The Erojacks is an artificial reef in Dania Beach, Florida. Reminiscent of the game Jacks, the dive site is a pile of concrete X’s . The concrete pilings are meant to prevent beach erosion and provide a reef habitat within the boundaries of John U. Lyold state park. The site is marked by one of these concrete X’s on the beach. This is where you would enter the water and swim out until you see the start of the pilings on the sea floor. The maximum depth is about 25 feet.
This dive site is full of marine life. It’s a popular hang out for nurse sharks and typical Caribbean reef fish.
GPS Coordinates 26° 3′ 44.28” N 80° 6′ 26.1” W
I am not sure if Belize is known for it’s caves but I think it should be. The Mayan civilization that lived in Central America revered caves. Caves were seen as the entrances into the underworld and played a major role in Mayan myth and religion. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise that many if not all of the caves in Belize contain Mayan artifacts. That reddish-brown flat “stone” right under your feet may in fact be a piece of Mayan pottery. Incredibly, many of it’s caves still remain unexplored.
One such cave that was only recently publicized in the last ten years, is the Actun Tunichal Muknal (ATM). When this cave was first being explored it was kept a secret until archeologists were finished documenting and studying this cave. The ATM is one of the more popular caves and has even been visited and filmed by National Geographic.
After a 45 minute off-road drive from San Ignacio through farmland and streams, you park you begin a hike through the jungle. The hike will take you winding along a muddy jungle trail and wading across three rivers (the older trail had seven river crossings). Along the trail, you will see leaf cutter ants, beautiful fauna, termite mounds in the trees, and butterflies.
The trail ends at a small jungle stream emptying out of a large cave entrance. The hike then continues into the cave. Some areas of the ATM involve some parts that require swimming, squeezing through tight spaces, and an easy up-climb into a large open cavern. The calcium encrusted floor is littered with pottery and human remains.
The Mayans sacrificed many people in the cave, including babies. The human remains that are still found are only the few that did not get scattered by the running cave water. At the end of the ATM is the full skeletal remains of a 4’6”, 31 year old woman who was sacrificed.
If the macabre environment wasn’t enough for you, the cave is full of ghostly sounds. Although, there was only 4 of us in the cave, our group thought we were hearing the faint sound of human speech when no one else was in the cave. Granted the cave is full of ambient noise but it only adds to the cave’s spooky atmosphere.
When I was in Belize, one of the crazy things that I wanted to do was to have a first hand encounter with a wild tarantula. Let’s be honest, spiders are not as appreciated as a say…a cuddly little kitten but they are certainly more interesting. In Florida, the biggest spiders that we have are probably banana spiders. I know banana spiders can be quite frightening, but they don’t even compare to their black hairy counterparts.
Tarantulas live in underground burrows. To find a tarantula, you must look for holes on the ground or tight crevases in which they might choose to live in. Once you find a burrow, you can force the spider to come out by pouring water into the hole and wait for it to run out.
The tarantula seen in the pictures was found in the backyard of a Belizean home. It had took up residence in the fist-size space of the CBC block. After pouring water in the space, it came out in it’s typical defense mode with it’s anterior legs raised. In such a position, one must be cautious because the spider may bite. Once it gets out of this posture, it can be held in the hand because their vision is actually quite poor.