December 2001 - big trip - diary - belize - december 2001


Blue Hole

Saint Hermans cave

River crossing

Monday 03 - Thursday 06 December

After the fun at 5 Blue Lakes, we drove to Blue Hole intending to camp there for the night and have a look round the following day. We managed to camp for free thanks to Fridge giving the park attendant a lift home. During the night it rained hard and we lazily hadn't put up the tent rain porch properly so the water dripped in and soaked the mattress. The morning eventually turned sunny and we put the mattress on the tent roof to dry. We walked to a lookout tower to admire the jungle view and then visited St. Hermans cave which extends for over mile but we got bored after 10 minutes and returned to the camp. Half a mile up the road is Blue Hole, a good place for a swim so we jumped on the roof of the Fridge while our mattress dried. While we were swimming the heavens opened so we drove back at high landy speed in a failed attempt to rescue the mattress, freezing cold and soaked to the skin on the roof.

Belize City...

...the centre

Helicopters fly over Moho Caye

We spent the afternoon drying off in the internet place in Belmopan and then drove out of town towards Belize City to find a camp spot. After a decent nights sleep on camping mats and therma-rests the next stop was Belize City to meet up with a landy mechanic to fix Fridges universal joint and investigate some strange noises.

Belize City has a population of 60,000 and is by far the largest town in Belize. Its not a particularly welcoming place, there seems to be an atmosphere of discontent. Many people ask for money and its difficult to get a smile out of anyone. Nevertheless, there are some nice people who go out of their way to help us, Bill the landy mechanic being one of them.

We met Bill and arranged to start work the next day. Driving out of the city to find a camp spot, the Fridge came to a standstill, no drive forwards or backwards! The wicked travellers came to the rescue, first we searched out a camp site then returned to tow the useless white kitchen appliance to its evening rest spot. This place turned out to be the worst so far, lying in the tent with the mosquito net up we could feel hundreds of pin prick bites from tiny sandflies which just cruised through the net as if it wasn't there. T decided to air his sleeping bag on the roof of the tent while sleeping in the cab to try and escape the flies, trouble was, he slept through a thunder storm and his sleeping bag got totally soaked! When the sun finally came up we left as fast as possible (when towing a fridge) and waited at the mechanics workshop.

Towing a clapped out old fridge

Fitting new radius arm bushes

Results of a few crunched gear changes

Our landy needed the radius arm bushes replaced so we had Bill, the mechanic, do that first before starting on the big job of Fridge. Fridge turned out to have a stripped gearbox mainshaft which meant a new gearbox was in order. A quick visit to a landy graveyard, full of old treasures, soon sourced a decent 'box. Meanwhile we dried our wet things in the scorching sun and changed our gearbox oil in between merciless ribbing of the Fridge which so far has had two punctures, a broken door lock, worn universal joint and now a wrecked gearbox plus a dodgy clutch.

Writing Christmas cards

Equal rights and justice for Rastafarians, mon

To make matters worse, Fridge seems to have misplaced our Haynes manual - essential nighttime reading - lent to him the night before. On a quick quest to the sandfly campsite to check the book hadnt been left there, T managed to sink the landy into a muddy hole.

Wicked travelling seems to have ground to a halt since the Fridges arrival...

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