macado's se asia adventure I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

1Jan/100

New Years Eve & Frenchies Diving in Caye Caulker, Belize

Woke up around 7am and checked out of the Rainbow Hotel since they only had one room available last night. Placed our bags at reception and walked to a breakfast place around the road. Met an extremely well hung over English guy who was living in Belize City and on holiday for the weekend in Caye Caulker. He was planning on celebrating two New Years, one at 6PM when It's the New Years in London and the local New Years in Belize. He suggested we check out a place called Chinatown Hotel, aptly located in the chinese section of Caye Caulker. Yes they actually have a "chinatown" here. It's about 2 stores, a chinese restaurant and a hotel. Rooms werent bad but very small; 110 Belizean dollars/night (55USD/night or 27.50USD split). It's clean, has aircon, hot shower, mini frig and a TV.

Walked over to Frenchies Diving to get our equipment sorted out. If you think Mexican dive shops are disorganized then you havent seen a Belizean dive shop. Again, the motto "Go Slow" applies here as well. We were supposed to be there at 9AM however by the time everyone got their equipment we didnt leave the dock until at 10am. In their defense, the divemaster gave a really good introduction and safety briefing. There were only about 8 divers on the boat which was split into 2 groups. 4 divers each plus one divemaster per group. Water was pretty rough but I managed fine, I could tell a bunch of people on the boat were getting see sick in the 6-7 foot ocean swells.

Both dives were in the Hol Chan national park. It took about 25-30 minutes for the boat to reach the dive sites. The first dive we did was Eagle Ray Canyon. It was a 70ft dive for about 55 minutes. Thankfully the dive lived up to it's reputation and I managed to see 5 spotted Eagle Rays. An awesome dive in my opinion. The visibility was not as good as Cozumel and the water is a bit more rough but I really enjoyed this dive. The coolest thing about Hol Chan is that the groupers have absolutely no fear of divers. They will literally come inches away from your mask and allow you to touch them. In Cozumel you can't really get near them. I'm guessing they must feed them here. As we descended tons of groupers followed us along our dive. The 2nd dive wasnt as good but was still decent enough. We dove a place called Pillar Corals. It was a 50ft dive for about 45 minutes. Lots more groupers, a friendly turtle and nurse shark. Sadly, no Eagle Rays on this dive though there were a few absolutely massive groupers who decided to hang around us for part of the dive.

I don't really have any interesting stories for New Years Eve. It was actually quite tame in comparison to most of my New Years eves celebrations.

Met up with that Australian girl and bunch of people whom she had dove the Blue Hole with at a place called Wet Willy's.

Large BBQ joint on the otherside of the island. I actually didn't eat because I wasn't hungry but the food looked really good; everyone that ate there also seemed to agree. Cant remember the price but it was a sort of all you can eat buffet.

After dinner we sat around Wet Willy's and listened to a guy play guitar while people smoked weed and ate hash brownies. Seemed like they do a lot of that here. Sadly I didnt partake in this..

Apparently for New Years Eve the best parties on the island are I&I Reggae Bar and Sunset Disco Bar. Both places were absolutely packed. I&I is a cool reggae bar with an upstairs balcony and swing sets for seating. Very chill little place.

We stayed here for the countdown however I'm pretty sure we missed it. Almost every single person had a different time on their watch or phone so I believe we had about 3 "official" countdowns until we had realized that one of them must have been the real one after the locals started lighting off fireworks. No champagne here but plenty of Belikin beer and rum and coke to go around.

The group started to disperse around 1am since everyone was tired from scuba diving that day. I walked back to the Sunset Disco Bar to try and find those English girls so I could get their email addresses since they had taken tons of pictures last night. Unfortunately, I couldnt find them anywhere.

New I was leaving the next morning to go to Guatemala so I decided to call it a night and head to bed.

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