Friday, 15 April 2011


We woke in a panic this morning, thinking we had overslept, but the clocks had gone back again. We have plenty of time to have breakfast and I go on deck to watch the ship dock. There's a Garifuna band of singers and drummers to welcome us. We're on the shipwreck and snorkel tour today and are met on the jetty by our guide David who names us the "chillaxin'" group and assures us that if he can't get it for us then we don't really need it.

It's about a 20 minute drive to fantasy island through the sleepy-looking island. The imaginatively-named port, Town Centre, has low, wooden buildings that extend out into the water on stilts. We cross a little wooden bridge to Fantasy Island and David explains the day. It's a charming private resort and our base will be sun loungers under palm thatch umbrellas. The beginners get some snorkel training then we meet a launch that will take us out to the second biggest barrier reef in the World.

I don't really take to snorkelling, although I give it a go. The water is quite rough and I find it too stressful being beyond easy swimming distance from the boat. But Alex absolutely loves it and can't wait to do it again, and Simon enjoys it more than he expected, too. On returning there are cold Life Saver beers and Alex gets buried in the sand while a bright yellow seaplane lands just in front of the beach. David takes on a brief nature walk to see the monkeys, iguanas and agoutis that live here. Then it's back to the ship for lunch.

I go back ashore while Alex and Simon play backgammon and table tennis, but can't find much to buy. Prices seem a little high for the shell and coconut necklaces that won't get worn at home. But it's fascinating to wander round the small town and see how people live.

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