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The end of the 2010 Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season 2010

Hurricane Season 2010

Channel 5 Belize | The 2010 hurricane season officially ends today. During the months of June to November, there were three scares but the category one hurricane called Richard hit Belize hard when it was least expected. Millions of dollars were racked up in damages and there was loss of life.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
We can all breathe a sigh of relief because the 2010 hurricane season officially closes today. And it certainly lived up to predictions for an active season; beaten only by the seasons of 1995 and 1887 for the most named storms.

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist

“This season we saw nineteen named storms, twelve of those became hurricanes and of those twelve five were intense hurricanes; major hurricanes category three four or five. In a normal year we would get ten named systems, six of which would be hurricanes and two of those would be major systems. So this was a very active year particularly over the northwestern Caribbean in our neck of the woods.” Our first threat, Tropical Storm Alex, came in mid June, bringing heavy wind and rains, but not much damage.

Dennis Gonguez

“On the twenty-sixth of June at about six p.m. Tropical Storm Alex, the first named system of the season made landfall in Belize just about twenty miles or so north of Belize City and at the time of landfall it had about sixty-five miles per hour winds. Destruction from Alex was fairly minimal. It was a very large system.” Karl and Matthew were next in line. They passed within ten days of each other, but they too were all breeze and no bite. (more…)

Paddling our way through paradise in Belize

Belize Kayaking

Belize Kayaking

Outstanding guides show us the best Belize has to offer in birdwatching, fishing and scuba diving

Jim Cochrane, Edmonton Journal | Hanging upside down in our overturned sea kayak, we were desperately trying to remember our guide’s recent instructions — “Pull the ‘Oh s–t’ tab and if you can’t find it, punch out your spray skirt with your knees.” This was the part that I secretly feared when my wife, Kathryn, and I planned our trip to Belize.

It was clear from the information on the Island Expeditions website that we would be tipping our kayaks, escaping and eventually getting back in as part of our trip, but being in my 70s, sporting a hip replacement and having never kayaked before, I was a bit apprehensive. But, under the watchful eyes of the staff, we were successful in righting our kayak and climbing safely back in. Whew.

This was the second part of a trip that we had booked with Island Expeditions in March of this year. For the first leg we spent three days at Birds Eye View Lodge, located on the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoon in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Belize.

From our balcony the lagoon looked to be blanketed with thousands of birds. And a trip on the water in a small boat brought us within camera range of many varieties of birds. The Jabiru stork is just one of over 250 resident and migrating bird species commonly seen around the lodge. We saw 27 varieties in two days there. This is truly a birdwatcher’s paradise, with birders from all over the world coming to Crooked Tree nature reserve.

The next day we boated 20 km upriver to the Lamanai Mayan site, spotting lots of birds and animals along the way. Our outstanding guides were able to spot some tiny creatures such as a Jesus Christ lizard (they run across the top of the water) to turtles, crocodiles and many birds as we cruised along at about 35 km/h. Also along the river were locals fishing from everything from outboard powered craft to dugout canoes. (more…)

Demonstrators spotlight the end of coral reefs in Belize

Belize Coral Reef

Belize Coral Reef

UPI | Hundreds of international supporters gather to form a human banner asking if the end is near for the Belize and other endangered coral reefs around the world, on an island on the Belizian Barrier Reef off the coast of Belize City, Belize, on November 13, 2010. The action was on the final day of the three-day Belize Reef Summit which urged global leaders to take strong action at the upcoming U.N Climate Talks in Cancun, Mexico. UPI/Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q

Miss World Belize returns from Sanya China

Miss World Belize Jessel Lauriano and Richard Ashcroft

Miss World Belize Jessel Lauriano and Richard Ashcroft

San Pedro Sun | Jessel Lauriano is back from her participation at the Miss World Pageant held in Sanya, China. During her whirlwind visit, she made friends, enjoyed her participation immensely, and even got to catch up with Lord Michael Ashcroft. Ashcroft met and congratulated Jessel at the Miss World Coronation Ball. The contest was televised to 1 billion television views in 150 countries on the 30th October 2010. During the event, Jessel also got to know other beauty ambassadors from around the world.

Ms. Julia Morley, Chairman of Miss World Ltd. and International President of Variety Children Charity came up with the phrase and concept “Beauty with a Purpose” which was created 30 years ago and has raised over US$400 million for charity organizations around the world. The Miss World Pageant is the largest annual pageant of its kind and celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.

Mayans converted wetlands to farmland

Ancient Maya Agriculture

The sophistication of the civilization's agricultural systems rivalled their pyramids.

Nature.com | The ancient Maya civilization is widely recognized for its awe-inspiring pyramids, sophisticated mathematics and advanced written language. But research is revealing that the complexity of Maya agricultural systems is likely to have rivaled that of their architecture and intellect.

Using new techniques and extensive excavations, researchers have found that the Maya coped with tough environmental conditions by developing ingenious methods to grow crops in wetland areas. “The work shows that this intensive agriculture is more complicated and on a par with these other areas of intellectual development,” says Timothy Beach, a physical geographer at Georgetown University in Washington DC, who presented his findings on Wednesday at the Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The Maya civilization, considered one of the most advanced ancient societies, lived in sprawling and densely populated pockets from the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico to Honduras in Central America. The civilization arose before 1000 BC and reached its height from about 400 BC to 900 AD.

The Maya’s home was a tough environment replete with recurring droughts and rising sea levels, and the land that they farmed was rough, rocky terrain intermixed with vast swamps, or wetlands. So one of historians’ biggest questions about the Maya civilization is how they managed to feed their huge populations. (more…)

Daylight Savings Time Approaches

PR | The Embassy of Mexico informs that on Sunday, October 31, Mexico ends Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time (Horario de Verano), in order to begin Winter Time. That means that Mexico local time again will be the same as Belize’s local time.

Daylight savings time in the U.S. also end on November 7, 2010 with time falling back one hour. In Belize, this would mean that our time is the same as Central U.S. time. This is when television programs from the US start one hour later than they are currently airing. Remember to take note of these two changes in Daylight Savings Time.

Caye Party

Belize's islands: only a 12-hour commute from New York.

Belize's islands: only a 12-hour commute from New York.

Outside Magazine | Easy Does It – What a tough guy can learn from an island off Belize

EXACTLY 12 HOURS after walking out the front door of our Brooklyn apartment into a snowstorm, my wife and I stood on the dock at St. George’s Caye Resort, in Belize. I was holding my fly rod while she sipped a fruity cocktail and teased me about my bombastic claim that commercial flights do not count as real travel. Any self-respecting adventure traveler, I often say, needs to follow his flight with a couple of days on a train or the top of a bus in order to feel as though he’s actually gotten somewhere.

My perspective on the issue was not well supported by St. George’s Caye. It’s only a 20-minute boat ride from Belize City, yet it feels like a place that should take a couple of days to reach by outrigger canoe. The two-mile-long island is sandwiched between the Belize Barrier Reef and hundreds of square miles of mangrove swamps and bonefish flats that support raucous colonies of seafaring birds and a few local manatees. You could count the permanent human population on your fingers and toes. But my wife didn’t need to mention any of this or cite the relevant statistics. Instead, she simply pointed to the school of tarpon lolling in the shallows 30 feet away. (more…)

Experts share experiences on climate change and tourism

Mexico Premiere.com | Cancun, Quintana Roo. October 18, 2010: As part of the activities to support COP 16, members of the Initiative for a Low Carbon Tourism for Quintana Roo invited members of the tourism sector to participate in the state’s seminar on updated climate change issues entitled “Low Carbon Tourism.”

The seminar, which took place at the Fiarmont Mayakoba on Friday, October 8th, 2010, included the participation of international and national speakers that presented information about climate change and the actions taken by organizations.

The opening statement was given by Mr. Jose Luis Funes, representative in the Northern Zone of Quintana Roo from the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment of the State Government, who mentioned that Quintana Roo is vulnerable to the effects of the climate change and also mentioned some actions from the state government, like the creation of the State Plan of Climate Action, together with Quintana Roo University.

During the series of lectures, the necessity to confront this global challenge was evident, due to the effects already shown in the region. David Zarate, regional expert on Climate Change, shared some thoughts about these impacts “The sea level will arise up to 70 cm. towards the end of the century in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican Caribbean. This situation puts the human infrastructure and coastal ecosystem to great danger. The shrinking effect of the coastal line will be critical in the plains as well as in the lower coastal zones” mentioned Zarate.

The climate change also had effects on important ecosystems, such as the coral reefs. Nadia Blood, from the WWF office in Belize mentioned the urgency to diminish the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, because with a raise of 2° C in the global temperature, this ecosystem could be close to extinction. (more…)

World’s Creepiest Attractions – Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, Belize

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM) Belize

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM) Belize

Travel & Leisure | Brave necro-tourists must reach this archeological site near San Ignacio via a guided hike that starts with a neck-deep swim in ice cold, pitch black water. Those with vivid imaginations are advised to stay back at the hotel. Mayans practiced human sacrifice here, as evidenced by the cave’s most startling skeleton: the Crystal Maiden, a teenage girl whose bones seem to sparkle.

Truly Creepy: If the bats and spiders don’t put you over the edge, the ancient ceramic bowls have “kill holes,” indicating they were used for bloodletting rituals.

Win It: Belize Private Island Villa Giveaway

Belize Private Island Villa Giveaway

Belize Private Island Villa Giveaway

Extra TV | How does this sound: a private island in the Caribbean with your own butler and pool? Get ready to be treated like a celebrity, because “Extra” is sending you on the vacation of a lifetime! We’re flying one lucky winner and a guest to Belize, where they’ll spend five nights at the exclusively chic Cayo Espanto Villas. This trip is worth over $11,000 and could be all yours. Sign up to become an “Extra” friend and enter the secret word from Friday’s show for your chance to win!

On September 13, 2010, “Extra,” the second longest-running entertainment magazine on television, launches its 17th season in HD from an exciting new location at The Grove in Los Angeles. Host Mario Lopez will report in front of a live audience and take viewers coast-to-coast from L.A. to hotspots at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood and Times Square in New York City.

Seen in more than 95% of the United States of America, “Extra” airs on major market affiliates, including the key NBC Television Owned-and-Operated Stations. “Extra” is produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

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