AMBERGRIS CAYE, THE FINAL FRONTIER!
Sounds like the beginning of a low-budget Sci-Fi movie, right?
As soon as I saw the title in the recent San Pedro Sun article, I knew I had to see it for myself. A piece of a Russian manned rocket ship from the early 1980s that washed up in Belize? One that was launched from southern Kazakhstan – over 7500 miles from Belize? This seems CRAZY.
I mean we’ve had unorthodox things was onto the beach on Ambergris Caye before. Boatloads of Cuban refugees covered in soot after an engine fire. I’ve seen a submersible that was part of deepwater oil exploration. A TransAtlantic pedal boat. A dead pygmy sperm whale. We’ve all heard stories of the “square grouper”. (And that’s just in my 12 years of living on the island.)
I sent a message to David Campos, the man who pulled the shell from the water to find out when I could take a look. The answer? Any time. It was leaning against a coconut tree in front of Indigo Condo and Resort, about 4.5 miles north of Ambergris Caye.
But before I went down there, I quickly watched the episode of Gilligan’s Island where 2 Russian cosmonauts land on…well…Gilligan’s Island.
Notable quote from Ginger: “Agent 36-25-36 reporting, sir.”
I forgot how bizarre that show is but I consider it research.
We drove down to Indigo and found this.
So cool that the barnacles are in a square – around the ridge where there’s a hatch or panel.
The first thing we noticed – it’s in SHOCKINGLY good shape if it had been in the ocean for over 30 years. The steel pieces are still basically shiny and….perfect. Fabric and foam still in good shape.
I know this was made to go into space – but wow. Really good shape.
Such good shape that someone came with a hack saw and STOLE the largest piece (some sort of mechanism) earlier that morning.
SUCH GREAT SHAPE…I needed more information on this.
My friend found a few pictures of a Russian space scrap that had washed up on the Mexican coast. I love the photo posted on the NASA chat room.
Couldn’t put a shirt on? 😉
It was identified as a 2015 Launch of a Russian craft from French Guiana.
AHHHH…French Guiana to Belize rather than Kazakhstan to Belize makes LOTS more sense!
Here’s the map of the Gulf Stream.
I gave up after a good amount of googling.
But last night my friend pointed me to a post in REDDIT where a vacationer on the island posted about this find and identified the craft. GREAT DETECTIVE WORK.
It’s SOYUZ VS22 – launched from French Guiana in 2019. To deliver broadband satellites to space and then return.
There is an incredible amount of information online – you can actually watch the launch AND the landing. You can read how the boosters are jettisoned after 118 seconds.
TONS OF INFORMATION.
So even though it’s not 1981 and instead 2019 – it’s still WAY COOL. And you can go take a look at it on the beachfront at Indigo.
There’s even a cute alien clinging to it. (Starfish are kinda like aliens.)
My suggestion is to make it a tourist stop…very Route 66 Americana style. How about something like this on the Secret Beach junction? Give it a bit of Russo-Belizean flair – maybe the starfish?? Sell t-shirts!
Let’s just say that they’d be Russian to it.