Still in Dangriga, down to the Riverside Café I went, in search of breakfast, Wi-Fi, and Captain Doggy. I found him in the Café’s kitchen, making his own breakfast. We ate, waited for a bit to see if any other people would turn up for a lift to the Caye, then left mid-morning.
As soon as we cleared the shallow waters around the mouth of the river and were into the sea, Doggy asked me if I wanted to drive the boat. “Here, you go like dis, and then to speed up you go like dat, and to turn it’s like dis and like dat.” I took over control of the outboard motor and did a fairly fine job for the next twenty minutes or so until my hand started to cramp. Dats when the Captain took the boat back.
The closer we got to Tobacco Caye, the bluer the water. I got the same perma-grin on my face that I had both times that Francis and I went to Fiji; to be surrounded by blue sky and turquoise blue water makes me feel absolutely giddy. Doggy zigged and zagged through the mangroves very Miami Vice-style, which made me giggle even more. When we finally pulled up to Tobacco Caye, it was exactly what I’d hoped for: a round lump of sand and palm trees totaling 80,000 square feet. It didn’t matter where I was standing, I could see water on both sides.
I stayed at Gaviota, and scored what I considered the best cabana of all. It was built on stilts over the water and had a little porch with a couple of Adirondack chairs, and an unobstructed view. I had to use the shared bathroom, but that was okay, because for $25 USD a night, the deal included all of my meals. There were hammocks, lots of birds and palm trees, and a couple of really nice folks running the place. Happy, happy, happy.
Doggy Dog gave me two options: come out with him and another family of six to do some snorkeling off the boat that afternoon for $12.50 USD, or wait until the next day and he’d come back to the island at around 2 pm and take me out alone for free. I said, “Let’s do both!” As it turned out, Doggy ended up taking us all out again the next day for free. This was perfectly fine with me because the family (American-Belizean husband Miles and Belizean wife Susie) had two completely adorable kids that even warmed the cockles of my black and childless heart. The kids’ granddad and his buddy were down visiting from California, and they added some interesting stories to the whole mix.
The snorkeling was great: schools of gigantic fish, lots of colorful coral, and calm and clear water.
Susie did a fine job at her first attempt at fishing, and reeled in three or four barracudas and a snapper or two on the first afternoon, all of which she cooked on a borrowed grill later that night.
When I wasn’t in the water, I spent the rest of my time either in a hammock, or on my little deck, listening to the water and to my favorite new bird, the boat-tailed grackle, master of mimicry. Meals were served at picnic tables, so all the guests (just me and the other family) ate together. I slept very soundly in my little cabana, with the breeze coming through my open windows and the Caribbean sounding just like the ocean setting on my Homedics Sound Spa machine at home.