We returned in December after a 2 year absence, and it was like walking into the Cheers bar on TV. Whether it was our favorite taxi driver, waiter, restaurant owners, and especially the staff at the Corona del Mar --- all made us feel like we had returned home.
Roger and I have been like 2 ships that pass in the night for several months, so for 9 days we relaxed, ate great meals, went snorkeling and visited with our island friends.
We went snorkeling around Tres Cocos with Tulu - a wonderful local icon who knows the water like the back of his hand. We saw the biggest baracuda we've ever seen, and then a huge - and I mean HUGE skate that resembles a stingray on steroids. Really - it was like a thick, king size bedspread floating towards me and I experienced a combo of amazement/excitement and wondering what the hell I should do so I wouldn't end up like Steve Irwin. I screamed into my snorkel to get Roger's attention but stopped when I worried it might tick off the skate..... Roger thinks I pulled him in front of me to protect myself -- but it was really so he could get a better look!!! Honest!!!!
We were honoured to be invited to the hotel's Christmas party and we had a ball playing games and having fun with the staff. They are a very special group of people, and we are always happy to return to the Corona del Mar.
While we were on Ambergris Caye, we heard of 12 Cubans that traveled over 2 weeks and hundreds of miles in open seas in a makeshift boat to find freedom in Mexico. They landed just south of the Mexican border, in San Pedro, and we were relieved to hear they were allowed to continue on to their planned destination. It is sobering to think of how dire life must be in Cuba for these, and many others, to risk their lives to reach freedom.