This week on the Caye: A Maya Site, A New Water Taxi Terminal, and An Oil Rig

It’s starting to sound like summer – and GOOD GRIEF, it most certainly feels like it. The weather has been sunny, hot and steamy. and the past two nights, loud thunderstorms have been moving through. Leaving the first tastes of summer rain on a very dry island.

Driving South Pretty Bogainvillea

An Oil Rig In Belizean Waters

I woke up yesterday to a strange message about an oil rig – AN OIL RIG – sited outside of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Was my 2015 April Fools post a premonition rather than a joke? (See Plans at Caye Chapel to Push Our Jewel to the Next Level)

Facebook and the island were going nuts about FRIDA I. And I get it. After fighting long and hard for a moratorium against any oil drilling in our waters…this.

The Belize Port Authority then issued a statement that it was here to “replenish stores” – which also didn’t make too much sense to me. Why would an oil rig come to Belize from Mexico to replenish stores – everything from fuel to beer is more expensive here? We then heard that it needed to exit Mexican waters to renew some sort of license. And that it would be here only a few hours. It’s still here – the next day.

It all seems…at best, a bit clumsily handled – why not pre-announce something of this size (and such a hot button issue for Belize) before it enters into our waters?

Oceana Belize has been pushing – for the past year or so – for all Belizeans to sign this petition to trigger a national referendum on this issue. It seems like now is the time (if you haven’t before).

Maya Site RIGHT in the Center of San Pedro Town

We then drove into town – to do some errands and visit the excavation that is taking place right in the town center. At one of the oldest properties on the island – called Parham Plaza. It sits directly across from Central Park – between Front and Middle Street. The Parhams were one of the oldest families on Ambergris Caye – you can read an interesting history by George Parham here.

UNCW (University Of NC at Wilmington) students and Dr. Scott Simmons are doing an excavation of parts of the property – and though only about 2 weeks into the 4 week project – they are unearthing some very cool things. If you are in the area, stop in…they are lovely. And I was particularly smitten with some of the old Gin bottles found.

Parham Residence
Trenches being dug by archaeology school
Glass and 18th century pottery
Old Gin Bottle
shards of glass and pottery
Old glass bottle

The way it’s all arranged is gorgeous – art.

And then I saw another post on Facebook of what I hear is a new water taxi terminal going in south of the Belize Yacht Club – south of the town center.

Interesting. A new company? Would the original company, the San Pedro Belize Express move from a free location right in the middle of town and buy this million+ dollar property? I thought the water taxis were moving to the back – the lagoon side – of the island – that they were extensively dredging the San Pedro lagoon to make water taxi lanes.

I have no answers so instead I took a photo.

Potential water taxi terminal

How’s that for a hodgepodge post about Ambergris Caye?

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and as you know…I’ll be back 🙂

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  1. Norma Chin on June 2nd, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    With traffic being an issue, wonder where all the water taxi patrons are going to park ?
    We at yacht club already have very limited spaces on the street .
    Has the Town bd made them rent or purchase the lot next to old Mermaids store now Courts to park ?
    Good question to ask our Town board ???

  2. Larry Gilstrap on June 2nd, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Been reading feverishly for weeks now. Headed down on Monday for about 11 days! Can’t wait!

  3. Lonni Skrentner on June 2nd, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks, Rebecca, for raising good questions. Keep looking for answers!

  4. Valerie Hymel on June 3rd, 2023 at 9:04 am

    My husband is a descendent of the Blake’s, Parham’s and Allamilla’s, I love talking with my mother-in-law about her childhood on the island many years ago. It’s a great story.

    • San Pedro Scoop on June 3rd, 2023 at 9:06 am

      Stories when the island was still a fishing village, with sandy roads and few vehicles, are amazing. What a cool heritage.

  5. Scott Simmons on June 3rd, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks for coming out to the site, Rebecca!

  6. Teresa on June 4th, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    It’s like an episode of Oak Island, no gold, just little treasures of history. Here in CA, any deep dig could yield a dinosaur skeleton and shut the whole project down until its excavated. It happens often enough, and cool for everyone except the developers.
    Oil rigs off the CA coast aren’t that bad to look at, and boating out to them is incredible – you feel like an ant under the massive structure. I do not want to look at them in pristine Belizean waters or think of the damage a pipeline leak would do. Don’t scare me like that!