Norman changed my life. In one short afternoon, he showed me the incredible world of the Ambergris Caye barrier reef. In a mere six feet- eight feet of clear, warm water, wearing only goggles, I was able to sit on the bottom
of the ocean, inside huge schools of wonderously colored fish. Friendly sharks would come cruising by, stingrays that you could feed if careful. I had never snorkeled or gone diving. I was a total rookie. Yet Norman took my hand, threw me overboard,
and gave me a never-to-be-forgotten first view of wonderland. I swam around for
hours, sometimes with a snorkle, but I most preferred it with mask only. The
silence that allows you to close with the beasties is so peaceful and beautiful.
I heartily recommend you give Norman a email message right now!
I have gone back many times to that world, but I will always owe Norman my birth into it. Just as I cherish the midwives that bore my children. Marriage, kids, Ambergris Caye. That about sums up the big moments...
As a child said, "Its like Seaworld without the glass..."
Marty, Webmaster AmbergrisCaye.com
Here's another person who had a great time!
Swimming with the Sharks
Jim and Andrea wake up on day two of their scheduled week at La Isla Bonita.
The fresh sea breeze is blowing gently, the coconut palms barely swaying
and already there is the hum of engines a couple hundred feet from the
shoreline. From their verandah at Holiday Hotel, the couple senses that it
will be a perfect day and decide that this is the ideal day for the recommended trip to Shark and Stingray Alley dive spot and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
After a light breakfast at Celi's Deli they go in search of Norman Eiley
by Coral Beach Dive Shop, where they quickly arrange for the trip in the glass bottom boat. A delicous rum punch delights the pallet as Norman's friendliness and
intriguing stories and comments set them in the mood to enjoy a day at sea. The
reef seems so relaxed that you could walk on it, but Norman assures them
windy days this same reef transforms-into a mad white monster, a friendly monster that destroys the wrath of the waves before they approach the shoreline. Besides, Norman tells them they would not want to walk on a national monument that took millions of years to grow a reef that could be one of the natural wonders of the world. Indeed, Jim and Andrea realize it is a natural wonder and begin snapping shot after shot of themselves and Norman against Belize's Barrier Reef.
Norman announces that they have arrived at Shark and Stingray Alley and Andrea is anxious to see the sharks and the rays. After slipping into their snorkeling gear, Andrea is the first one to jump into the sea and is breathless at the sight of several schools of fishes, the corals, and the immensity and visibility of the Caribbean Sea. Norman has chummed the area, with sardines and soon a score of stingray's approach and float around the Southern Beauty. With some encouragement from their guide, Andrea caresses a ray over its back and pretty soon is baby-sitting one in her arms. She comes SO close to the surface that Jim is able to take several shots of tills once in a lifetime moment. HURRAH, sharks!! One, two, three at least half a dozen of 5 foot sharks scraping the floor bottom like grazing cattle in a field. Again Norman Incites for a friendly caress, so Andrea Surfaces for a deep breath -and down she goes, ten feet to the ocean floor to pet her newfound friend the 5 foot nurse shark. Her eyes
almost burst out with the excitement of actually touching a shark
This is a Kodak moment, so Jill goes down with his underwater camera and snaps one after ,in other, every angle, every depth and every expression You can ever imagine. Andrea knows that when she gets back to New York, her friends will not believe the experience.They will feel that she is
outside of a giant aquarium taking photo's with the sharks in front of her.
After innumerable dives by the fascinated couple, the sun begins to lean towards the west and soon it would be fascinated couple the sun begins to lean towards the west and soon it would be time to return to San Pedro. The couple is way too tired to try Hol Chan and decide with will be the itinerary for the following day, a day that Norman would combine with a beach barbecue of succulent fresh sea food at the beach after the dive.
On board the Southern Beauty Glass Bottom Boat, Norman refreshes and energizes Jim and Andrea with A glass of rum punch as he continues feeding the shark with some remaining sardines. The scene of the sharks feeding combined with the rum punches and the dive in the salty waters of the Carribean Sea have all opened up Jim's and Andrea's appetites, so Norman releases the buoy, starts up the engine and heads for San Pedro, The scene of the sharks feeding combined with rum punches and the dive in the salty waters of the Carribean Sea have all opened up Jim's and Andrea's appetites so Norman releases the buoy, starts up the engine and heads for San Pedro. The couple cannot stop admiring the panoramic view of the coastline, the sparkling sea, the reef and blue skies. Deep in thought they are filled with emotions of the awesome experience of actually swimming among and caressing stingrays and sharks in open waters of the Caribbean.Will their friends back home believe that they actually did that?
To tell the truth, it seems unbelievable to Jim and Andrea themselves. Only the call of Norman, "We are here," makes them realize that is all a real experience at Ambergris Caye.
Click here for pictures of Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley...