GOFF'S CAYE WITH ISLAND MARKETING/ECO TOURS
We have been to Belize several times now. We have done the cavetubing a few times and so over that, we have done Bannister Island (now Starfish Island), and last time we did Shark Ray alley and Caye Caulker and loved that. So, I thought it was time to check out some beaches at this place. Now this is not a port that you can simply catch a cab and head to a beach. You must get a little more creative...by boat.
I have always wanted to go to either Goffs Caye or Rendezvous Caye. The cruise ship does not offer an excursion to either so we were on our own. I did a few days research prior to leaving and found a vendor, who seemed to be the cheapest, and booked.
WE ARE GOING TO GOFFS CAYE!!!
We contacted Island Marketing. They seemed to be the cheapest and someone else I was talking to had booked with them and were happy. They were $40 per adult and $30 per child. Most of the vendors I had checked out wanted up to $55 for an adult and similar price hike for the child. Now if I'm doing something that is "toury" like swimming with the sharks or cave tubing, then I would really do some research and pick something based on reviews of the interaction with the tour operators and how good or bad they might have been. However, I just needed a ride to the island and small talk was not really required. So, cheapest works for me as long as you get me there. I'm totally fine on my own after that.
LINK TO BOOK WITH ISLAND MARKETING:
Now I knew ahead of time that this was an extremely small island, very primitive with little to nothing on it. I knew they did have a restroom, very little shade and a building. I knew they had someone that did a grill cookout and you could purchase food there. That's fine with me. I can rough it and knew I would be roughing it IN the water, so no big deal. hehe
So we were booked with the small deposit of $22, printed paper in hand and followed a guy to their desk that said they were Eco Tours.
We were checked in with them, given arm bracelets and were told that we had a little bit of time before they would be leaving and we were welcome to wait around or shop. (We had a hour). We should meet them back here at 10:30. So off we went.
I really wasn't interested in getting anything so it was just a browse-killing-time-typeo-thang. But Sakari shopped as if she was on a hunt for something. She went into every store and was frantically looking as if she had lost something. We followed her as if we were the children following our mommy. Finally I got tired of winding in and out of the stores and told daddy he was on his own. I was going to find a drink and sit down.
After awhile Sakari told me she had found the perfect gift. She had found this beaded peacock. They had several different ones and when I inquired on the price, he told us it was $40. This thing was small but it was very beautiful and beaded with a long tail. The guy in the store said it was "hand made", but yet there were several of them and they were all different colors. I have a tendency to ask "Hand made from where? china?" but I was polite. Although there wasn't a tag. I told him we'd have to wait until we returned from our island to see if we would have enough money left over. He immediately told us that we could have it for $30. Once again, I assured him we would come back if we had money left over after the tour (and I really meant it). I knew how much Sakari wanted it and it would symbolize her day with the peacocks in Cozumel.
We met back at the desk around 10:20 and people were starting to return. They ask us to form 2 lines and forming lines is what we did. We were close to the front in one line and by the time we marched out of the building and made it to the boat, we ended up second to last to get on. How does this happen???
We pulled away from the port and were told it was a 30 minute ride there. Since we were almost last on the boat, we managed to get one of those sideways seats. I absolutely HATE that because once the boat starts going fast and the front raises up, you end up sitting in a leaning position all the way there which gets uncomfortable.
Sakari has messy hair, don't care, with a little redness on the face makes a happy mermaid knowing that she would get to morph again today.
The guides were sitting around talking to everyone and telling them about their life and so on...but in the seats we were in, we were too far to hear what was going on and join in on the conversation.
They passed out water, which were in little plastic pouches and the lady that passed them out said they were the exact same thing as the plastic bottles, with the same amount in them, but they could easily pack more of these and they only cost them .25¢ so that was interesting. They ended up being 12 oz.
Me not being a water drinker, I still took it because it was cold and there was nothing else to drink. Yes, I suffered. But...the look on Sakari's face when we bit off the end of hers and she took a drink...she immediately turned around and spit it out in the ocean. Whoops. It was still hilarious though.
THEN WE COULD SEE IT...GOFFS CAYE WAS WITHIN OUR SITE!!! Ahhhh...I couldn't wait.
Our first view of the beautiful small little island we would spend our day at was inspiring. I know people in the past had said this island had 5 palm trees on it, but I think there were a little more than that. Just saying...maybe 12. The guides told us that they would be taking us out, by boat, to snorkel after we arrived...if we wanted to. They said to get settled in and meet back at the dock in 30 minutes and they would leave. Of course it was your choice. They said they would be going to the opposite side of the island to snorkel and that you would swim around out there, then around the island, and come back in from the beach area. Quite honestly, I was a little worn out from the day before still and with these hour changes back and forth, I just didn't think I had it in me to snorkel this time around...at least not for that distance. They said it would be about 1 hour total in time and I just wasn't willing to do it. I bet it was wonderful though. Maybe another time.
We headed down the dock and knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
There were already a few people here. I would like to know what tour guide they had because it would have been nicer to spend more time here and get here earlier.
We managed to find a spot in the shade and put our towels and bags down. There are no chairs here...when I say primitive, I mean primitive. This is something that I was already aware of and it's fine with me whether I'm sitting in a chair or a beach towel. It really doesn't bother me. There was someone over on the Belize forum that stated that they had chairs for rent there the day they arrived, but I didn't see any and it was the first time I had ever seen any chair rental mentioned before. We did see 1 elderly lady with one of those hard "wooden looking" chairs. She was the only one and I'm not sure where she got it. She was sitting in the shade close to where we were.
Of course after arriving, Sakari stripped her clothes and down to the water she went.
There were small little fishes everywhere. She was super excited.
Just like the last time, I told her she had to wait for me to get in the water and check it out before she was allowed to morph into a mermaid again. I like to check the depth and determine how safe it is before allowing her to do anything like that.
Now I have to mention this...this water was CLEAR!!! LIKE SUPER CLEAR. I'm not sure I have ever seen water this clear before. You could see everything from the fish to the coral to rocks...like everything was so crystal clear at this place. It was simply amazing. I just couldn't get over it. Had the water been perfectly still, it would have been as if you were just starring at the ground. See the fish in this picture. Normally a fish that color would be fairly hard to see by the rocks.
We kept seeing these things in the water all day. At first I thought they were maybe "parts" to a jelly fish that was floating in the water. After a closer examination of several of them during the day, I noticed that they weren't just floating in and out with the water and they actually propelled and swam...slowly, but you could tell they were swimming.
Looking at it from above the water...yep, you could see it good up there too. I told Sakari to stay away from them because they resembled a jelly fish and I didn't know if they would sting or not. Of course it was easy to avoid them because the water was just that clear.
I would come home to google this creature and find out that it was called a Fragile Combjelly.
They are about 2-4" in length. The Combjelly has unique front lobes that open and allow the animal to consume prey. Comb rows run the length of the body. They have iridescent comb rows, which are used to propel the animal up and down in the water column. Despite the locomotion capability, the fragile combjelly is relegated to a life of drifting on the currents, as are all other jellies. Comb jellies don't sting or bite human skin. They eat animal plankton, eating up to 10 times their weight per day. Most comb jellies catch drifting prey by squirting glue on them, thus making them immobile. Comb jellies have adopted a totally different means for getting around. All possess 8 comb rows (hence the name for the group). Formed by multitudes of cilia fused into rows of plates, the comb rows serve to move the ctenophore with sometimes surprising speed. Look carefully at the comb rows and you'll see shimmering waves of color as the plates beat in sequence to act like tiny oars.
I decided it was time to do some snorkeling and see what was out there from the shore. I had some friends that wanted to follow me. I guess it was the welcome committee and they would follow me for quite some time showing me the sites. I have to say I have never seen so much Elkhorn Coral than I did at this place. It was amazing and plentiful. There were some really HUGE pieces as well...like bigger than me.
There was also a few pieces of fire coral so beware. I also have to say that I seen more Christmas Tree Worms at this place than I ever have before at any other place. I run into them here and there, but usually only one or two. This place was loaded with them and all different colors. For the most part, they usually aren't too scared unless you get a little to close to them, they they go back in their hole and disappear. But if you sit real still for a few seconds, they will come back out. It doesn't take long.
I did see quite a few 4 eyed butterfly fishes this day. They were a pretty nice size compared to most I have seen in the past.
It was weird when you got into these areas with tons of coral (there was a path beside all of it so you don't go over it and get stuck...it's the path they use to swim back from the snorkeling tours) and the water in this area was SO WARM...like bathwater warm. It was really weird. Then once you got away from there, you could feel the temp of the water instantly change. Now I know there wasn't anyone peeing in the water, I was the only one out there at the moment. Just saying...
The elkhorn coral was HUGE!
I did manage to find a "regular" worm (like the Christmas tree worms). I use to have a bunch of these in my salt water aquirium back when I was in my 20's. My mom use to live in Myrtle Beach, right on the beach, and we went for a visit one summer and ended up walking along the beach gathering some rocks. We ended up with an entire trunk full. I brought them back and put them in my 125 gallon tank and made the coolest display of caves and rocks with them. About a month later, I had TONS of these little worms all over the rocks and it was neat to see since something like this would cost you hundreds if not thousands to purchase at the pet store because they charge by the pound there.
So I was getting a little tired of snorkeling and decided to head back and see what the hubby and Sakari were up to.
By the time I returned, the lady in the chair had pretty much forced us out of our "spot" on the beach. Sigh.
One good thing about this excursion, they did provide free punch and rum punch. All you can drink, all day, the entire time you were there. So, you did not have to worry about buying drinks while there.
The hubby said he was getting hungry and we decided to purchase 2 of the bbq meals. They were $8 each. They included chicken, corn and beans and rice. You got the entire leg and thigh and the rice was good, but the corn was maybe a tablespoon of corn. I shared my meal with Sakari because I wasn't super hungry. She absolutely LOVES corn, so she pretty much ate my corn in 2 bites.
After eating, I wanted to explore a little bit of the island and get some additional pictures. I told the hubby I was going exploring and to come looking for me in about an hour if I didn't return...because this island was so huge I might get lost. He gave me "that look" and I was off.
Now only part of this island can be used for swimming. It's mainly the side that the boats come in on. It's mostly all beach other than over where all the coral is located to the left side. Looking over at the other side from the beach side, there is plenty of room over there as well, but most of it is rocks along the water, but there is a small area that is sand and beach as well. It was very pretty over there. As you can see in the pictures below, lots of rocks and you're unable to swim at this spot. Right in front of this is the snorkeling area and you can see the boats out there with people snorkeling. It doesn't look far. Maybe I should have went after all.
There are 2 bathrooms. Womens and mens and only 1 of each. I guess they were nicer than I expected for such a small primitive area. There was a lady that took care of the bathrooms and kept them clean by restocking toilet paper and sweep the sand out.
I did spot a pelican that was having a feast in the water. He was there for quite some time.
The rocks do start to go away the further you go down the beach (heading toward the docks).
The shelter was located close to the dock and it's where the cook was at with the food and also where the tour operators were at with the drinks.
I went by the dock and people were heading back. I'm glad it wasn't time for us to go back yet. I was enjoying the view way too much. I could stay here all day.
Then I went back over to the side we were located on and worked my way back to our spot. It was more crowded over here of course, because it was the popular area.
I will say that one thing I noticed about the other side of the island (where there was mostly rocks) is that there was a super nice breeze blowing over there. It felt really good.
I returned back from my walking picture tour to find Sakari had found a new friend. A sea cucumber.
I took a picture, she showed some of the people in the area explaining what it was and talking as if she was Bindy Irwin and then she swam back out in the water to release her friend.
I ask her if she wanted to go out and snorkel with me before we left and she did. So off we went and she was in the lead with me trying to keep up with her most of the time. There was a whole bunch of Parrot Fish that arrived together. Sakari was excited and said they were there to great her...the mermaid. She had called them in from the sea.
As we swam along, I had her point to the coral and tell me what type of coral they are. She was pretty darn good with it and knew the names of a lot of the fish. Although I think this was the first time that she might have seen elkhorn coral, so I did have to tell her what it was and why it had that name. Made sense to her. We'll see if she remembers the next time we run across it snorkeling. She managed to find some spikey sea urchins and pointed it out to me and another sea cucumber. She's getting really good at spotting things.
Once we were done and went back in, I was still taking pictures from above and still amazed at the crystal clear clarity of this water in paradise.
When I returned from the water, I found that the lady in the chair had left and the hubby had now taken over her spot. LOL
Since we had a little bit more time, I decided to head back out and try to get creative with some pictures. I attempt doing this every port we go to at the beach, but it doesn't always work out. You really do need a big wide lens in order for it to look right, but I still try it anyhow. The object is to get your lens half above water and half below. Then you capture a picture of both together. Sometimes I win, most times I lose. I will take about 20 of them and hope for the best. Sometimes I'll get maybe 2 good ones that I like. It's really super hard to do since the water is constantly moving and covering the lens most of the time. You have to be really quick with the shutter.
So out of about 20 or more pictures, those were the 3 that I ended up with. LOL
When I returned this time, I found the hubby had joined in on a conversation with another group and their guide. He was telling them about things in Belize and talking about cavetubing and since the hubs has been twice now, he was an expert and joined in.
Sakari yells for me to come here...and so come here I did.
She had found a starfish. We have never found one of these kinds before so this was a win! She had found her a black brittle starfish with only 4 legs. It looks like it lost a leg somehow. Poor thing.
There was one last thing I needed to do before I left. That was to try out my camera goggles again. I knew what color setting I had it on last time and ended up getting only video. So, this time I was going to try again with a different color setting and hope that I got pictures this time. (For those of you wondering...the color settings are for when you have your mask on, you can change the settings on it without removing your mask and by the color you see in the upper right hand corner of the mask, you'll know what setting you are on. Well, there is also a display on it that will tell you camera or video. However, my eyesight is getting worse and worse as I get older and I have a hard time seeing up close now. So, I really strain to see the digital display on it).
I WIN THIS TIME! I managed to capture pictures this time around.
I won't bore you with all the pictures I took with this camera. They would end up looking like replicas of the other pictures I have already shared using my camera. I just wanted to show the picture quality with this camera versus the other.
Please disregard my long hair floating in the video. LOL It's long-hair-girl-problems when swimming.
Also, someone had mentioned that the video quality from our Cozumel day was pretty good with this thing. Just know that it is hi-def and I am only sharing a low-def video. It would take too long to upload the real thing and take up more space. So, you guys are not seeing the real actual picture. (Especially in the above video...I shared a really small low-def picture, so it's not as good). But to watch it on my computer is just amazing. I had thought about getting a go-pro, but I'm perfectly happy with this at the moment. I just need to learn to use it correctly. I'm not quite sure how far down I have to have my head and did notice several videos with the camera part coming up out of the water. I need some practice. I guess I just need another cruise. Oh wait, I have another practice coming up soon. Go me!
A few more of the area before it was time to gather up things, my little mermaid, and the hubby and head back to the boat.
We gathered our things and headed toward the boat dock and confirmed with our guide that it was time. Sakari insisted on a picture of her and the palmless palm tree before going. She had morphed back into a human again and her secret was safe with everyone on the island.
It was 2:15pm when we headed down the dock. There were a few people missing and the tour guide went looking for them...well, he was looking for the arm band I guess.
They had a bucket of water on the dock for you to wash your feet in before getting on the boat. I got lucky and got a seat that was facing forward this time. That meant for a comfortable ride back to the port.
We pulled out at 2:30pm and was on our way back.
This place was amazing! It was so beautiful and had the most crystal clear water I think I have ever seen before. I just could not get over it. The snorkeling just off the beach area I found pretty darn good so I can only imagine what it would have been like out further had I went on the snorkel tour. We managed to see some interesting things today like a spiney starfish and a sea cucumber. The food was good and I thought "fairly" reasonable. The tour guides kept drinks flowing all day, whether you wanted punch or alcohol, it was there at any time. The guides were nice (even the guides from other excursion companies).
Yes, this is a VERY small island with nothing there to do but enjoy the view, the soft sand and snorkeling. If you are a beach lover, this is an awesome place. Yes, it's pretty primative, but at least it does have restrooms. I thought the $40 price tag for adults was reasonable for transportation and drinks all day.
I would definitely highly recommend going here to any beach lovers and would recommend using our tour company as well.