Chasing the Caribbean

Wind howls through the sails as the Ragga King glides seamlessly through the undisturbed Caribbean ocean-a smooth, vast expanse of glittering turquoise. An upbeat collection of funky reggae penetrates the gentle sound of lapping water as this 40 foot yacht passes over some of the world’s most sought after reef and marine life.

A diver’s eden.

A flock of of birds soar high above as if to welcome us to their home, swooping past our sails and guiding us to land. Dolphins emerge from the crystal water, leaping in and out of our wake while orchestrating a spectacular show that no one on board will soon forget.

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The eleven sun kissed passengers on board this cosy ocean explorer have found their ecstasy; an experience like no other. The ultimate Carribbean adventure.

Suddenly, the sky turns dark and the bright turquoise water transforms into a menacing grey. Birds disappear and the dolphins, once playful and fearless, submerge into the white capped water. However, for the passengers on board this is merely a new adventure.

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We will wait it out.

Torrential rain whips through the sails as the once island speckled horizon becomes an indistinguishable mess of grey.  Music can be heard blaring as our first mate, ‘Killer’, sings his way through the storm. A chorus of “Don’t worry be happy” penetrates the crashing water and It seems that nothing can stop the reggae.

Claps of thunder are heard rumbling through the sky and still we resist the urge to retreat into the warm cabin. We stand on the hull of the yacht, dripping wet, teeth chattering and shaking but still smiling from ear to ear. This is what we travel for, these are the experiences that we remember.

This is our ultimate Caribbean adventure.

For decades the Caribbean has claimed somewhat of a mythical name for itself; sought after by travellers from around the world for its crystal clear waters, exciting marine life and, of course, an infamous reputation which was perpetuated by Hollywood and a certain pirate. And while it is true that there are many other beautiful oceans boasting similar experiences, few people can deny that a Caribbean adventure is not a worthy bucket list inclusion.

These days there are countless options for Caribbean exploring, catering for high budget and shoestring backpackers alike. From a range of cruises offering some spectacular photo opportunities with all the comforts of home, to countless fishing, snorkelling and diving trips. There is an experience to suit all tastes and styles. The only difficult choice one is likely to face is choosing which country they will base themselves in.

For me, the adventure began on the Belizian backpacker favourite, Caye Caulker.

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Upon arriving in Caye Caulker it was immediately apparent that I would have to undertake some serious research before committing to a trip. My mission was to find the ultimate Caribbean experience, but where to start? A quick search of the island produced a myriad of options that I would need to sift through. Options included the following:

1. A one day snorkelling and diving trip to belize’s famous blue hole (over rated).

2. Diving with sharks and manta rays (fantastic idea. But I can do this at home.)

3. A variety of fishing trips (what, am I 40 years old now?)

4. A three day snorkelling and fishing Yacht adventure with Raggamuffin Tours. Accommodation will include camping on remote islands and meals will be freshly caught and prepared by all on board ( my Caribbean senses were tingling).

Ultimately, it seemed like a no-brainier and this three day yacht trip proved to be one of the most rewarding travel experiences of my life. From the stunning scenery, pristine water and amazing people (Belizian and gringo’s alike) Raggamuffin’s yacht tour gave me the chance to experience Caribbean life while exploring traditional Belizian culture.

And like many valuable experiences it prompted me to look at my own life in a first world country. In Australia most of us are able to eat (quite a lot) everyday, we are often given cars, electronics and it is relatively easy to find a job to support our family, while also indulging in the perks of a developed world. Yet, we still complain about trivial matters and find reasons to be unhappy. I am as guilty of this as anyone. This is our culture, and it is a hard attitude to change.

belize 3 However, many of the people I met on this trip while staying in traditional communities are unable to feed their children three times a day; they cannot afford luxuries such as air conditioning (despite an intensely hot and humid environment); and many are unable to educate their children. Yet, a welcoming smile can be seen on every person and it is unusually common to be invited to a family dinner, despite the hardships of affording food.

After seventeen and a half years of education, I believe that these are the most valuable lessons I have learnt. And, believe it or not, many of my teachers have never seen the inside of a classroom.

To book a trip with Raggamuffin Tours visit them online at http://raggamuffintours.com/

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