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Chris Smith is a professional photographer in Charleston, SC. A photographer for almost 30 years, Chris offers a superior knowledge of creating perfect images. For many years, Chris has been the official photographer of the Family Circle Cup, a professional tennis tournament held annually in Daniel Island's tennis stadium

Adventures in Belize – Caye Caulker

“Oh Chris…you’d get excited about seeing ANY kind of boobies!”

I’d just been telling a friend about an island off the coast of Belize, that’s a protected area by the Audubon Society, and has the only viable breeding colony of Red-footed Boobies in the western Caribbean! I’d just exclaimed “That would be so cool to see some Red-footed Boobies!”, leaving me wide open for the clever jab I received in return.

For my final days in Belize, I’d left the heart of the country, journeying once again on the colorful Chicken Bus back to Belize City. A short jaunt with a colorful Jamaican taxi driver brought me to the San Pedro Express Water Taxi. At the terminal, awaiting the next boarding, I met a family of five just beginning their trip back the way I had come. As so many had done for me along my journey, I shared my tips and recommendations with them for their destination ahead. Pulling out my laptop, I was able to give them visual references on what I’d enjoyed during my time in the Cayo district. When their van pulled up, a grateful handshake and a warm hug let me know the advice was much appreciated.

So it goes with fellow travelers in a foreign country. Not necessarily seeking each other out, we still seem to randomly connect as if drawn by the commonality of simply being on mutual paths…separate yet together. I’ve received so many great ideas and such wonderful advice from others along the way, for which I am eternally grateful. The chance to return the favor leaves me feeling warm and fulfilled. It’s a good thing, since a fine drizzle has kicked up and the wind from the forward motion of the three powerful outboard motors of our boat brought a chill to my bones.

Caye Caulker was not on my original itinerary. But as in many great suggestions before it, the laid back island was so highly recommended by others, that I couldn’t resist. A beautiful beach oasis would do me good, I thought! I’d pushed hard for 11 days…following every opportunity to make new and wonderful photographs of all the amazing sights I had seen! A day on Caye Caulker would allow me time to reflect on my journey, and respect those memories made.

The warm rays chased away the last remaining raindrops. I strolled aimlessly, bare feet in the sand, along the beach with its turquoise water beconning. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio, I did get to see several elegant Frigatebirds, silently gliding on the trade-winds above…a thing of beauty to behold! But sadly, I never got to see any boobies.