You see me here, with my certificate of completion for my "ASL" American Sign Language Class.
Last week, I had the privilege of taking an American Sign Language Class here in Belize. It was incredible and I learned so much. During this week, I was able to develop some great friendships, with others interested in the same thing I am.
We spent the entire week role playing and actively learning all aspects of sign language. In the pictures below, you will see pictures our classroom. We learned by question and answer, doing presentations, following DVD examples, and role playing (as you see Fonzie, my dad's friend & work associate) doing below. All of this, helped me to have a new appreciation for what it means to be deaf.
I have several friends here on the island that are deaf, and I want to be able to communicate with them better. Here are some pictures of yesterday - this was graduation day for me You can see my sister Lauren watching me graduate. I have lots to learn in the weeks and months to come.
Afterwards, we had a big blow out party with all our friends. Dad and Dennie broke out the BBQ grill, and did hamburgers and hot dogs for the whole group, mom made 2 of her famous chocolate cakes (family recipe right from my grandma Smith). Stephanie decorated all the platters, served up the beans and we laughed, swam in the pool and watched more videos on the deaf culture.
There was only one word that summed up this past week? AWESOME!
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE IN BELIZE
TRENT'S WALK IN THE BELIZEAN JUNGLE (Part Three)
Is brought to you by "Grand Belizean Estates" the next place to call home.
Hey, check this out! I was sitting at the pool today, and this bird flew over my head. This is a Fridgatebird, and they are in abundance here in Belize.
High in the sky, you see these long, black, birds with an angular outline and a forked tail. The local name for this bird is "man o' war". I told you! The locals down here have given their own names to just about everything!
This bird is very light, with a wing span of two meters. The frigate bird has relatively little stress on its wings and thus is able to swoop and soar with great ease. However, its unusual design includes a serious flaws: it has difficulty in achieving both take-off and landing..........and it refuses to get its feet wet - while insisting on fulfilling its passion for fish. As a result of this, it steals from other birds which have already made an honest catch. It uses a sneaky technique, which we humans call "goosing". This bird will fly up behind another bird and goose it. Then the bird opens its beak in protest, drops its dinner, and the frigatebird then snatches it away.
All frigatebirds are black, while females and juveniles have white heads, and all have some white on their breast. During courtship, males display a brightt red gular pouch which balloons alarmingly large. I have pictures below to show you what I mean. Once the nestlings arrive, it matures slowly, and depends on its parents for a full half year. Even after this, these fledlings will return home for another fourteen months. Kind of like us kids, you can't get rid of us - until you have to push us out the nest.
Frigatebirds nest in colonies of up to 10,000 pairs! Bushes and low trees are favorite sites; a consistent wind, to assist in its comings and goings, is an important factor in choosing the location. Frigatebirds can be found throughout the cayes and along the coast; a notable colony is that which surrounds the booby birds on Half Moon Caye Island.
TRENT'S WALK IN THE BELIZEAN JUNGLE (Part Two)
Is brought to you by "Grand Belizean Estates" the next place to call home.
Hey, I didn't get to finish my blog the other day, so wanted to give you the rest of it now. I still have more to come, this is just what I have for the moment.
I will have several more of these posts on "walk in the Belizean jungle", because I am discovering that there are a lot of really cool, animals not to far from my house. Some of the residents here on the island - believe it or not, live with crocodiles under their houses, which are built on stilts. The owner feeds them, and the crocodile seems to guard the house like a watch dog. Not really mom's cup of tea, but I thought it was cool.
We see these in and around the shore lines in Belize (late afternoon) all the time. In fact, some of the locals started taking a rope and putting a raw chicken on it and tried to lure the crocodiles from the waters edge as a show for tourists. The government soon got wind of it and a sign was posted up, stating that it was illegal to feed the crocodiles now.
I will tell you flat out, DO NOT swim in any lakes or lagoon down here. Swimming pools and ocean front are your best bet for swimming. Crocodiles don't like crystal clear blue water - being agitated by waves. They like calm, murky water - so stay out of the local lakes, rivers, and lagoons in this country. Having said that, now let's talk CROCS!
In Belize we say "alligator" in reference to our largest reptile, when it fact we mean crocodile. That's how it is down here, we call things by all different names, other than what their real name is. As a matter of fact, it is their teeth, that make the difference between whether its a crocodile or an alligator. When the reptile closes its mouth, the elongated tooth on each side of its huge lower jaw fits into a notch on the outside of the upper jaw - it's front teeth also hang out, over its chin; when the reptile closes its mouth. If you see this, then it's a crocodile, not an alligator. Can you see in the picture above, how the crocodiles front teeth are hanging over his lower jaw? We'll that's a characteristic of a crocodile.
These animals move by the temptation of the flesh, ANYONE'S FLESH! For hours on end, they will lie in wait - in excellent imitation of a log, their ears, eyes and nostrils aligned upon the water, with their powerful tails executing secret maneuvers beneath the surface. Their skin is as tough as their outlook on life, and because of this, they have the tendency to endure and survive.
Crocodiles will continue to grow throughout their lives. Salt-water crocodiles are the largest, some measuring 23 feet and weighing over a ton. Our Morelet's crocodile, is one of the smallest, attaining a length of only 8 feet, but our other species, the American crocodile, grows decidedly longer.
These beasts like to hang out near creeks, ponds, streams, rivers, lagoons. They like to hide in mangrove swamps or stormtide lowlands. Believe it or not, the male actually goes acourting, first staking out and patrolling a chosen aquatic territory. All alligators and crocodiles are egg layers, and have a high reproduction rate - necessary to counteract their propensity for eating their own young. Between 20 and 70 eggs are produced and either left above ground or plastered up in security vault made of mud and grasses, near a water source. It conditions, temperature and humidity remain stable within the chamber, it will take about 74 days for these eggs to incubate.
When they are ready to attack the world, these little hatchlings begin to squeal to attract the attention of the adults to come and let them out (or eat them!). They are tended by their parents for up to four months, and the young may stay in the vicinity of the nest for as long as eighteen months. Initially they feed on water bugs, then on fish and frogs, and carrion. In turn storks, egrets, and herons, raccoons and foxes feed on them, and the degree of mortality is acute. However, if they do manage to survive, only men and anacondas are enemies of the adult crocodile.
That's it for now, I have several more of these walks in the jungle that we will do - but I only have time to do a little here and there. This week I'm taking an American Sign Language class. We are having great fun and I am learning alot. In the next few posts, I want you to meet some of my deaf friends.
TRENT'S WALK IN THE BELIZEAN JUNGLE (Part One)
Is brought to you by "Grand Belizean Estates" the next place to call home.
Today's walk in the jungle, produced sightings for two very unusual animals. The anteater and the armadillo, each native to Belize.
Here is a picture of a Belizean anteater. Anteaters are native to Belize, and called in Spanish hormiguero, or ant-er (by the locals). An ant-er is a friend to anyone who owns a wooden house here. These bushy mammals have a specially long snout, to poke their noses into other peoples business. Couldn't resist the play on words.
Anteaters eat termites and for many folks down here, that makes these animals your new best friend. Fairly easy going creatures, they have a elongated nose, which is heavily coated with saliva. This obviously is to their advantage, as they lick up those termites and ants. Tiny projections on the tongue, aimed towards the throat, keep the ants marching in the right direction (right down the anteaters throat); down the gullet to a thick-walled, muscular stomach made especially for crushing up the hard exockeletons of insects.
Anteaters have a tendency to establish specific routes, both in the trees, and on the ground, which they will travel repeatedly, visiting the same termite and ant colonies over and over again. One species of termites posts soldiers on guard, with their teeth at ready to stand guard against the anteater. Another species of ants has a low chemical defense which, as more and more are consumed, builds up into an accumulative impalatability. By such devices these nests, become only partially depleted at a time, and are able to survive a raid for another day.
Anteaters are individualistic creatures, which means, they love to live by themselves. They keep odd hours, according to personal whims. Offspring ride their mother's back, climbing off when they arrive at one or another of her regular restaurants, where they stop for a meal together. Then on to the nearest of her den sites for a rest in a hollow of a tree or a hole in the ground.
You can meet an anteater at the Belize Zoo, if it is in the mood to meet you. Otherwise, you might be lucky enough to glimpse its nose poking out into the daylight from its hollow log home.
This is a picture of an armadillo. Another animal you will no doubt see in the Belizean jungle. This is one of the oddest animals I think I have ever seen in my life.
This unlikely-looking mammal is covered head to tail in bony plates, called scutes. The body itself has first a scapular shield, followed by a series of flexible, triangular bands overlain with round, epidermal scales. There is also a pelvic shield to protect the underbelly. All this armor can add up to eighteen pounds, if you include the little guy within.
Out from under its visor pokes a long, upturned nose and prominent ears set close together. He reminds me of a baby anteater with a suit of armor. He has four feet, with a total of eighteen very sharp daggers, or should I say diggers. With these it makes its burrow, which may be as much as 25 feet long and 6 feet deep. It will often sit upright on its haunches to test the air (as you see him doing here) for scents. Should it detect the whiff of hostility, it will make a mad dash into the under bush.
The armadillo lives in a variety of habitats, the primary requirement being a temperate climate as its body maintains home range is about 13 acres, which it traverses in the night, looking for small tidbits, insects, larvae, snails, worms small vertebrates, fungi, fruits, and berries.
HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY WALK IN THE JUNGLE TODAY, AS MUCH AS I DID.
Our families adventure for today was a trip to the Hol Chan Marine Park. When Nana & Papa come to Belize, this is usually, the tour that they want to take. It allows them to spend time with the family, gives all of us kids a chance to jump into the water, we get lunch on Caye Caulker Island, and enjoy a leisurely sail back to San Pedro, with either a rum punch or beer, (soda for us kids) chips and salsa.
The highlight of course for me, is snorkeling Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Here I get to see a large variety of fish. Just recently my Papa was standing on the deck, and one of the tour guides came up to him and said, "Is that your grandson?" "Yes", he said. "Well that kid knows how to swim and boy does he know his fish!" I laughed when I heard this.
So, if you are looking for something to do with your grandparents, something low impact and allows you to spend the day together, then I am suggesting, take your grandparents on the day sail to Caye Caulker. You'll get to snorkel Hol Chan, swim with sharks at Shark Ray Alley, and let the grownups drink the beer. Yes I'm talking real sharks, but not the kind that will eat you. Our guide even picked one up, turned him over and we got to pet his belly. He's called the "shark whisperer".
If you've ever touched a shark, their skin feels like a rough rubbery avocado. Nurse sharks are fairly gentle animals, so enjoy the time swimming with these big guys! There are not many places in the world, where you can say you "swam with the sharks!"
About three years ago, we had daddy's brother (and his family) come to Belize to visit. This was about the same time as my grandparents (Nana ~ Papa) were here. As a treat, Papa paid for all us guys to go deep sea fishing. We had a great time, and the photo's of the event were awesome. I just found them on my computer and wanted to share.
When they say you catch fish the size of your five year old son, check these photo's out. This was particularly true of my uncle Jason, who's fish was "as big" as Colby his son.
Hi, Trent here. This is a Belize Spiny Female Lobster carrying eggs. We call this lobster a "berried" lobster, because the eggs look like thousands of tiny berries. You can clearly see the eggs in orange, here in the picture to the left.
The female carriers her eggs one to four weeks until they hatch. She protects them from being eaten by fish and she fans them with water. Lobster eggs need their mother in order to survive. If the eggs are removed from the mother's tail, they will die. The number of eggs produced is related to the mother's size and age. The larger the female, the more eggs she will produce. In other words, a female with a caraspace (midsection, measured from between its eyes to the beginning of the tail) length of 13 cm (5 inches) may produce three times more eggs than one with a 9 cm (3.5 inches) caraspace. We are going to throw this lobster back in the ocean, but I wanted everyone to see this before I toss her back.
Today, after school I went up in Dave's Mitchel's plane with my dad, and circled the island that we live on. WOW! It was so beautiful. Thought you would enjoy all the pictures. This was an incredible ride, high above the island that we live on. I got to see Ambergris Caye from the air, the Belize Barrier Reef, the Belizean Jungle, it was overwhelming awesome! We got to see the project my dad is working on...........you can literally see Grand Belizean Estates, being carved right into the jungle. It was amazing!
Hi, my name is Trenton S. Turley. I've been living in Belize now for 11 years. Hope you enjoy reading my many blog posts. I write about things, that are passionate to me.
SNAKES OF BELIZE!
Check out, my my current blog series on Snakes of Belize.