Tropical Marine Biology – Belize 2024 has begun!
Day #1 - Friday January 19th 2024 - TREC, San Pedro, Abergris Caye, Belize
Greetings from the town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergis Caye (“La Island Bonita”), a few miles off the coast of northern Belize. Today started very early in New Hampshire, with a 2:30AM meeting on campus, with temperatures hovering around 9F.
We loaded the bus (thanks to Professor Mark Mitch for volunteering to drive us!) to Manchester airport. The flight down departed Manchester, NH at 5:45AM, connected
via Charlotte, and landed in Belize City around noon.
After scrambling through immigration and customs, the class
transferred to the domestic terminal for a flight on tiny Maya Island Air. The
students piled into a small (14-seater) plane for the 15 minute flight to the island. One lucky student was able to sit in the co-pilot seat.
All in all, the journey lasted about 10 hours – not too bad to get from 9F to 82F!
At the tiny San Pedro airport, we sent out luggage ahead via
van. First stop: taco beach picnic! It was a local and tasty way to greet the
A little further on, we enjoyed ice cream (Prof. Simon has a rule on this trip: if we walk by ice cream, I’m buying!).
From there, we walked about 30 minutes south to the Tropical Research Education Center, our home for the next week.
The students’ rooms surround a central pool. After unpacking, we encouraged everyone to don snorkel gear and practice using it in the pool.
As it got dark around 6PM, we gathered in the main room for
dinner, which featured local Belizean flavors: rice and beans, fried plantains, homemade tortillas, stewed chicken, as well as salad and marble cake:
The dinner was homemade, plentiful, authentically flavored, and delicious. We made sure to make good use of Marie Sharp's, the national hot sauce of Belize.
After dinner, we gathered for an orientation talk by Dr. Ken Mattes, Ph.D., who owns and runs TREC (Tropical Reef Education Center):
By this time, all of the students were exhausted from their very long day of travel. I promised that I would introduce them to Belizean night life soon, but not tonight!
Everyone is healthy and happy and ready for adventure! Stay tuned to the blog (or sign up for notifications for it is updated at the top of this page) for daily updates.
For NEC Tropical Marine Biology,
Eric J. Simon (firstname.lastname@example.org)