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Final Thoughts – Belize

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

By the Numbers

• Number of sweet rum drinks consumed: innumerable
• Greatest number of bug bites on Mel at any one time: 85
• Number of books read since beginning our adventure: Mel: 10; Brendan: 1
• Average number of times Brendan ate lobster per day during the last week of the season: 2.1
• Hours spent in the sun during the last month: Mel: 120; Brendan: 3.5
• Percentage of meals Brendan improved by adding Marie Sharp’s hot sauce: 98%
• Percentage of days Mel had bacon for breakfast in Belize: 90%
• Number of times Brendan rehearsed the words and moves to Mr. Roboto for his karaoke debut: 9 (but then backed out of his performance)
• Number of Brel disagreements about personal hygiene: 3 (don’t ask)

Moments we’d Rather Forget
• The concrete bed, the gravelly pillows and cockroaches at our first cabina in Placencia
• The amount of nachos and other unhealthy Mexican food consumed
• The bugs – especially the ones who anaesthetize their victims before stinging – unknowingly leaving you in incredible pain
• Mel attempting to learn to dance the Punta at a local club – arms wrapped around a large Belizean woman, gyrating and shaking her booty in rhythm to someone who has clearly been punta-ing for a long, long time

• Mel successfully combating her snorkelling demons and discovering a new world, hand-in-hand with Brendan
• Surviving the crazy couples mud massage at Maruba – and having the guts to post the pics online
• Caving, birding, rapelling and all our other attempts to make ourselves appear less lazy then we’ve actually been
• Realizing our blog has received almost 6,000 hits – and not all of them were by Mel’s Dad

A Drop in the Ocean

Friday, February 15th, 2008

One of the challenges of our trip this year has been trying to find a way to tie it all together and give it some kind of meaning – a meaning beyond the tropical drinks and wine, foodie adventures and beaches.

We’ve decided to find a way to give back to the communities that are welcoming us.

The Brel Drop in the Ocean Foundation will select a cause in each country we visit, and do what we can to make a difference. At times, we’ll donate money; at times we’ll volunteer our services. With limited time, and even more limited budgets, we know we won’t be changing the world – but if we can do one small thing, in each country we visit, our hope is that the Brel adventures will live on.

And so the Brel Drop in the Ocean Foundation begins its work…

Placencia has a huge stray cat population-some of the friendliest, albeit hungriest cats we have ever seen. Cats and kittens are everywhere. Our mission here? Ambush some of the repeat moms and pay to have them spayed. Coincidentally, there will be a veterinarian visiting Placencia this weekend – so the plan is to help reduce the stray population before we leave Belize. Our rationale: every spayed stray cat prevents the birth of dozens of litters, and the birth of their kittens, and their kittens, and their kittens….

And when we return to Costa Rica for our flight back to Toronto, we will be making a contribution to Kids Saving the Rainforest – an organization that is currently placing monkey bridges above the roads in Manuel Antonio to prevent the electrocution of the Titis by electric wires. If you’re up to speed on our blog, you already know there are only 1200-1500 Titi monkeys remaining in Costa Rica.

If you’re interested in helping out the Brel Drop in the Ocean Foundation, or this month’s causes of stray cats and Titi monkeys, you can increase our resources by sending an Interac e-mail transfer to We promise your dollars will go to worthy causes – and we’ll report everything back via the Chronicles.

Getting our Sea Legs in Placencia

Friday, February 15th, 2008
We are spending our last week in Belize in Placencia, a small village on the very end of a long, narrow peninsula with beaches on one side and mangroves on the other. Placencia’s claim to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lessons learned on the road…Volume Two, Mon…

Friday, February 15th, 2008
1. New underwear manoeuvre: Anticipation This strategy involves a pre-emptive strike: the application of any of the aforementioned underwear extension manoeuvres (continuation, double-dipping, inside-out and commando) in anticipation of the potential unavailability ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mermaid M and Merman B

Sunday, February 10th, 2008
B post snorkel Another new world has opened up to Mel – the world under the sea. Over the years, many of you have witnessed Mel's sad attempts at snorkelling: the anxiety attacks, the claustrophobia, her refusal ... [Continue reading this entry]

B’s Continued Efforts to Hurt/Maim/Kill Himself

Sunday, February 10th, 2008
 Black Hole Drop While Mel was communing with the Mayans, I pulled myself away from my computer for a little adrenaline. Belize has the largest underground cave system in the world, some sections of which have collapsed, creating ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hangin’ with the Maya

Sunday, February 10th, 2008


Went to see some Mayan ruins – Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. Very cool. Got a bit distracted with some new birds. Big-ass Iguana[Continue reading this entry]

Status Update – Operation Bird Discovery

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Trogon With Phase 1 of Operation Bird Discovery successfully implemented in Costa Rica, we have moved on to the second and more aggressive phase – Operation BD Belize. l have spent most the week stalking birds. ... [Continue reading this entry]

De plane, Boss, de plane!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Leith: do not read this entry. It seems as though our planes have been gradually getting smaller and smaller. Not looking forward to the return flight to Canada – via Canada Goose? [Continue reading this entry]

Mel – Official Spelunker-er

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Caving Originally uploaded by pichemelanie Today, I continued the quest to conquer my fears. Up next: small, dark underground places, and, get ready for it….bats. Dressed as Sporty Mel once again, I donned my headlamp and ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
We were welcomed into Belize today – well, at least the part of Belize which is a luxurious jungle fantasy spa. We are staying at Maruba Jungle Lodge (, a quirky, neo-tribal chic, ... [Continue reading this entry]