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Day 7 - Cave Tubing!

Large brown iguana
Large brown iguana
Today is cave tubing! This is an all day adventure starting at 7 a.m. Hamanasi arranged for a local driver to pick us up and then we picked up two other couples in a nearby resort. This trip took us up to Dangringa, onto the Hummingbird Highway, through the Mayan Mts., past The Blue Hole National Park to Caves Branch. Another beautiful day and we are going to spend it in a cave! We joined a group of 6 and toted our innertubes down to the river to enter this hugh cave system. With only our headlamps for light we paddled and hiked through gigantic caverns studded with crystal, stalagmites, stalagtites, curtain and bacon formations. It was amazing! We ''beached'' our innertubes on an underground sandbar for lunch. Carlos, our guide, whipped out a white linen tablecloth, spread it on the ground and produced a full scale burrito meal. The ambience of ''eating by candlelight'' pales in comparison to eating by headlamp while sitting on your innertube! After lunch we continued hiking through giant chambers with stunning formations. We passed ancient Mayan fire rings with broken pottery strewn around the area. These caves were used by shaman and priests for religious and sacrificial rites. We climbed up walls following Mayan footholds to reach a small hidden ''half-moon'' cave that was used for fertility ceremonies. Several fire rings were locted around the cave and rock formations were carved in spots where the flames from the fires cast shadow images on the cave walls. The precursor of projection T.V.! This cave held several alters and a 5 foot carved image of a fertility god. Awesome!

It was mid afternoon when we finally began our downstream float out of the caves. What an exhilarating and humbling experience! Not to mention exhausting! Back to Hamanasi and another gourmet dinner with our new friends. What fun exchanging the day's adventures with everyone. Tonight we must pack and be on our way in the morning. We hate to leave this magical place. The customer service is incomparable. Jean had some special dietary requirements and the chef and his staff took these into consideration at every meal. Hamanasi is a rare jewel carved out of an unspoiled spot in the emerging Central American country of Belize. No T.V.,no advertising or commercial billboards, no souvenier stands to spoil the natural beauty of the ocean, rivers, reefs and jungles. This was a trip of a lifetime and Hamanasi was instrumental in making it all happen.

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