For a long desolate sandbar off the coast of Belize, Blackadore Caye sure makes it into the local and international news a bunch.
Here are the reasons you might have heard about just over 100 acre Blackadore Caye.
- The waters that surround Blackadore were included in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve expansion in 2015 – in an effort to protect the important flyfishing flats to the west side of Ambergris Caye for this important, lucrative industry. Here’s the map of the expansion. Blackadore is the strip of land within Zone V. Called Blackadore Conservation Zone.
- The island is private land (as almost all the cayes on the west side of Ambergris Caye are) but this one is owned, in part, by Leonardo Di Caprio. Yes, THE Leonardo DiCaprio – a long-time lover of Belize and a tireless advocate for the environment. Sure, he flies on private planes and has other things going on – like supermodels and Oscar-winning acting, but in my opinion, he’s done more for climate change awareness and how we are killing the ocean than just about anyone on the planet. But that also makes him an easy target for personal attack.
- In 2015 and 2016 – the consortium of owners of Blackadore Caye announced an AMAZINGLY comprehensive plan to develop the island. I would venture to guess that Blackadore Caye is the most extensively studied piece of land in Belize – everything from the exact count of bats and mangroves, the geological make-up of the base rock down to 1500 feet to the ocean currents around the island were exactingly studied and cataloged and presented.
- The people of San Pedro Belize categorically objected to the plans for over-the-water structures (though the Govt of Belize approved them) and the developers held meetings and consultations with the citizens, the stakeholders, local groups and decided to keep all development to the island. (Not Over the Water Structures). It’s the ONLY example that I know of how the EIA process in Belize has worked correctly (a give and take between the developer and the public – usually the developer presents whatever he wants and then it’s approved no matter what the public input is)
- The Blackadore Plan (meticulous, working with the community, under international scrutiny) was sidelined by the developers – while awful, inappropriate, potentially corrupt projects like Cayo Rosario go ahead (see DefendCayoRosario.com for more information.)
There…I got off my chest. Oh, wait…I’ve got more.
I mean sure. I’d love for Leo to donate the island to the people of Belize (though would some government official just sell it down the road?) – but wouldn’t a high end, lower-density development – the best in the country, if not the world (in terms of environmental safeguards), boost tourism in this country in a good way? Rather than MORE cruise ships that bring little to no money to the people of Belize (new ports seem to be coming on-line every day) – or high density, poorly planned, environmentally questionable projects that might never even get completed and just leave ripped off investors and wreckage in their wake?
I visited the island in June of 2016 for the first time – which the Blackadore development team/scientists were there. It is BEYOND stunning.
And I JUST returned – with Marcos of Creative Tours – for a visit. Jeff and some friends and guests were going to wade around the island to fly fish and my friend Jamie and I wanted to do a bit of exploring, swimming and sunning.
Despite what recent articles say – there is NO WAY a resort is opening here in 2020. All that you can find on the island is one white mangrove tree, caretakers, lots of high sharp grass and coconut trees and about 14 billion blue crabs. Here are my photos from one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
When we arrived, at about 8 am it was incredibly still with rain clouds looming.
We went for a walk on the “inner island” – you can see both the east and west side no matter where you are – the island is that slim.
It’s just grass…and mud…and coconut trees…many dying from what looks like a rusty mold on the trunk.
And then the sun…and the breeze. The east side of the island…each view is stunning. The west side had the permit and bonefish on Saturday.
Can you even stand it?
Who needs snorkel gear?
There you go. As always, this blog is my opinion and no one else’s. Please let me know what you think!