Monday, March 27, 2000

Gales Point Adventure

We headed out to the sea after the sighting, winding through mangrove-shrouded islands, their roots forming a maze in the shallow waters. In the trees great white herons and blue herons festooned the branches, and as we neared the open sea, royal terns swooped overhead.

The mouth of the river emptied into the Caribbean Sea and bisected long white beaches, strewn with coconuts and palm fronds.
This is the beach where unsuspecting villagers have come across illicit drugs that have been dumped offshore. The first time cocaine was found, not one of the local people knew what it was, and the story goes that the drug dealers came to town, looking for the wayward contraband. Apparently, they conducted their investigations rather brutally. After more drugs were found on the beach, the government sent people down to quell the pushers and things have quieted down since then.

But thoughts of pushers and drugs were far from our thoughts as we beached the canoe and went swimming. The water was bathtub temperature and I had a chance to
check out the new underwater camera to see if it works - it does, and it floats.

Very cool.
Cisco was wandering along the edge of the bush, as if he was looking for something. He came back with a cobra vine, an odd, succulent plant that looked like a viper, but the ring of tiny flowers around its neck, neutralized the look. He collected other odds and ends that he told me saved.

We sat on the beach and Cisco told me how he had come back to the village because his parents are getting old and he wants to be able to take care of them. He is an unassuming, spiritually aware young man. Both young men are very aware of the necessity of protecting the environment and well versed in the native flora and fauna.

The big treat came as we were walking along the sand to the canoe. Leon went ahead and grabbed a machete out of the boat and disappeared. A minute or two later he reappeared with four green coconuts. Very efficiently he hulled two of them, and opened up one of the "eyes" of the fruit, handing them to us. I haven't had fresh coconut milk since I was cruising in the South Pacific. It was heavenly! He simply cut the tops off for himself and his brother!

We stood there, feet in the cool water, drinking from the coconuts and wondering how we could ever go home.

As if hadn't had enough "tour," we were treated to something that I don't think is on the normal tour route. "Do you like pigs?" Leon asked? "Baby pigs?" we queried.

Yes, and off we went to a farm on the shore.
As we pulled closer to the bank several scrawny dogs started barking and I was beginning to take the no trespassing sign seriously. But as we got closer the boys cried, "Look," and we saw a couple of dozen hairy strange looking pigs rushing to meet us. Thank goodness for the sturdy fence that held them back. As we clambered ashore, Susan murmured under her breath, "I wonder what the ecoli count is here."

A very shabby-looking man, who we found out later is called Tula, ambled towards us, calling out in Creole. When he saw who it was, he beamed, exposing a vast expanse of gums and jagged teeth stumps. Cisco told him we had come to see the piglets and so he turns round calling, "Here pig, pig, pig."

I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Little piglets running out from under bushes and trees to follow him like the Pied Piper. They knew he had food for them and when the big pigs figured that out, they all started oinking and snorting causing a huge ruckus.

Susan, the brave soul, picked up one of the piglets and it was so indignant that it peed all over her hand! Yuck! But she's a trouper and sort of shook her hand dry and smiled.

One of the little ones had been hand reared by Tula, and it was completely unafraid. He followed us around and had us - almost - rolling on the ground laughing as he itched himself against a post. Not just one little rub, but he found the right spot and the look of ecstasy on his little face was just too much for us. And he kept at if for several minutes as we wiped the tears off our faces. If we had had a video camera with us it would have taken the prize for Funniest Animal Video.


At 8:29 AM, Blogger Spindrift said...

Hi, I was surfing the internet and happened on your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how this all works. This is one to watch.

Best wishes,

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my girlfriend and i are going to belize in feb. my fourth trip, but 1st to gales point. i can't wait! my e-mail is
i would love to talk to you


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