobster ceviche with chips and grab a seat on the beach. The most fantastic ceviche ever.
The big fishing contest weigh in is at 5:00 PM. We walk down to the end of town to the boat docks and time it just right. The fish and people are all waiting.
A lot of fish talk going on here. I think I need stronger line@.
The word goes out to ‘bring in the fish’.
The weigh-ins get announced.
Everyone awaits the word from the official.
People howl and cheer after the fish result is announced. It was windy today and the people fishing said it was extremely rough. It still looked like a lot of fish were caught.
A guy on Main Street was making jewelry out of pink conch shells. Heidi liked the ‘Star’.
This was another good day. The last we heard on the radio is that the bridge may be open tomorrow, sometime. So we will be preparing to roll as soon as we hear word. Either way, we will ‘handle it’.
There is still evidence of the 01’ hurricane hit. Placencia, Belize
The Ride Continues……
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