Last Saturday afternoon, on my way to the lionfish tournament ending, I encountered a big pedestrian roadblock. Thankfully my stylish Swiftwater Crocs are great rainy season shoes and I was able to sidestep around it without getting a sandal soaker. It’s amazing how large a puddle a short burst of rain can create!
(Crocs also make a thong version for those who prefer it – Crocs women’s Swiftwater flip flop. )
My soon-to-be ex-neighborhood (Boca del Rio) is a great stretch of beach to walk. I made sure to leave Casa del Rai, my hotel apartment early so I could enjoy a slow stroll down the beach. Like a happy kid lost in a magical world, I dawdled along, following a lone kayaker and appreciating families enjoying dock time.
Upon arrival at the foot of the dive shop and Palapa Bar dock, my inner child was instantly sidetracked for a minute, watching two fishermen cleaning their catch. While I did not choose a picture that reflects it, there was a whole wildlife dynamic happening-frigate birds gliding overhead, pelicans floating gracefully, and even a stingray came to join in on the impromptu fish scrap meal. I chose this one to highlight the woodcarver – please stop by and help him rebound from his Covid fall.
As I passed through the dive shop breezeway, I was spot on time to catch the Reef Adventures team, Spear Club. They had just landed at the dock with a good size cooler of lionfish and a priceless memory between friends, thanks to their favorite dive shop making it possible.
The royal tern gull below was also excited about the fish count, and eager to fill you in on a few details. The Lionfish Tournament at St. George’s Caye was a short notice event made possible by an anonymous donor. A long-time friend of the dive shop and avid snorkeler decided to help Belize cull this invasive species, and gave a $1000 prize to the team with the most lionfish caught.
The tournament was open to tour guides and their guests.
4 teams set out around 6:45 am and headed to St George’s Caye to spear as many lionfish as they could and return to San Pedro by 3:00 pm for the fish count on the Palapa Bar dock.
Island fish whisperer, and leader of team Chingon, Jodie Leslie, was wearing his best winner’s smile even before they took their cooler off the Real Hustler boat.
I did not expect it to be a ‘super spreader’ and was grateful to see a small handful of people. It was mostly the participating teams, along with bar owners Scott and Jodie, who gathered around for the fish counting fun.
Fish Counting Fun
- Team Everette, on Belize Diving Adventures boat, had a total of 23 lionfish caught.
- Next came Chuck and Robbie’s Dive shop. They just went for fun and did not have a team name, but the boat name was “ Who’s your daddy“.
- The Spear Club, who were staying at the Phoenix Resort and diving daily with Reef Adventures came in with a good-sized count of 65 lionfish.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – with a whopping 152 lionfish team Chingon! The dream team was made up of Ricky Luna, Ilan Gonzalez, Cesar River, Wilson Gonzalez, and Jody Leslie. They would like to thank Amigos del Mar for sponsoring their dive tanks and Chuck and Robbie’s for use of bcds and regulators.
If you want a great catamaran option while in San Pedro, be sure and check out the Lady Leslie, it’s always a fun time and a comfortable ride – as you will see if you click that link to see the Caye Caulker birthday sail and snorkel I was invited on.
While the count was on, people were enjoying the Palapa dock and easy water entry. Later that night there was a big lionfish fiesta which you will see pictures of, along with some tournament pics coming soon on the Reef Adventures website.
Just like last year, our Halloween will not be the same, but I was happy to end my walk by seeing that Sandy toes decorated anyway.