The steady breeze from the Carribean Sea is blowing in a few changes here at Bacalar Chico Dive Camp (BCDC). Since last year when we started here, on the far northern coast of Belize, our accommodation has been provided by a third party contractor but this is no longer the case. Blue Ventures Belize has entered into an agreement direct with the property owner to take ownership of the buildings and run the dive camp ourselves. So out with the old and in with the new…

The start of Expedition 12 saw us madly running around buying new furnishings, equipment and material to put in some upgrades at BCDC. A solid day of purchasing with our cook Desi saw a new range of kitchenware steadily pile up in the taxi we hired to ferry us around the stores in Orange Walk, the nearest city to Sarteneja. Look for our shiny new pots and pans – and most importantly the waffle maker – on your next trip to Blue Ventures Belize. But upgrades to the cooking facilities are only the beginning.

As many would have noticed from the fine drizzle of wood powder wafting down in the accommodation cabanas, wood borers and termites are getting the better of our thatched huts. Not to be overcome by an army of tropical insects BV have gone large and hired the best builder in Sarteneja to beat back the six legged invaders with his construction skills. For those of you who have met Netto you won’t be surprised that within half an hour of arriving at BCDC he’d constructed a table that you could build a small house on without it even creaking. These skills of tapping together seemingly indestructible objects in the blink of an eye are great news. He has so far redone the mosquito screening around the classroom, furnished all the accommodation with new bunk beds and his next work of magic is to abracadabra together five new cabanas.

Classroom upgrade

You have all grown to love the thatched hut on a tropical beach theme we have going here – these new builds are going to be more of the same, just slightly bigger, with better thatch, and made of wood that is unpalatable to the little gnawing blighters that are steadily eating the present lot to the ground. Towards the end of this expedition we will let Netto loose on the first of the old cabanas and we look forward to what he makes appear in its place…

Getting all of the materials for these wizardly works to the remoteness of BCDC has been a bit of a magician’s task in itself. First off picture the bus to Sarteneja piled half full of wood from Belize City, insert children, villagers, fisherman and menonites into the gaps and you have the first leg of the journey pictured. This gets the goods to the waterfront of Sarteneja. Now imagine a Sartenejan fishing sailboat, let all the children, villagers, fisherman and menonites go home for dinner and transfer half a bus of wood onto the wee fishing boat. Throw sixteen new mattresses for BCDC on top and you’re ready for the next leg of the journey across the Corozal Bay to the inshore side of Bacalar Chico.

Timber and mattress afloat… just

This top heavy floating timber store made for an interesting journey across the bay; not for those with a weak stomach or a dislike of strong swaying motions. On more than one occasion I thought we were on the verge of capsizing but the skipper’s confidence in his boat was well founded and we arrived safely which brought us to the final leg of the journey. Once again everything was unpacked from one mode of transport to another. Offload from the sailboat to our diveboat Azul for the trip through the Mayan canal to the Oceanside of Ambergris Caye and down the inside of the Belize Barrier Reef to our dive camp on the shore. Repeat several times. On arrival, the BV volunteers helped us unload the construction materials onto the beach. A few days pass and voila, BCDC is looking brand new…something to look forward to on your next trip!

Posted by Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures is an award winning marine conservation charity. We rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. On our Beyond Conservation blog you can hear voices from the front line of marine conservation written by our staff and volunteers.

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