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Two Aussies, an Englishman and a Swede go to an island...

...and it was paradise on earth

It wasn't until I was actually on the pontoon on the way out there that I came to the realisation that I was going to be the lone woman in the group for our stay, which at that stage was going to be for anywhere from four days until a week. Hmmmm, was this going to be a huge mistake? How many times am I going to have to play ¨ear muffs¨?! Now, having lived the experience and in writing this, I can assure you that it is a resounding no. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far, and something that I will always reflect back on fondly.

The decision to go to the island was a very last minute one. Felix had spoken to me about his interest previously when he had heard about it when we were in Rio Dulce in Guatemala staying at the Round House but at that stage, it required a week time commitment and as I wasn't a diver, I wasn't sure I really wanted to waste a week being secluded on a beautiful tropical island (yes, I realise how ridiculous that sounds now that I am repeating it). I guess maybe I was all islanded-out after my stint in Bermuda? Anyway, I politely declined the invitation from Felix but it wasn't until we came across Mauro, the Italian who had been travelling through Central America via motorbike (awesome stories!) and he had the bright idea of getting a group together and seeing if we could haggle our way down to three to four nights, that the idea sounded far more appealing and something that I could tolerate (I know, I really need a big forehead slap for that!). After some keen negotiating by Felix through a series of phone calls with the owner of the island, we had ourselves a deal! But quite ironically, the price wasn't quite right enough for our ideas man, Mauro, so he bailed. Oh well, at least we still had the dream team!

Our island, Glover´s Atoll, is a small island that is located about 45km off of the coast of Placencia. It takes about 3 hours on the pontoon to get out there but is well worth the trek. The scenery was absolutely stunning (some of the bluest water that I have ever seen) and if it can get any better, we were escorted by a pod of dolphins who were racing us in the boat (this also happened on our return journey too). Incredible! Our resort was on the North East Caye and is a family run resort. The island itself is absolutely tiny (about 9 hectares) and is filled with approximately a million coconut trees. As Belize´s most remote Atoll, you have the opportunity to view some of the worlds most pristine reefs. The diving and snorkelling is truly exceptional!

As part of our sweet deal, Felix was able to secure us a self-contained cabin on stilts over the gorgeous blue water. Because we were on a budget and the hut was self-contained, we had decided to cook all of our meals ourselves (except for the final meal, which we decided to splurge and indulge in some local lobster, which was out of this world!). Cooking our meals was a bit of an adventure and as we had to be prepared in purchasing our groceries prior to our arrival, it resulted in us having to be very creative with our meals (especially when we had realised we were missing a few key ingredients!). And with a million coconut trees on the island, all meals revolved around some form of coconut! We also had to contend with the lack of modern kitchen appliances, which made for some very interesting improvisations, but nothing that we couldn't handle when we made an effort to think outside of the box!

After the first night or two, we began to operate more or less like a family unit. Everyone in the family had their chores or responsibilities. Felix was the Head Chef, Chang-Bang was busy making delicious side-dishes (like coconut rice and coconut potato salad) or inventing delicious beverages (like the Chang-High and Chang-Bang, it´s because of this we ran out of booze on day two...rookie mistake! Always triple your order!), and I wavered between being the dish washer, Chief Coconut Cracker and the Su Chef. And as for Sven, I´m not really sure what his job title was. He floated in-between a few (and was also working remotely at the time also). He talked a lot. So I guess he was our Commentator? Regardless, with everyone fulfilling their duties, it was smooth sailing all round, and nobody went hungry.

Aside from our culinary adventures (and in my case, a few flops in the kitchen - who knew that preparing coconut milk overnight would result in some very rancid coconut oatmeal!), the first few days were filled with lots of reading, swimming and tanning. Felix and Sven, who were already avid divers, went out on a few dives, while Chang-Bang and I held up the fort. It was a tough life. But somebody´s gotta do it!

One pivotal moment in our stay was when Sven made the grand announcement that he was a certified Dive Instructor and would be very happy to teach Chang and I for free (as long as the folks at Glover´s didn´t mind renting us the equipment). With a generous offer like that, we ecstatically accepted! And from there on out, our days were actually quite busy, involving lots of time in the water and a bit of study.

Staying on that small island was definitely an incredible experience. Almost like something out of Survivor (but obviously a lot more comfortable. We had beds, groceries, and a gas burning stove...it was hardly slumming it!) And as we had to be Captain Organised (one Captain hat that I am still mastering...still on Captain Obvious) in arriving at the island and have all of our groceries with us, this definitely forced us into becoming quite creative with our meals, and towards the end of the week, when our supply was low, it got to be very basic. Ughhhh, coconut rice again?!

But it wasn´t all bad, Chang managed to score us a Barracuda one night after one of the other couples that was on the island who had gone deep sea fishing decided that it was too small to fillet (actually, quite large, fed the four of us!) so we had a side of pan seared barracuda steak with our vegetable curry (courtesy of Felix...insanely delicious!). And in an effort to not waste anything, we used the left over Barracuda carcus to attract a lemon shark and some nurse sharks to come into shore. We had lots of different sea life circling our jetty that evening, including a squid...which I had never seen before! Entertainment at it´s finest!

Even though towards the end of our stay, I was beginning to miss the comforts of living on land a little bit, I could not help but be secretly pleased when our planned departure from paradise was delayed by a night due to a passing storm. It was definitely a very eventful evening, so much noise (and so much lightening!), very little sleep, but it meant that we could spend one more night on the island...and keep living the dream. A dream that i was not quite ready to give up! And very fortunately, as we were out of food (and it was slim pickings at best towards the end of the week), the crew at Glover´s put on our meals for the extra night and day. Not only were we totally provided for, but we were also out of the kitchen...YAY!

What an epic week that it was...lots of stories, lots of laughter and memories that will last a lifetime. My only wish is that if I am ever stranded again on a tropical island again, that my company is half as good as these lads. It´s funny, you go into things like this thinking that you know someone, or enough about them to have an indication of who they really are, and then you have a few really honest moments with them and everything changes. You find that there is so much more to them than what was initially presented to you. I guess that is what happens when you start being present. Absolute gems, THANK YOU BOYS!!!

Hope this finds you well, wherever it is in the world that you are.

Mel xx

The homestead for the week...we got up when the sun rose, cooked all of our own meals and were usually passed out at about 9pm...totally native! And I loved every minute of it...
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The sunrises were amazing...
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Good morning world!
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Our beautiful island home...Glover's Reef Atoll
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Gorgeous sunsets...
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This is what happens when Felix has too much time on his hands...Mr Coconut says congratulations...for Chang and I passing our PADI Open Water Diver course! Woo!!!
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A simple life...I miss it
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We got plenty of visits from all kinds of marine life...the spotted rays that circled our dock were my favourite...
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Sven really likes to be naked. A lot (but you'll notice that clearly he doesn't like to sunbathe naked). Eye contact in the homestead was at all times imperative. And he also likes to swim naked with sharks and a gutted barracuda in his hands...crazy kid!
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Good morning (or maybe it's a goodnight...who knows!)
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The island is inhabited with a million coconut trees...which means there are heaps of coconuts! We lived and breathed all things coconut for a week. It was glorious. I drank at least three every day...not to mention the kilos of coconut shavings that I probably consumed daily! I learned how to crack my own coconuts too, so it was definitely a very self satisfying exercise.
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Family photos....Chang-Bang, Me, Sven & Feliz
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Our Boy Band photo...doing the danger sign in diving "chat". Please excuse Sven´s crotch region...
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On our way home...
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And this pic basically sums up the entire week...it's tough being the only chick sometimes...nothing like a surprise throwing off the boat!
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Channeling my inner photog...quite a speccy pic of Chang-Bang, I think...
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And because I promised to give credit where credit was due...thank you Felix...

Look Mum...I'm a real scuba diver! About 20m under...
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Home is where the heart is...
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Beautiful.
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And to think that I thought I would loose my mind stranded on an island...I could really get used to this...
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One of the funniest things that I have ever seen...
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Bliss.
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On our way out to our first official dive...EXCITING! Chang-bang...oh so gangsta!
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Spazzing out...
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Wow...the tranquil waters of Glovers...
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Posted by melpage 08:16 Archived in Belize Tagged glover's_atoll

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